Background Course Company
If you are promoting Or considering selling classes, you do not have to do much searching to think of a Thinkific review. There are plenty of Thinkific testimonials on the market. The main difference this one provides is that it is written by someone with: Course Company
- Over 20 years experience in the e-learning industry, with a Particular focus on businesses that sell schooling (compared to, for example, corporate training departments, that do not have to convince their students to purchase )
- Extensive experience designing, creating, and implementing online class platforms (I had been the founder and CEO of an e-learning platform and course development company.)
- Over a decade of experience tracking and researching online class platforms and helping organizations and individuals pick the Ideal platform for selling classes
I’ve been closely Monitoring Thinkific and other providers that have emerged as a new type of course platforms. These are programs which are much more user friendly and less costly or LMSes. They are a real boon for solo edupreneurs and companies that want to get into the course business. Over time, I think they have real potential to interrupt the learning management system market that is conventional.
Having said All that, let’s get started.
Building and Branding Your Online Course Web Site
Any classes you Sell have to”live” somewhere, and that somewhere supplies an appealing, user friendly to your students and potential students. Since the introduction of its Site Builder capabilities Thinkific is up to the project. Course Company
Using Site Builder — that is only part of the admin panel for the platform — you now have the ability to set up an attractive home page for your course site and make as many custom pages as you desire (e.g., to give information about you and your other solutions ). While you don’t have complete control — you can’t, as an instance, set up your own style sheets (CSS) — you can possess really excellent capabilities for changing branding elements like colors and font styles and you can upload just about any kind of images or media you’d like to use.
Website Builder Now comes with three themes and there are variants for each of those topics. (The company says more themes are a part of the upcoming growth plan.) There are also a range of pre-fab”sections” you can insert and change on any page to provide for things like social evidence (e.g. customer quotes or”as seen on” logos), calls to action, count down timer, and pricing choices — essentially, all the essential tools you need for conducting a successful course or membership site. There is also a blank slate”Text & media” section that can be used to make pretty much anything you want.
As is the case With more or less any content management system, it took a while to work 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 site menu. However support has been readily available for these. Thinkific includes a good support website on which you can look for help, but I tend to only use a Google search along with the word”Thinkific” to find whatever I want (e.g.,”create custom website pages Thinkific”). I have yet to not find good support by doing this, whether on the Thinkific website or from another user.
Some additional Features to note:
- Customized URL (under Settings > Site) — By default, you are assigned a thinkific.com speech — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. Having a paid plan (starting at $49 per month for Basic) you can find a customized URL
- SSL (Under Settings > Site) — With any strategy you have the option to turn on SSL (secure socket layer), a best practice for any Web site these days. (Google smiles on this.)
- White tagging (below Settings > Site)– By jumping up to a Guru Plan ($99 per month) using the Development Add-on ($.10 per active student/per month) you can easily remove the”Powered by Thinkific” language on your website and courses.
- Text Dimensions (below Settings > Learning Content and various other areas) — You can change a great deal of the default language that is used in navigation and other areas. By way of example, Thinkific uses”Chapters” because the tag for parts of a program. You may like to change this to”Lessons” Course Company
Thus, you may be asking,”Can I use Thinkific for my primary Web website?”
For edupreneurs That are only starting off and do not have a Web presence the response is an emphatic”yes.” Utilizing Thinkific is a great way to have a big item from your”to do” list (i.e.,”figure out ways to find an adequate Web site setup”) and concentrate on creating and launch your classes. You can worry about a more complicated Web site later.
If you already Have a Web site, though — especially on a fuller-featured content management system such as WordPress — I wouldn’t recommend relying on Thinkific (or any other course platform) for your primary Internet website. Website Builder is fantastic for what it does — and may create a fantastic course website to match your main Web site — but ultimately it is relatively restricted. Some of the key present constraints include:
- All motifs are column. Therefore, as an instance, you can’t put email sign-up forms, promotions for class, or other items down the left or right side of your site.
- As noted, you can not apply your own CSS (cascading style sheets), mostly a limit in the event that you truly want to mirror the branding of an existing Web website.
- There’s no control on search engine optimization settings on Web pages — e.g., you can’t specify the title tags or meta descriptions. You can, however, do this on course landing pages, which is arguably more significant for the average edupreneur.
- Thinkific lacks the abundance of plug-ins and the extensive network of experienced contractors that are available to support platforms such as WordPress.
Regardless of these Limits, Website Builder is likely to perform the work well for most edupreneurs and is quite a bit better than what most online class platforms supply.
