Creating online courses isn’t easy, but finding the right course platform is the foundation of your success. This article compares two of the best online course platforms, Podia and Teachable.
I’ve spent over 7 hours reviewing different aspects of each tool, including course creation features, school and course marketing capabilities, student experience, pricing, support, and much more.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a pretty good idea of which platform is best for instructors.
1. Course Creation
Podia and Teachable are an all-in-one online course-building software with all the features you need to run your online knowledge business.
We’ll start our review by looking at the course creation process on each platform.
As you’ve seen from the videos above, these two online platforms offer similar options for building your online courses, but they also have unique features that make each software stand out.
Podia’s course creation features include the ability to target the exact audience you want. You can then plan your content before uploading it – e.g., which PDF files to upload, mode of instruction (video or audio), division of each module, etc.
Here are some of the main features that will aid your course creation process:
- Easy to use course builder
- Course player for effective content delivery
- Add not-graded and graded quizzes to make your content more interactive
- Drip content delivery scheme to avoid overwhelming students
To help you make a quick comparison of the course-creation capabilities, check out this tutorial on how to build a course on Podia:
Teachable has many of the features on Podia and a few unique ones. For example, you can create an online school where you can add courses (even free courses) as many as your plan allows.
You can customize your school by naming and branding it to make it unique. You can then add extra details about your course, such as the category it belongs to, author bio, etc.
Here are some of Teachable’s course creation features:
- Simple yet powerful drag-and-drop course builder
- Conversion optimized templates to boost sales
- Omnichannel user experience on every device
- SEO-friendly pages
- Built-in certificate creator for Course completion certificates
Here’s a step-by-step tutorial showing how to create your course on Teachable.
Winner: Teachable (With Course Completion Certificates)
Podia vs. Teachable on Course Creation: Teachable has more than Podia in course creation features. Thanks to its built-in creator for course completion certifications and SEO-friendly pages, it has an advantage for course completion certifications.
Furthermore, its features are designed to make it as easy as possible for anyone to create a course, even those with little to no technical expertise.
One of the only difference between the two platforms’ features is their pricing. Here’s a quick look at the different offers plans and what each entails.
Podia offers a free 14-day trial with no credit card required. In addition, the platform has three pricing plans: core features, marketing and selling features, email marketing features, zero transaction fees, and some extras.
- Mover Plan ($39/month): The Mover plan comes with unlimited everything (sell courses, products, customers, sales, messages, files hosted, creating course material, sell unlimited courses, sell memberships, digital products, etc.). The zero transaction fee is also nice. You get seven days a week of support via live chat or email, and you can add team members for just $20/month each. You also get free migration on the annual plan.
- Shaker Plan ($89/month): Podia’s Shaker plan has all the Mover plan features like free migration, and selling memberships and digital products, as well as the ability not only to sell online courses and host a community but also sell coaching sessions quickly thanks to integrations with tools like Calendly. Furthermore, you can host paid communities (and try your hand at creating membership sites) with up to 15k members, unlimited community topics, and zero transaction fees. In addition, this plan includes affiliate program marketing, course certificates, and embedded checkout.
- Earthquaker Plan ($199/month): This plan gives you unlimited access to all the features on the platform, including unlimited courses and paid membership (including everything from Mover to Shaker Plan). You get five additional teammates, the ability to host unlimited email subscribers & send up to 50,000 monthly emails, and even a zero transaction fee. Additionally, users on this plan get priority support, two onboarding calls, and third-party code.
Note: Podia offers a massive discount, including zero transaction f ee – where you can get two months free when you pay annually.
Unlike Podia, Teachable pricing plans offer a free plan with many features considered a premium price tag on most other online course creation platforms.
Also, all the plans on the platform come with unlimited products, courses, coaching services, and students.
Here’s what you get:
- Free Plan ($0/month): You can get started sharing what you know on Teachable without investing any money upfront. You’ll get all the software’s base features, including product bundles, course design templates, one admin-level user, product support, basic quizzes, and third-party integrations. In addition, you pay a $1 +10% transaction fee on the free plan, unlike Podia, with no transaction fees.
