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Learndash vs Thinkific LMS Comparison [2022]

Learndash vs Thinkific LMS Comparison [2022]

Last Updated on May 27, 2022 by DMEditor

If you’re an entrepreneur, a teacher, or a business looking to share and sell online courses, you most likely wonder what’s the best way to do so.

Coming up with your own website from scratch may be costly and really time-consuming, let alone finding an online course platform. 

Luckily, there are dedicated services and solutions just for you, just to let you sell courses and digital products online. Today we compare two big names: Learndash and Thinkific. 

In the following lines, you’ll learn more about: 

  • How both tools will allow you to propose your online courses to an audience
  • The main key differences between both services
  • A clear verdict as to which is the most relevant for your situation
  • A price and fees comparison
  • Frequently asked questions regarding both products
  • Other alternatives worth looking into
  • And more…

The Bottom Line Up Front

All things considered, Learndash is a lot of trouble for any individual looking to sell courses online but probably a good fit for large schools and corporations.

All things considered, Learndash can do as good as Thinkific and more. But is it really worth the hassle and huge price tag?

Do you really need to build your very own educational platform from the ground up to then use it however you see fit? If yes, then definitely go for Learndash

If not, and that will probably be the case for most, Thinkific is a convenient, easy-to-use platform on which to build, sell and deliver your online courses.

Our Pick
Why Go With Thinkific?

Thinkific is the best platform if you are looking to replicate a CLASSROOM experience ONLINE. Of all the options, it's the most SCALABLE for multiple instructors, admins, and support staff. In short, ideal for building an education empire!

Get 30 Days FREE Here
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Main Differences Between Learndash vs Thinkific

The main differences between Learndash vs Thinkific are:

  • Learndash is a WordPress plugin, whereas Thinkific is its own standalone platform.
  • Leardash lets you customize and add to your offer pretty much anything you want, whereas Thinkific has premade templates for you to customize.
  • Learndash integrates well with WordPress and other plugins, whereas Thinkific integrates only with a selection of software.
  • Learndash has a 30-day money-back guarantee, whereas Thinkific has a free trial.

How To Choose The Best Online Course Builder Software

Learndash vs Thinkific

Depending on the kind of digital products you sell and your business’s specific needs, you’ll need to look for different key features. That said, there’s a bulk of common points that you want to consider whenever selling online through a dedicated platform: 

Ease of use and customization

Most likely, you’ll need to create online courses at some point. It is relevant to know how the service you go for fares in that regard and how easy it is to do so. Most of the best tools come with their own courses and web pages builder.

On top of being easy for you to set up, your portal of choice must make it easy for your students to both buy and go through their new product. Some software proposes different tools and features for your to do so, according to your very specific needs. Make sure that the features you’re looking for are included.

Monetization options

You’ll be selling courses, most likely to make a profit. It is important to know how the platform you go for lets you charge your customers and whether or not you’ll have further ways to earn money.

Some services, for example, connect you with affiliates. Others allow external ads. Some even offer integrations with third-party services like Google Ads and Patreon.

Marketing features

The more eyeballs you get on your products, the more you’ll be able to sell. In that regard, you want to consider whether or not the service you’re going for will help you do that. Most of them offer some kind of loyalty program(s) and interesting analytics.

Some come with more marketing features than others, with email marketing and social media marketing, for example. Again, make sure to go for those that offer features that benefit your business model the most. 

Pricing

You need to know exactly how much this service will cost you so that you can take that into account when planning a budget. Look for hidden fees and commission fees, as not every service has upfront costs, and not every service uses a simple subscription model.

Learndash Key Features

LearnDash

Ease of Use and Customization

Learndash is not really a standalone software. It’s a WordPress plugin (WordPress LMS plugin). As such, we can’t really say it’s an out-of-the-box solution. In itself, this plugin will let you set up educational websites. Learndash does have a steep learning curve, and the 30-day money-back guarantee might not be enough for you to get around it. 

That said, once added to your WordPress website and properly set up, it works wonders. The main key point here is that Learndash is more of a way to build your educational platform from the ground up than a platform on which you’ll sell educational products. 

