Introduction Course Hosting Platforms
If you are promoting Or thinking about selling courses, you don’t have to do much searching to think of a Thinkific review. There are loads of Thinkific reviews out there. The main difference this one provides is that it is written by someone with: Course Hosting Platforms
- Over 20 years expertise in the e-learning Business, with a specific focus on companies that sell education (compared 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 course development company.)
- Over a decade of experience tracking and researching online course platforms and helping individuals and organizations pick the Ideal platform for selling courses
I’ve been closely Monitoring Thinkific and other providers that have emerged in the past years as a new type of online course platforms. These are platforms that are less costly and more user-friendly or LMSes. They’re companies that are looking to get into the online course business and a true blessing for solo edupreneurs. As time passes, I think they have real potential to disrupt the learning management system marketplace that is conventional.
Thus, having said All that, let us begin.
Construction and Branding Your Online Course Web Site
Any classes you Sell have to”live” somewhere, and ideally that somewhere provides an attractive, user friendly to your students and potential students. Since the introduction of its Site Builder capabilities Thinkific is definitely up to the job. Course Hosting Platforms
Using Site Builder — which is simply part of the admin panel to the stage — you now have the ability to prepare an appealing home page to 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 do not have total control — you can’t, for instance, set up your own style sheets (CSS) — you can get really good capabilities for modifying branding elements like font and colors styles and you may upload just about any type of pictures or media you would want to utilize.
Website Builder Comes with three topics to select from, and there are multiple variants for each one of those themes. (The company says more topics are part of the future growth program.) Additionally, there are a range of pre-fab”sections” that you can add and modify on any page to provide for things like social proof (e.g. customer quotes or”as seen on” logos), calls for action, count down timer, and pricing choices — essentially, all of the essential tools you require for conducting a successful path or membership site. There’s also a blank slate”Text & media” section that can be used to make pretty much whatever you desire.
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 segments (the themes provide a home page pre-populated with sections) and add custom pages to the site menu. But service has been readily available for these. Thinkific has a good support website on which you can look for help, but I tend to just use a Google search together with the phrase”Thinkific” to find whatever I want (e.g.,”create custom website pages Thinkific”). I have yet to not find good support using this method, whether to the Thinkific website or from another user.
Some added Features to notice:
- Custom URL (under Settings > Website ) — By default, you are assigned a thinkific.com speech — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. Having a paid program (starting at $49 per month for Fundamental ) you can get a custom URL
- SSL (Under Settings > Site) — With any strategy you have the choice to turn on SSL (secure socket layer), a best practice for any Web site nowadays. (Google smiles on this)
- White tagging (under Settings > Site)– By jumping up to a Pro Plan ($99 a month) using the Growth Add-on ($.10 per busy student/per month) you can quickly get rid of the”Powered by Thinkific” language on your site 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. For instance, Thinkific uses”Chapters” because the label for parts of a program. You may prefer to change this to”Lessons.” Course Hosting Platforms
Thus, you might be asking,”Can I use Thinkific for the main Web website?”
For edupreneurs That are only starting off and don’t already have an Internet presence the response is an emphatic”yes.” Utilizing Thinkific is a great way to have a huge item off of your”to do” list (i.e.,”figure out how to find a decent Web site set up”) and focus on creating and launching your courses. It is possible to be concerned about a more sophisticated Web site later.
If you already Have a Web site, though — especially on a fuller-featured content management system like WordPress — I would not suggest relying on Thinkific (or some other course platform) to your primary Web site. Website Builder is great for what it does — and can create a fantastic course website to complement your main site — but finally it’s relatively restricted. A few of the key present limitations include:
- All themes are single pillar. So, as an instance, you can not put email sign-up types, promotions for course, or other things down the left or right side of your website.
- As noted, you can’t use your own CSS (cascading style sheets), mostly a limitation if you really want to reflect the branding of an present Web website.
- There’s no control on search engine optimization settings on Web pages — e.g., you can not define the name tags or meta tag descriptions. You , however, do this on track landing pages, which is arguably more significant for the typical edupreneur.
- Thinkific lacks the abundance of plug-ins along with the broad network of seasoned contractors that are available to encourage platforms such as WordPress.
In spite of those Limits, Website Builder is likely to do the job well for most edupreneurs and is a bit better than what most online course platforms provide.
Creating Online Courses with Thinkific
While you Definitely need an attractive, user-friendly website to house your classes, the courses themselves are the primary attraction. As you might expect, this is an area where Thinkific really shines.
