Thinkific has been one of the most popular course-building platforms out there, but it comes with some downsides.
For example, it lacks marketing automation features, has limited customization options, and doesn't come with a mobile app, leading to less engagement by students in your courses and community.
If you value the missing features mentioned above, you might want to consider exploring some of Thinkific's competitors.
Let's get started with the review and see which tool is the best Thinkific alternative for your needs.
|Podia – Affordable affordable alternative||$39/mo|
|Kajabi – Advanced all-in-one digital selling platform||$149/mo|
|Teachable – Closest competitor||$59/mo (can create only 5 published products!)|
|LearnDash – Thinkific alternative for WordPress users||$199/year|
⚡ In short, consider Kajabi if you need superior marketing automation and community features (with gamification), or Podia if you want the ability to create digital products and also basic email marketing functionality.
Let’s review some of these platforms:
Podia – All-in-one affordable alternative
Podia markets itself as an all-in-one platform for selling online courses, communities, webinars, coachings, and digital downloads.
This means, unlike Thinkific and Teachable, Podia is not exclusively focused on online course creation.
- Courses: It comes with all the essential features like the ability to host unlimited videos, drip feed, quizzes, etc. But it doesn't come with the student-level course engagement analytics and video heat maps unlike Kajabi or Teachable.
- Digital products: You can create and even embed digital products conveniently on your website using various options such as links, buttons, or carts.
- Coaching: You can create multiple sessions for your coaching and embed any calendar book you have for people to easily book one-to-one sessions with you.
- Integration with webinar platforms: Podia integrates with webinar platforms like Zoom and YouTube Live
- Email marketing: Podia comes with the ability to send one-off broadcasts and simple email sequences based on some conditions. But it’s quite limited, you may still end up using an external email marketing software.
- Website chat: You can embed the chat widget on your website, a lighter version of Intercom!
- Affiliate marketing: Podia comes with the basic affiliate marketing feature where you can set a different commission rates for different products.
The free plan comes with an 8% fee.
Both of the paid plans do not come with any transaction fees and provide you with the ability to create unlimited courses, coaching, and even digital downloads.
If you want additional features like webinars and the ability to set up your own affiliate program, you need to go with their Shaker plan at $89 per month.
- All-in-one platform
- User-friendly interface with attention to detail
- Unlimited courses and products with unlimited storage and bandwidth
- Ability to sell digital products
- Supports embeddable checkouts and upsells on external websites
- Includes a built-in email marketing tool that supports broadcasts and campaigns
- Doesn't have a mobile app
- Limited depth of features
- Free plan comes with an 8% fee
- Additional features like webinars and affiliate program require a higher-priced plan
Bottomline: Podia is a good all-in-one alternative to Thinkific. It offers a broad range of features, including courses, coaching, communities, and digital product selling. However, the features lack depth. If you value simplicity and prioritize "getting things done" over obsessing about extra specialist features, then Podia may be the right choice for you.
Kajabi – The best alternative
Kajabi is one of the most expensive course platforms with excellent marketing options.
Although the platform is pricey, if you are an advanced course marketer who needs excellent automation and marketing features (even better than Teachable), you’ll like Kajabi!
Here are some standout features of Kajabi:
- Marketing automation
- Feature rich website builder
- Kajabi Events (inbuilt webinars)
- Community feature loading with gamification options
- Sales funnel option (with blueprints)
Kajabi offers great community features (it’s the best in this list).
It recently acquired Vibely, an online community platform that allows you to create highly engaging gamified communities. This includes features such as live rooms (meetups), challenges, accomplishments, badges, points, and more.
When you combine communities with emails and automation rules, you can create workflows that keep users engaged. For example, you can automate sending emails to inactive participants, send a coupon to highly active members, and much more.
Kajabi has both iOS and Android apps, which support push notifications and in-app purchases (wow!). This is a big advantage as it helps with community engagement and profit maximization.
Unlike Thinkific, Teachable, and Podia, Kajabi does not offer a free plan. Their basic plan starts at $149 per month and only supports the creation of up to three products and funnels.
For most people, they end up choosing the growth plan at $199 per month, which allows you to create up to 15 products and funnels.
