If you’ve been thinking about building an online course, there’s no better time than now! As the saying goes, “strike while the iron’s hot.” Everyone is looking to learn something new, to refine their skills, and even meet like-minded people.
So why not build an incredible course where you take members on a transformative journey? Once you have landed on a topic (we call this your Big Purpose), you’ll want to find an online course platform that suits your needs.
Podia and Thinkific are two well-known options. Instead of spending hours researching what they offer (or even signing up for a free trial), we thought we’d make your life easier by doing the work for you!
Ahead, we’re putting these two online course platforms up against each other: Podia vs. Thinkific. Before we dive into the logistics of each platform's offerings, we’ll explore what you should look for in an online course platform.
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. Podia vs. Thinkific: Who are they?
Podia is an online course platform and learning management system (LMS) that allows creators to sell courses, memberships, and downloads. Podia also has additional course-creation functions like webinars and some basic community functions that allow members to create content and join discussions based on a course they’re taking.
Thinkific is also an online course platform and LMS that describes itself as offering “everything you need to run your education business under one roof.” Individuals and businesses can create and sell online courses under their brand, along with offering comprehensive quizzes, engaging surveys, and assignments.
2. Podia vs. Thinkific: Factors to consider
Before we get into what Podia and Thinkific have to offer, it should be noted that designing a course is so much more than creating a few slides and adding a discussion forum. Below, we’ve outlined five key factors that you should take into consideration when choosing an online course platform that’s right for you:
You’re here because you want to build a stellar online course, so it’s critical to look at what features Podia and Thinkific actually have when it comes to course-creation tools. The best course platforms should be easy to use (you don’t want to spend too much time on the back-end trying to figure out plugins and add-ons) and give you plenty of functionality when it comes to design and delivery. On top of that, an exceptional course platform should grow with you — it shouldn’t hold you back.
Choosing an online course platform with effective tools that give you the ability to sell your online course is important because you deserve to be compensated for all your hard work. Look for a course platform that gives options to you (e.g. offering packages and bundles, and being able to charge in different currencies), and to your members (e.g. paying for courses and/or community). You don’t want any barriers when it comes to paying for your course either — make it a pain-free process from start to finish.
Creating an engaging experience for your members means you have options and the ability to experiment with your content. Features like polls, video lectures, discussion boards, subgroups, and more provide new experiences to your members. On top of that, you also want the option to create a course that matches your brand.
These platforms cost something to build your course on. Even when plans are “free” platforms will still take a cut of your sales so that they can stay afloat — although if their plan is totally free, features will be limited. We’ll compare what you get on Thinkific vs. Podia.
Apps and access
In today’s world, accessibility is key; that’s why we’ll discuss how your members access your online course. Essentially, you’ll want to consider whether you need a dedicated mobile app or if your members will access your online course through their browser.
Now that we’ve outlined important features, let’s see how Podia and Thinkific stack up and which one is right for you.
3. Podia vs. Thinkific: Course features
Given that both Podia and Thinkific market themselves as online course-builders, it’s no surprise that this is where their strength lies — their online course features. Both allow you to add video lessons and quizzes, drip content, and organize your course in a way that makes sense for you and your students.
Podia’s course creation platform is fairly straightforward and easy to use (no coding required), which is great for creators who are building a course for the first time. You can add in a product, such as a digital download, webinar, and an online course. After you choose what you want to create, it will pop up with a template so that you can get started.
When building your online course in Podia you can add in lessons one by one, create different course sections, add video lessons, and drag and drop to reorder until you’re satisfied with the flow of your course. You can even provide your members with a certificate for completing your course.
Similar to Podia, Thinkific has a drag-and-drop course builder and bulk import tools allowing you to add video, audio, and PDF files into your course. Thinkific divides its lesson-building into content and assessment, giving you the ability to provide your students with in-depth surveys, quizzes, assignments, and exams.
On top of that, with Thinkific you have the option to easily integrate with other apps, like chat boxes, online calendars, video conferencing, and more.
4. Podia vs. Thinkific: Monetization
Podia gives you a few options to monetize by selling products like webinars, digital downloads (e.g. ebooks, audio files, customizable templates), memberships, and online courses. Podia also gives you the option of adding an affiliate program to help incentivize your audience to promote your products (this is only offered with their “Shaker” and “Earthquaker” plans). You can also sell coaching sessions — either separately or included as part of your online course.
