So you’re ready to take the plunge. You’ve got something to teach, maybe even some interested students, and you’re going to create an online course. Yay!
Creating a course is such an awesome, life-changing thing when it’s done right. And with online learning still growing – expected to hit $1 Trillion by 2030 – there’s room for all sorts of different teachers.
If you’re thinking about becoming an online instructor, there’s probably a question that has you tripped up. Where are you going to actually build and host this thing? There are so many options, and it can be really intimidating for a first-time teacher.
Today, we’re going to talk about two popular course options: Mighty Networks and Thinkific. Mighty Networks is an all-in-one course and community builder that’s a one-stop shop for everything you need for your online business. Thinkific is a solid course platform and website builder that gives you lots of good tools to work with.
Both are established players in the online course space AND they both have some great things to offer. So which is right for you? Let’s figure it out!
If you want more support in building your online course and community, come join OUR Mighty Community for free and meet other new and established community owners! We’d love to meet you. Join for free!
1. Mighty Networks vs. Thinkific: Factors to consider
- Course Platform
- Community & Memberships
- Marketing & Monetization
- Apps & Access
2. Mighty Networks vs. Thinkific: Course Platform
It usually starts with the course platform. That’s what you’re thinking about, we’re guessing. And although there’s a few other things to consider (we’ll talk about them next), you really do want a great Learning Management System (LMS) that will do EVERYTHING you need it to do when it comes to building a course.
Mighty Networks gives you a full LMS, letting you build and customize your course every step of the way. From lessons to modules, and all types of content from video to PDFs, Mighty gives you the engine you need to create a solid course. It’s also DYNAMIC! You can edit and improve your course with feedback from students as you go.
One of the best parts about the Mighty Networks course platform is that it gives you more ways to deliver a course than a traditional course platform.
- Want to pre-record video and upload it like a traditional course builder – e.g. Thinkific? You can do that
- Want to teach a course LIVE as a cohort course? Yup, you can easily do that with the live stream tool.
- Want to add bonus live streams or events to supplement your existing course? You can do that too.
And, of course, everything we do with courses is wrapped in a community – more on that in a minute.
The end result is a great LMS that could be a standalone product, but in fact, comes built into the many other amazing features of a Mighty Network.
Thinkific gives you the power to create courses on a drag-and-drop builder that works well. It also comes with an assessment engine that lets you handle evaluating what students have learned. You can add assignments, exams, quizzes, and surveys to test your students’ learning goals. Building course modules is pretty easy, and you can add audio, video, and PDFs to the course – it has a bulk uploader for all this.
Thinkific can also be integrated with other apps to give features like a booking calendar, chat boxes, or live streaming. But it should be said that some of the things that require integrations in Thinkific are built natively in Mighty Networks. (Mighty Networks has native chat, events, and live streaming, while you have to connect other software to get these features in Thinkific.)
So which has the better course platform?
Mighty Networks has more features for delivering the course itself – with a robust event tab, live streaming options, built-in 1:1 and all-member chat, and community (we’ll go there next). Thinkific is missing most of these features but does have more types of evaluations (exams, etc).
3. Mighty Networks vs. Thinkific: Community and membership
When it comes to courses, the world is evolving. And course platforms have come a long way from the old WordPress plugins that didn’t really work right. There are a lot of different ways to teach them.
Traditional course platforms help you create asynchronous (prerecorded) courses.
But recording a course and slapping it up somewhere to get dusty isn’t necessarily the best way to teach. More and more, creators are looking at the low engagement numbers from pre-recorded courses and opting for more.
That’s where a community comes in.
Communities add value to a course. They breathe life into a prerecorded course since you can offer your students connections and conversations LIVE in the community after. OR you might opt to go for a cohort course, bringing students together, letting them meet each other and you, and getting support in real time!
Mighty Networks has a powerful, community engine that gives you a ton of great features right out of the box. Mighty makes community something that’s not an afterthought but truly integrated into your courses.