This would be enough for most people. Unlike other platforms, Kajabi does not hold back any features in their beginner plans, except for the number of products that you can create.
Bottomline: If you're looking for an all-in-one platform with advanced features and don't mind paying a higher price, Kajabi is a great option. While it is more expensive than other platforms reviewed in this blog post, it is worth the money for the depth of features it offers. Kajabi is a great value if you want to save money on additional email marketing software, landing page builders, and community platforms.
Teachable – Closest alternative (with mobile app)
Teachable is the most popular LMS platforms out there.
In addition to courses, Teachable also supports coachings, course bundles, and digital downloads.
But, unlike Podia, it currently lacks dedicated memberships and community features.
However, their courses feature comes with really powerful features like:
- Course compliance: This includes features such as graded quizzes, quiz completion, enforcing lesson completion order, and also student level video watch duration tracking (a big one 🙊).
- Easy comments: Teachable’s comment system demands student engagement (social proof matters!) In contrast, Thinkific's comment system can feel cumbersome, requiring multiple steps to leave a comment.
- More customization options: discuss power editor, themes, and other things in compasrison to Podia and Thinkific.
Teachable has a free plan that allows you to publish only one product and comes with a 10% transaction fee.
Their basic plan has a 5% transaction fee and supports publishing up to 5 products.
For most people, the Pro plan at $159 per month is ideal as it supports up to 50 published products and includes additional features like affiliate marketing, live chat support, and upsells to maximize profits.
Previously, Teachable allowed users to publish an unlimited number of products on their basic plan. However, they recently changed their terms, resulting in backlash from users who felt like they were being held ransom.
Bottomline: Overall, Teachable is a great LMS tool if you are managing your communities on external platforms and you only need it to host your online courses. Also to publish more than 5 products on Teachable, you need to upgrade to their Pro Plan at $159 per month. However, considering the features that Teachable offers, you may be better off with Kajabi, which offers many more functionalities like a feature-rich community, marketing automation, email marketing, inbuilt webinars, and virtual events.
Mighty Networks (read review) is an online community platform that also comes with feature-rich course builder.
Its communities have features like:
- Spaces (you can make these public, private, or secret).
- Chats (Private messages, group chats, and direct messages).
- Online now (similar to Whatsapp). Members can see who is online and connect with them in real-time.
- Live streaming (use this to create live meetups, QAs, paid events, and masterclasses inside of the spaces).
- It has a built-in ambassador program (internal referral system) to motivate users to bring in new members and get rewarded for their work. There are three levels available – Silver, Bronze, and Gold. Read more here.
It is a community first platform.
But it has a decent course builder that supports both online courses and cohort courses.
Also, it supports drip scheduling of the content and has lesson wide comment section for student engagement.
Users can access live streaming, courses & memberships, and communities all within the apps. You can create high-ticket programs, group coaching calls, and live events with your own branded notifications. The apps support in-app purchases and push notifications for increasing conversions.
If you think the LMS features are too basic, you can take a look at some other Mighty Networks alternatives.
The best part about Mighty Networks is its mobile app. It’s feature -rich and actually enables users to engage in it more often. You can refer to these case studies and see how brands are leveraging their apps to improve their conversions.
Mighty Network’s Community plan costs $39 per month. To access courses, you need to go with its Business plan at $119 per month. See all the plan details here.
Bottomline: If your main focus is on creating course-specific communities and advanced LMS features may not matter much to you, Mighty Networks would be the go to choice.
FreshLearn is an all-in-one platform that caters to course creators, entrepreneurs, and business owners.
With FreshLearn, you can create on-demand or cohort courses.
You have the flexibility to add videos, documents, text, images, quizzes, and graded assessments. it also has advanced features like negative scoring and randomizing questions.
Inspite of the fact that FreshLearn does not have communities, for courses it offers gamification features such as points, rewards, quizzes, and challenges. Its premium pricing starts at $29 per month, with the highest plan costing $59 per month.
Plus, there's the option for course completion certificates and drip scheduling.
When it comes to marketing, FreshLearn offers tools to increase sales, including coupons and affiliates.
It has tight integrations with Stripe, PayPal, and Razorpay (Indian gateway) to ensure smooth transactions.
