Choosing the right platform to host your online courses can be a challenge. Exploring what different platforms offer, if they meet your business needs, and the likely costs you’ll incur, is all a drain on your precious time.
This quick guide does the work for you, comparing two popular online course platforms, Podia and Thinkific, allowing you to easily decide if either are a suitable option for your business.
What do Podia and Thinkific offer?
Podia and Thinkific provide you with tools to build and host your online courses using their platform. These include the following:
- Tools to sell your online courses
- Tools to structure your courses into individual lessons and modules
- Assessment tools
- Integrated third party tools to deliver webinars (Podia) or live lessons (Thinkific). Note: limited to certain payment plans on Thinkific.
Both offer a platform which aims to take care of all the ‘technical work’ of the website and allow you to focus on creating and selling your courses.
Key features of Podia and Thinkific
Podia and Thinkific offer the following key features:
In terms of key features, Podia and Thinkific are similar in what they offer. However, there are differences between the details, which are explored in the next couple of sections.
What Podia and Thinkific do well
First, some similarities between Podia and Thinkific, and what they do well:
- Both provide easy to use drag-and-drop course creation tools, a feature which makes it simple to build your online course.
- They offer unlimited student numbers with all of their plans and unlimited courses on most of them. The only exception here is Thinkific’s free plan which does limit the number of courses.
- Both allow you to include different content formats, such as videos, text, pdfs, quizzes, etc., within your lessons.
- They include video hosting using Wistia.
- Both include course completion certificates on their more expensive payment plans (see table above).
- Both allow you to create membership packages and build membership areas / communities. Note: these are limited to their more expensive plans for each.
- Each platform allows you to integrate third party tools. Useful if there’s some additional tools you need but remember to factor in the extra cost of paying for these separately.
The following are key areas in which Podia and Thinkific differ slightly in what they offer. Which is preferable will depend on your business needs and how each platform meets these.
Sales and marketing
Podia and Thinkific are similar in that they offer basic email tools. This is similar to other course platforms such as Teachable and Kajabi. Podia is more tailored to email marketing, allowing you to set up a series of emails to act as a marketing campaign, or send individual marketing emails. Thinkific, in comparison, does not offer native email marketing services, and is therefore limited in its marketing capabilities. You can, however, integrate email marketing tools with Thinkific, if required.
Both platforms provide tools to enable you to boost your sales, including offering discounts and offers, memberships and installment plans. However, Thinkific doesn’t offer the option to use different ‘upsell’ offers for different courses, making it more limited.
Assessment of your students may be a key feature of your online course. Below is an overview of how Podia and Thinkific enable student assessment and what’s supported on each platform:
With Podia you can:
✔ Create quizzes.
✔ Include multiple choice questions.
✔ Show students their score before moving on to the next section. Note: there’s no option to set a pass score for your quizzes, so students will still be able to move onto the next section regardless of their score.
With Thinkific you can:
✔ Create quizzes, assignments and surveys. Note: assignments are only available with ‘pro’ and ‘premier’ plans.
✔ Include multiple choice questions.
✔ Add explanations to your questions.
✔ Set a pass score.
✔ Make a quiz a prerequisite lesson, meaning students have to complete it before moving on.
✔ Include randomised question banks with the ‘pro’ and ‘premier’ plans.
✔ Import quiz questions.
Podia lacks the ability to include different question types in your quizzes, using only multiple choice questions, which limits your assessment opportunities. Likewise, Thinkific’s quizzes include multiple choice questions only; although there is the option to include assignments with their more expensive plans (‘pro’ and ‘premier’).
Podia and Thinkific offer slightly different customer service support. Which is more suitable for your business will depend on your needs and how much you anticipate using the service.
Below is a summary of what both platforms offer:
- Live chat weekdays 9am – 6pm ET and weekends 9am – 5pm ET.
- Email support with a one day response time.
- Telephone support for US customers, weekdays 9am – 5pm PST.
- Live chat
- Email support
For both, if you’re in a different timezone to the customer support service you may have to rely predominantly on email support, which may be an important consideration. Otherwise, the main difference is Podia does not offer telephone support, while Thinkific does.
Webinars / live lessons
Both Podia and Thinkific offer some means of delivering live sessions.
Podia uses YouTube live integration on its ‘mover’ plan or allows you to integrate with Zoom on its ‘shaker’ and ‘earthquaker’ packages to host webinars, which can be live.
Thinkific allows you to deliver live lessons using Zoom if you have their ‘pro’ or ‘premier’ plan.
All Podia and Thinkific plans, with the exception of Thinkific’s free plan, allow you to schedule or ‘drip’ content. This gives you control over when your students access certain content, rather than making it all available at once.
