Thinkific vs Learndash

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Online education is booming, and tech start-ups are joining a flourishing field with the combination of creativity and technological development.

If you’re thinking of joining the e-learning movement, you will need to choose between a Learning Management Software (LMS) platform like Thinkific, and a plugin, like LearnDash, to bring those features to an existing site.

Thinkific vs Learndash


Thinkific is a learning management system that companies can use to train employees or teach customers. Education entrepreneurs have all they need to set up their schools with this online training platform.  

The platform gives you all the tools to set up a site, build your courses, and market them. It’s a good choice for the free plan and the annual discount on the Basic ($49), Pro ($99), and Premier ($499) plans.


LearnDash is a plugin for WordPress that gives your site the Learning Management System capabilities (LMS).

Instead of using an LMS platform, you can use the plugin to embed LMS features on your established site.

It starts at $199 per year on Basic and goes as high as $369 per year for the Pro package.

Thinkific vs. LearnDash at a Glance

Free TrialYes, 14 days.No
Pricing RangeFree Plan – $0 per month
Basic – $49 per month
Pro – $99 per month
Premier – $499 per month
Basic – $199 per year
Plus – $229 per year
Pro – $369 per year
Best ForEdupreneurs. Solopreneurs. Enterprises.SME. Online business owners. Universities.
User Interface Features
Drag and drop down options
Additional add-on tools
Online CoursesCreate courses
Market courses
Sell courses
Create courses
Market courses
Sell courses
Monetization OptionsSell courses
Sell memberships
Sell courses
Sell memberships
Marketing OptionsBuild e-mail lists
Use multimedia options
Have promotions
Build e-mail lists
Use add-ons for enhanced features

What sets LearnDash apart from LMS platforms is that coding and tech-knowledge, or a developer, is necessary to make the most of it.

With Thinkific, you get a platform with ready-made design options for you to customize. 


Thinkific vs. LearnDash: Pricing Comparison

The choice between Thinkific and LearnDash solely in terms of pricing is a simple one to make. Firstly, Thinkific has a free plan, making it more accessible to start.

Secondly, LearnDash starts at $199 per year, while Thinkific has a Basic plan for $49 per month. This difference means that LearnDash’s purchase prices tend to be cheaper.

However, the technical deployment challenges may still push you toward Thinkific. 

Thinkific Pricing:

Free – $0

  • Host Content
  • A limited number of courses
  • Unlimited students
  • Quizzes and surveys
  • Access your funds instantly. 

Basic – $49 ($39 per month if paid annualy)

  • Unlimited courses and students
  • Drip Content
  • E-mail students
  • Integrations and Zapier
  • Custom Domain

Pro – $99 ($79 per month if paid annualy

  • Unlimited courses and students
  • Two site admins
  • Five course authors
  • Advanced pricing
  • Memberships and Bundles
  • Certificates
  • Advanced support
  • Enhanced customization

Premier – $499 ($399 per month if paid annualy)

  • Unlimited courses and students
  • Five site admins
  • 15 group analysts
  • 50 course admins/authors
  • Single sign-on

LearnDash Pricing:

Basic Package – $199

  • One site license
  • Unlimited courses
  • Unlimited users
  • Course content protection
  • Drip-Feed lessons
  • Advanced quizzing
  • One year support and updates

Plus Package – $229

  • Ten site licenses
  • ProPanel
  • Unlimited courses
  • Unlimited users
  • Course content protection
  • Drip-Feed lessons
  • Advanced quizzing
  • One year support and updates
  • Demo site template

Pro Package – $369

  • Up to 25 site licenses
  • ProPanel
  • Unlimited courses
  • Unlimited users
  • Course content protection
  • Drip-Feed lessons
  • Advanced quizzing
  • One year support and updates
  • Demo site template.

The fact that Thinkific has a free plan makes it much more accessible than LearnDash. However, LearnDash denominates its pricing by the year rather than the month.

The ultimate deployment price for LearnDash hinges on the additional costs of technical deployment or on your time investment if you already possess the necessary skills and knowledge.

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key features

Thinkific vs. LearnDash: A Comparison of Features and Tools

When you sell and run courses, there are certain features you need to ensure their success. It’s not just the course content that counts.

You need a friendly user interface, preferably customized, and sales and marketing features to sell your courses.

Analytics help you find possible improvements in student or user experience.

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Online Courses

You can develop excellent courses on an LMS like Thinkific or through a WordPress plugin like LearnDash. The key difference is your input and how much you might pay for the service. With LearnDash, you may need further add-ons for features that come with Thinkific.

Which Platform Offers the Better Solution for Hosting Online Courses?

Thinkific’s course builder is better because you get templates for moments when you need them. The platform supports you to deliver courses of all kinds without needing much tech knowledge.


Sales & Marketing Features

Thinkific and LearnDash have strong sales and marketing features to promote your business. With Thinkific, you get updates done for you. With a plugin, you’ll need to ensure that updates happen regularly. 

Which Platform Offers Better Sales & Marketing Solutions?

Thinkific’s marketing is better, only because it is in-built and comes with excellent support. Since LearnDash is a WordPress plug-in, you can take advantage of other additional marketing add-ons for WordPress. 


Student  Experience Features

As stated, Thinkific is a platform, and LearnDash is a plugin. Student experiences should be equally good depending on how you customize your course. You can have as much control over the look and feel of your courses on Thinkific as you would using LearnDash, but the former poses a lighter technical burden.

Which Platform Offers Better Student Experience?

In this case, Thinkific wins. Although the student experience is comparable in both options, LearnDash poses a sufficiently high technical hurdle that, all other things being equal, Thinkific comes out ahead.

laptop stats

Analytics Features

Thinkific analytics allow you to track your students’ progress and see where engagement might need improvement.

You get to see who logged in and when last, and for those who might fall behind, automated e-mails can help them get back up to speed. LearnDash also offers data analysis, but you’d need add-ons to get such information.

Which Platform Offers Better Analytics on Student Progress?

Thinkific’s in-built analytics is better only because there is less coding for you to set it up. 

pie chart

Customization Features

When it comes to customizing your site on Thinkific, you get many options to tailor-make your course. Templates are there to guide you, and it’s even possible to remove Thinkific branding.

What LearnDash gives you is a library of add-ons to create whatever tweak you need for your courses. You will, however, need to stay on top of updates with LearnDash.

Which Platform Offers Better Customization?

Thinkific’s customization options are just as good as LearnDash’s. You can customize every aspect of your Thinkific courses and even the domain name. If control over your product is what you need, you can get that with an LMS like Thinkific, just as well as you would with a plugin like LearnDash.


Final Thoughts

  • Choose Thinkific if: You want a fully supported platform that will enable you to create, market, and sell courses with next to no coding experience needed.
  • Choose LearnDash if: You have an existing site onto which you want an LMS to help you create, market, and sell courses.

There may have been a time when an LMS could not have given you the liberties that a plugin on WordPress did offer.

Since Thinkific bridges that gap by giving you creative control over your product, it can manage the technical aspects for you.

Meanwhile, you can get on with the course content creation. For most users, Thinkific is likely the better choice.

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About Authors

  • 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.

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Disclosure: I am an independent Thinkific Affiliate, not an employee. I receive referral payments from Thinkific. The opinions expressed here are my own and are not official statements of Thinkific.