Creating Online Courses with Thinkific
While you Definitely want to have an attractive, user-friendly site to house your courses, the classes themselves are the primary attraction. As you might expect, this is a place where Thinkific really shines.
To start with, the Platform provides a variety of pre-configured templates that may be very useful to course builders looking for help with how to arrange their content. The templates cover the assortment of standard scenarios you would be likely to consider for offering an educational product. All these are:
- Blank — Start new and construct your course to match your specific curriculum needs.
- Mini-course — Utilize a low-cost or free mini-course to create leads for a full flagship program or assistance.
- Flagship Course — Construct a full online class employing 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 judge interest in your program.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable documents in an internet course to create revenue or collect email addresses.
- Membership Resource Library — Host downloadable resources to be included in a membership bundle for this template.
- Webinar Replay — Host your webinar replay video to allow registrants to assess your presentation and offer.
All these can Be modified extensively — you can alter the content from the sections that are provided, delete sections, or add new sections to reach the strategy that’s right for your content. All throughout the process, Thinkific supplies”smart coach course building hints” to assist you. (I found these helpful, but they can be easily turned off, if you would like.) Course Company
In Case You Have zero Experience working with Web content, there will inevitably be a bit of a learning curve, but my opinion 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 benefits.
And, in case You’re Already comfortable using other Internet content programs — such as, by way of instance, WordPress or another program platform — I believe that you will find operating 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 rescue it, you include”Chapters” (or change ones in the template) to produce the structure of the program. As mentioned above, if you don’t like the expression”Chapters,” you can change it to whatever you would like.
You fill the Chapters with content in a way. There are 11 options:
- Video classes — Upload a movie file. (This gets stored in a video library for re-use in different courses. 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 way to link out to articles not hosted on Thinkific and also make it an integrated part of your program. Some of the possibilities include:
- Webinar tools (supply the link 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 files (Requires Pro or Enterprise license. More about that below)
- Text classes — Combine text, pictures, videos, etc. into a single lesson. This is essentially the equivalent to”Text & Media” Site Builder option discussed above.
- Research lessons — Collect information/feedback from the pupils by building a survey in Thinkific.
- PDF classes.
- Disqus lessons Disqus discussion boards to your course. (Note: there is also a discussion alternative built into Thinkific which you may turn off or on under Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio lessons — Upload an audio file.
- Downloads — Include resources available for download from within the program participant.
- Presentation lessons — Upload a presentation as record sound and a PDF document for each slide.
- Exam classes — Include a Brillium examination in your program. (A Brillium license is separate from Thinkific and begins at $49 a month. More on this below.)
The aforementioned options Will find the work done for all but the most sophisticated edupreneurs. The main areas they fall short is in
- Providing for branching scenarios — i.e., enabling learners to move down different paths based on their performances from the course or data you gather about them — and
- Adding interactive components.
If those are Choices you truly want, you would be better off with a full size course authoring tool like iSpring or even Articulate Storyline (see more about these kinds of programs here). Course Company
The use of Articulate and Captivate at Thinkific
Many course Founders will be perfectly content with using the tools in Thinkific to create courses, but some might prefer the option of producing their courses with third party e-learning course creation software like Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate.
Basically, 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 case you probably don’t need to need to re-create them using Thinkific course production tools), or (b) you anticipate developing a significant catalog of lessons with a comparatively long”shelf life” — in which case you might not want your courses locked into a specific delivery stage.
You can use these Kinds of tools with Thinkific — Articulate Storyline and Captivate are encouraged — but 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 ) hasn’t implemented SCORM, which stands for the Shareable Content Object Reference Model. There’s a lot to SCORM, but the principal thing for edupreneurs to know is that it provides standards for how an online course can communicate using a learning platform to send it information like how long a student has invested in a program, or whether specific areas of the course have been completed successfully. Thinkific tracks this type of information with its own methods. (More about SCORM here.)
Secondly, you cannot Import an Captivate or Articulate course into Thinkific all on your own. These classes are made up of more than one file (such as, for example, a video file), so to get them into the platform, you need to zip the files up and send them into Thinkific customer service.
The Best Features and How They Benefit You
A great Online course construction platform offers you. Including the training course building, the promotion, the promotion, and also the management.
Systems like Thinkific do not host classes . Your articles is really hosted with Thinkific (so that you don’t need to go outside and find your own hosting,) but it gives you complete control over what your site looks like.
When compared to Systems like Udemy, Thinkific certainly provides management that is branding and more liberty. Let us explore a few of the other standout attributes.
