Background Best Learning Platforms
If You’re currently promoting Or even considering selling courses, you don’t have to do much searching to come up with a Thinkific review. There are plenty of Thinkific reviews out there. The main difference this one offers is It Is written by someone with: Best Learning Platforms
- More than 20 years experience in the e-learning industry, with a specific focus on companies that sell education (compared to, for example, corporate training departments, That Don’t have to convince their learners to buy)
- Extensive experience designing, creating, and implementing online course platforms (I was the founder and CEO of an e-learning platform and path development company.)
- More than a decade of experience tracking and exploring online class platforms and assisting individuals and organizations pick the right platform for selling courses
I’ve been closely Monitoring Thinkific and other providers which have emerged in the previous decades as a new type of online course platforms. These are programs that are more user friendly and less expensive than conventional learning management systems, or LMSes. They are a real blessing for solo edupreneurs and small businesses that are looking to get into the online course business. Over time, I think they also have real potential to disrupt the learning management system market.
Thus, having said All that, let’s begin.
Building and Presence Your Online Course Web Site
Any courses you Sell have to”live” somewhere, and ideally that somewhere supplies an attractive, user friendly to your students and prospective students. Since the introduction of its Site Builder capabilities Thinkific is up to the project. Best Learning Platforms
Using Site Builder — which is simply part of the admin panel to the stage — you now have the ability to prepare an attractive home page to your course website and make as many custom pages as you need (e.g., to provide details about you and your other services). While you don’t have total control — you can’t, as an instance, set up your own style sheets (CSS) — you can get really good capabilities for modifying branding components like font and colors styles and you can upload just about any type of pictures or media you would like to utilize.
Website Builder Currently comes with three themes and there are numerous variations for each one of those themes. (The company says more topics are a part of the future growth program.) Additionally, there are a selection of pre-fab”segments” you can add and modify on any webpage to provide for matters like social proof (e.g. customer quotes or”as seen on” logos), calls for action, count down timer, and pricing choices — basically, all of the critical tools you require for running a successful path or membership site. There is also a blank slate”media & Text” section that may be used to make pretty much anything you desire.
As is the case With just about any content management system, it took me a while to figure out how to do some basic things like delete segments (the themes provide a home page pre-populated with sections) and add custom pages to the website menu. But service was readily available for these. Thinkific includes a good support site on which you can look for aid, but I tend to just use a Google search along with the word”Thinkific” to find whatever I need (e.g.,”create custom site pages Thinkific”). I’ve yet to not find decent support by doing this, whether to the Thinkific website or from a different user.
Some additional Features to note:
- Customized URL (under Settings > Website ) — By default, you’re assigned a thinkific.com address — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. Having a paid program (starting at $49 per month for Fundamental ) you can find a customized URL
- SSL (Under Settings > Website ) — With any plan you have the choice to turn on SSL (secure socket layer), a best practice for any Web site nowadays. (Google smiles on this)
- White labeling (below Settings > Website )– By jumping up into a Guru Plan ($99 a month) with the Development Add-on ($.10 per active student/per month) you can quickly remove the”Powered by Thinkific” language on your site and courses.
- Text Dimensions (below Settings > Learning Content and various other areas) — It is possible to change a lot of the default language which is used in navigation and other areas. For example, Thinkific utilizes”Chapters” as the tag for parts of a course. You may prefer to change this to”Lessons.” Best Learning Platforms
So, you might be asking,”Could I use Thinkific for the main Web website?”
For edupreneurs That are just starting off and don’t have a Web presence the answer is an emphatic”yes.” Utilizing Thinkific is a great way to take a big item off of your”to do” list (i.e.,”figure out ways to get a decent Web site setup”) and focus on creating and launching your classes. It is possible to worry about a more complicated Web site later.
If you already Have a Web site, however — particularly on a fuller-featured content management system like WordPress — I wouldn’t suggest relying on Thinkific (or any other route platform) to your primary Web site. Site Builder is fantastic for what it does — and can create a fantastic course website to match your primary site — but ultimately it’s relatively restricted. A few of the key current constraints include:
- All motifs are column. So, for instance, you can not put email signup types, promotions for class, or other items down the left or right side of your website.