Bottomline: FreshLearn is a versatile platform that offers a range of features without a steep price. If you're looking for an affordable course creation platform, it's worth considering.
LearnWorlds – For academic trainers
LearnWorlds (read complete review) is a great LMS tool suited for academic-centric courses. This is the only tool on this list that is SCORM-compliant. To engage learners, it has features like interactive videos, ebooks, 1:1 & group sessions, assessments, certificates, surveys, and much more.
You can sell courses, memberships, and bundles. For marketing, it has upsells, cross-sales, high-converting sales pages, 1-click funnels, and customizable checkout experiences.
It has a dedicated site builder (with Funnels feature) that’s pretty robust that allows you to completely customize your academy. There are more than 50 industry-specific site templates available in various niches!
You can as well connect your custom domain, and customize the user experience to reflect your brand.
For users who focus on mobile devices, it is possible to create custom branded mobile apps for your school. These apps come with a powerful visual editor and can be published to both iOS and Android app stores. They support in-app purchases and push notifications, and require no coding. Additionally, they are fully white-labeled.
For most people, the Pro Trainer plan at $99/mo is an ideal option for professional course creators, as it supports some exclusive features like Interactive Videos, Full White-labeling, and Advanced Assessments.
Bottomline: LearnWorlds is best suited for academic-centered courses. Although LearnWorlds offers many features, but some users may find them overwhelming and difficult to navigate. Additionally, the user experience may not be as smooth as other platforms. Keep this in mind if you are considering LearnWorlds as an option.
LearnDash – Best WordPress LMS
LearnDash is a popular and highly versatile learning management system for WordPress. It is designed for those who already use WordPress and have some technical knowledge, as it involves a learning curve and requires some tech and WordPress experience.
One of the strengths of LearnDash is its ability to create courses and memberships.
It also has extensive addons and integrations with other WordPress plugins, which makes it highly customizable. For instance, users can integrate with other WordPress plugins like WooCommerce for payment processing, Elementor for customization options, and Gamipress for engagement features.
Despite these limitations, LearnDash is a cost-effective and flexible solution if you’re into online courses. Its pricing starts at $199/year for 1 site license, and its technical support is good. It also has highly active Facebook group to answer user queries.
Overall, LearnDash is a great choice for those who already use WordPress and have some technical knowledge. Its versatility and customizability make it a great option for creating online courses and training programs, but it may not be the best fit for those who require email marketing, marketing automation, or digital product selling features.
Teachery is an affordable and user-friendly course creation platform that can be compared to Thinkific. It offers two design templates for creating courses: minimal (for basic courses) and sidebar (for long content courses) templates.
The platform does not have built-in hosting, so users have to use Vimeo or Wistia to host their files and add content using embed codes. However, Teachery stands out from other LMS tools as it supports drip scheduling for both lessons and sub-lessons.
Teachery also provides marketing features such as coupons, discounts, upsells, checkouts, email marketing, and affiliates. For a detailed exploration of all the features, refer to my Teachery review post.
Teachery offers both monthly and yearly plans, costing $49/month and $470/year, respectively.
Udemy is an online course marketplace helpful for both students and teachers. Unlike Thinkific, it is not a self-hosted platform. You don’t have any ownership or control over your course business.
It has over 65,000 instructors on the platform, and courses are available in any niche you name; arts, fashion, market, music, lifestyle, photography, IT, coding, etc.
As a course creator, you can use its marketplace insights to “do supply-demand analysis” and choose the niche to stand out from the crowd.
TalentLMS is an online LMS platform that allows you to deliver effective training materials, courses, and resources to employees. It is best suited for the corporate sector.
- It supports SCORM, xAPI, and cmi5 content types.
- It has a built-in assessment builder that allows you to create a variety of quizzes; multiple-choice, drag-and-drop matching, ordering, fill-in-the-blank, and open-ended questions.
- For gamification, it has badges, points, levels, rewards, and leaderboards.
- Built-in course completion certificates are available.
When looking for alternatives to Thinkific, consider the following options:
- Go with Teachable if you are only creating online courses but need advanced features in it.
- Go with Podia if you plan to sell digital products and membership sites along with online courses.
- Go with Kajabi if you want an all-in-one digital platform with built-in marketing automation and feature-rich community support.