Excellent Student Management and Communication Modules
Within my Thinkific review, I noticed the smoothness of the pupil communication tools. It is a visual pupil management area, together with pictures of your pupils, titles, contact information, and information for how far they’re in your program.
You have the Choice create a conversation with the whole community or to send emails that are customized to every one of those pupils. Course Company
Incentives are Also part of this learning environment because Thinkific offers completion certificates, report cards, and needless to say, the emails for sending out just about whatever you want throughout courses.
In addition to Replays of course content, language controls, and cellular optimization, students working with the Thinkific platform should feel.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Part of this Reason Thinkific looks so great compared to this competition is that of its course designer. If you don’t want to, you don’t need to mess with any code.
In fact, all of Your content is organized using an easy drag and drop editor, in which you stack the course content and move it about .
Talking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of all media types. From PDFs to audio files, and polls to quizzes, the stage is great for offering up a vast range of learning resources for the students.
As we mentioned All of these documents are hosted on the Thinkific servers. You should not need to worry being too large or running on your servers that are shared.
When you personalize Your course site it features some useful editing tools to the novices on the market. For instance, you can correct items such as logos, color schemes, and banners, without touching any code.
However Advanced programmers have complete control over the HTML and CSS. So, 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 since there’s no way unless people know that your path exists, to begin making money.
Thinkific does The app was built into by it the way, with promotional and marketing instruments. A lot of this is automatic as well. Consequently, if you want to drip content to your students–where certain courses would be published over the years –Thinkific has this operation. Course Company
Furthermore, you Have the ability and send emails that are automated based on a program. Pricing is also done through Thinkific, in addition to the choice to get paid instantly when somebody signs up for your course.
In Terms of getting It is tried by people outside of your website out, Thinkific comes with an online affiliate marketing program to reward other men and women who recommend your program and bloggers. Coupons can also be supplied through Thinkific, giving a chance convince newcomers that your course is worth investing in and to create ads to you.
Everything from Coupons to affiliates is monitored in the dashboard, and you can also link Facebook, your Adwords, and other reports where students are coming from to determine.
Handling, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from One of the reasons for using a specialized online course platform is that it creates tracking and handling your users and their data a lot simpler.
Communication with Learners
In addition to Helping you arrange your learners, Thinkific also enables a number of ways also for them to provide feedback and for you to communicate with your learners. Course Company
As noted, For example, you can empower discussion for your courses and manage your students contributions under Service Your Students > Discussions, where you can sort talks by course, react to pupils, and — if needed –“Disapprove” gifts which you don’t wish to show up in the program. (Note: Enabling discussions is now an all or nothing option in Thinkific — i.e., possibly all courses have it or no classes have it. The workaround for this is to use the Disqus alternative on a course-by-course basis.)
You can also Enable your student. You then have the ability to approve these reviews (they aren’t printed automatically) and use them as social evidence on your earnings page to your program. Unlike talks, this feature can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
There are Numerous notifications that could be enabled or disabled at the Thinkific platform, some of which can be personalized. You can send pupils a customized message when they enroll for your site, register in a specific course, or finish a program. It is also possible to send reminder messages. (Note: Reminders are site-wide, maybe not course-specific.)
Managing and Organizing Learners
To Begin with, When an individual 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 Preferences > Programs & accounts) you can easily add areas to catch whatever specific information you desire from the users. (Notice that, unlike programs like Udemy, you get full access to the user information you accumulate.)
You can also Organize users. This simple feature may have a big effect on your business model by making it possible for you to sell classes in bulk one of the greatest ways for course vendors to drive revenue development that is major , in my experience.
You, using groups Can also arrange your students by cohort, time, registration, job-type, or organization, or other variables, which makes it possible to track the effectiveness of your offerings and also to enhance your marketing. (Note: Use of the Groups feature requires a Guru program license with the Growth Add-on.) Discover More about the Thinkific Groups performance Course Company
Tracking and Reporting
A motive to Have a online class platform — to posting content behind a password on a Web site, instead, for example — is it will track things like completion and path progress in addition to quiz and survey data.
Thinkific’s Advancement tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) enables you to pick a specific student and monitor numerous variables for every course in which the student is registered. For every class you may 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 enjoy this you If you’re adding new lessons can also opt to reset a student’s completion percentage for example, at any time.
Overall, the Course coverage is rather simple, but I suspect it’ll serve the needs of the vast majority of course entrepreneurs.
Contrary to the course Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported to a .CSV file (instead of displayed on display ) and e-mailed to you. The .csv document includes the responses from all students who’ve taken a survey a quiz email address, along with their name, and when it was taken by them. For quizzes, it also provides the amount and percentage of questions the student got correct.
