Updated: October 2020
Welcome to a straight-to-the-point review and comparisons of the best 5 online course platforms sites and software.
When we considered the 5 of the best free online course platforms some time ago it was all about the benefits, how to use, features, and some infrastructures they had and had not.
Today we want to consider the found & missing pieces in all of them. So, it is a comparison of the best e-learning platforms and hosts; Thinkific Vs Teachable vs Podia vs LearnWorlds vs LearnDash.
What is an e-learning Course Platform?
e-learning or online course platform can be seen as a digital school that offers educators, trainers, entrepreneurs, and all kinds of experts a complete set of tools to create, advertise, and finally sell courses.
Top popular e-learning platforms are Udemy, EDX, Coursersa, Bitdegree, and more.
Since we are looking at all-inclusive platforms where we are the architects of our courses, the likes of Thinkific, LearnWorlds and LearnDash are what we’re considering today.
Also, if you want to build a brand around your course, the above platforms offer just that.
Thinkific Vs Teachable vs LearnWorlds vs Podia vs LearnDash Comparisons 2020
Disclosure: kindly note that I have used these platforms and tested them except LearnDash since it’s on WordPress. So, if you wanna sign up, please consider to use my affiliate links. Thank you so much.
Just before we go on, if you prefer to see a video review of these online course hosting platforms, kindly click below and see it. If not, let’s go on.
1. Thinkific Features and Review 2020
Thinkific is a software platform that enables entrepreneurs to create, market, sell, and deliver their own online courses.
Its mission is no less than to revolutionize the way people learn and earn online by giving them the tools they need to turn their expertise into a sustainable business that impacts both them and their audiences.
Thinkific offers highly modern facilities for successful course creation and money-making routes.
Pros and Cons with Thinkific
Cons with Thinkific
- They have a limited payment integration system — just Stripe and PayPal.
- Lack of full customer management. If there’s a payment issue, then you need to go to the payment processor, login, and manage the customer’s account there instead.
- They do not offer live instant chat.
Pros with Thinkific
- It offers a simple and clean interface for both beginners and advanced instructors.
- It offers advanced extensions & integrations for a successful course building.
- Instructors can easily send course updates and announcements.
- Instructors can make recurring income via upselling to students.
- Thinkific allows for instant payouts.
- Thinkific has an excellent customer support history, AKA, users are happy with the support they receive.
LearnWorlds should have been the second-course platform to be reviewed, but Teachable is the next on the list as it offers a similar infrastructure to Thinkific.
2. Teachable Features and Review 2020
Teachable offers a simple platform for instructors to build and sell online courses.
By usage, we’ve found that Teachable is a basic and a bit of advanced platform for building and selling courses.
If you’re a kind that HATES a lot of tools, integrations, and advanced extensions then you might want to go with Teachable.
Pros and Cons with Teachable
Cons with Teachable
- You need additional third-party software to send drip emails
- The Collection of leads out-of-the-box using your sales page is not possible.
- The customer support is not so good unless you’re subscribed to higher payment package (from Pro).
Pros with Teachable
- It is a simple online school for instructors with few but basic modern infrastructures.
- It offers a generic platform for course instructors to easily produce content and make money.
- Instructors can easily send course updates and announcements.
- Instructors can make recurring income via upselling to students.
- Teachable is used by popular digital marketing influencers.
- The setup is easy.
- It is the go-to online course platform if you don’t want anything complicated.
3. LearnWorlds Features and Review 2020
LearnWorlds is a powerful, easy-to-use, and reliable training solution for individuals and enterprises.
It commands a fully customizable, white-label solution to train employees and associates, educate customers, or sell online courses to a wide audience.
As a cloud-based e-learning platform with a clean and intuitive interface, LearnWorlds offers a super flexible platform to host an online school with tons of instructional manuals, integrations, templates that align with your need, accommodating pricing, and an intuitive platform.
Pros and Cons with LearnWorlds
Cons with LearnWorlds
- You will need to upgrade before using Zapier integration.
I must admit, the only standout CON with LearnWorlds is the need to upgrade to use the Zapier add-on.
Apart from that, you are getting a super online school platform as all the facilities you will ever need to succeed with customizable marketing are all inbuilt.
Pros with LearnWorlds
- LearnWorlds offers a clean but loaded interface for both beginners and advanced instructors.
- LearnWorlds has a highly customizable platform to tweak the way you want.