- Basic Plan ($29/month): This Teachable’s basic plan includes everything in the Free plan, as well as a few more advanced features, such as the ability to build a members-only community (even sell memberships) and the private student community through SSO integration, course creator training, custom domain support, Teachable payments, and coupon codes and whole learning management system. You can drip course content, schedule your content, and have third-party integrations, including email marketing. Unlike Podia, you pay 5% per transaction on this plan with no transaction fees.
- Pro Plan ($99/month): This is Teachable’s most popular plan and comes with advanced features designed to boost student engagement. You get everything in the Basic plan, five admin-level users, priority product support, graded quizzes, advanced reports, sell digital products, and even use an unbranded website. In addition, there is integrated affiliate marketing, and you can also award your students with course completion certificates.
- Business ($249/month): With this plan, you get everything in Pro, plus 20 admin-level users, manual student imports, bulk student enrollments, almost no transaction fee, and custom user roles. There’s also advanced theme customization to help you build a truly unique online learning environment.
Teachable pricing offers discounts when you opt for a yearly subscription with a minimal transaction fee.
Winner: Teachable (with Unlimited Courses)
Podia vs. Teachable on Pricing: Podia offers a 14-day free trial, but Teachable has a free plan with many awesome features, including unlimited students and digital products with no transition fees. This makes it a better option for those who are just getting started with online courses.
Also, all Teachable plans come with unlimited video hosting, integrated payment processing, and powerful student management features.
3. School and Course Marketing
Your success or failure will heavily depend on your marketing strategy as an online course creator.
Fortunately, both Podia and Teachable course platforms have much to offer regarding school and course marketing features.
Podia offers a wide range of features to help you market your online school or course, including a custom website, email marketing, live chat widget, and affiliate marketing features.
These extremely helpful features will accelerate your sales to grow your online course business faster.
The email marketing solution lets you create broadcasts and automated campaigns, eliminating the need to integrate expensive third-party email marketing tools.
The affiliate marketing feature lets you turn your fans into an army of sales reps, set custom commission tiers, and easily manage your affiliates from your dashboard.
Teachable offers marketing features such as basic email marketing, landing pages, and A/B testing capabilities to assist you in creating an effective course marketing strategy.
You can drive more sales by adding different upsells to your courses and creating coupons to encourage more conversions.
You can set up opt-in forms on your pages to help you collect leads to whom you can market future courses.
The platform also lets you host your course on a custom domain, making for better branding for your business. Furthermore, you can start a blog on Teachable to leverage content marketing and bring more targeted visitors to your course website.
Podia vs. Teachable on School and Course Marketing: Podia is the clear winner here. Although limited in course creation capabilities, the platform has robust marketing and sales features to help you make more money from your courses.
For instance, where Teachable offers basic email marketing notifications that require integration with third-party email platforms, Podia has built-in email marketing capabilities that allow unlimited subscribers and up to 5,000 emails per day on the Basic plan.
4. Instructor Support
As an instructor, you must choose the platform that will provide you with all the resources, guidance, and support to successfully build, manage, and sell your courses.
Podia offers live chat and email support for instructors who need help along the way. The customer support team is highly responsive, and whether you are on the free trial or one of the premium plans and other paid plans, you’ll be able to get answers to your questions anytime.
The customer support team goes out of its way to help users manage their products and the back end of their storefronts or to help build a superior learning experience for students.
Moreover, Podia offers added value by providing monthly education and resources, such as articles on building a successful online course business, how to market courses, copywriting tips and tricks, online course design best practices, and more features.
Teachable offers email support for users at the Free Plan and Basic levels. You can access customer support live chat only with Teachable’s Professional Plan and Business paid plans.
This platform has a super-friendly and knowledgeable support team that delivers exceptional service through different channels like its competitor.
There is also a help center filled with many in-depth tutorials and guides covering every conceivable topic, from how to build an online course to advice on affiliate management and everything in between.
Teachable also has a huge community of users on Facebook, and you can join the group to interact with other course creators and get some of your questions answered by helpful members.
