Intro Best Online Teaching Platforms
If You’re promoting Or even considering selling online courses, you do not need to do much searching to think of a Thinkific review. There are loads of Thinkific testimonials out there. The main difference that this one offers is that it is written by someone with: Best Online Teaching Platforms
- Over 20 years expertise in the e-learning industry, with a Particular focus on companies that sell education (as opposed to, by Way of Example, corporate training departments, That Don’t have to convince their students to purchase )
- Extensive experience designing, creating, and implementing online course platforms (I had been the founder and CEO of an e-learning platform and path development firm.)
- Over a decade of experience tracking and exploring online class platforms and helping organizations and individuals pick the right platform for selling classes
I have been closely Tracking Thinkific and other providers that have emerged in the previous several years as a new class of course platforms. These are programs that LMSes, or are more user-friendly and less costly than conventional learning management systems. They’re businesses that want to get into the course business and a real boon for solo edupreneurs. As time passes, I think they have real potential to interrupt the learning management system market that is traditional.
So, having said That, let us begin.
Building and Branding Your Online Course Web Site
Any courses you Sell have to”live” somewhere, and ideally that somewhere supplies an attractive, user friendly to the students and prospective students. Since the introduction of its Site Builder capacities Thinkific is up to the project. Best Online Teaching Platforms
Using Site Builder — which is simply part of the admin board to the platform — you now have the capacity to set up an appealing home page for your course site and make as many custom pages as you desire (e.g., to provide information about you and your other services). Despite the fact that you don’t have total control — you can’t, for instance, install your own style sheets (CSS) — you do possess very excellent capabilities for modifying branding elements like font and colors styles and you can upload just about any kind of pictures or media you would want to use.
Site Builder Comes with three themes and there are variants for each of these topics. (The company says more topics are a part of their upcoming growth program.) Additionally, there are a range of pre-fab”sections” you are able to insert and change on any webpage to provide for things like social proof (e.g. customer quotes or”as seen on” logos), calls to action, count down timer, and pricing choices — essentially, all of the essential tools you require for conducting a successful course or membership website. There’s also a blank slate”media & Text” section which can be utilised to create pretty much whatever you want.
As is the case With more or less any content management system, it took me a while to work out how to do some basic things like delete sections (the themes provide a home page pre-populated with segments ) and include custom pages to the site menu. But support was readily available for them. Thinkific has a good support website on which you can look for help, but I often 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 good support by doing this, whether to the Thinkific site or from another user.
Some added Features to note:
- Custom URL (under Settings > Website ) — By default, you’re assigned a thinkific.com address — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. Having a paid plan (beginning at $49 a month for Fundamental ) you can get a custom URL
- SSL (Under Settings > Website ) — With any strategy you have the option to turn on SSL (secure socket layer), a best practice for virtually any Web site nowadays. (Google smiles on this.)
- White tagging (below Settings > Site)– By leaping up into a Pro Plan ($99 per month) with the Development Add-on ($.10 per active student/per month) you can easily get rid of the”Powered by Thinkific” speech on your site and courses.
- Text Dimensions (below Settings > Learning Content and several different areas) — You can change a great deal of the default language that is used in navigation and other areas. By way of instance, Thinkific uses”Chapters” as the label for parts of a course. You may like to change this to”Lessons.” Best Online Teaching Platforms
So, you might be asking,”Can I use Thinkific for my primary Web website?”
For edupreneurs Who are only starting off and don’t already have a Web presence the response is an emphatic”yes.” Using Thinkific is a great way to have a big item off of your”to do” list (i.e.,”figure out how to find a decent Web site set up”) and concentrate on creating and launch your courses. It is possible to be concerned about a more sophisticated Web site later.
If you already Have an Internet site, though — especially on a fuller-featured content management system such as WordPress — I wouldn’t recommend relying on Thinkific (or any other route platform) to your main Web website. Website Builder is fantastic for what it does — and may create a great course website to match your main site — but finally it’s relatively restricted. A few of the key present constraints include:
- All themes are single column. So, for example, you can not put email signup types, promotions for class, or other items down the left or right side of your site.
