Thinkific vs. Google Classroom

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While looking for the best online course platform, you may wonder how Thinkific compares to Google Classroom.

However, it’s essential to point out that these two platforms offer very different features. 

Thinkific allows you to create, promote, and sell your online courses and lets you launch membership sites.

Google Classroom works well in a school or teaching environment for streamlining assignments while fostering collaboration and engagement with students.

Thinkific vs Google Classroom


Thinkific is great for creating online courses and customizing curriculum content. Integrated marketing and business tools help market and sell your courses.

A user-friendly interface allows students to enjoy a range of multimedia features. 

Three pricing plans ranging from $0 to $499 per month make Thinkific accessible to most online course creators.

Core features plus additional functions make running online courses efficient while growing your students’ reach with membership sites. 

Google Classroom

Google Classroom works well for hybrid and virtual school environments. It targets teachers and students from K-12 and higher education systems.

The platform’s focus is on collaboration between students and teachers with easy setup of classes and assignments. 

Once registered with Google Workspace for Education, accounts are free for teachers and students.

Three paid plans are also available, ranging from $3 to $50 per student for additional features.

Thinkific vs. Google Classroom at a Glance

ThinkificGoogle Classroom
Free TrialYes, 14 days.Yes, when registered with Google Workspace for Education platform.
Pricing RangeFree – $0/month
Basic Plan – $49/month
Pro Plan – $99/month
Premier Plan – $499/month
*Save 20% when signing up annually
** Growth Package add-on with Pro Plan (costs based on active students)
Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals – Free
Google Workspace for Education Standard – $3/student per year
Teaching and Learning Upgrade – $4/license per month
Google Workspace for Education Plus – $50/student per year
Best ForCreating, marketing, and selling online courses and membership sitesCreating and hosting websites and developing online video courses.

Adding quizzes, videos, and other features to lessons.

Can integrate a community.

Mobile app.

Teacher and student collaboration, setting up classes, and assignments.
User Interface Features
User-friendly interface for easy navigation and available on most devices.Easy to use and accessible through Google Meet, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar. Mobile apps are available for iPhone and Android.
Online CoursesCustomize to match your brand
Content hosting with video, audio, and PDF
Drip (scheduled) content
Quizzes and surveys
Teach with online courses
Themes with school logo and colors
Add content with videos, PDF, or Google Docs
Draft assignments and schedule for a later date
Google Forms survey
Host virtual lessons with Google Meet
Monetization OptionsAvailable with all plans.
Not available.
Marketing OptionsCoupons
Course bundles
Membership sites
Bulk emailing
Not available.

Thinkific lets you try out its platform with a 14-day free trial period, while Google Classroom has a free trial once your school registers with Google Workspace for Education.

Benefit from the core features of Thinkific platform at $0 per month while Google Classroom basic features for collaboration and communication on its Fundamentals platform are also free. 

Both platforms give you the option of additional features and functions when you upgrade to paid plans. Thinkific platform gives you more customization and increases your sales as much as you want to. On the other hand, Google Classroom aims towards the school environment to facilitate collaboration while offering virtual classes. 

Thinkific is ideal for growing your online course business, while Google Classroom is a great platform for teachers and students to use in the school setting. 

Thinkific vs. Google Classroom

Thinkific vs. Google Classroom: Pricing Comparison

Thinkific and Google Classroom both offer free plans. Google Classroom recently added three paid plans for more versatility.

Thinkific add-on to the Pro Plan includes a fee of $0.10 per active student after 100th student. 

Thinkific Pricing:

  • Free ($0 per month) – includes content hosting, quizzes, and surveys, instant access to your funds, allows unlimited students and courses. Doesn’t support custom domain or membership sites.
  • Basic Plan ($49 per month or $39 per month when paid annually) – includes coupons, bulk emailing, affiliate reporting, unlimited users, and courses. Doesn’t support membership sites.
  • Pro Plan ($99 per month or $79 per month when paid annually) – includes private and hidden courses, advanced customization, membership sites, unlimited courses, and students. 
  • Premier Plan ($499 per month or $399 per month if paid annually) – includes everything in other plans plus SSO and onboarding package, unlimited users, and courses. 

Google Classroom Pricing:

  • Free ($0 per month) – includes Google collaboration and communication tools, data protection, allows 1,000 members, and unlimited classes. 
  • Google Workspace for Education Standard ($3 per student per year) – includes security center, advanced device and app management, export into BigQuery, 1,000 members, and unlimited classes.
  • Teaching and Learning Upgrade ($4 per license, per month) – includes interactive Q & A sessions, break-out rooms, unlimited reporting, 1,000 members, and unlimited classes.
  • Google Workspace for Education Plus ($50 per student per year) – includes live streams with 100,000 viewers (in-domain), priority support, cloud search, unlimited classes. 