To start with, the Platform provides a variety of pre-configured templates which may be quite useful to course builders searching for help with how to organize their content. The templates cover the range of standard scenarios you would be prone to consider for supplying an educational product. All these are:
- Blank — Start fresh and build your course to match your specific program requirements.
- Mini-course — Use a free or low-cost mini-course to create leads for a complete flagship course or service.
- Flagship Course — Build a complete online class using a robust curriculum outline created using best practices in mind.
- Pre-sell — Create 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 generate 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 permit registrants to review your presentation and offer.
All these can Be modified extensively — you can alter the content from the sections which are provided, delete sections, or insert new sections to reach the strategy that is ideal for your content. All throughout the process, Thinkific provides”smart mentor course building hints” to help you. (I found them useful, but they may be easily turned off, should you would like.) Course Hosting Platforms
If you have zero Experience working with Web content, there’ll inevitably be a small learning curve, but my view is that Thinkific has done a good job making that curve as manageable as possible. Invest in earning your way up it, and you will reap the benefits.
And, if you are Already comfortable using other Web content systems — such as, for another course platform, WordPress or instance — I believe that you will find working in Thinkific to be a breeze.
The logic, overall Of putting together a course at Thinkific makes complete sense from my standpoint. After selecting”New Course,” picking your path type, naming it (which you may change at any stage ), and saving it, you add”Chapters” (or modify ones already in the template) to produce the structure of the program. As noted above, if you don’t like the term”Chapters,” you can change it to whatever you would like.
You fill the Chapters with articles in a way. There are 11 choices:
- Video lessons — Upload a movie 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 is not a registered user of your site.)
- Quiz lessons — Create a quiz for the students. (More info on quizzes below)
- Multimedia lessons — This can be a way to link out to articles not hosted on Thinkific and make it an integrated part of your course. Some of the possibilities include:
- Webinar tools (supply 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 about that below)
- Text lessons — Combine text, pictures, videos, etc. into a single lesson. This is basically the equivalent to”Text & Media” Site Builder option discussed above.
- Research lessons — Gather by building a brief poll in Thinkific.
- PDF lessons.
- Disqus lessons Disqus discussion boards to your program. (Note: there’s also a discussion option built into Thinkific which you may turn off or on under Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio classes — Upload a sound file.
- Downloads resources.
- Presentation classes — synchronize a demonstration as a PDF document and record sound for each slide.
- Classes — Include a Brillium examination on your course. (A Brillium license is distinct from Thinkific and starts at $49 a month. More about that below.)
The aforementioned Choices Will find the job done for all but the edupreneurs. The primary places they fall short is in
- Supplying for branching scenarios — i.e., allowing learners to move down different paths based on their performances from the course or information you gather about them and
- Like learning games, inserting interactive elements.
If those are Options you truly want, you’d 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 Hosting Platforms
Use of Articulate and Captivate in Thinkific
Many course Founders will be content with using the resources in Thinkific to make classes, but some might prefer the option of producing their courses with third-party e-learning class creation software such as Articulate Storyline or even Adobe Captivate.
Basically, using a Third-party tool is an alternative to seriously consider if you (a) currently have a substantial number of courses built out in one of these applications (in which you probably don’t need to have to re-create them using Thinkific course production tools), and/or (b) you expect developing a substantial catalogue of courses with a comparatively long”shelf life” — in which case you might not want your classes locked to a particular shipping stage.
These can be used by you 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 the rest of the platforms in its own class) hasn’t implemented SCORM, which stands to the Shareable Content Object Reference Model. There’s a lot to SCORM, but the principal thing for edupreneurs to understand is that it provides criteria for how an internet course can communicate with a learning platform to deliver it information like how long a student has spent in a course, or if particular parts of the class have been finished successfully. Thinkific tracks this type of data. (More about SCORM here.)
You Can’t Import an Articulate or Captivate course into Thinkific all on your own. These classes comprise of over one file (like, as an example, a video file), and to get them into the platform, you have to zip the files up and send them into Thinkific customer service.
The Features and How They Benefit You
An excellent Course building platform typically offers you the features you want from start to finish. This includes the promotion, the promotion, the training course construction, and also the management.
Systems such as Thinkific do not host classes on your own site. Your articles is actually hosted with Thinkific (so that you do not have to venture out and find your own hosting,) but it still gives you complete control on what your site looks like.
When compared to Systems like Udemy, Thinkific surely provides control that is branding and more freedom. Let’s explore a few of the standout attributes.
Outstanding Student Management and Communication Modules
Within my Thinkific review, I noticed that the smoothness of the pupil communication tools. It’s a visual pupil management area, together with pictures of your students, names, contact information, and information for how far they are in your course.