- As noted, you can’t use your own CSS (cascading style sheets), largely a limitation if you truly want to mirror the branding of an present Web website.
- There’s no control over search engine optimization settings on Internet pages — e.g., you can’t define the name tags or meta descriptions. You , however, do so on course landing pages, which is possibly more important for the average edupreneur.
- Thinkific lacks the wealth of plug-ins along with the broad network of experienced contractors who are available to support platforms such as WordPress.
Regardless of those Limitations, Website Builder is likely to do the job well for many edupreneurs and is a little better than what many online course platforms provide.
Creating Online Courses with Thinkific
While you Definitely want to have an attractive, user-friendly website to house your courses, the courses themselves are the main attraction. As you might expect, this is an area where Thinkific really shines.
To Begin with, the Platform provides a variety of pre-configured templates that can be very beneficial to track builders looking for help with how to organize their content. The templates cover the range of standard scenarios you’d be likely to consider for offering an educational item. These are:
- Blank — Start new and build your course to match your particular program requirements.
- Mini-course — Use a free or low-cost mini-course to create prospects for a complete flagship course or assistance.
- Flagship Course — Build a full online course using a strong curriculum outline created with best practices in your mind.
- Pre-sell — Produce a pre-sell landing page and start constructing a waitlist to gauge interest in your program.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable documents in an online course to generate revenue or collect email addresses.
- Membership Resource Library — Host downloadable tools to be included in a membership bundle for this template.
- Webinar Replay — Host your webinar replay video to permit registrants to assess your presentation and offer.
All of these can Be modified extensively — you can change the content in the segments which are provided, delete sections, or insert new sections to arrive at the strategy that is ideal for your content. All throughout the procedure, Thinkific supplies”smart coach course building tips” to help you. (I found these useful, but they can be easily turned off, should you prefer.) Best Online Teaching Platforms
If you have zero Experience working with Web content, there will inevitably be a small learning curve, but my opinion is that Thinkific has done a good job making that curve as manageable as possible. Invest in making your way up it, and you’ll reap the rewards.
And, if you are Already comfortable using other Internet content programs — such as, for another course platform, WordPress or example — I believe that you will find working in Thinkific for a breeze.
The logic, overall A class at Thinkific makes complete sense. After choosing”New Course,” choosing your path type, naming it (which you may change at any point), and saving it, you include”Chapters” (or change ones already in the template) to create the structure of this course. As mentioned above, if you don’t like the term”Chapters,” you can change it to whatever you prefer.
You fill the Chapters with content in a way. There are 11 options:
- Video lessons — Upload a movie file. (This has 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 website.)
- Quiz classes — Create a quiz for your students. (More info on quizzes below)
- Multimedia classes — This is a means to link out to content not hosted on Thinkific and make it an integrated part of your course. Some of the possibilities include:
- Webinar tools (supply the link to a 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 about that below)
- Text lessons — Combine text, images, videos, etc. into a single lesson. This is essentially the equivalent to”Text & Media” Website Builder option mentioned above.
- Survey lessons — Collect information/feedback from your students by building a poll in Thinkific.
- PDF lessons — Upload a PDF document to be looked at within the course player.
- Disqus lessons Disqus discussion boards into your program. (Note: there is also a discussion alternative built into Thinkific which you can turn off or on beneath Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio lessons — Upload a sound file.
- Downloads — Contain resources to be available for download from inside the program player.
- Presentation lessons — Upload a demonstration as a PDF document and record audio for each slide.
- Lessons — Contain a Brillium examination on your program. (A Brillium permit is distinct from Thinkific and begins at $49 per month. More on this below.)
The aforementioned options Will get the work completed for all but the most sophisticated edupreneurs. The primary areas they fall short is in
- Supplying for branching scenarios — i.e., allowing learners to go down different paths based on their performances in the course or information you collect about them — and
- Like learning games inserting interactive elements.