As such, customization has no limit since you’re basically building your own website, minus the coding part. The tool does come with a drag-and-drop builder for courses, and this is an appreciated convenience. Being a WordPress plugin, it integrates with other WordPress features such as web page builders, but in itself, Learndash does not let you design pages. 

Monetization options

It is difficult to define Learndash’s monetization options since you’re building your own platform from the ground up. You’ll be able to set up your own payment methods and payment solutions, mostly through third-party integrations. 

With that in mind, you can easily use Stripe, Paypal, and 2Checkout to accept payments. You can also set up subscriptions and memberships easily.

Marketing features

In the same way, Learndash doesn’t really limit you when it comes to marketing. You’ll be able to set up your own marketing funnels and channels. Being a WordPress plugin, it integrates very well with most other WordPress-friendly software. For example, you can use Mailchimp to handle your email marketing efforts. 

Learndash Pricing

Learndash is one of the most robust WordPress LMS software, but it comes at a cost. You must pay before starting using the service, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

A higher plan means more site licenses for you to use, up to 25 for the Pro Package. On top of that, some of its features like multi-instructor roles, one-on-one sessions, and peer-to-peer interactions must be added and purchased separately. 

Learndash Pros and Cons

Learndash vs Thinkific

Let’s go over the biggest pros and cons when it comes to Learndash :

Pros

  • Extreme customization;
  • Many pre-made templates ready to use;
  • Can build pretty much any kind of website;
  • Fair price.

Cons

  • Steep learning curve;
  • Expensive.

Thinkific Key Features

Thinkific

Ease of Use and Customization

Thinkific bets a lot on its intuitive UI and user experience, both for you during the setup and for students when they go through the learning process. Here, you do not need to code: everything is done through a very convenient drag-and-drop builder. You can seamlessly build sales pages and online courses. Simply select one of the premade templates. And don’t worry because you can then further customize your template of choice. 

Eventually, all that you’ll have to do will be to fill in the blanks with the content that you plan to sell. This ensures your products look professional and that your students have a great time going through their purchases. Thinkific goes the extra mile in helping you stay in touch with your students’ thanks to its comment feature: your students can leave their feedback while going through your course, and you’ll be able to reply to them directly and publicly. 

Other than that, Thinkific is quite versatile as it allows you to introduce content to your student through 12 different formats. Some might need more flexibility, but most needs will be covered here. You’ll be able to upload videos, quizzes, multimedia files, surveys, text content, PDFs, audio files, downloadable content, presentations, assignments, exams, and more. 

Our Pick
Why Go With Thinkific?

Thinkific is the best platform if you are looking to replicate a CLASSROOM experience ONLINE. Of all the options, it's the most SCALABLE for multiple instructors, admins, and support staff. In short, ideal for building an education empire!

Get 30 Days FREE Here
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Monetization Options

Thinkific comes with standard online payment methods: namely PayPal and Stripe. The service can also easily be integrated with third-party payment solutions if needed. When it comes to the way your students pay you exactly, Thinkific proposes a few different ways to do so to make sure your customers are comfortable – and that you can propose the right payment plans. You’ll be able to set up free plans, one-time payments, subscriptions, monthly instalments, and more. 

Thinkific

Marketing Features

Thinkific helps in your marketing through its strong JavaScript tracking. This provides you with deep analytics and metrics to further refine your marketing. You can also send out promotions and discounts to your students to further push them to buy your content. 

The service integrates very well with other third-party services such as Facebook, Shopify, Stripe, Paypal, Mailchimp, Zoom, Sumo, and more. This allows you to make up for what Thinkific lacks in terms of marketing, but also other features. 

Some will be disappointed by this, as it technically means that in itself Thinkific is not an all-in-one solution. 

Thinkific Pricing

Thinkific is not the cheapest option on the market. Note that there are no commission fees, and this is a nice touch. Once your sales funnel is up and running, once your courses are built and sold, you won’t be charged extra past the monthly subscription fees. 

Thinkific has a free plan and three paid plans, each being a monthly subscription. On top of that, there is a free trial available for each. you’ll be able to choose between : 

Thinkific Pros and Cons

Let’s go over the biggest pros and cons when it comes to Thinkific :

Pros

  • Easy to set up and use;
  • Reply to your students’ comments directly; 
  • Convenient courses and pages builder;
  • No commission fees.

