Background Free Online Classroom Platforms
If You’re currently promoting Or even thinking about selling classes, you don’t need to do much hunting to think of a Thinkific review. There are plenty of Thinkific testimonials on the market. The main difference that this one offers is It Is written by someone with: Free Online Classroom Platforms
- More than 20 years expertise in the e-learning Business, with a specific focus on businesses that sell schooling (compared to, by Way of Example, corporate training departments, That Don’t have to convince their learners to buy)
- Extensive experience designing, developing, and executing online course platforms (I was the founder and CEO of an e-learning platform and course development company.)
- More than a decade of experience monitoring and researching online course platforms and helping organizations and individuals pick the right platform for selling classes
I have been Monitoring Thinkific and other providers which have emerged in the previous years as a new class of online course platforms. These are platforms that are more user-friendly and less costly or LMSes. They are a blessing for solo edupreneurs and small businesses that are looking to enter the course business. As time passes, I believe they have potential to disrupt the learning management system marketplace.
Having said That, let us get started.
Building and Presence Your Online Course Web Site
Any classes you Market need to”live” somewhere, and ideally that somewhere provides an appealing, user friendly to your students and potential students. Since the introduction of its Site Builder capacities Thinkific is definitely up to the job. Free Online Classroom Platforms
Using Site Builder — which is only a part of the admin board for the stage — you now have the ability to prepare an attractive 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, as an example, install your own style sheets (CSS) — you do get very excellent capabilities for modifying branding elements like font and colors styles and you can upload just about any type of images or media you’d want to use.
Site Builder Comes with three topics to choose from, and there are variations for each of these topics. (The company says more themes are part of the upcoming development program.) Additionally, there are a selection of pre-fab”segments” you are able to insert and change on any webpage to provide for matters like social proof (e.g. customer quotations or”as seen on” logos), calls to action, count down timer, and pricing options — essentially, all the critical tools you need for conducting a successful path or membership website. There is also a blank slate”media & Text” section that may be used to create pretty much anything you desire.
As is the case With more or less any content management system, it took a while to figure out the way to do some basic things like delete sections (the topics offer a house page pre-populated with segments ) and add custom pages to the website menu. But service was readily available for them. Thinkific has a solid support website on which you can search for help, but I tend to just use a Google search together with the phrase”Thinkific” to discover whatever I want (e.g.,”create custom site pages Thinkific”). I’ve yet to not find decent support using this method, whether to the Thinkific website or from another user.
Some added Features to notice:
- Customized URL (under Settings > Site) — By default, you are assigned a thinkific.com address — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. Having a paid program (beginning at $49 a month for Basic) you can find a custom URL
- SSL (Under Settings > Site) — With any strategy you have the option to turn on SSL (secure socket layer), a best practice for virtually any Web site these days. (Google smiles on this)
- White labeling (below Settings > Website )– By jumping up to a Pro Plan ($99 per month) with the Development Add-on ($.10 per busy student/per month) you can quickly get rid of the”Powered by Thinkific” language on your site and courses.
- Text Dimensions (under 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. For instance, Thinkific uses”Chapters” as the tag for parts of a course. You might like to change this to”Lessons.” Free Online Classroom Platforms
Thus, you may be asking,”Can I use Thinkific for the main Web site?”
For edupreneurs That are just starting off and don’t already have an Internet presence the response is an emphatic”yes.” Utilizing Thinkific is a good way to take a big item off of your”to do” list (i.e.,”figure out how to get an adequate Web site setup”) and focus on creating and launching your classes. It is possible to worry about a more complicated Web site after.
If you already Have a Web site, however — particularly on a fuller-featured content management system like WordPress — I wouldn’t recommend relying on Thinkific (or some other course platform) to your main Web site. Site Builder is great for what it does — and can create a great course website to match your main site — but finally it’s relatively restricted. Some of the key current limitations include:
- All motifs are single pillar. So, for instance, you can’t put e-mail sign-up forms, promotions for class, or other items down the left or right side of your site.
- As mentioned, you can not apply your own CSS (cascading style sheets), largely a limitation in the event that you really want to reflect the branding of an existing Web website.
- There is no control on search engine optimization settings on Internet pages — e.g., you can not define the title tags or meta tag descriptions. You , however, do so on course landing pages, which is possibly more significant for the average edupreneur.
- Thinkific lacks the wealth of plug-ins and the broad network of seasoned contractors that are available to support platforms like WordPress.
Regardless of those Limitations, Site Builder is likely to do the job well for most edupreneurs and is a little better than what most online course platforms supply.