- As mentioned, you can not use your own CSS (cascading style sheets), largely a limit if you truly want to mirror the branding of an existing Web website.
- There’s absolutely no control on search engine optimization configurations on Internet pages — e.g., you can not define the name tags or meta descriptions. You can, however, do so on track landing pages, which is possibly more important for the average edupreneur.
- Thinkific lacks the wealth of plug-ins and the extensive network of experienced contractors that are available to encourage platforms like WordPress.
Regardless of these Limits, Site Builder is very likely to perform the job well for many edupreneurs and is a bit better than what many online course platforms supply.
Creating Online Courses with Thinkific
While you Definitely want to have an attractive, user-friendly site to house your classes, the courses themselves are the primary attraction. As you may expect, this is a place where Thinkific really shines.
To start with, the Platform provides a range of pre-configured templates which may be very beneficial to track builders searching for assistance with how to arrange their content. The templates cover the assortment of standard scenarios you would be likely to think about for supplying an educational product. These are:
- Blank — Start fresh and build your course to match your particular curriculum needs.
- Mini-course — Use a free or low-cost mini-course to create leads for a full flagship program or service.
- Flagship Course — Build a complete online course using a robust curriculum outline created using best practices in mind.
- Pre-sell — Produce a pre-sell landing page and get started building a waitlist to judge interest in your course.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable files in an internet course to create revenue or collect email addresses.
- Membership Resource Library — Host downloadable tools to be included in a membership package for this template.
- Webinar Replay — Host your webinar replay video to allow registrants to assess your presentation and provide.
All of these can Be modified broadly — you can alter the content from the segments that are provided, delete sections, or add new sections to arrive at the approach that’s ideal for your content. All throughout the procedure, Thinkific supplies”smart coach course construction tips” to assist you. (I found them useful, but they can be easily turned off, should you would like.) Best Learning Platforms
If you have zero Experience working with Web content, there will inevitably be a bit of a learning curve, but my view is that Thinkific has done a fantastic job making that curve as manageable as possible. Invest in earning your it up, and you will reap the rewards.
And, if You’re Already comfortable with other Internet content systems — like, for instance, WordPress or a different program platform — I believe that you will find operating in Thinkific for a breeze.
Overall, the logic Of putting together a course at Thinkific makes complete sense. After selecting”New Course,” choosing your path type, naming it (which you can change at any stage ), and saving it, you include”Chapters” (or change ones in the template) to create the structure of the course. As mentioned above, if you do not like the expression”Chapters,” you can change it to whatever you prefer.
You fill the Chapters with content in a way very similar to how I described using Website Builder over. There are 11 choices:
- Video lessons — Upload a file. (This gets stored in a movie library for re-use in different classes. Videos stored in this library are protected from access by anyone who isn’t a registered user of your site.)
- Lessons — Create a quiz for your students. (More info on quizzes below)
- Multimedia lessons — This can be a means to link out to content not hosted on Thinkific and also make it an integrated part of your course. Some of the possibilities include:
- Webinar tools (provide the URL to some live Zoom session, for example)
- Surveys (e.g. Typeform)
- Appointment booking tools (e.g. Calendly)
- Presentations (e.g. Prezi)
- Google Docs
- Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate documents (Requires Professional or Enterprise license. More on this below)
- Text lessons — Combine text, pictures, videos, etc. into a single lesson. This is essentially the equivalent to”Text and Media” Site Builder alternative mentioned previously.
- Research lessons — Collect information/feedback from the pupils by building a poll in Thinkific.
- PDF classes — Publish a PDF document to be looked at within the course participant.
- Disqus lessons — Add Disqus discussion boards into your course. (Note: there’s also a discussion alternative built into Thinkific that you may turn on or off beneath Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio classes — Upload a sound file.
- Downloads resources.
- Demo lessons — Upload a demonstration as a PDF file and record audio for each slide.