Cons

  • Expensive;
  • Not an all-in-one solution.

Price Comparison: Learndash VS Thinkific

Depending on your needs, the choice will be yours. Both services do the same thing, but the scope of Learndash is way wider than Thinkific’s. If you do not need a whole educational platform for yourself, Learndash does not justify its $159 per month starting plan, and Thinkific’s $49 a month makes more sense.

Thinkific Site Examples

Our editorial team has actually gone out and curated a list of Thinkific membership site examples that we’ve found “in the wild”. This provides a good look for what to expext & the capabilities of Thinkific.

Our Pick
Why Go With Thinkific?

Thinkific is the best platform if you are looking to replicate a CLASSROOM experience ONLINE. Of all the options, it's the most SCALABLE for multiple instructors, admins, and support staff. In short, ideal for building an education empire!

Get 30 Days FREE Here
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Alternatives To Learndash and Thinkific

Kartra

What we like the most about Kartra is that it’s a great all-in-one solution for anyone looking to sell digital products. Whether it’s a Spanish course or a self-development program, Kartra will handle the whole thing from end to end. It’s a really complete solution that helps you build sales pages, build your course, market your offer and deliver it to your students and customers.

On top of that, you’ll be able also to handle the business side of things with the help desk, analytics, and scheduler modules. It’s a really complete solution, and the higher price tag reflects that. It comes with tiered monthly plans and a $1 “free” trial. 

Udemy

Udemy is a simple platform designed to sell courses. But if you’re looking for flexibility, this won’t be the one for you. That said, If you’re looking for an easy way to build an online course, market it and sell it, this software will do it for you. The service charges a 50% commission fee on any sale you make.

As such, it is great for beginners looking to get their feet wet but probably not a long-term solution for confirmed sellers. The service is paid monthly and comes with a free trial. 

Moodle LMS

Moodle is a free Learning Management System better used by schools and corporations looking to educate and train their students. In itself, the platform is an open-source app usable on both PC and smartphones and is a great link between educators and students. In that regard, it is not the best fit if you’re trying to sell a course, but an amazing fit to educate on the go, especially during work-from-home times. 

FAQs

Question: Is Learndash any good?

Answer: According to online reviews, Learndash is one of the most popular WordPress LMS plugins and does the job very well. It has deep functionalities that allow you to personalize your courses no matter your specific needs. The only downside is that casual users might feel overwhelmed. 

Question: How does Learndash work with WordPress?

Answer: Once activated, Learndash will add a few items to your site. Those are necessary for the plugin to function correctly. You’ll find new menu items, custom post types, classified courses, lessons and topics, quizzes, assignments, questions, and essays. You’ll also find new widgets dedicated to the plugin. 

Question: Do you need WordPress to use Learndash?

Answer: Being a WordPress plugin, yes, you need WordPress to make use of Learndash. Learndash is not a standalone software and does not suffice to itself. Instead, it builds on top of your WordPress website. Learndash expands the capabilities of a WordPress website to encompass e-learning.

Learndash vs Thinkific: Best Online Course Platform?

Both services are quite dissimilar in the sense that they serve the same purpose but do it differently. 

On the one hand, we have Learndash, which is a WordPress plugin that lets you set up your own teaching platform (with all the advantages and disadvantages of a WordPress website). On that platform of yours, you’ll be able to build, sell and share courses and much more. Being based on a WordPress website, the sky’s the limit here.

On the other hand, we have Thinkific, which is already an educational platform itself and one that will let you build and sell online courses. Thinkific is straightforward and easy to use, both for you as a seller building courses and for your students as well.

Our Pick
Why Go With Thinkific?

Thinkific is the best platform if you are looking to replicate a CLASSROOM experience ONLINE. Of all the options, it's the most SCALABLE for multiple instructors, admins, and support staff. In short, ideal for building an education empire!

Get 30 Days FREE Here
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

As such, it is very hard for us to recommend Learndash. Its features, complexity, price, range, and scale will be overkill to most people. We will reserve it for schools and large companies who need to build themselves a dedicated online learning portal. The majority of people and companies looking to sell and share courses are better off using Thinkific. 

Summary In short: 

Further Reading on Online Course Platform & LMS Platform Options

Learndash Alternative Options:

Thinkific Alternative Options:

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