Creating Online Courses with Thinkific
While you Definitely need to have an attractive, user-friendly site to house your classes, the courses 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 track builders searching for help with how to arrange their content. The templates cover the assortment of standard scenarios you would be likely to think about for offering an educational item. These are:
- Blank — Start fresh and build your own course to match your particular curriculum needs.
- Mini-course — Use a free or low-cost mini-course to generate prospects for a full flagship program or assistance.
- Flagship Course — Construct a complete online course employing a strong curriculum outline created with best practices in mind.
- Pre-sell — Produce a pre-sell landing page and start building a waitlist to judge interest in your program.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable files in an internet course to generate revenue or collect email addresses.
- Membership Resource Library — Host downloadable resources to be included in a membership bundle with this template.
- Webinar Replay — Host your webinar replay video to permit registrants to review your presentation and provide.
All these can Be modified broadly — you can change the content from the sections which are provided, delete sections, or add new segments to arrive at the approach that is ideal for your content. All throughout the process, Thinkific supplies”smart mentor course building hints” to help you. (I found these helpful, but they can be easily turned off, should you would like.) Free Online Classroom 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 it up, and you will reap the rewards.
And, in case You’re Comfortable using other Internet content programs — like, by way of example, WordPress or a different course platform — I think you will find operating in Thinkific to be a breeze.
Overall, the logic Of putting together a class in Thinkific makes complete sense in my perspective. After choosing”New Course,” choosing your course type, naming it (which you can change at any stage ), and saving it, you add”Chapters” (or change ones in the template) to produce the structure of the course. As mentioned above, if you do not like the expression”Chapters,” you can change it to anything you prefer.
You fill the Chapters with articles in a way. There are 11 options:
- Video classes — Upload a video file. (This gets stored in a movie library for re-use in other classes. Videos stored in this library are protected from access by anyone who isn’t a registered user of your site.)
- Classes — Create a quiz for your students. (More information on quizzes under )
- 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 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 files (Requires Professional or Enterprise license. More about that below)
- Text lessons — Combine text, images, videos, etc. into a single lesson. This is basically the equivalent to”Text and Media” Website Builder option mentioned previously.
- Survey lessons — Collect by building a brief poll in Thinkific.
- PDF classes.
- Disqus lessons Disqus discussion boards to your course. (Note: there is also a discussion option built into Thinkific that you may turn on or off under Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio classes — Upload a sound file.
- Downloads — Include resources available for downloading from inside the course player.
- Demo classes — synchronize a presentation as a PDF file and record sound for each slide.
- Classes — Contain a Brillium examination in your program. (A Brillium license is separate from Thinkific and begins at $49 per month. More on this below.)
The aforementioned Choices Will find the work done for all but the 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 from the course or information you collect about them and
- Like learning games, Adding components.
If those are Options you truly want, you would be better off using a full size course authoring tool like iSpring or Articulate Storyline (see more about these types of programs here). Free Online Classroom Platforms
Use of Articulate and Captivate in Thinkific
Many course Founders will be perfectly 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 course creation software like Articulate Storyline or even Adobe Captivate.
Basically, using a Third-party tool is an alternative to seriously consider if you (a) already have a substantial number of courses built out in these tools (in which you probably don’t need to need to re-create them utilizing Thinkific course creation tools), or (b) you anticipate developing a significant catalogue of courses with a relatively long”shelf life” — in which case you might not wish your courses locked into a specific shipping stage.
These can be used by you Types of tools with Thinkific — Articulate Storyline and Captivate are supported — but there are some limitations you should be aware of if you go this path.
First, Thinkific (like all other platforms in its class) has not 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 internet course can communicate with a learning platform to send it data like how much time a student has spent in a course, or if specific areas of the course have been completed successfully. Thinkific monitors this kind of data. (More about SCORM here.)
Second, you cannot Import an Captivate or Articulate route into Thinkific on your own. These classes are made up of over a single file (like, for example, a video file), and to get them into the platform, you have to zip up the files and send them to Thinkific customer support.
The Features and How They Benefit You
A great Online course construction platform offers the features you need from start to finish to you. This includes the management, the marketing, the promotion, and the training course construction.
Systems like Thinkific don’t host classes . Your content is actually hosted with Thinkific (so that you don’t have to go out and find your personal hosting,) but it gives you complete control on what your website looks like.
When compared to Systems like Udemy, Thinkific surely provides control that is branding and more freedom. Let us explore some of the standout features.
Outstanding Student Management and Communication Modules
During my Thinkific review, I noticed that the smoothness of the student communication tools. It is a visual pupil management area, together with pictures of your pupils, titles, contact information, and details for how far they’re in your course.