Winner: Podia (Live Chat Support and More)
Podia vs. Teachable on Instructor Support: The clear winner here is Podia because you can get live chat support and email support on all the paid plans (from the free plan, across the basic plan, and to the professional plan), whereas Teachable only offers email support with the free and basic plans. You’ll need to sign up for the Professional plan to get live chat support.
5. School and Course Customization
You need a platform that offers powerful customization features if you want a unique and visually appealing online school or course website.
Here’s how these course creation software tools compare in this regard.
Podia lets you build your online courses your way by allowing you to choose from a wide range of professionally built course templates to fit your particular business and student’s needs.
Here are some of the features that help you build a custom learning environment:
- Standalone Course: You can build your online course with different types of content, including text, videos, audio files, images, MP3, PDF, links, quizzes, etc.
- Drip Courses: Deliver content to students according to your schedule.
- Bundle Courses: You can package similar courses as a bundle and offer them a complete learning option.
- Presell Courses: You can also take payments before launching, which is a perfect way to validate your course ideas.
- Cohort-based Courses: If you want all your students to take your course simultaneously, use this feature to set a future start date for your course.
These are just a few courses you can choose when using Podia, giving you the ability to customize your offering exactly the way you want.
You can customize branding by uploading your logo and setting primary colors to match your current website.
Also, the all-in-one platform offers the option to host various products, including online courses, webinars, digital downloads, selling memberships, etc. This means you don’t have to integrate any additional tools to host other products, and you can run your entire online business from one place.
Online Course Creation:
Teachable has a user-friendly website and page builder designed to make it easy for you to create professional learning environments even with zero web design experience.
All pages are mobile responsive and easily customizable to match your brand. As you can see from the image below, the platform has pretty advanced theme settings:
You can use the Power Editor to dig into the code and make advanced customizations to your online learning website for those with more technical skills.
The platform lets you create engaging multimedia courses in different formats, including video, image, PDFs, text, and audio. You can directly import content files from Google Drive, One Drive, or Dropbox.
Compared to Podia, Teachable has a lot more customization features. There is also a Power Editor for those who want to do development work.
However, it’s important to note that Podia also has robust site customization features, and the platform is actively working on improving its editor.
6. Student Experience and Retention Tools
The student experience greatly impacts your course engagement and completion rates.
You need to choose a platform that provides tools to create an exceptional student learning experience.
Here’s how Podia and Teachable stack up.
Podia offers a range of tools to help you boost retention and create an unforgettable experience for your students.
For instance, you can use quizzes at the end of each of your lessons. Also, students can comment on your course content, making it easy for them to ask questions, leave feedback, and interact with one another.
Here’s what the quiz editor looks like on Podia:
You can track individual student progress and offer more tailored guidance and support.
All in all, Podia helps you provide a superior student experience that will help ensure engagement, retention, and the ultimate success of your learners.
Teachable’s student experience is similar to Podia, but with a few notable differences.
First of all, the platform has a clean interface that gives it a modern, minimalistic look while still providing the more traditional students with a classroom environment that most instructors love.
There are tools to help boost engagement among students, including enabling lesson previews for learners who want to get a feel for the content on offer in your course before signing up.
Individual lesson pages use distraction-free design to help keep students focused on your course content, and you get course compliance features to enforce learning and retention.
Furthermore, besides course compliance, every lesson page on Teachable has a simple layout: clear introductory text at the top, main content in the middle, and all supporting files at the bottom.
You can enable discussions and comments for every lesson. Students can see their overall progress via the simple progress bar located on the top left-hand side of the screen using course compliance features.
There’s no doubt about it on Podia vs. Teachable for student retention and experience; Teachable is the winner here. It has superior student experience & retention tools, and course compliance features. In addition to the features outlined above, the platform also has language translation to internationalize your own website.
The mobile-responsive feature allows your students to transition seamlessly between devices, and there is also an iOS app you can use to help create an improved user experience.
7. Data Analytics
A platform with strong data analytics capabilities will help you discover what works and what doesn’t so you can improve your course content, digital marketing strategies, and student experience.
Let’s look at what Teachable and Podia offer regarding data analytics features.