You have the Choice to send customized emails to each of those students or create a dialogue with the whole community. Course Hosting Platforms
Incentives are Also a part of this learning environment because Thinkific offers conclusion certificates, report cards, and needless to say, the mails for sending out just about whatever you want during courses.
Along with Unlimited replays of language controllers course material, pupils, and cellular optimization working with the Thinkific platform should feel.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Section of this Reason Thinkific looks so great in contrast to this rivalry is that of its course designer. You don’t need to mess with any code if you don’t want to.
In fact, all of Your content is organized with an easy drag and drop editor, where you stack the class content and move it around .
Speaking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of media types. By PDFs to sound files, and polls to quizzes, the platform is fantastic for offering up a wide assortment of learning resources for the students.
As we mentioned Every one of these files are hosted on the Thinkific servers. You shouldn’t need to worry much about a file being too big or running slowly in your servers that are shared.
When you customize Your course site it features some useful editing tools for the beginners on the market. For instance, you can correct items such as banners, color schemes, and logos, all without touching any code.
However, the more Advanced programmers have complete control over the HTML and CSS. So, if you would like to make your site unique, the option 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 your course exists to begin earning money.
Thinkific does It the way, with promotional and marketing instruments built into the program. A lot of this is automated also. So, if you want to trickle articles to your students–where particular courses would be released over time–Thinkific has this operation. Course Hosting Platforms
Furthermore, you Have the ability and send emails out based on a schedule. Pricing is done through Thinkific, in addition to the choice to get paid immediately when someone signs up on your program.
As for getting People outside of your site try it out, Thinkific includes an online affiliate marketing program to reward bloggers and people who recommend your course. Coupons can also be supplied through Thinkific, giving a opportunity to create advertisements and convince novices your class is worth investing in to you.
Everything from Coupons to affiliates is monitored right in the dashboard, and you can join Facebook, your Adwords, and other social reports to determine where students are coming from.
Managing, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from One of the reasons for using a technical online course platform is that it makes handling and tracking your users and their information a lot easier.
Communication with Learners
Along with Assisting you to organize your learners, Thinkific also enables a number of ways for them to give feedback on the program and for you to communicate with your students. Course Hosting Platforms
As noted, For instance, you can enable discussion to your courses and manage your students gifts under Support Your Students Discussions, where you can sort discussions by course, react to students, and — if needed –“Disapprove” gifts which you don’t want to appear in the program. (Note: Letting discussions is currently an all or nothing option in Thinkific — i.e., either all classes have it or no courses have it. The workaround for this would be to use the Disqus option on a course-by-course foundation )
You can also Allow your student to submit reviews for your courses. You then have the ability to approve these testimonials (they aren’t printed automatically) and use them as social evidence on your earnings page for your course. Unlike talks, this attribute can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
There are A number of notifications that could be enabled or disabled at the Thinkific platform, a few of which can be customized. You can, for example, send students a customized message when they register for your website, enroll in a particular course, or complete a course. You can also send 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 website, Thinkific captures all their key contact data (e.g., first name, last name, e-mail) and utilizing custom log-in fields (under Settings > Programs & accounts) you can easily add areas to capture whatever special information you desire from the own users. (Note that, unlike platforms like Udemy, you receive full access to the user information you collect.)
You can also Organize users into groups. This feature may have a large impact on your business model by making it possible for you to market courses in bulk among the greatest ways for course vendors to induce significant revenue growth.
You, using groups Can also arrange your learners by business, or cohort, time, registration, job-type, or other variables, which makes it feasible also to enhance your marketing going and to monitor the efficacy of your own offerings. (Note: Use of the Groups attribute requires a Guru program license with the Development Add-on.) Discover More about the Thinkific Groups performance Course Hosting Platforms
Tracking and Reporting
A key motive to Have a online class platform — as opposed, for instance, to posting content supporting a password on a Web site — is it will track quiz and survey data as well as things like completion and course progress.
Thinkific’s Progress tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) enables you to pick a particular student and track numerous variables for every course in which the pupil is enrolled. For each class you may see:
- Percentage of Course of Viewed
- Percentage of Course Completed
- Student Name
- Student Email
- Course Completed in (date)
- Course Launched at (date)
- Course Activated at (date)
- Last sign (date)
I like this you If you’re adding new lessons May also choose to reset a student’s completion percentage for instance,, at any moment.
Overall, the Course reporting is rather basic, but I guess it’ll serve the demands of the majority of course entrepreneurs.
