Background Ecourse Software
If You’re selling Or considering selling classes, you don’t need to do much hunting to think of a Thinkific review. There are loads of Thinkific testimonials on the market. The main difference that this one provides is that it is written by someone with: Ecourse Software
- Over 20 years experience in the e-learning industry, with a specific focus on companies that sell education (as opposed to, by Way of Example, corporate training departments, That Don’t have to convince their learners to buy)
- 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 monitoring and exploring online class platforms and helping organizations and individuals pick the right platform for selling courses
I have been closely Tracking Thinkific and other providers that have emerged as a new type of course platforms in the past decades. These are platforms that LMSes, or are less expensive and much more user friendly than learning management systems. They’re a blessing for solo edupreneurs and companies that are looking to enter the online course business. As time passes, I believe they have real potential to interrupt the learning management system marketplace that is conventional.
Having said All that, let us get started.
Building and Branding Your Online Course Web Site
Any classes you Sell have to”live” somewhere, and that somewhere supplies an attractive, user friendly to your students and prospective students. Since the introduction of its Site Builder capacities earlier this season, Thinkific is definitely up to the job. Ecourse Software
Using Site Builder — that is only a part of the admin panel for the platform — you have the ability to set up 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 ). Despite the fact that you do not have complete control — you can’t, for instance, install your own style sheets (CSS) — you can get really good capabilities for changing branding elements like colors and font styles and you can upload pretty much any kind of pictures or media you’d like to use.
Site Builder Currently comes with three themes and there are variations for each one of these themes. (The company says more themes are part of their future development plan.) Additionally, there are a range of pre-fab”sections” that you can add and modify on any page to provide for things like social evidence (e.g. customer quotes or”as seen on” logos), calls for action, count down timer, and pricing options — basically, all the essential tools you need for running a successful course or membership website. There’s also a blank slate”media & Text” section which may be used to make pretty much whatever you want.
As is the case With just about any content management system, it took me a while to figure out the way to do some basic things like delete sections (the topics provide a home page pre-populated with sections) and add custom pages to the website menu. However support was readily available for them. Thinkific includes a solid support website on which you can search for help, but I often just use a Google search along with the word”Thinkific” to discover whatever I want (e.g.,”create custom site pages Thinkific”). I’ve yet to not find good support by doing this, whether on the Thinkific site or from a different user.
Some added Features to note:
- Custom URL (under Settings > Site) — By default, you are assigned a thinkific.com address — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. With a paid program (beginning at $49 per month for Basic) you can find a custom URL
- SSL (Under Settings > Site) — With any plan 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 labeling (below Settings > Site)– By jumping up to a Guru Plan ($99 a month) with the Development Add-on ($.10 per busy student/per month) you can quickly get rid of the”Powered by Thinkific” language on your website and courses.
- Text Dimensions (under Settings > Learning Content and several different areas) — You can change a great deal of the default language which is used in navigation and other areas. For instance, Thinkific uses”Chapters” because the label for parts of a program. You might like to change this to”Lessons” Ecourse Software
Thus, you may be asking,”Could I use Thinkific for the primary Web site?”
For edupreneurs That are just starting off and do not 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 get a decent Web site set up”) and focus on creating and launch your courses. It is possible to worry about a more sophisticated Web site after.
If you already Have an Internet site, though — particularly on a fuller-featured content management system such as WordPress — I would not suggest relying on Thinkific (or some other route platform) for your main Internet website. Website Builder is fantastic for what it does — and can create a great course website to match your main Web site — but ultimately it’s relatively limited. Some of the key current constraints include:
- All motifs are column. So, as an example, you can’t put e-mail sign-up types, promotions for course, or other items down the left or right side of your website.
- As mentioned, you can not apply your own CSS (cascading style sheets), largely a limitation if you really wish to reflect the branding of an existing Web site.
- There is absolutely no control on search engine optimization configurations on Web pages — e.g., you can not define the name tags or meta descriptions. You , however, do so on track landing pages, which is arguably more important for the average edupreneur.
- Thinkific lacks the abundance of plug-ins along with the extensive network of experienced contractors who are available to encourage platforms such as WordPress.
Regardless of those Limits, Site Builder is likely to do the job well for most edupreneurs and is a bit 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 classes, the courses themselves are the main attraction. As you may expect, this is a place where Thinkific really shines.
To Begin with, the Platform provides a range of pre-configured templates that may be quite useful to track builders searching for help with how to arrange their content. The templates cover the range of standard scenarios you’d be prone to consider for offering an educational product. These are:
- Blank — Start new and construct your own course to meet your particular curriculum needs.