If those are Choices you truly want, you would be better off using a full-blown course authoring tool such as iSpring or even Articulate Storyline (see more about these types of tools here). Best Online Teaching Platforms
Use of Articulate and Captivate in Thinkific
Many course Creators will be perfectly content with using the tools in Thinkific to make classes, but some might prefer the option of producing their courses with third-party e-learning course creation software like Articulate Storyline or even Adobe Captivate.
Basically, using a Third-party tool is an alternative to seriously think about if you (a) currently have a significant number of classes built out in one of these applications (in which you probably do not need to need to re-create them utilizing Thinkific course production tools), and/or (b) you anticipate developing a substantial catalogue of courses with a comparatively long”shelf life” — in which case you might not wish to have your classes locked to a particular delivery stage.
You can use these Kinds of tools with Thinkific — Articulate Storyline and Captivate are encouraged — however there are a few limitations you should be aware of if you go this path.
First, Thinkific (like all other platforms in its class) hasn’t implemented SCORM, which stands to the Shareable Content Object Reference Model. There is a lot to SCORM, but the main thing for edupreneurs to understand is that it provides criteria for how an internet course can communicate with a learning platform to send it data like how long a student has invested in a program, or if particular parts of the class have been completed successfully. Thinkific tracks this type of data. (More about SCORM here.)
Secondly, you cannot Import an Captivate or Articulate course into Thinkific on your own. These courses comprise of more than one file (such as, for instance, a video file), and to get them inside the platform, you need to zip up the files and send them into Thinkific customer service.
The Features and How They Benefit You
A great Online course building platform offers you. This includes the marketing, the training course building, the selling, and also the management.
Systems such as Thinkific don’t host classes on your own site. Your articles is really hosted with Thinkific (so you don’t have to go out and find your personal hosting,) but it still gives you complete control over what your site looks like.
In comparison to Systems like Udemy, Thinkific surely provides branding control and more freedom. Let us explore some of the other standout features.
Excellent Student Management and Communication Modules
During my Thinkific review, I noticed the smoothness of the pupil communication tools. It’s a visual pupil management area, together with pictures of your pupils, titles, contact information, and information for how far they are in your program.
You’ve got the Option to send emails that are customized to each of those pupils or create a dialogue with the community. Best Online Teaching Platforms
Incentives are Also a part of the learning environment since Thinkific offers report cards, conclusion certificates, and throughout classes, the mails for sending out just about whatever you want of course.
Along with Replays of language controls course material, students, and mobile optimization working with the Thinkific platform ought to feel.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Section of the Motive Thinkific seems so great compared to this competition is that of its class designer. If you don’t need to you do not need to mess with any code.
In Reality Your content is organized using an easy drag and drop editor, in which you stack the course content and move it around vertically.
Talking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of all media forms. From PDFs to audio files, and surveys to quizzes, the platform is great for offering up a vast assortment of learning resources for the students.
As we mentioned Before, all of these documents are hosted on the Thinkific servers. You shouldn’t need to worry running on your very own shared servers or being too big.
When you customize Your course website it offers some editing tools to the beginners out there. You can correct items such as color schemes, banners, and logos without touching any code.
However Developers have full control over the HTML and CSS. Consequently, if you want to make your site unique, the option is there for you.
Promotions on Autopilot
Some online course Platforms fail in the promotions arena. This is unfortunate as there’s no way unless people know that your course exists, to begin making money.
Thinkific does The app was built into by it the ideal way, with promotional and marketing tools. Much of this is automatic. So, if you’d like to drip articles to your students Thinkific has this functionality. Best Online Teaching Platforms
Furthermore, you Have the ability to target the right people and send emails that are automated based on a program. Pricing is done through Thinkific, along with the choice to get paid instantly when someone signs up for your course.
As for becoming People outside of your website try it out, Thinkific includes an affiliate marketing program to reward bloggers and people who advocate your course. Coupons can also be provided through Thinkific, giving a opportunity convince novices that your course is worth investing in and to create advertisements to you.