You’ve got the Choice create a dialogue with the community or to send customized emails. Free Online Classroom Platforms
Incentives are Also part of the learning environment since Thinkific offers conclusion certificates, report cards, and throughout classes, the emails for sending out just about anything you want of course.
Along with Replays of course material, speech controllers, and optimization, pupils working together with the Thinkific platform should feel right at home.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Section of this Motive Thinkific looks great compared to the competition is that of its class designer. You do not have to mess with any code if you don’t want to.
In fact, all of Your content is coordinated with an easy drag and drop editor, in which you move it around vertically and pile the course content.
Speaking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of media forms. From PDFs to sound files, and polls to quizzes, the platform is fantastic for offering up a wide assortment of learning resources for your students.
As we mentioned Before, all of these documents are hosted on the Thinkific servers. You should not need to worry about a file running slowly on your servers that are shared or being too large.
When you personalize Your course website it offers some handy editing tools for the novices on the market. You can adjust items such as color schemes banners, and logos, all without touching any code.
However, the further Advanced developers have complete control over the HTML and CSS. Consequently, 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 since there’s no way to start earning money unless people understand that your path exists.
Thinkific does It the right way, with promotional and marketing instruments built into the app. A lot of this is automatic as well. So, if you’d like to drip articles to your students–in which courses would be released over the years –Thinkific has this operation. Free Online Classroom Platforms
Furthermore, you Have the ability to target the ideal people and send emails that are automatic based on a schedule. Pricing can be done through Thinkific, in addition to the option to become paid instantly when somebody signs up on your course.
In Terms of getting It is tried by people outside of your site out, Thinkific comes with an online affiliate marketing program to benefit bloggers. Coupons are also provided through Thinkific, giving you a opportunity to create advertisements with specials and convince newcomers your course is well worth investing in.
Everything from Vouchers to affiliates is tracked directly in the dashboard, and you could link your Adwords, Facebook, and other accounts where students are coming out of to see.
Managing, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from One of the reasons for using a online class platform is that it makes handling and monitoring your users and their data a lot more easy.
Communication with Learners
In addition to Assisting you to arrange your students, Thinkific also enables a number of ways also for them to give comments and that you communicate with your learners. Free Online Classroom Platforms
As already noted, For instance, you can enable discussion to your courses and then manage your students gifts under Support Your Students Discussions, where it is possible to sort talks by course, respond to pupils, and — if desired –“Disapprove” gifts which you don’t want to show up in the program. (Note: Letting discussions is now a nothing choice in Thinkific — i.e., either all courses have it or no classes have it. The workaround for this would be to use the Disqus option on a course-by-course basis.)
You can also Allow your student. Then you have the capability to approve these testimonials (they aren’t printed automatically) and use them as social evidence on your sales page for the program. Unlike talks, this feature can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
Ultimately, there are A number of notifications that can be disabled or enabled at the Thinkific platform, some of which can be personalized. You can send students a customized message when they register for your website, register in a course, or finish a program. It is also possible to send out weekly reminder messages. (Note: Reminders are site-wide, not course-specific.)
Managing and Organizing Learners
To start with, When a user signs up in your site, Thinkific captures all of their key contact data (e.g., first name, last name, e-mail) and using custom log-in fields (under Settings > Programs & accounts) you can easily add areas to capture whatever specific information you want from the users. (Notice that, unlike platforms like Udemy, you receive complete access to the user data you collect.)
You can also Organize users into classes. This apparently simple feature may have a big effect on your business model by making it possible for you to sell classes in bulk to associations — among the greatest ways for online course vendors to induce revenue growth that is major .
Using classes, you May also easily organize your learners by cohort, time, registration, job-type, or business, or other variables, making it feasible to monitor the effectiveness of your offerings and also to refine your marketing. (Note: use of the Groups feature requires a Pro program license with the Development Add-on.) Discover More about the Thinkific Groups functionality Free Online Classroom Platforms
Tracking and Reporting
A reason to Have a specialized course platform — to just posting articles supporting a password on a Web site instead, by way of example — is that it will track things like path progress and conclusion as well as quiz and survey data.
Thinkific’s Progress tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) enables you to pick a specific student and monitor numerous factors for every class in which the student is enrolled. For each course 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 (date)
I enjoy that you If you’re adding new classes May choose to reset a student’s completion percentage for instance,, at any moment.
Overall, the Course coverage is rather basic, but I guess it’ll serve the needs of the majority of course entrepreneurs.
