• Introduction
  • User interface
  • Visitor portal
  • Creating content
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Cost
  • Summary

INDIE vs. Thinkific

Introduction

This page is a detailed comparison between INDIE and Thinkific, taking into consideration the features, functionality, and cost of each platform.

INDIE is an LMS for entrepreneurs that makes it easy to create, manage, and sell online courses. With a beautiful and intuitive design, easy to use features and attractive pricing, the platform is the perfect solution for people that want to market their knowledge and grow their online business.

Thinkific is a software platform that enables entrepreneurs to create, market, sell, and deliver their own online courses.

User interface

INDIE has a modern, responsive design that looks great on any device. The platform has a clean and intuitive interface including beautiful tile-based graphical dashboards for all users, drag and drop widgets, and an attractive course catalog that allows entrepreneurs to showcase their courses. INDIE users can fully customize their website with their own logo, theme, terminology, visitor portal, and more. INDIE is available in more than 40 languages, including right-to-left languages.

The Thinkific user interface is quite simple and easy to navigate. Learners can access their dashboard that displays the courses they are enrolled in. It has a tile-based layout where the course tiles display information such as the name of the course, the learner’s progress, and an image. The dashboard offers search and filtering functionalities, links to the learner’s profile page, and to the catalog.

While Thinkific has options to customize the user experience, it is limited compared to INDIE. Thinkific has a theme library and a site builder tool that can enhance the design. The main customizable areas on Thinkific are the home page, course and bundle pages, default pages, and custom pages. Default pages include the Learner dashboard, Checkout pages, All courses, and Sign-up pages. Theme settings have options for style, colors, typography, and favicons. Thinkific is available in more than 30 languages but has no support for right-to-left languages.

INDIE Learner dashboard

Visitor portal

INDIE offers a simple way to build a selling site by allowing users to fully customize their visitor portal and tailor it to their specific needs. With INDIE it is easy to make the visitor portal more professional and appealing for potential customers. Users can choose between a simple or a full custom portal that can be configured with built-in panels such as a carousel, text-boxes, counters, image blocks, and more. Even the highest customization needs can be easily satisfied with custom HTML panels, custom CSS, custom footer, menu, and more.

Compared to INDIE, the Thinkific visitor portal is very simplistic with just a few customizable areas such as some built-in pages, the theme, the site banner, and styles. Thinkific also allows users to add custom pages to the portal but they have limited customization options.

INDIE visitor portal

Creating content

With INDIE’s built-in authoring tool and customization options, it is very easy to create and configure beautiful courses. The courses can be published in the visitor catalog where potential buyers have the possibility to purchase them.

The INDIE course catalog is organized into categories and subcategories which makes it easy to navigate. Users also can use the search option and they can jump between categories by clicking the links in the table of contents. Each category has its own tile with a customizable title, description, and image. Courses published in the catalog have their own overview pages that display key information such as the description, modules, reviews, price, certificates awarded, and more.

The course catalog on Thinkific isn’t organized into categories and subcategories which can make navigation difficult. It has a main section called “All courses” and an option to add multiple sections called “Additional products”. To find courses, learners can use the search options.

Courses on Thinkific have chapters that are similar to the modules in INDIE courses. While modules on INDIE have colorful tiles, images, descriptions, and other information, the chapters on Thinkific only display the title.

The chapters can have multiple types of lessons including assignments, resources and content pages. The built-in editor is quite simple to use, but it lacks some important features compared to INDIE. There is no option to record audio or video directly from the browser, or save/insert HTML templates.

Ease of use

INDIE is very intuitive and easy to use. In addition, it includes an online help center, with getting started guides and searchable help content. INDIE has a rapid response support forum where staff members typically respond to questions within 15-30 minutes during business hours, 24/5.

Thinkific is easy to use, includes a Help Center, searchable help content, and a training site.

INDIE Help center

Features

INDIE provides the range of functionality you’d expect in a modern LMS for entrepreneurs, such as support for content authoring, integrated e-commerce functionality, graphical course catalog, beautiful module layouts, gamification, automation, drip content, a customizable selling site, support for affiliates, marketing tools, and more.