- Mini-course — Use a low-cost or free mini-course to create prospects for a full flagship program or assistance.
- Flagship Course — Build a complete online course employing a strong curriculum outline made using best practices in your mind.
- Pre-sell — Create a pre-sell landing page and start constructing a waitlist to judge interest on your program.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable files in an online course to create revenue or collect email addresses.
- Membership Resource Library — Host downloadable tools to be included in a membership bundle with this template.
- Webinar Replay — Host your webinar replay video to permit registrants to assess your presentation and provide.
All these can Be modified extensively — you can alter the content from the sections which are supplied, delete sections, or insert new sections to arrive at the approach that is right for your content. All throughout the procedure, Thinkific provides”smart mentor course construction hints” to assist you. (I found them useful, but they can be easily turned off, should you would like.) Ecourse Software
In Case You Have zero Experience working with Web content, there’ll 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 making your way up it, and you’ll reap the rewards.
And You’re Already comfortable using other Web content systems — like, for a different program platform, WordPress or example — I believe that you will find operating in Thinkific for a breeze.
Overall, the logic A class at Thinkific makes complete sense in my standpoint. 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 already in the template) to produce the structure of this course. As noted above, if you don’t like the term”Chapters,” you can change it to anything you would like.
You fill the Chapters with content in a way very similar to the way I described using Site Builder above. There are 11 choices:
- Video lessons — Upload a 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 is not a registered user of your website.)
- Lessons — Create a quiz for your students. (More info on quizzes under )
- Multimedia lessons — This is a means to link out to content not hosted on Thinkific and also make it an integrated part of your program. A Few of the possibilities include:
- Webinar tools (provide the URL to some live Zoom session, by Way of Example )
- Surveys (e.g. Typeform)
- Appointment booking tools (e.g. Calendly)
- Presentations (e.g. Prezi)
- Google Docs
- Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate files (Requires Professional or Enterprise license. More on this below)
- Text classes — Combine text, images, videos, etc. into one lesson. This is basically the equivalent to”Text and Media” Site Builder option discussed previously.
- Research lessons — Gather information/feedback from your students by building a survey in Thinkific.
- PDF lessons — Upload a PDF file to be viewed within the course participant.
- Disqus lessons Disqus discussion boards to your program. (Note: there is also a discussion alternative built into Thinkific which you can turn on or off beneath Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio classes — Upload an audio file.
- Downloads resources.
- Demo lessons — Upload a presentation as a PDF document and record audio for each slide.
- Exam lessons — Include a Brillium examination in your course. (A Brillium license is distinct from Thinkific and starts at $49 a month. More on this below.)
The above Choices Will find the job completed for all but the most complex edupreneurs. The primary 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 information you collect about them and
- Like studying games, inserting components.
If those are Choices you truly want, you would be better off with a full-blown course authoring tool like iSpring or Articulate Storyline (see more about these types of tools here). Ecourse Software
Use of Articulate and Captivate at Thinkific
Many course Founders will be content with using the resources in Thinkific to make classes, but some might prefer the option of creating their courses with third-party e-learning course creation software such as Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate.
Basically, using a Third-party tool is an alternative to seriously consider if you (a) already have a significant number of courses built out in these tools (in which you case you probably don’t want to have to re-create them utilizing Thinkific course creation tools), or (b) you anticipate developing a significant catalog of lessons with a relatively long”shelf life” — in which case you might not wish 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 some limitations you should be aware of if you go this route.
First, Thinkific (like all other platforms in its own course ) has not 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 online course can communicate with a learning platform to send it data like how long a student has invested in a course, or if specific areas of the course have been finished successfully. Thinkific monitors this kind of information using its own methods. (More about SCORM here.)
Second, you cannot Import an Captivate or Articulate course into Thinkific on your own. These courses are made up of over one file (like, as an example, 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 construction platform offers you. Including the teacher/student management, the promotion, the promotion, and the training course construction.
Systems like Thinkific don’t host courses on your own website. Your articles is really hosted with Thinkific (so that you don’t have to go outside and find your personal hosting,) but it gives you complete control over what your website looks like.
When compared to Systems like Udemy, Thinkific surely provides more freedom and branding management. Let us explore some of the other standout features.
Excellent Student Management and Communication Modules
Within my Thinkific review, I noticed the smoothness of the pupil communication tools. It’s a visual student management area, with pictures of your students, names, contact information, and information for how far they are on your program.