Analytics and reporting
To monitor your students’ progress, Thinkific allows you to view individuals’ scores, analyse responses and track quiz results in relation to your assessments. You can also view course progress, completion rates and average time for completion. Additionally, you can access analytical information relating to your videos, including engagement rates and play rates, as well as engagement with different content types. This can be valuable feedback, making you aware of where students are dropping off, and allowing you to implement improvements within your course content.
In contrast, Podia’s tools for analysing content engagement are lacking. Reporting on lecture and course completion, and student engagement with videos / content, is not available. Without the use of an integrated third party tool, it would be difficult to analyse content engagement whilst using Podia.
Podia’s reporting tools are limited in comparison to Thinkific; however, whether this is a crucial consideration or not will depend on the requirements of your business and how important tracking student engagement is.
Pros and cons of Podia vs Thinkific
The following are areas in which Podia or Thinkific offer something additional or outperform the other. How useful each of these features are to your business will no doubt determine the impact they have on your decision making between the two platforms.
Examples of these are as follows:
- Podia’s fees are cheaper for each level of plan, with a considerable difference in price between Podia and Thinkific’s most expensive plan. See the pricing section below to easily compare fees.
- It offers email marketing features which are lacking with Thinkific.
- While Thinkific is purely focused on course creation and delivery, Podia aims for an ‘all-in-one’ approach for its platform. It incorporates some marketing tools and allows you to sell digital downloads, memberships and subscriptions. Note: Thinkific also includes membership sales.
- Podia’s messaging feature, which allows you to message students directly, makes communication easier and supports customer engagement. This isn’t available with Thinkific; you can only email individual students.
- Podia also allows you to send bulk emails. If you require this with Thinkific, you’ll need access to the ‘growth’ package which is unlimited with their most expensive subscription, the ‘pro’ plan.
- Thinkific offers a free plan which isn’t available with Podia.
- Podia limits the use of multiple content types within a lesson, i.e. you’re unable to add a video and a quiz to a lesson; while Thinkific allows you to use different types of content within the same lesson.
- Thinkific’s ‘video library’ allows you to upload your videos once and use it with different lessons and courses. Podia doesn’t offer tools to do this.
- Unlike Podia, Thinkific provides tools to support course compliance. You can set prerequisite quizzes, which students have to complete before moving onto the next lesson, and even pass scores, so a minimum standard has to be achieved. You can also set compliance standards for videos, meaning students must watch a certain amount of the video before they can complete the section.
- Podia’s website template is basic, and although useful if you’re a beginner, Thinkific offers more customisation options and allows you to edit the HTML.
Pricing will no doubt be an important factor when deciding whether to invest in either Podia or Thinkific. The following is an overview of the packages, fees and any limitations on courses, student or admin users for the two platforms:
While there is no free plan on Podia, as there is with Thinkific, each level of their paid plans is more cost effective than Thinkific. However, it’s important to check the details and ensure that whichever package you choose meets all your needs. It’s worth bearing in mind that this may vary depending on which platform you go with, and therefore, you may require a more expensive plan with one than the other.
You can find more information on the packages offered by Podia by visiting our Podia Pricing blog.
Do Podia or Thinkific offer AI powered, adaptive courses that personalise content for users?
A key feature missing from both Podia and Thinkific is the ability to offer AI powered, adaptive courses that personalise course content for individual users. A platform which supports this would allow you to offer a personalised learning experience to your students.
A high quality adaptive learning platform, such as Godaptive, captures data as your learners interact with your course content and automatically reacts to their learning needs. Using artificial intelligence (AI), it can adapt and personalise the content, providing additional resources and further assessment tools where necessary, to support your users’ individual learning needs.
An adaptive learning platform gives you the same ownership over your courses and delivery of your desired content. The key difference you get with AI powered courses compared to traditional courses is a significant improvement in the user experience. Each student gets their learning environment optimised, resulting in improved learning outcomes and much higher student satisfaction.
An online course platform such as Godaptive, which enables the delivery of adaptive personalised courses, can make your online courses stand out from the competition. Supporting better user retention, exam results and course completion rates, you can increase engagement with your products and ensure that your users keep coming back for more.
To learn more about an AI powered, adaptive learning platform visit our ‘Benefits of an Adaptive Learning Platform’ blog. Here you’ll find more information about how adaptive learning works, why to choose it and the benefits for your business and learners.
While on the surface Podia and Thinkific offer many of the same key features, there are some differences between them. For example:
- The difference in cost – Thinkific offers a free plan while Podia offers cheaper packages.
- Podia’s email marketing tools which Thinkific does not match.
- Thinkific offers more flexibility in terms of different course content types in your curriculum and content formats in your lessons.
- Thinkific includes course compliance tools.
Generally, Podia and Thinkific are similar in what they offer your business. Whereas a platform such as Godaptive, which allows you to automatically personalise content for each of your students, will give your courses a unique selling point and help you stand out from your competitors. To find out more about AI powered, personalised learning visit the Godaptive website.