- Classes — Include a Brillium examination on your course. (A Brillium license is distinct from Thinkific and begins at $49 per month. More about that below.)
The aforementioned Choices Will find the job done for all but the most complex edupreneurs. The primary places they fall short is in
- Supplying for branching scenarios — i.e., enabling learners to go down different paths depending on their performances from the course or information you gather about them and
- Like studying games, inserting interactive components.
If those are Options you genuinely want, you’d be better off using a full-blown course authoring tool like iSpring or even Articulate Storyline (see more about these types of programs here). Best Learning Platforms
Use of Articulate and Captivate in Thinkific
Many course Founders will be perfectly content with using the tools in Thinkific to create classes, but some might prefer the option of producing their courses with third-party e-learning course creation software such as Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate.
Fundamentally, using a Third-party tool is an alternative to seriously consider if you (a) currently have a significant number of classes built out in one of these tools (in which you probably don’t want to have to re-create them using Thinkific course production tools), or (b) you anticipate developing a significant catalog of courses with a comparatively long”shelf life” — in which case you might not want your classes locked to a specific delivery stage.
These can be used by you Kinds of tools with Thinkific — Articulate Storyline and Captivate are supported — however there are a few limitations you should be aware of if you go this path.
First, Thinkific (like the rest of the platforms in its course ) has not implemented SCORM, which stands for the Shareable Content Object Reference Model. There is a lot to SCORM, but the principal thing for edupreneurs to know is that it provides criteria for how an online course can communicate using a learning platform to deliver it data like how much time a student has spent in a course, or if particular areas of the class have been completed successfully. Thinkific tracks this type of data with its own procedures. (More about SCORM here.)
Second, you cannot Import an Articulate or Captivate route into Thinkific all on your own. These courses comprise of more than a single file (such as, as an example, a video file), and to get them into the platform, you need to zip the files up and send them to Thinkific customer service.
The Best Features and How They Benefit You
An excellent Online course construction platform offers you. This includes the marketing, the training course building, the selling, and also the management.
Systems such as Thinkific do not host classes on your own website. Your articles is really hosted with Thinkific (so that you do not have to go outside and find your personal hosting,) but it gives you total control on what your website looks like.
When compared to Systems like Udemy, Thinkific surely provides more freedom and control. Let’s explore some of the other standout attributes.
Excellent Student Management and Communication Modules
During my Thinkific review, I noticed the smoothness of the student communication tools. It is a visual pupil management area, with images of your pupils, titles, contact information, and information for how far they’re on your course.
You’ve got the Choice to send emails that are customized to each of the students or create a conversation with the community. Best Learning Platforms
Incentives are Also part of this learning environment because Thinkific offers report cards, completion certificates, and throughout courses, the emails for sending out just about anything you want of course.
In addition to Replays of language controllers course material, pupils, and mobile optimization working with the Thinkific platform ought to feel.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Part of the Motive Thinkific looks great in contrast to the competition is that of its class designer. You don’t have to mess with any code if you don’t need to.
In fact, all of Your content is organized using a drag and drop editor, where you move it about and pile the class content.
Talking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of media types. From PDFs to sound files, and surveys to quizzes, the platform is great for offering up a wide range of learning tools for your students.
As we mentioned Before, every one these documents are hosted on the Thinkific servers. You should not have to worry being too big or running slowly on your shared servers.
When you personalize Your course website it offers some useful editing tools to the beginners on the market. For instance, you can adjust items like logos, color schemes, and banners, all without touching any code.
However Developers have full control over the HTML and CSS. Consequently, if you want to make your site unique, the alternative is there for you.
Promotions on Autopilot
Some online course Platforms fail from the promotions arena. This is unfortunate as there’s no way.
Thinkific does The app was built into by it the right way, with promotional and marketing instruments. A lot of this is automated. So, if you want to trickle content to your students Thinkific has this operation. Best Learning Platforms
Furthermore, you Have the ability and send out automatic emails based on a program. Pricing is also done through Thinkific, along with the option to become paid immediately when somebody signs up on your course.