You’ve got the Choice create a dialogue or to send customized emails. Ecourse Software
Incentives are part of this learning environment since Thinkific offers report cards, completion certificates, and throughout classes, the emails for sending out just about whatever you want of course.
In addition to Infinite replays of speech controls course material, pupils, and optimisation working with the Thinkific platform should feel.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Section of the Motive Thinkific seems so great compared to the competition is that of its course designer. In case you don’t need to, you don’t need to mess with any code.
In Reality, all of Your content is coordinated with a simple drag and drop editor, where you pile the class content and move it around vertically.
Talking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of media types. From PDFs to audio files, and surveys to quizzes, the stage is fantastic for offering up a vast range of learning resources for the students.
As we mentioned All these files are hosted on the Thinkific servers. For this reason, you shouldn’t have to worry running slowly on your own shared servers or being too large.
When you customize Your course website it features some useful editing tools for the beginners on the market. As an example, you can correct items like color schemes banners, and logos without touching any code.
The more, however Advanced developers have full control over the HTML and CSS. So, if you would like 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 unless people know that your course exists, to begin making money.
Thinkific does It the right way, with marketing and promotional tools built into the program. A lot of this is automatic as well. Consequently, if you’d like to trickle content to your students Thinkific has this functionality. Ecourse Software
Furthermore, you Have the ability to target the ideal people and send out automated emails based on a program. Pricing can be done through Thinkific, along with the choice to become paid immediately when somebody signs up on your program.
As for becoming It is tried by people outside of your website to come out, Thinkific includes an affiliate marketing program to benefit bloggers and other men and women who recommend your course. Coupons are supplied through Thinkific, giving a opportunity to create advertisements with specials and convince novices that your class is well worth investing in to you.
Everything from Coupons to affiliates is monitored in the dashboard, and you could also link Facebook, your Adwords, and other social accounts to see where students are coming out of.
Handling, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from One of the key reasons for using a technical online course platform is that it creates monitoring and managing your users and their data a lot easier.
Communication with Learners
Along with Assisting you to arrange your students, Thinkific also enables a number of ways also for them to provide feedback and for you and your students to communicate. Ecourse Software
As noted, For example, you can empower discussion to your classes and then manage your pupils contributions under Support Your Students Discussions, where you can sort talks by course, respond to pupils, and — if desired –“Disapprove” contributions which you don’t wish to appear in the course. (Note: Letting talks is currently an all or nothing choice in Thinkific — i.e., either all courses have it or no courses have it. The workaround for this would be to utilize the Disqus option on a course-by-course foundation )
You can also Allow your student. You then have the capability to approve these reviews (they are not printed automatically) and utilize them as social proof on your earnings page to the course. Unlike discussions, this attribute can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
There are A number of notifications which could be enabled or disabled in the Thinkific platform, some of which can be personalized. You can, for instance, send a customized message if your website is registered for by them to pupils, enroll in a course, or finish a program. It is also possible to send reminder messages. (Note: Reminders are site-wide, not course-specific.)
Managing and Organizing Learners
To Begin with, When an individual signs up in your website, Thinkific captures all their key contact data (e.g., first name, last name, email ) and using custom log-in fields (under Settings > Programs & accounts) you can easily add fields to capture whatever specific information you desire from your users. (Note that, unlike programs such as Udemy, you get complete access to the user data you collect.)
You can also Organize users. This simple feature may have a large impact on your business model by making it feasible for you to sell classes in bulk to organizations — among the greatest ways for internet course vendors to drive revenue growth that is significant , in my experience.
Using groups May easily arrange your students by cohort, time, registration, job-type, or organization, or other variables, which makes it feasible to refine your marketing going forward and to track the efficacy of your own offerings with every group. (Note: use of the Groups feature requires a Pro plan license with the Growth Add-on.) Discover More about the Thinkific Groups functionality Ecourse Software
Tracking and Reporting
A key motive to Have a online course platform — to just posting articles supporting a password on a Web site instead, by way of instance — is it is going to monitor things like conclusion and path progress in addition to quiz and survey information.
Thinkific’s Progress tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) enables you to select a particular student and monitor a number of variables for every class in which the pupil is enrolled. For every 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 in (date)
I like this you If you are adding new lessons can also choose to reset a student’s completion percentage at any moment.
Overall, the Course reporting is rather basic, but I guess it will serve the needs of the majority of course entrepreneurs.
Unlike the Program Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported into a .CSV document (instead of displayed on display ) and e-mailed to you. The .csv document contains the responses from all students who have taken a questionnaire a quiz e-mail address, together with their title, and when they shot it. For quizzes, in addition, it provides percent and the amount .