INDIE integrates with a wide variety of systems, including Google Drive, Calendars (iCal), MailChimp, PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, PayU biz, PayU Latam, Pagseguro, Zapier, and SMTP/POP3, Common Cartridge Format, and more.

Thinkific is missing important learning engagement tools such as gamification, a built-in chat, and collaboration tools. There is some automation for triggering messages and awarding certificates when learners complete courses but it is very limited compared to INDIE’s rules engine. Also, there is no comprehensive resources catalog to store and organize all materials.

E-commerce

INDIE allows users to enable the E-commerce feature that makes it easy to generate revenue by selling courses, subscription plans, bundles, and digital media. The integration with multiple payment gateways makes it possible to sell courses worldwide in local currencies. Users can also apply coupons and bulk discounts as incentives to increase sales figures and they can easily create revenue reports that offer an overview on the generated income.

In terms of marketing tools, INDIE provides advanced SEO features such as setting keywords, editing metadata descriptions, enabling/disabling search engine indexing, and more.

Thinkific also offers an e-commerce integration that allows users to sell courses as a one time purchase and also as a subscription, but there are no options for selling digital media. Thinkific has significantly less payment gateway options that can be a limiting factor in some markets. There are also no options for discount coupons, bulk purchases, and actions that are triggered when users buy courses or leave the shopping cart.

Thinkific’s SEO options are limited to optimizing the title and meta description of the course and bundle pages, the home page, and default and custom pages.

In comparison, INDIE offers users additional options such as setting up keywords, uploading a custom robot.txt file, adding SEO metadata for individual catalog items, categories, and more.

Here is a list of features included in INDIE that Thinkific does not provide:

User interface

  • Graphical dashboards for administrators, instructors and learners
  • Customizable welcome pages
  • Accessibility features
  • 40+ languages including right-to-left languages
  • Automatic translation of communications
  • HTML templates
  • Record video or audio from browser
  • Tile-based course catalog

Content

  • Rules engine
  • Gamification
  • Resources catalog

E-commerce features

  • Sell digital media
  • Bulk purchases
  • Bulk discounts
  • Abandoned cart actions
  • Integration with PayPal Payments Pro, PayUbiz, PayU Latam, Authorize.net, Purchase orders, PagSeguro as payment gateways

Marketing tools

  • Advanced SEO features including keywords, a custom robots.txt for the site, metadata for individual catalog items, and more

Assessment and analytics

  • Question banks
  • Custom reports for all users
  • Saved and scheduled reports
  • Learner activity timelines

Collaboration

  • Chat
  • Forums
  • Activity feeds
  • Social networking
  • Display of online users

Other

  • QTI and CCF standards
  • Archiving courses
  • Archiving learners
  • Built-in certificates, with brandable PDF downloads
  • Learner help desk
  • Trash can for restoring deleted items

INDIE Course catalog

Cost

INDIE's pricing plans range from $103/month for 1,000 active learners and $639/month for 50,000 active learners (yearly billing). There are no setup fees, cancellation fees, storage fees, bandwidth fees, support fees, or other hidden costs. INDIE only considers learner accounts, so instructor and administrator accounts are not charged.

Thinkific has a free version that is limited in its offerings and monthly plans range from $39/month to $399/month with yearly billing. There is a plan also for companies called Thinkific Plus.

INDIE Course page

Summary

This was a comparison of the most important feature differences between INDIE LMS and Thinkific.

INDIE is a platform designed for individuals and entrepreneurs that want an accessible way to market their knowledge by creating, delivering, and selling self-paced online courses.

INDIE is a more attractive, easier to use, and has a more comprehensive feature set than LearnWorlds. If you require additional information on INDIE, please contact us.

Disclaimer

This comparison paper was written in May 2020 based on publicly available documentation on both vendors' sites. It was prepared as a guide and is not intended to be exhaustive. The comparison information is for guidance only and does not constitute any contractual representation, warranty or obligation on our part. Liability for errors, omissions or consequential loss is expressly disclaimed.

Since pricing and features can change rapidly, we do not represent that this information is up-to-date, and we encourage you to get the latest information directly from the vendor's web site. If you find any information in this comparison guide to be inaccurate, please contact us with details and we will correct the information within 72hrs.