As for getting It is tried by people beyond your site to come out, Thinkific comes with an affiliate marketing program to benefit bloggers and men and women who advocate your course. Coupons are also provided through Thinkific, giving a chance convince novices that your course is well worth investing in and to create ads to you.
Everything from Vouchers to affiliates is monitored in the dashboard, and you could link your Adwords, Facebook, and other social reports where students are coming out of to see.
Handling, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from One of the important reasons for using a technical class platform is that it creates monitoring and handling your customers and their information a lot easier.
Communicating with Learners
Along with Assisting you to arrange your students, Thinkific also enables a number of ways that you communicate with your students and also for them to give comments on the course. Best Learning Platforms
As previously noted, By way of example, you can enable discussion to your courses and manage your students gifts under Support Your Students > Discussions, where you can sort talks by course, react to pupils, and — if needed –“Disapprove” contributions which you don’t wish to show up in the program. (Note: Letting talks is currently a nothing choice in Thinkific — i.e., either all classes have it or no classes have it. The workaround for this would be to utilize the Disqus alternative on a course-by-course foundation )
You can also Enable your student. Then you have the capability to approve these testimonials (they are not published automatically) and use them as social evidence on your sales page for your program. Unlike talks, this attribute can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
Finally, there are Numerous notifications which can be enabled or disabled at the Thinkific platform, a few of which can be customized. You enroll in a specific course can send a customized message when they register for your website to pupils, or finish a program. It is also possible to send out weekly reminder messages. (Note: Reminders are site-wide, maybe not course-specific.)
Managing and Organizing Learners
To Begin with, When a user signs up in your site, Thinkific captures all of their key contact information (e.g., first name, last name, email ) and using custom sign-up fields (under Preferences > Orders & accounts) you can easily add fields to capture whatever specific information you want from the users. (Notice that, unlike programs like Udemy, you get complete access to the user data you collect.)
You can also Organize users. This simple feature can have a large effect on your business model by making it feasible for you to market classes in bulk one of the best ways for online course vendors to drive revenue development that is significant , in my experience.
Using classes, you Can also arrange your learners by cohort, time, enrollment, job-type, or business, or other variables, which makes it feasible to track the effectiveness of your own offerings with every group and to refine your marketing going. (Note: Use of the Groups attribute requires a Guru plan license with the Growth Add-on.) Find out more about the Thinkific Groups performance Best Learning Platforms
Tracking and Reporting
A key motive to Have a technical online course platform — as opposed to just posting content behind a password on a Web site — is that it will track things like course progress and conclusion as well as quiz and survey information.
Thinkific’s Advancement tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) allows you to pick a specific student and track numerous variables for each class in which the student is registered. For each class you will see:
- Percentage of Course of Viewed
- Percentage of Course Completed
- Student Name
- Student Email
- Course Completed in (date)
- Course Started at (date)
- Course Activated at (date)
- Last sign (date)
I enjoy this you If you are adding new lessons to an already completed course May choose to reset the completion percentage of a student at any moment.
Overall, the Course reporting is rather simple, but I suspect it’ll serve the demands of the vast majority of course entrepreneurs.
Contrary to the Program Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported into a .CSV document (instead of displayed on display ) and emailed to you. The .csv document contains the responses from all students who’ve obtained a questionnaire a quiz e-mail address, along with their title, and when they took it. For quizzes, it also supplies percent and the number of questions the student got right.
Overall, reporting For courses and quizzes/surveys is one of the main areas in which the Thinkific system might be more powerful. In fairness, this has a tendency to be true for much of the all of the platforms in this category of platforms. Over time, it would be possible to get course completion and quiz/survey data . Better still, it would be great to have the ability to view a student transcript that shows hours related to a course, any credit earned (not now captured at all in Thinkific), and a link to download the certificate associated with the course. Best Learning Platforms
What Thinkific is currently Missing
Anyone who has Been operating in the e-learning industry for the last couple of decades (as I have) will understand that Thinkific provides a remarkable selection of features at a very affordable price. It wasn’t that long ago a system with these capabilities may have cost thousands of dollars.