- All the infrastructures on LearnWorlds are scalable and you can have as many administrators as you want as per your plan.
- You get a variety of customer supports at your fingertips.
- Their pricing plans are fair and accommodating most especially for the new course instructors.
- They offer instant chat for instructors.
- There are many advanced options you will rarely make use of (a great boost to creating an incredible online school).
4. Podia Features and Review 2020
Podia offers a clear, feminine-like, and clean interface online school for course instructors.
Podia is your best fit if you are looking for a dynamic platform for course building, membership, and digital downloads.
Pros and Cons with Podia
Cons with Podia
- Need for more integrations.
More integrations would make it a super-flexible tool for those that love customizing their projects.
Pros with Podia
- It offers an intuitive interfaced platform for both beginners and advanced course instructors.
- Offers course instructors the capacity to sell product bundles — for more money.
- Course instructors are allowed to collect leads pre-launch as well as sell one-off digital products or membership sites.
- They offer super-intelligent integrations for course building.
- They will migrate your course from another platform to theirs, all for FREE –on paid plans.
- You can even send unlimited emails if you want. Also, you can add unlimited number of courses if you want.
- There are no transaction fees.
- Flexible video hosting is all yours.
- You can host unlimited students in your school. Pretty exciting.
Of all the 5 Online Course Platforms, Podia offers the freest add-ons. Like, no transaction fees, video hosting, unlimited students in your school, and more.
If you are looking for an online course platform for the above 9 goals and more, then I recommend you try out Podia.
5. LearnDash Features and Review 2020
Like all the above, LearnDash is a course online school where instructors build and sell courses inline. But unlike others, LearnDash makes it possible for you to sell your course from your own website. How is this possible?
LearnDash integrates with your WordPress blog/website to make sure all your projects are built from your WordPress website, just as you publish regular content.
Pros and Cons with LearnDash
Cons with LearnDash
- The costing price of LearnDash is the only viable con here, else, it offers what other competing tools offer and more of their inbuilt extensions.
- Customer support needs to improve.
- No modern grading facility for class activities.
Pros with LearnDash
- Using LearnDash is as simple as regular usage of your blog. Publish content or turn them to a paid course using LearnDash.
- It offers an advanced reporting add-on for your courses.
- All your learning management system data are on your dashboard.
- You can see the real-time activity as users take your courses –like, total time spent on course.
- It allows you to host Unlimited Courses.
- Unlimited users are also made possible.
- It offers one of the most beautiful educational extensions to the course creator. Extensions such as quiz results, Certificates & Badges, Course Forums, assessments, scores, and etc.
Before we move on to Thinkific Vs Teachable vs Podia vs LearnWorlds and LearnDash Feature-by-feature comparisons, let’s see the top 3 popular comparisons summary.
Thinkific Vs Teachable vs Podia 2020
While Thinkific and Podia are simple to use, it turns out that both Teachable offers the simplest platform for beginners to use.
Also, Payouts on Thinkific and Podia are better and instant as compared to Teachable which you might need a higher plan for instant pay.
Also, while Teachable charges transaction fees in its Basic Plan, both Thinkific and Podia do not charge transaction fees.
For a complete online course platform you want to go with Thinkific, to sell memberships and downloads, then Podia, and if you need a simple online course platform then go with Teachable.
Thinkific Vs Teachable vs LearnWorlds vs Podia vs LearnDash feature-by-feature Comparisons
Because we’ve talked much about the top digital selling platforms out there, and choosing one can be overwhelming. Now we want to make it as easy as possible for you to pick the best platform suitable for your project & program.
Here are a couple of handy feature-by-feature comparisons to help you compare Thinkific, Teachable, LearnWorlds , Podia, and LearnDash.
Thinkific Vs Teachable vs Podia vs LearnWorlds vs LearnDash Pricing and Plans
Let’s now see the 5 course hosting pricing and plans.
1. Thinkific Pricing and Plans Review
Thinkific paid plans start at just $49 per month for the Basic package if paid monthly or $39 if paid annually. It also offers a Professional pricing package at $99 per month or $79 if paid yearly, and the Premier plan at $499 per month or $399 if paid per year.
Here’s a breakdown of Thinkific’s pricing plans:
- Basic Plan: $49 per month or $39 if paid yearly.
- Professional Plan: $99 per month or $79 if paid yearly.