Unlike 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 contains the responses from all students who have taken a survey a quiz e-mail address, together with their title, and when they shot it. For quizzes, it also provides the number and percentage of questions the student got right.
Overall, reporting For both courses and quizzes/surveys is one of the regions in which the Thinkific system could be stronger. In fairness, this has a tendency to be true for much of the all the platforms . Over time, it would be possible to get quiz/survey data and course completion . Even better, it might be great to have the ability to see a student transcript that displays hours related to a program, any credit earned (not currently captured at all in Thinkific), along with a link to download the certificate associated with the course. Course Hosting Platforms
What Thinkific is currently Missing
Anyone who has Been working in the e-learning industry for the past few years (as I have) will understand that Thinkific offers a remarkable range of features at a very reasonable price. It was not long ago a system with those capacities may have easily cost thousands of dollars.
With that in mind, It is really hard to assert that Thinkific is”missing” much. Still, there are gaps which can rule it out and all of these tend to be openings which are characteristic of this class of platforms. The main ones I see are:
No support for xAPI/TinCan or SCORM
As noted above, While Thinkific may host and deliver courses created in common authoring tools like Articulate and Captivate, it doesn’t actually take advantage of the SCORM (or xAPI/TInCan) packaging capacities of these programs. If you have a robust and legitimate reason for using one of the major e-learning criteria, then Thinkific might not be the way to go.
Like I Are areas which are not served well by programs that are in Thinkific’s class. To acquire a platform which supports all three means a beginning price point than Thinkific — and it could go a lot from that point . Be sure these are openings for you before judgment 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 total amount of continuing education. While There Might Be work-arounds, for most course suppliers that focus on providing continuing education credit, this will be a Substantial barrier to using Thinkific, Course Hosting Platforms
No multi-tenancy option
Multi-tenancy Means that you handle and can create multiple instances of a platform. This can be handy if, for example, you’re a training company with many corporate clients and those clients want their branded example of the platform for handling and serving their own users. While the Group performance in Thinkific makes you part of the way there, it is not the same thing as multi-tenancy.
Although I To discover an online course platform that has hidden charges, 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 plan for people who want to test the platform but not get bogged down by constraints. In theory, it makes it possible to start building a pupil base without needing to pay a dime and start your shop. There’s also a free trial if you give one of the more advanced plans a whirl.
The pricing is Divided into four simple strategies:
Starter — $0 to all core Thinkific features. This plan has a high 10% transaction fee, everything you want to create, market, and market unlimited courses your classes, class upsells, content hosting integrations support, and immediate access to all capital.
Essentials — For $49 per month you receive all core and starter features, together with a 5 percent transaction fee, promotions and coupons, monthly subscriptions, class packages, intermediate integrations, basic Zapier, drip content, affiliate reporting, a bulk student emailer, custom domain, and additional course prices. Course Hosting Platforms
Business — For $99 a month you receive the attributes from all prior plans, no transaction fees, completion certificates, personal and hidden courses, website white tagging, a host storyline, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, innovative HTML/CSS editing, priority service, instructor payout reporting, an onboarding telephone, payment plans, and an immediate Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 per month you receive all features from prior plans, no transaction fees, one sign-on (SSO), three site admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding professional, onboarding bundle, public API, innovative integrations, and advanced Zapier.
Thinkific has some Benefits to its pricing design. Not only are you able to start your course for free (something that is not offered with competitors like Teachable,) however, the additional three plans are broken down into a logical manner.
After all Most likely do not need API accessibility until you start becoming advanced with your path promoting.
I wouldn’t mind Seeing the HTML editing as well as the completion certificates but $99 a month isn’t that bad.
As you can see, The transaction prices are 10% for the plan. That’s high, but it creates an excellent atmosphere for individuals who do not have the upfront capital or anyone with low volume. Once you start making money that trade fee can be reduce by you.
You can By paying an yearly basis, Save money. If you cover it all upfront, so, the snowball strategy goes down to $39 per month. The company plan is $79 a month and the Advanced plan is 219. That makes the pricing plans rather much like Teachable.
I will finish this Thinkific review at which I started: this really is. Hopefully it is evident by now that it offers a complete range of the most vital features to support your average edupreneur in selling classes.
I think it is Important to replicate as I wrap up that Thinkific is a company with a great deal of momentum. This is not a trivial point: the market for online class platforms like Thinkific is noisy and crowded. You can be certain that a lot is going to undoubtedly be gone. I’m convinced that Thinkific will be around, and the company is obviously growing and continually investing to improve its own platform. Course Hosting Platforms