Thinkific also gives creators options for monetizing, through subscriptions, memberships, digital products (e.g. downloadable prints, music files, graphic design work), and online courses. You can also offer sales with coupons and discounts to attract new members and re-engage current ones. With Thinkific you have the ability to charge in different currencies (they accept 100+ currencies), and you can also incentivize your audience to promote your offerings with affiliate marketing.
5. Podia vs. Thinkific: Customization
Podia allows you to build homepages, sales pages, newsletter sign-up pages, and more. You can customize pages with images, layouts, and color selections to match your brand. With Podia you can use your own domain name.
Thinkific lets you customize your site, create customizable course landing pages (sales pages), and is compatible with existing websites (WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, Virb, etc.). However, if you want a custom domain you need to upgrade to a paid plan, and if you want all the tailor-made features like the ability to remove Thinkific branding, and have email white labeling you need to upgrade to their Premier plan (more on that in a bit).
6. Podia vs. Thinkific: Cost
Podia and Thinkific have comparable pricing for their plans (for their basic and mid-tier packages), and both platforms offer a discounted monthly rate if you pay annually.
You can try out Podia for free with a 14-day trial, but Podia doesn’t have any free plans. Its basic plan, “Mover,” is $33/month (billed annually). But this plan still gets you a lot of features: you get a custom website, email marketing options (giving you some analytics about open rates, click rates, bounce rates, etc.), customer messaging, and you can offer unlimited courses and products (including coaching products).
If you want unlimited webinars and affiliate marketing, however, you have to upgrade to their “Shaker” plan for $75/month (billed annually). If you wanted extra support from Podia, like onboarding calls, priority support, and monthly creator calls (mastermind calls with other creators on this plan to share tips and tricks) you would need their “Earthquaker” plan for $166/month (billed annually).
Thinkific does have a free plan, which is good if you want to test out the platform. But still, it’s pretty limited. The free plan allows you to use multiple payment methods (and currencies), full video and content hosting and offers detailed reporting and analytics. However, if you want to offer completion certificates, community features, unlimited courses, remove Thinkific branding, and have access to their premium apps, then you have to upgrade to a paid plan.
Most of the Thinkific features we’ve discussed previously, like bundles & memberships, offering your members payment plans, assignments, and a randomized quiz question bank come on the Pro plan, which costs $79/month (billed annually). Want advanced customization? You’ll have to upgrade to their Premier plan, which is $399/month (comes out to $4,788/year)! Compared to other white-label course platforms, Thinkific is expensive for what you get.
7. Podia vs. Thinkific: Apps and Access
Unfortunately, Podia doesn’t have a mobile app; members can only access content through their web browser. This can be a huge barrier, because people want the ability to access content from wherever they are.
As a double whammy…Thinkific doesn’t have a mobile app for their online course platform either! We’re living in a time where having your content available EVERYWHERE is a major benefit to sales and member activity.
There is another option…
While comparing Thinkific vs. Podia, you can see that both are strong course platforms, but they each have pros and cons. Thinkific is more extensive, like having tools to assess students but, as a result, is much more expensive (almost 3x more than Podia per year for their top-tier pricing plan). Podia is cheaper and easier to use, which is great for beginners. Unfortunately, both platforms are missing key features like an app.
Why settle? Building your course and community on Mighty Networks will come in at the same price point as Podia BUT get you extensive course-building features (and then some) as you would with Thinkific. It’s the best of both worlds!
Not only that, but you also can build a thriving community around your course and customize it to your brand.
That's because Mighty's cultural software platform lets you bring content, community, courses, and commerce together in one place.
With a Mighty's powerful Spaces, you can:
- Post videos, images, and audio clips.
- Live stream and store video.
- Create amazing and simple live events.
- Create polls, discussion boards, quizzes, and Q&As.
- Build fully customizable online courses with dedicated community spaces.
- Offer paid memberships.
Best of all, your members can access your content from anywhere! Mighty Networks comes with an interactive app (built for iOS and Android) giving you all the same features as the desktop version. So your members can access your content from their commute, office, or wherever they are!
Why not test it out for yourself? You can try it for free, no credit card required, and see what you can create with it!