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The Best Alternative to Thinkific 2024

Discover a free Thinkific alternative that takes your online course creation to the next level. Experience interactive learning tools and AI course creation.
The Shiken Team
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Which is the best platform for online courses? Thinkific or Shiken?

Have you discovered Thinkific yet? Marketed as an all-in-one learning management system (LMS), it is one of the top online course platforms and very popular amongst course creators and students alike.

It has been going since 2012, when Greg Smith created Thinkific to sell his LSAT course online where he could reach more students who could benefit from his teachings. It was supposed to be a way to earn extra income, but before long, he had quit his full-time job and was committed to building Thinkific into one of the best online course platforms around.

Now everyone can build courses online and share them with the world to boost their income. The creation process is very simple, but it includes advanced features that help make your course stand out in a busy marketplace. You can easily customise your products to suit your brand and teaching style, attracting students who can learn from you.

When compared to Shiken, there are a few similarities, like the easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface, but there are also a few key differences that may sway your favour one way or the other.

What Is Thinkific Good For?

Thinkific aims to provide course-creators with everything they need to make detailed and interesting courses that will keep students engaged and lead to increased sales. Putting your courses together is incredibly easy with a drag-and-drop style into templates that you can customise to suit your teaching style. Treat your students to videos, text information, music and pictures to teach them in a holistic way, including tests and assignments to ensure their understanding is complete.

You can add any of the student engagement tools to your course to help boost completion rates. These include things like quizzes, learning communities and digital downloads. The Community is one of the best features, giving your students access to other learners on the course so they can swap notes and ask questions. You can also create Spaces, where you can host live lessons and discussions around your chosen subject, encouraging students to engage at specific points in their learning.

And how your students access your courses is up to you. You can allow one-off payments, bundles and memberships. All of this is easily set-up on the platform.

Once your course is complete, there is a whole suite of marketing tools that will help you get the word out and encourage students to sign up. The biggest way to do this is via your website which you can also build through Thinkific. The platform offers hosting services too, so you don’t have to worry about additional costs.

Unless, of course, you wish to use any of the many third-party tools that can be integrated into your website and courses. These include big names like Google Analytics and Mail Chimp, so you know they are definitely going to help you grow your business.

When you sign into your Thinkific account, you are greeted with your own personalised dashboard, which lets you see at a glance, how many courses you have, how many students have brought your courses and many other useful details. You can change this to suit your needs. And everything is stored on a Cloud, so you can access it from wherever you may be in the world, allowing you to keep up to date on your travels.

What does Thinkific cost?

Like many of the best online course platforms, Thinkific offers a free version that allows you to create and sell one course. This is a great way to get acquainted with the platform and decide if it is the one for you. Of course, this free version is limited and if you want to upgrade your courses and maximise your profits, you’ll have to upgrade.

The basic package is £42 a month and there are six packages in total, giving you time to upgrade as your business grows. You can save money on your packages too by buying annually, rather than monthly. And there is the option to go to Thinkific Plus, which gives you a custom-made package with prices available on request – this is perfect if you know exactly what you need but it doesn’t quite fit into any of the other packages.

As one of the better online course platforms on the market, it is reasonably priced and great value for money.

What’s not so good about Thinkific?

With all these plus points, it’s inevitable that there will be some negative aspects of the platform. The biggest complaint is that the design options are limited. Despite a variety of templates and customisation tools, there could still be a lot more to choose from. This lack of personalisation means that a lot of the courses look the same and it can be difficult to make yours stand out.

The other problem is that there is not currently an integrated email system built into the platform. While you can add MailChimp to your site, which is arguably one of the best email business providers out there, you do have to pay extra to add this integration. It would be much more efficient and cheaper for course creators if this was included in their membership.

So how does Thinkific compare to Shiken?

As the self-confessed best platform for online courses, Shiken has a lot to live up to when compared with Thinkific. While Shiken doesn’t have the integrated website feature, it does offer landing pages and an incredible marketing suite. Here are some of the other great things about this online platform.

Catering for all learning styles

You’ll find standard on-demand video courses that provide a thorough overview of each topic and live courses that allow for more student interaction. But if passive learning doesn’t suit the learning style you need, we also have live quizzes with leaderboards and deeper learning engagement that will help students progress their skills and really connect with their subject.

Getting to grips with AI

Shiken has really embraced the era of AI by incorporating it into almost every part of course creation to make for the most streamlined process. Use it to create PDF write-ups and quizzes related to your content or build wikis, databases and project management boards for your students to work from. This sophisticated tool will really help reduce the amount of time spent on building out courses, so you can get on with building an empire!

The Shiken Store

Ready to share your courses with the world? Head to the Shiken Store! We help share your courses with the Shiken community, giving learners the chance to purchase your courses, sign up to subscriptions or use one-time vouchers to gain access. You can also share your courses on your own dedicated landing pages.

Fantastic value for money

Like other course platforms, Shiken offers a free version that gives you a taster of what you can do with just one course. If you only ever intend to offer one simple, stand-alone course, then you can do so without spending a penny! If, however, you decide to upgrade your membership, prices start at £39 a month and increase depending on your needs. This is highly competitive in today’s busy online course world.

Now it’s up to you!

Which of these options do you think is the best platform for course creation? Will you go for the simple but limited Thinkific platform? Or the sleek, sophisticated Shiken? Both have a similar pricing structure that means you can take budget out of your decision and look solely at the different things that each offers. Do you need a website for your courses? Would an efficient AI developer help solve all the barriers you’ve faced when creating courses in the past?

The best way to decide is to sign up to the free versions of both platforms and test them out for yourself. Once you’ve spent some time exploring and moving things around on both sites, you will know which one will be your best partner for course creation.

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