- Premier Plan: $499 per month or $399 if paid yearly.
Thinkifics’ pricing deal: you get to save 20% of the payment if you pay annually.
Try Thinkific for free
Thinkific offers a free trial with any plan you want to go with. However, the most popular and recommended plan is the Professional plan which gives you a prototype of the infrastructures you will get to build your online course.
2. Teachable Pricing and Plans Review
Teachable plans start at just $39 per month for its Basic package paid monthly or $29 if paid yearly. It also offers a Professional package at $119 per month or $99 if paid yearly, and the Business plan at $299 per month or $249 if paid yearly.
Here’s a breakdown of Teachable’s pricing plans:
- Basic Plan: $39 per month or $29 if paid yearly.
- Professional Plan: $119 per month or $99 if paid yearly.
- Business Plan: 299 per month or $249 if paid yearly.
Try Teachable for free
Teachable offers a 14 day free trial with its Professional plan which gives you a prototype of the infrastructures you will get to build your online course.
3. LearnWorlds Pricing and Plans Review
LearnWorlds paid plans start at $29 per month for the Starter package if paid monthly or $24 if paid annually. It also offers a Pro Trainer pricing package at $99 per month or $79 if paid yearly, and the Learning Center plan at $299 per month or $249 if paid yearly.
Here’s a breakdown of LearnWorlds’s pricing plans:
- Starter Pricing: $29 per month or $24 if paid yearly.
- Pro Trainer Pricing: $99 per month or $79 if paid yearly.
- Premier Pricing: $299 per month or $249 if paid yearly.
LearnWorlds’ pricing deal: you get to save up to 20% of the payment if you pay annually.
Try LearnWorlds for free
LearnWorlds offers a free trial with any plan you want to go with. However, the most popular and recommended plan is the Pro Trainer plan which gives you a prototype of the infrastructures you will get to build your online course.
4. Podia Pricing and Plans Review
Podia plans start at just $39 per month for Mover or save $78 when paid yearly. The next hosting plan is the Shaker plan which is $79/mo, or you get to save up to $158 when you pay annually.
Here’s a breakdown of Podia’s pricing plans:
- Mover Plan: $39 per month or $390 if paid yearly.
- Shaker Plan: $79 per month or $778 if paid yearly.
Podia’ pricing deal: you get to save $158 (Shaker plan) of the payment if you pay annually.
Try Podia for free
Podia offers a 14 day free trial with its Shaker plan which gives you the advanced prototype of the infrastructures you will get to build your online course to perfection.
5. LearnDash Pricing and Plans Review
LearnDash paid plans start with its Basic package at $159, the Plus package at $189, and the Pro Package at $329.
Here’s a breakdown of LearnDash’s pricing plans:
- Basic Pricing: $159 if paid yearly.
- Pro Pricing: $189 if paid yearly.
- Plus Plan: $329 if paid yearly.
LearnDash’ pricing deal: you get to save up to 40% in its special offer here.
LearnDash free Trial – No
First off, LearnDash offers only annual pricing packages.
Also, they do not offer free trials but they do offer 30 days back money guarantee should you need it.
So, all payments are on a yearly basis to manage your course.
Thinkific Vs Teachable Vs Podia
While Teachable has transaction fees attached to its Basic Plan, as for Thinkific and Podia, there are zero transaction fees.
Specifically, Podia comes in more handy and cheaper with the cleanest interface for course creators as compared to Thinkific and Teachable.
Like I said earlier, if you love those feminine and good looking Blogs from Pinterest then Podia will give your members that feeling. Maybe you can even upsell them and make more money.
And lastly, the support is better (with instant chat) than Teachable although Thinkific is moderate with priority support.
My Preferred ADVANCED Course Creation Platform for General Online Course: LearnWorlds
Based on usage, I would go with LearnWorlds above all others because I LOVE PREMIUM PLATFORMS + 3 customers support channels.
Apart from versatile online customer care supports, I like designing my websites and online course projects to the best standard.
If we are in the same family, then LearnWorlds is the best for you.
All in all, I prefer LearnWorlds the most because it has a lot of advanced facilities and add-ons to build your online course.
However, the only thing is that you might need 1-3 days to use all the available options for you.
My Preferred Course Creation Platform for Membership and Digital Downloads Tutors: Podia
In case you’re seeing a lot of potentials on these platforms and you’re kind of thinking of which to go for let me give you my 2 cents.