Overall, reporting For both quizzes/surveys and courses is among the regions where the Thinkific system might be stronger. 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 quiz/survey data and course completion . Even better, it might be great to be able to view a student transcript that shows hours related to a course, any credit earned (not now captured in any way at Thinkific), and a URL to obtain the certificate related to the program. Course Company
What Thinkific is Missing
Anyone who has Been working in the e-learning sector for the last few years (as I have) will understand that Thinkific offers a remarkable range of features at a very reasonable price. It was not that long ago that a system with these capabilities may have easily cost tens of thousands of dollars per year.
With that in mind, It is hard to assert that Thinkific is”missing” much. Nonetheless, there are gaps that can rule it out for some course vendors — and these all tend to be. The main ones I see are:
No support for xAPI/TinCan or SCORM
As noted above, While Thinkific may host and deliver classes created in common authoring tools like Articulate and Captivate, it doesn’t actually take advantage of the SCORM (or xAPI/TInCan) packaging capabilities of these programs. In case you have a reason for using one of the significant criteria, then Thinkific would not be the way to go.
As I said, these Are areas that aren’t served by additional programs which are in Thinkific’s course. To acquire a platform which supports all three generally means a price point three to four times greater than Thinkific — and it can go up a lot from there. So, be sure these are gaps for you before judgment out Thinkific.
No continuing education credit capabilities
While you can Indicate the variety of hours for finishing a class in Thinkific, you cannot define the total amount of education accessible for a program. While there may be work-arounds, for most course suppliers that focus on providing continuing education credit, this will be a Substantial barrier to using Thinkific, Course Company
No multi-tenancy option
Multi-tenancy Means that you handle and can create multiple instances of a platform under one umbrella. This can be handy if, for instance, you are a training company that has corporate clients and those clients want their own branded instance of the platform for handling and serving their own users. While the Group functionality in Thinkific makes you a part of the way there, it isn’t the exact same matter as multi-tenancy.
Although I have yet To discover an online course platform that has many hidden fees, Thinkific advertises it too has no hidden fees or contracts. That is very good to know, but nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does provide a program for those who wish to test out the platform but not get bogged down by limitations. In theory, it makes it possible to start your store and start building a student base. There’s also a free trial if you would rather give a whirl to one of those more innovative plans.
The pricing is Divided into four easy plans:
Starter — $0 to all core Thinkific features. This plan has a top transaction fee, everything you want to make, market, and sell Stripe/PayPal service , unlimited courses, course upsells, content hosting, basic integrations, your classes, and access to all capital.
Essentials — For $49 a month you receive all center and starter features, together with a 5 percent transaction fee, coupons and promotions, monthly subscriptions, course packages, intermediate integrations, basic Zapier, drip content, affiliate coverage, a majority student emailer, customized domainname, and additional course prices. Course Company
Business — For $99 per month you get the features from all prior plans, no transaction fees, completion certificates, personal and concealed courses, website white tagging, a host storyline, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, innovative HTML/CSS editing, priority service, teacher payout reporting, an onboarding telephone, payment plans, along with a direct Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 a month you receive all attributes from prior plans, no transaction fees, one sign-on (SSO), three site admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding specialist, onboarding package, public API, advanced integrations, and innovative Zapier.
Thinkific has some Great benefits to its pricing layout. Not only are you able to start your course at no cost (something that’s not offered with competitors like Teachable,) but the additional three plans are broken down into a reasonable fashion.
After all, you Most probably do not need API accessibility until you start becoming advanced with your path promoting.
I would not mind Seeing the completion certificates and also the HTML editing but $99 per month still isn’t that bad.
As you can see, The transaction fees are 10% for the program. That is high, but it creates an excellent atmosphere for anyone who have low volume right now or people who do not have the upfront funds. As soon as you start making money you’ll be able to cut down that transaction fee.
Finally, you can By paying an annual basis Save money. So, the Essentials plan goes to $39 a month if you cover it all upfront. The Business program is $79 per month and also the Advanced plan is 219. This makes the pricing plans much like Teachable.
I’ll end this Thinkific review where I began: this really is a platform I highly recommend. Hopefully it is evident by now that it offers your ordinary edupreneur to be supported by a range of the characteristics in selling courses.
I think it is also Important to repeat as I wrap up that Thinkific is a company with a lot of momentum. This is definitely not a point: the marketplace for online class platforms such as Thinkific is now noisy and crowded. You can be sure that a lot of the programs which are here today will be gone. I’m confident that Thinkific will be around, and the company is clearly growing and always investing to boost its platform. Course Company