Everything from Vouchers to affiliates is monitored in the dashboard, and you can also join your Adwords, Facebook, and other accounts to determine where students are coming from.
Managing, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from Allowing you to deliver your classes, one of the important reasons for utilizing a online course platform is that it makes monitoring and managing your customers and their information much more easy.
Communication with Learners
Along with Helping you organize your learners, Thinkific also enables several ways for them to provide comments on the course and for you and your students to communicate. Best Online Teaching Platforms
As noted, For instance, you can enable discussion to your courses and then manage your pupils gifts under Support Your Students > Discussions, where it is possible to sort discussions by course, react to students, and — if needed –“Disapprove” gifts which you don’t want to show up in the program. (Note: Enabling talks is now an all or nothing choice in Thinkific — i.e., either all courses have it or no classes have it. The workaround for this would be to utilize the Disqus alternative on a course-by-course basis.)
You can also Allow your student to submit reviews for your courses. Then you have the ability to approve these reviews (they are not published automatically) and utilize them as social proof on your sales page for your course. Unlike talks, this feature can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
There are Numerous notifications which could be enabled or disabled at the Thinkific platform, some of which can be personalized. You can, as an instance, send students a message if they enroll for your website, enroll in a course, or finish a course. You can also send out weekly reminder messages. (Note: Reminders are site-wide, not course-specific.)
Managing and Organizing Learners
To Begin with, When a user signs up at your website, Thinkific captures all their key contact information (e.g., first name, last name, email ) and using custom log-in fields (under Settings > Programs & accounts) you can easily add areas to capture whatever special information you want from the own users. (Notice that, unlike programs like Udemy, you get full access to the user information you collect.)
You can also Organize users into groups. This apparently simple feature may have a large effect on your business model by making it possible for you to sell classes in bulk among the best ways for online course vendors to induce significant revenue growth.
Using classes, you May also easily arrange your students by cohort, time, enrollment, job-type, or business, or other variables, which makes it possible to track the effectiveness of your own offerings and also to refine your marketing. (Note: use of the Groups attribute requires a Guru program license with the Growth Add-on.) Find out more about the Thinkific Groups functionality Best Online Teaching Platforms
Tracking and Reporting
A reason to Have a technical online course platform — to posting articles supporting a password on a Web site instead, by way of example — is that it is going to monitor quiz and survey data in addition to things like conclusion and course progress.
Thinkific’s Progress tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) allows you to pick a particular student and monitor numerous factors for each class in which the pupil is enrolled. 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 in (date)
I like this you If you are adding new classes to an already finished class can also opt to reset a student’s completion percentage for instance,, at any moment.
Overall, the Course coverage is fairly simple, but I suspect it will serve the needs of the huge majority of course entrepreneurs.
Contrary to the Program Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported to a .CSV document (rather than displayed on display ) and e-mailed to you. The .csv file includes the responses from all students who have taken a questionnaire a quiz e-mail address, together with their name, and when it was taken by them. For quizzes, in addition, it provides percentage and the number of questions the student got correct.
Overall, reporting For both courses and quizzes/surveys is among the areas in which the Thinkific system might be more powerful. In fairness, this has a tendency to be true for pretty much of the all of the platforms . Ideally, over time, it might be possible to get course conclusion and quiz/survey data through a single Web interface. Even better, it would be good to be able to view a student transcript that shows hours related to a course, any credit earned (not currently captured in any way in Thinkific), along with a URL to obtain the certificate related to the program. Best Online Teaching Platforms
What Thinkific is Missing
Anyone who has Been operating in the e-learning industry for the last few decades (as I have) will understand that Thinkific offers a remarkable selection of features at a really affordable price. It wasn’t long ago that a system with those capacities could have cost tens of thousands of dollars.