With that in mind, It’s hard to argue that Thinkific is”missing” much. Nonetheless, there are gaps which will rule out it to some class vendors — and these tend to be gaps that are characteristic of the category of platforms. The main ones I see are:
No support for SCORM or xAPI/TinCan
As noted above, While Thinkific may host and deliver classes created in common authoring tools like Articulate and Captivate, it does not really take advantage of the SCORM (or xAPI/TInCan) packaging capacities of these programs. If you’ve got a reason for using one of the major e-learning standards, Thinkific might not be the way to go.
As I said, these Are areas which, for the most part, are not served by platforms that are in Thinkific’s course. To get a platform which supports all three means a starting price point a few times higher than Thinkific — and it could go far from there . Thus, be sure that these are gaps for you before ruling out Thinkific.
No continuing education credit capacities
While you can Indicate the variety of hours for completing a course in Thinkific, you can’t specify the amount of continuing education. While there may be work-arounds, for most course providers that focus on providing continuing education credit, this will be a significant barrier to using Thinkific, Best Learning Platforms
No multi-tenancy alternative
Multi-tenancy Means that you manage and can make a number of instances of a stage under a single umbrella. This can be very handy if, as an instance, you’re a training company that has corporate clients and those clients want their branded instance of this platform for managing and serving their users. While the Group performance in Thinkific gets you a part of the way there, it is not the same thing as multi-tenancy.
Although I To discover an online course platform which has many hidden charges, Thinkific advertises it too has no hidden fees or contracts. That is very good to know, however, nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does provide a free program for people who wish to try the stage but not get bogged down by constraints. In theory, it makes it possible to begin building a pupil base without having to pay a dime and launch your store. There’s also a free trial if you give one of the plans a whirl.
The pricing is Divided into four easy plans:
Starter — $0 for many core Thinkific capabilities. This plan has a 10% transaction fee, all you want to create, market, and sell infinite courses, your courses, class upsells, content hosting, basic integrations service, and access to all funds.
Basics — For $49 per month you receive all center and starter features, together with a 5 percent transaction fee, coupons and promotions, monthly subscriptions, course bundles, intermediate integrations, fundamental Zapier, trickle articles, affiliate reporting, a majority student emailer, custom domainname, along with additional course rates. Best Learning Platforms
Business — For $99 a month you receive the features from all previous programs, no transaction fees, completion certificates, private and hidden courses, website white tagging, a host narrative, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, advanced HTML/CSS editing, priority support, teacher payout reporting, an onboarding call, payment strategies, along with a direct Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 a month you get all features from prior programs, no transaction fees, a single sign-on (SSO), three site admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding specialist, onboarding bundle, public API, innovative integrations, and innovative Zapier.
Thinkific has some Fantastic benefits to its pricing layout. Not only can you begin your course at no cost (something that is not offered with competitions such as Teachable,) however, the additional 3 plans are broken down in a logical fashion.
After all, you Most probably do not need API access until you start getting advanced with your course promoting.
I would not mind Seeing the completion certificates as well as also the HTML editing however $99 per month isn’t that bad.
As you can see, The transaction prices are 10% for the plan. That’s large, but it creates an excellent environment for anyone with low quantity right now or people who do not have the funds to start a professional online store. As soon as you get started making money you can cut that transaction fee down.
Last, you can Save money. The snowball strategy goes to $39 per month if you pay it all upfront. The company program is $79 per month and also the Advanced program is $219. That makes the pricing programs much like Teachable.
I will end this Thinkific review where I began: this really is a platform I highly recommend. Hopefully it is evident by now that it supplies a range of the most vital features to encourage your average edupreneur in selling classes that are online.
I Believe it is Important to repeat as I wrap up that Thinkific is a company with a great deal of momentum. This is certainly not a trivial point: the market for online course platforms like Thinkific is noisy and crowded. You can be sure that a lot will undoubtedly be gone tomorrow. I feel convinced Thinkific will be about, and the organization is obviously growing and always investing to boost its platform. Best Learning Platforms