For virtual classes in a traditional school environment, Google Classroom is the more cost-effective option. 

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Thinkific vs. Google Classroom

Thinkific vs. Google Classroom: A Comparison of Features and Tools

When choosing between Thinkific and Google Classroom, consider what key features you need.

These could include creating online courses, the ability to monetize your courses through sales and marketing tools, and the type of online student experience the platform offers. 

Is customization essential for your learning management system? And how about analytics? Our in-house experts highlight each of these key features for both platforms. 

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Thinkific vs. Google Classroom

Online Courses

A stark difference between Thinkific and Google Classroom is the ability to create online courses. Thinkific targets online course creators, while Google Classroom targets teachers setting classes and assignments for their students. 

Google Classroom does allow the teacher to add videos, PDFs, and Google Docs to assignments. They can also share images, videos, and links from other websites. 

Which Platform Offers the Better Solution for Hosting Online Courses?

  • Thinkific hosting online courses is better because it’s designed specifically for businesses teaching digital curriculum content.
Thinkific vs. Google Classroom

Sales & Marketing Features

Thinkific targets the education business sector, designing and selling online courses. The platform incorporates sales and marketing tools geared towards reaching the target audience while increasing revenue. 

Google Classroom creates both a hybrid and virtual classroom in the school environment. As a platform to support teacher and student collaboration, this platform is not useable as a direct revenue-generating product. 

Which Platform Offers Better Sales & Marketing Solutions?

  • Thinkific platforms sales and marketing solutions are better because you can effectively sell your online courses with marketing tools, while Google Classroom does not offer such functionality.
Thinkific vs. Google Classroom

Student  Experience Features

With Google Classroom, interaction is possible via the class stream or email. Virtual classes with Google Meet is another way to improve the student experience. Downloading the mobile app allows for a better student experience via iPhone or Android.

With Thinkific, you get access to a wide range of multimedia features such as quizzes and surveys. This platform is also accessible on mobile devices.

Which Platform Offers Better Student Experience?

  • Thinkific’s student experience is better because it is accessible on a wide range of devices and apps without requiring additional downloads.
Thinkific vs. Google Classroom

Analytics Features

Thinkific’s detailed analytics and reporting features allow you to track the performance of your online courses. This performance monitoring is essential for any business that wants to keep an eye on their revenue and keep track of their students’ engagement and performance.

Google Classroom analytics features allow you to monitor usage, posts created, engagement between teachers and students, and content created by teachers. The analytics also captures the level of student engagement with content. 

Which Platform Offers Better Analytics Features?

  • Both platforms’ analytics features are better for creating detailed information about performance, usage, and student engagement.
Thinkific vs. Google Classroom

Customization Features

Thinkific platform allows creators to build online courses. With this in mind, customization features are essential. Thinkific’s drag and drop editor allows you to customize your curriculum content. The platform also offers a range of education theme templates to customize your website to match your brand.

The only customization feature available with Google Classroom is adding the school logo or color to the Classroom theme.

Which Platform Offers Better Customization Features?

  • Thinkific customization features are better because you can customize curriculum content and website.  
Thinkific vs. Google Classroom

Final Thoughts

  • Choose Thinkific if: If you are an education-based business wanting to create and sell online courses while teaching digitally.
  • Choose Google Classroom if: Your school wants to improve collaboration between teachers and students for setting classes and assignments in both a hybrid and virtual school environment. 

Both platforms are Learning Management Systems, and both offer a free plan to access the core features. But that’s where the similarities between the two platforms end. 

If you’re an educational institution wishing to offer virtual classes to your students who have already enrolled, we highly recommend Google Classroom. It’s also an excellent platform for fostering collaboration between your teachers and students. 

If your situation is anything else, Thinkific wins out. Specifically, if you need to market, enroll, and teach students in one system, Thinkific is the right choice. The platform has sales and marketing features to empower you to sell and make sales, and it lets you launch membership sites. 

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Susan Tuttle
Susan is a certified course creator and writer interested in online course platforms and learning management systems. Susan loves helping others through teaching and coaching. She is also passionate about helping businesses develop their online presence to reach prospective customers most effectively. Susan's background is in finance, marketing, and education. She has also spent time in the corporate world and the education space. Susan previously operated the Online Course Creation Coach consulting firm offering guidance on creating high-quality online courses and programs. Susan has been designing online courses since 2000 and has authored over 60 online courses. Susan is a current member of The Learning Guild and the Training Magazine Network.