With that in mind, It’s really hard to assert that Thinkific is”missing” much. Still, there are gaps which can rule it out and these all tend to be gaps which are characteristic of the class of platforms. The main ones that I find are:
No support for xAPI/TinCan or SCORM
As mentioned previously, While Thinkific may host and deliver courses created in common authoring tools such as Articulate and Captivate, it does not actually take advantage of the SCORM (or xAPI/TInCan) packaging capabilities of these applications. In case you have a robust and legitimate reason for using one of the major e-learning criteria, then Thinkific would not be the thing to do.
Like I Are areas which aren’t served by other platforms that are in Thinkific’s class. To acquire a platform that supports all three normally means a starting price point three to four times greater than Thinkific — and it could go a lot from there . Thus, be sure these are openings for you before ruling out Thinkific.
No continuing education credit capabilities
While you can Indicate the number of hours for completing a class in Thinkific, you can’t define the amount of continuing education available for a course. While There Might Be work-arounds, for most course providers that focus on providing continuing education credit, this will be a significant barrier to utilizing Thinkific, Best Online Teaching Platforms
No multi-tenancy option
Multi-tenancy Means that you can create and manage multiple instances of a stage. This can be useful if you are a training company that has many corporate clients and those customers want their very own example of the platform for handling and serving their own customers. While the Group functionality in Thinkific gets you part of the way there, it is not the exact same matter as multi-tenancy.
Although I To find an online course platform which has hidden fees, Thinkific advertises that it also has no hidden fees or contracts. That’s very good to know, however, nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does provide a free program for those who want to test the stage out but not get bogged down from limitations. In theory, it makes it possible to begin building a pupil base and start your shop. There’s also a free trial if you’d rather give a whirl to one of the more innovative plans.
The pricing is Broken up into four easy plans:
Starter — $0 for many core Thinkific features. This plan has a high transaction fee, all you want to create, promote, and sell infinite courses your classes, class upsells, content hosting integrations support, and instant access to all funds.
Basics — For $49 a month you receive all core and newcomer features, together with a 5 percent transaction fee, promotions and coupons, monthly subscriptions, course packages, intermediate integrations, fundamental Zapier, drip content, affiliate reporting, a bulk student emailer, customized domain, and additional course prices. Best Online Teaching Platforms
Business — For $99 per month you receive the attributes from all previous programs, no transaction fees, completion certificates, private and hidden classes, website white tagging, a host storyline, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, advanced HTML/CSS editing, priority support, teacher payout reporting, an onboarding call, payment strategies, and a direct Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 a month you get all attributes from prior plans, no transaction fees, a single sign-on (SSO), three site admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding specialist, onboarding bundle, people API, innovative integrations, and innovative Zapier.
Thinkific has some Benefits to its pricing design. Not only are you able to begin your course at no cost (something that is not offered with competitors like Teachable,) however, the extra 3 programs are broken down into a logical manner.
After all, you Most probably don’t need API accessibility until you start becoming advanced with your course selling.
I would not mind Seeing the HTML editing as well as the completion certificates at the Essentials plan, but $99 a month is bad.
As you can see, The transaction prices are 10% to the program. That’s large, but it creates an superb environment for anyone who have low quantity or individuals who don’t have the upfront funds to launch a professional online shop. As soon as you get started earning money that transaction fee can be reduce by you.
You can By paying on an annual basis Save money. The Essentials plan goes to $39 a month if you pay it all upfront. The Business plan is $79 per month and the Advanced plan is 219. This makes the pricing plans rather much like Teachable.
I will end this Thinkific review where I started: this really is a platform I highly recommend. Hopefully it’s evident by now that it supplies a full range of the features that are most vital to encourage your ordinary edupreneur in selling classes.
I think it is also Important to repeat as I wrap up that Thinkific is a company with a lot of momentum. This is certainly not a point: the market for online class platforms like Thinkific is noisy and crowded. You can be certain that a lot will be gone tomorrow. I’m confident Thinkific will be about, and the company is obviously growing and always investing to improve its own platform. Best Online Teaching Platforms