Regarding data analytics, Podia is the only platform that offers complete revenue metrics for all the emails you send.
You’ll be able to get rich email analytics and even drill down to the exact ROI amounts of each email you send.
This is great for marketers who want to go beyond standard email analytics to discover greater insights from their engagement analytics.
For instance, you can track and analyze everything from open rates and clicks to conversion rates and more – directly from your dashboard.
You can also track your students’ progress in your courses and see your stats on sales (from sales pages) and customers.
Much like Podia, Teachable also has amazing data analytics solutions to provide you with a wealth of actionable marketing insights.
For example, the student breakdown report allows you to easily track student sign-ups, revenue, and course completion within a specific period.
You can also export course revenue data and student information and sort courses by student account types.
There are also additional integrations to other analytics platforms through Zapier. You can send course-related events to other analytics tools to gain even deeper business insights.
Who’s the winner of Podia vs. Teachable on Data Analytics? Teachable. Teachable wins this one because it has more powerful integrations with a variety of analytics tools that make it a lot easier for you to make sense of your course content, student, and revenue data.
8. Advanced Tools and Developer Features
Some power users require full control when building their course or learning platform. They need full access to the platform’s HTML/CSS editing environment to make full use of the software.
If you are a power user, this is an important feature to consider before choosing the best online course platform for instructors.
While Podia has a very good editor that lets you customize crucial elements of your learning website, including the storefront, sales pages, and upsell pages, its capabilities aren’t as deep as those on Teachable.
The site only offers a WYSIWYG editing experience, which means that this may not be the perfect solution for you if you intend to do development work.
If you require full control for building a course or online learning platform, then Teachable is the better option for you because it provides you with full access to the platform’s CSS/HTML editing environment.
This way, you can dive deep into site customization to build a truly unique learning environment thanks to the platform’s Power Editor.
Teachable has more customization features, and the Power Editor makes it easier to conduct development work.
Podia doesn’t offer this feature, so if you need website administration and developer access, then Teachable is the better option for you.
The security of your online course or school is extremely important, particularly in today’s world, where cybersecurity threats continue to rise.
Fortunately, both Podia and Teachable online platforms work hard to ensure the safety of both instructors and students when accessing your courses and making/collecting payments online.
All Podia’s payment plans come with SSL certificates to lockdown transaction security (with very little transaction fees, Podia gives secure protection). In addition, PayPal and Stripe protect your course checkout.
Checkout pages are 100% secure, and the platform doesn’t collect any information when customers go through the checkout.
All transactions are encrypted using 128-bit SSL encryption technology which gives you the peace of mind of knowing that all your online transactions are secure (with very little to no transaction fees).
Teachable offers the absolute security of your data through integration with PCI Level-1 compliant payment providers only. This way, you can be assured of the safety of your student data and online transactions (without transaction fees).
The platform uses 248-bit SSL certificates. Your online school or course website will automatically receive regular updates to incorporate new security features, so you don’t have to worry about security breaches.
The winner here is Teachable, as it offers more robust security measures for protecting your data and online financial transactions (without transaction fees).
The platform monitors your learning website 24/7 to ensure outages don’t knock you out, and there’s a fraud detection team on hand to handle any security breaches instantly.
We’ve come to the end of this review on the best online course platform for instructors. I hope by now you have a pretty good idea of which one would serve you better, Podia or Teachable.
Both platforms offer exceptional service, but my number one recommendation is Teachable.
It comes with an elite world-class website and page builder, advanced teacher features, and tools to build an exceptional student experience.
It also has more payment options and great marketing and sales features (such as sales pages) to help you sell more online courses, even with instant payouts.
The bottom line is that it’s the perfect solution for anyone looking for a scalable platform for selling online courses to grow their knowledge business.
However, if you are a complete beginner or facing budget limitations, it’s probably best to go with Podia.
It’s simple to use and works for various digital products, including selling courses. In addition, you can sell digital downloads, memberships, etc. The all-in-one platform doesn’t come with many bells and whistles, but it does offer all the core eLearning and marketing (like integrated email marketing and other marketing tools) you need to run your knowledge business.