This starts with the option to add a full community forum to each course, as well as features like messaging all members, tagging people in comments, and member profiles. Community is embedded at every step.
One great example of this is how every single lesson has a community discussion happening underneath it. This is a huge value-add for any course since you can see the questions, comments, and feedback from others who have taken the course.
A course can be the main feature of your Mighty Network, or it can exist within a bigger community. You can sell access to the course itself, sell access to the community instead, OR bundle and sell access to both.
And–as we mentioned above–your community comes loaded with features like Mighty Co-Host™, an AI-powered community name generator, live streaming, one-click Zoom scheduling and events, chat, polls and questions, a built-in new member experience, and more.
Thinkific has an extremely basic community model that can be added as a separate product on your Thinkific site. It gives you a forum engine to host community discussions, and you can choose to either give access to all your students or bundle it with a particular course.
Community members can post images, videos, or file links. It looks like this…
The community feature gives you some branding options, basically letting you add your own cover image, colors, and fonts. But otherwise, it’s pretty bare bones.
If you’re interested in a course with community, including a cohort course, Mighty Networks gives you way more features to build with.
4. Mighty Networks vs. Thinkific: Marketing & monetization
A good course platform doesn’t just give you an LMS to build a course on. It also gives you the features you need to create a business and monetize your course. So when we compare Mighty Networks vs. Thinkific, we need to talk about what each platform gives you to help you make money off your course.
Mighty Networks lets you create a landing page for your course and/or community, with different styles to choose from. You can add your own brand and customize everything on the course and/or community landing pages. You can also build with a custom domain name for your course and community, and we have a super easy process to find and claim your domain.
Mighty Networks easily integrates with tools like ConvertKit for email marketing, and you can customize bundles and plans, as well as sell in different currencies around the world. You also get access to a full set of premium analytics to help you figure out what’s working and what isn’t.
Also, Mighty lets you charge for Spaces that can hold memberships, courses, events, or all of the above. Bundle your offerings, charge by the month, year, or one-time only, in 135 different currencies or even with token-gating!
When it comes to building your business, Thinkific gives you the option to monetize with courses, but also with membership subscriptions and digital products/downloads. This flexibility means you can choose to bundle products and services in unique ways. You can sell in 100+ different currencies, add sales with coupons and discounts, and even recruit audience members to sell the course with an affiliate program.
Thinkific has some marketing features built-in, and it starts with the website. It gives you the option to create landing pages to host and sell your course on, and you can personalize these in a bunch of different ways. With custom domain names, different themes to choose from, and the option to build out a multi-page site, Thinkific has a good website builder to accompany a course.
5. Mighty Networks vs. Thinkific: Apps & access
Last, let’s talk about apps and access. It’s not enough to create a course. You need to make sure that your students can get access to it when and how they want it.
Mighty Networks has an awesome native app that gives your students access on the go. The course app has all the same features as the web platform, and it adds mobile notifications so your members can see when you share new content, upcoming events, etc. It currently has a 4.7-star rating in the Google Play Store.
As you grow a successful course and community business, Mighty Networks also grows with you, offering a completely branded app in the App Store and Google Play Store. This means that your students see your name and logo, not ours, and you get a beautiful, responsive app for your business.
We build these with Mighty Pro. And if you think you might be ready for a completely white-label app, reach out and schedule a call with us and we can talk it through and give you a demo!
Thinkific doesn’t have a mobile app. If you build your course there, your customers will only be able to access it via the website – not with a native mobile app. This is a huge miss in a time when more people access the web on their phones than any other way.
6. Ready to start?
We hope this comparison between Mighty Networks and Thinkific has you super excited to get started with building your amazing course. The next step is to make your choice and get ready to start building a business that creates change for people!
If you want an awesome course and community platform that brings together a solid LMS, live streaming, events, loads of community features, and a great app, come give Mighty Networks a try! Mighty will grow with you too, and when you’re ready you can also take the jump to Mighty Pro and get a totally branded app! We always love it when our Hosts see so much growth they make that transition.