Overall, reporting For both quizzes/surveys and courses is among the chief areas where the Thinkific system might be stronger. In fairness, this tends to be true for pretty much of the all of the platforms . Ideally, over time, it might be possible to get quiz/survey data and course completion . Even better, it would be good to be able to view a student transcript that displays hours related to a course, any credit earned (not currently captured at all in Thinkific), along with a URL to obtain the certificate related to the course. Ecourse Software
What Thinkific is currently Missing
Anyone who has Been working in the e-learning industry for the last couple of years (as I have) will realize that Thinkific provides a remarkable range of features at a very affordable price. It was not long ago that a system with these capacities could have easily cost thousands of dollars per year.
With that in mind, It is hard to assert that Thinkific is”missing” much. Nonetheless, there are gaps which will rule it out to a few course sellers — and these tend to be openings which are characteristic of the category of platforms. The main ones I see are:
No support for SCORM or xAPI/TinCan
As mentioned previously, While Thinkific may host and deliver courses created in shared authoring tools like Articulate and Captivate, it doesn’t really take advantage of the SCORM (or xAPI/TInCan) packaging capacities of these programs. If you’ve got a robust and valid reason for using one of the major standards, Thinkific would not be the thing to do.
Like I said, these Are areas which aren’t served by other platforms that are in Thinkific’s course. To get a platform that supports all three generally means a beginning price point than Thinkific — and it could go a lot from that point. Be sure these are openings for you before ruling out Thinkific.
No continuing education credit capabilities
While you can Indicate the variety of hours for completing a class in Thinkific, you can’t specify the amount of education available for a program. While there may be work-arounds, for many course providers that focus on providing continuing education credit, this will be a Substantial barrier to utilizing Thinkific, Ecourse Software
No multi-tenancy option
Multi-tenancy Means that you manage and can create a number of instances of a stage. This can be useful if you’re a training company with many corporate clients and those customers want their very own branded instance of this platform for managing and serving their own users. While the Group functionality in Thinkific gets you part of the way there, it is not the same matter as multi-tenancy.
Although I’ve yet To find an internet course platform which has hidden charges, Thinkific advertises it too has no hidden fees or contracts. That is good to know, but nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does provide a plan that is totally free for people who want to try the platform but not get bogged down by limitations. In theory, it helps you start building a pupil base without having to pay a dime and launch your shop. There is also a free trial if you give one of the plans a whirl.
The pricing is Broken up into four easy strategies:
Starter — $0 for all core Thinkific capabilities. This strategy has a top transaction fee, everything you want to make, promote, and market infinite courses your courses, class upsells, content hosting, basic integrations support, and instant access to all funds.
Essentials — For $49 a month you get all core and newcomer features, together with a 5% transaction fee, promotions and coupons, monthly subscriptions, course bundles, intermediate integrations, basic Zapier, drip content, affiliate reporting, a majority student emailer, custom domainname, and additional course prices. Ecourse Software
Business — For $99 per month you get the attributes from all prior plans, no transaction fees, completion certificates, personal and concealed courses, site white tagging, a host narrative, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, innovative HTML/CSS editing, priority service, instructor payout reporting, an onboarding call, payment strategies, along with a direct Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 a month you get all features from previous programs, no transaction fees, a single sign-on (SSO), three website admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding professional, onboarding package, public API, advanced integrations, and innovative Zapier.
Thinkific has some Advantages to its pricing design. 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 into a logical manner.
After all Most probably don’t need API access until you start getting advanced with your course promoting.
I wouldn’t mind Seeing the HTML editing as well as the completion certificates in the Essentials plan, but $99 per month still is bad.
As you can see, The transaction prices are 10% for the plan. That’s large, however, it creates an environment for people who don’t have the capital to launch a professional online store or those with low quantity. Once you start earning money you can cut that trade fee down.
You can Also save money. So, the Essentials plan goes down to $39 a month if you cover it all upfront. The Business plan is $79 per month and the Advanced plan is 219. This makes the pricing plans quite similar to Teachable.
I will finish this Thinkific review where I started: this is a stage I highly recommend. Hopefully it is clear by now that it offers a range of the most essential features to encourage your 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 definitely not a point: the marketplace for online course platforms such as Thinkific is crowded and noisy. You can be certain that a lot will be gone tomorrow. I’m convinced that Thinkific will be about, and the organization is clearly growing and always investing to boost its own platform. Ecourse Software