The Best Alternatives to Teachable in 2021
Teachable is one of the most well-known platforms for creating and selling online courses. But the demands and dynamics of delivering successful online courses today are changing rapidly. We’ve got you covered.
If you’re looking to create and sell online content, no doubt you’ve heard of Teachable. It’s the best known “course-only” platform for running online courses today.
Yet, when you choose to build your online courses on Teachable, you’re also making the choice to piece together all of the other elements you need to run an online course: marketing, upselling and cross-selling, and–most importantly–building the community that will ultimately get your learners the best results.
In this article, we’ll cover alternatives to Teachable if you’re looking for somewhere different to host your online courses.
What Makes an Online Course Successful Today?
To truly understand the latest and greatest Teachable alternatives, you want to first think about the different pieces you need to create and grow thriving online courses:
- Identify your ideal learners. The clearer you are in who you serve with your online course, the easier it will be to find those people, recruit those people, and deliver something meaningful to those people. This is critical no matter what course platform you ultimately decide to use–Teachable or one of the different Teachable alternatives.
- Craft a unique course or program for these ideal learners. Then, there’s the actual course content or structure that you want to create for the online course to be clear, easy, and motivating to consume.
- Market your online course. Once you have an online course, then you actually need to market it to your ideal learners. This has typically been done via a ton of email, webinars, and marketing landing pages designed to deliver a hard sell to prospective students.
- Ensure learners apply your online course to their lives. The biggest opportunity available for both aspiring and established course creators to distinguish their courses from the competition is paying attention to how your learners become a community mastering your topic together. Increasingly, this focus on community is unlocking faster growth, better results, and the ability to charge a premium for a new generation of online course creators, especially as more people seek to launch their own online courses.
In this context, let’s now look at where Teachable works, where it falls short, and six alternatives to Teachable you can choose to explore from here.
Where Teachable Succeeds
With Teachable, you can go from idea to execution pretty quickly. Until recently, it’s been the best option for online course creators launching or growing their first online course.
Building your online course on Teachable doesn’t require special technical skills or coding to get your course materials in place. It has payment processing you can configure in different ways to bundle your courses or offer ongoing access with a subscription fee.
Teachable also has an interesting pricing model that lets creators start at no cost. Build your online course and enroll students, and you only pay when your course sells. There are fees with each transaction that are based on a flat fee and a percentage of your course price. This is convenient if you’re experimenting, but it can start to feel steep once your course is selling well.
One additional unique feature of Teachable is that it’s set up to support more formal learning and training. They have tools to make sure members meet certain requirements, like compliance checks to ensure students have completed the required part of the courses. They also offer certificates for completion.
Where Teachable Struggles
The three most common complaints about Teachable are:
- No community option. Course creators on Teachable either start a Facebook Group (which is noisy, distracting, and has a habit of cheapening the value of your online course offering) or go without a community altogether (which means many people won’t stick with their courses). Without any kind of community feature, members miss the opportunity to take the course with other people. What do people add to an online course? It turns out, a lot. For any given student, fellow classmates keep them engaged and focused via sharing stories, experiences, inspiration, challenges, and wins. It’s this living, breathing, incredibly dynamic asset that makes the difference between a successful online course and one that’s “dead on arrival.” This has never been more true than it is today as tens of thousands of people launch new online courses every week.
- Extremely limited marketing features. Teachable’s success has come from its focus. It just does online courses and it does them pretty well. Teachable stays fairly self-contained. To market online courses on Teachable, the vast majority of savvy course creators use a combination of third party tools from an email provider like ConvertKit or MailChimp; landing page services like Clickfunnels or Unbounce; and more. It’s a lot to juggle (and pay for), especially if you are just getting started.
- A weak mobile presence. For Teachable, a native mobile app experience was not the priority. It’s been built well for the web and has a very light app, but it’s only available on iOS and both course creators and learners find it glitchy. Not having a good app not only limits when busy people can work through their course, but it’s also a non-starter if you’re seeking to differentiate your online courses by your community. Without a robust native mobile app experience, you can’t rely on push notifications to get your learners to come back and finish your online course. And without native mobile apps, a community is impossible to deliver.
The Best Teachable Alternatives
We’ve researched a dozen different alternatives to Teachable for this review. Ruling out custom development on WordPress or a homegrown online course website, we’ve narrowed it down to 6 alternatives.
Teachable Alternative #1: Kajabi
Kajabi is a well-known, savvy platform for running paid memberships and online courses. If you’re looking for an alternative to Teachable that will bring your course marketing and delivery together in one place on the web, Kajabi is the answer.
Marketing and sales tools are where Kajabi makes its mark. With Kajabi, you get powerful marketing tools to deliver email campaigns, welcome flows, weekly updates, and more. They have optimized marketing landing pages to create email waitlists or sell exclusive “windows” for purchase, and they have checkout and payments that support multiple currencies around the world.
Kajabi is the most expensive platform on the market. Its strength in marketing online courses has meant that it could charge instructors a lot of money for its platform.
That being said, Kajabi’s community is an extremely limited forum feature. It’s web-only and pales in comparison to the features and accessibility of a Mighty Network.
Teachable Alternative #2: Mighty Networks
If you’re ready to energize your online courses by connecting your members to each other for better results, this Teachable alternative is the best place to start for course creators and entrepreneurs with a purpose.
Mighty Networks is a SaaS-based solution that brings online courses, communities, and events all under one roof. It started as a world-class community platform with a feature set similar to a Facebook Group. Then, as more and more course creators started replacing their Facebook Groups or Slack Teams with a Mighty Network community, they asked for Mighty Networks to build online courses and market online courses directly into a Mighty Network.