When a course creator approached me on Reddit and asked of how to manage his course.
For me, having tested Podia course platform and seen its flexibility + instant support time (I had a conversation with her support some days ago), I recommended he goes with Podia because it was cheaper with many benefits to scale his course. So, if you ask me, I recommend Podia to you.
The amazing thing with Podia is, you have no limits to the number of students and subscribers on your course.
Also, you can easily import your subscribers list if you had built it already, and lastly, you will save up to 15% for life if you sign up for a plan within the first 5 days of the trial.
For this reason, that is why I recommend you go on to Try the Shaker Plan to have full benefits — Zoom integration, Offsite Buy Buttons, Affiliate marketing, Third-party code and more.
And lastly, if you want to make money in the long run without worrying about subscriptions, then I recommend after testing the 14 days free trial on the SHAKER PLAN, go with the yearly plan to Save $158 on the go.
Do you know what you can use the $158 for?
Run ads on Facebook or Boost your course on Instagram if you want to reach more people. That will go a long way to make you money on the long run.
Without further ado, go ahead and test the SHAKER PLAN and see all its ability of Return on Investment (ROI).
My Preferred Course Creation Platform for General Online Course: Thinkific
Apart from Podia, that is popular for its 2 main functions; Membership and Digital Downloads. And LearnWorlds, with super-advanced options, on a normal day, Thinkific is the most recommended platform for (you) entrepreneurs to host their online course.
Also, apart from the fact that Thinkific does not offer instant chat even in its higher plans as compared to Teachable, Thinkific stands in as a favorite online platform starting from having flexible payment options where you get the payment made directly to you, which means you can easily make withdrawals any time you want to.
More so, as a beginner, Thinkific offers you more versatility as you can test the service out without transaction fees in its Basic plan.
And lastly, while it does not offer the most sophisticated marketing tools, Thinkific offers the best functionality, security, and reliability which has seen popular course Entrepreneurs use the platform for their programs.
Getting started with Thinkific is free — $0, however, the Pro plan at $79/mo after your free trial gives you the full benefits we’ve talked about so far.
With it, you get unlimited sources and students, advanced course pricings — the ability to enable flexible pricing options for your courses (subscriptions, free, one-time, payment plans, or additional course prices), advanced customization, and priority support from the team.
Quick  FAQs on Thinkific Vs Teachable vs Podia vs LearnWorlds vs LearnDash
#1. Does Podia offer free course Migration (Podia Migration)?
Yes, they do. The Podia migration service is free for online creators. However, to get the free migration from the Podia team, you will have to subscribe to her Shaker plan or annually with the Mover plan.
#2. Podia video, do they offer video hosting?
Yes, Podia does offer video hosting for your students/audiences, and that is unlimited.
#3. What is the difference between Thinkific and LearnDash?
Thinkific is an all-inclusive course builder for online courses while LearnDash is a WordPress plugin for creators who want to use their WordPress websites to sell online courses.
Also, LearnDash’s annual pricing is lower than Thinkific although with LearnDash you will need a separate website hosting as compared to Thinkific where everything is in one place.
#4. What is the difference between Teachable and LearnDash?
Teachable gives you all-in-one facilities to build your online course on the go while on LearnDash, you need an external plugin (WordPress) to build your online course.
Again, while LearnDash is best for WordPress users, with it, you might have to wait for a plugin update but on Teachable, it is not so.
Conclusion on Thinkific Vs Teachable vs Podia vs LearnWorlds vs LearnDash Usage Comparisons
I hope this total review based on usage brought you to a decision point.
Just as we have seen, all the best online course platforms have their Alphas and need-for-more features and benefits, which allows us to go for what fits our best interests.
As for a platform with good customer support and with advanced infrastructures to craft a perfect online school, then I recommend you go with LearnWorlds.
If you want “a core” and popular online course platform with flexible options then you want to try out Thinkific.
And if you want a platform for Course, Digital download, and Membership + instant customer support, you need Podia.
If you want to start creating and selling online courses using a simple platform, I recommend you get started with Teachable.
You might want to host or sell online courses from your own WordPress website if that is the case, then the best + the cheapest online course builder for you is LearnDash.
That’s it about the Thinkific Vs Teachable vs Podia vs LearnDash vs LearnDash total review.
Have a great day.
Next Recommended Read: Podia Vs Teachable Reviews and Comparisons 2020.