Today, a Mighty Network is the only alternative to Teachable where you can get the full power of a sophisticated online course platform and a community together in one place, and branded for you. You can market, run, and charge for your online courses (and/or launch paid mastermind groups) directly in a Mighty Network.
A Mighty Network comes equipped with a combination of native marketing tools and integrations to help you make the most of your sales funnel. It also supports the most ways to connect and communicate with your learners: interactive polls and questions, rich media articles, private and direct messaging, as well as online and in-person live events with RSVPs.
With a Mighty Network, you can start simple and scale to bundles of online courses, groups, and more. Your website, email marketing, blog, course, and community are all in one place.
The best part of a Mighty Network is that it’s instantly available to your members or students on every platform–web, iOS, and Android. Over 65% of Mighty’s rapidly growing engagement happens on its native mobile apps. And when you’re ready, you can upgrade to offer your entire package of courses, community, and memberships on your own native mobile apps available directly in the Apple App and Google Play Stores.
Teachable Alternative #3: Thinkific
If you’re looking for an alternative to Teachable to deliver just your online courses, Thinkific is a similar course-only platform and also offers a free tier.
Thinkific offers two things that Teachable doesn’t. First, it has more advanced quizzes, with question banks and randomization, as well as surveys you can use to communicate with people who take your courses. Results from your surveys and course feedback can be embedded in marketing pages offered in the paid tiers, which is a nice way of closing the loop.
The other thing that Thinkific offers is a closer connection to your website. Like Mighty Networks and Kajabi, Thinkific will also link back to your website. With a little technical know-how, you can integrate your website with your Thinkific online courses for a more seamless brand experience. This is a long way from putting your courses, your site, your community, and your marketing under one umbrella, but it’s a step.
Thinkific has added more features and integrations that support marketing efforts, but they have yet to take any steps to support any real community features. Choosing a course-only option like Thinkific or Teachable means you’ll be not only missing native marketing tools but also the opportunity for like-minded learners to inspire and encourage each other on the way to the finish line.
Teachable Alternative # 4: Skillshare
Skillshare is a well-known online learning platform for people looking to learn and teach others new skills. They are a good alternative to Teachable because they offer a similar marketplace vibe on their platform, but with a more approachable interface.
One reason that the Skillshare platform has grown so much in popularity is that they’ve attracted a wide range of content creators to offer courses. This is great for instructors because it means they will have diversity in potential customers coming to the platform compared to some other Teachable alternatives.
On Skillshare, creators and entrepreneurs can create online courses as well as promote them using built-in tools. The main form of content you’ll be creating on Skillshare is videos. The prerecorded nature of the platform will be approachable for those who might be scared of public speaking, but it can also lead to less dynamic courses.
Marketplace solutions for online courses can prove to be very valuable; you never know who might come across your course through searching certain keywords. But in the same token, marketplaces can also make it incredibly difficult to have your work seen because they are very competitive.
Additionally, a major hurdle for new creators on Skillshare is their 25 student minimum for monetizing your course. Basically, until you have 25 students, you can’t actually make money off your content. After you reach that goal, you’ll only be making about $1-2 on each student.
Teachable Alternative # 5: Udemy
Udemy is another Teachable alternative that you should have on your radar. Their platform offers over 130,000 courses every month and they’ve built software that allows creators and entrepreneurs to automate their courses easily. Because of this, Udemy has become a popular Teachable alternative for entrepreneurs and people working in tech-related fields.
Compared to Teachable, Udemy is less restrictive about the kinds of content instructors can offer. They allow video, text, and audio lectures, as well as robust quizzes, Q&As, reviews, and more.
All of the content you create can be downloaded for offline use by your members. Additionally, Udemy has some basic community building tools, like giving creators the ability to send new students a welcome message.
One downside to the platform, however, is that similar to Skillshare, Udemy utilizes a marketplace solution for hosting your online courses. In short, your mileage may vary for how visible your content is due to how competitive marketplace environments can be.
Other things to consider are that Udemy’s mobile app experience is largely catered for students instead of instructors. You won’t be able to edit your course on the go with the Udemy app, so you’re stuck with your computer or mobile web.
Teachable Alternative # 6: Podia
Our final alternative to Teachable is Podia, an online course, membership, and digital product platform. It tries to tackle the all-in-one solution model that you might find on Mighty Networks, but less successfully. Why? Because Podia requires a lot of integrations to make that all-in-one solution happen.
On Podia, you can create a wide range of content that exists within one digital storefront. This is convenient because their user interface is easy to navigate and customize to fit your business needs. Some examples of what you can build on Podia are online courses, digital memberships, one-off webinars, and digital downloads.
If you’re new to using the software, they offer a great 24/7 support system to help you along with whatever problems you may have, which can prove to be very valuable. But one downside that can’t be overlooked is that Podia’s community building tools just aren’t up to the same standards as platforms like Mighty Networks. While they do offer community building features, they are relegated to individual community spaces for each of the digital products you offer. That will make it harder to have a unified experience.
The Winner: Mighty Networks
When you choose a Mighty Network as a Teachable alternative, you’ve got the newest and easiest way to launch or grow online courses faster, more efficiently, and with more energy. It’s a powerful platform that’s easy to learn and is perfect for someone “low tech” just starting out or a sophisticated course creator ready to take their business to the next level.
Compared to swapping out Teachable for Thinkific or Kajabi and then needing to augment it with other services–including a Facebook Group–the decision to use a Mighty Network is a great one.
Choose The Right Teachable Alternative for You
Between all of these Teachable alternatives, you have many great options for running your online courses and memberships. Whether your emphasis is on certification, a mobile presence, or you’re ready to scale faster by bringing your courses and community together in one place, you’ve got some great choices.
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