Unlike the Program Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported into a .CSV file (instead of displayed on display ) and emailed to you. The .csv document contains the answers from all students who have taken a questionnaire a quiz e-mail address, along with their name, and if they shot it. For quizzes, it also supplies percentage and the amount of questions the student got correct.
Overall, reporting For both quizzes/surveys and courses is one of the main regions where the Thinkific system could be more powerful. In fairness, this has a tendency to be true for pretty much of the all the platforms . Over time, it might be possible to access quiz/survey data and course conclusion through a single Web interface. Even better, it would be great to have the ability to view a student transcript that shows hours related to a program, any credit earned (not now captured at all at Thinkific), along with a link to download the certificate related to the course. Free Online Classroom Platforms
What Thinkific is Missing
Anyone who has Been working in the e-learning sector for the past few years (as I have) will understand that Thinkific offers a remarkable range of features at a really reasonable price. It was not long ago a system with these 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 that can rule it out and these tend to be. The main ones I find are:
No support for SCORM or xAPI/TinCan
As mentioned previously, While Thinkific can host and deliver courses created in shared authoring tools such as Articulate and Captivate, it does not actually take advantage of the SCORM (or xAPI/TInCan) packaging capacities of these programs. If you’ve got a reason for using one of the major standards, Thinkific might not be the way to go.
Like I Are areas which are not served by platforms that are in Thinkific’s course. To get a platform that supports all three generally means a starting price point than Thinkific — and it can go far from there . Be sure that these are gaps for you before ruling out Thinkific.
No continuing education credit capabilities
While you can Indicate the estimated number of hours for completing a class in Thinkific, you can’t specify the total amount of education accessible for a course. While There Might Be work-arounds, for most course suppliers that focus on providing continuing education credit, this will be a significant barrier to using Thinkific, Free Online Classroom Platforms
No multi-tenancy option
Multi-tenancy Means that you manage and can make a number of instances of a stage under one umbrella. This can be very handy if, as an instance, you’re a training company that has many corporate clients and those customers want their own branded example of the platform for serving and managing their own users. While the Group performance in Thinkific gets you part of the way there, it is not the exact same thing as multi-tenancy.
Although I have yet To discover an internet course platform that has hidden charges, Thinkific advertises that it also has no hidden charges or contracts. That is good to know, but nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does provide a free program for people who wish to test the stage but not get bogged down from constraints. In theory, it helps you start building a pupil base and start your store. There is also a free trial if you would rather give a whirl to one of the plans.
The pricing is Divided into four easy plans:
Starter — $0 to many core Thinkific features. This strategy has a high 10% transaction fee, all you need to create, market, and sell your courses, infinite courses, class upsells, content hosting integrations, Stripe/PayPal support, and immediate access to all capital.
Basics — For $49 a month you receive all core and newcomer features, along with a 5% transaction fee, coupons and promotions, monthly subscriptions, course packages, intermediate integrations, fundamental Zapier, trickle articles, affiliate coverage, a majority student emailer, customized domain, along with extra course rates. Free Online Classroom Platforms
Business — For $99 a month you receive the features from all prior programs, no transaction fees, completion certificates, private and concealed classes, site white labeling, a host narrative, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, advanced HTML/CSS editing, priority support, instructor payout coverage, an onboarding telephone, payment strategies, along with an immediate Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 per month you receive all features from prior programs, no transaction fees, a single sign-on (SSO), three site admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding specialist, onboarding package, people API, advanced integrations, and advanced Zapier.
Thinkific has some Great advantages to its pricing design. Not only are you able to start your course at no cost (something that is not offered with competitions such as Teachable,) but the extra 3 plans are broken down into a logical fashion.
After all, you Most likely do not need API access until you start becoming advanced with your course selling.
I would not mind Seeing the completion certificates as well as the HTML editing however $99 a month still isn’t that bad.
As you can see, The transaction fees are 10% for the plan. That’s large, but it creates an superb environment for people who don’t have the capital to start a professional online shop or anyone who have low quantity now. As soon as you start making money that transaction fee can be cut down by you.
Last, you can By paying on an annual basis, also save money. If you cover it all upfront, the Essentials plan goes to $39 per month. The Business plan is $79 per month and the Advanced plan is 219. This makes the pricing programs quite similar to Teachable.
I will finish this Thinkific review at which I began: this really is a platform I recommend. Hopefully it is clear by now that it offers a range of the characteristics to support your average edupreneur in selling courses that are online.
I think it is also Important to replicate as I wrap up that Thinkific is a business with a lot of momentum. This is certainly not a point: the market for online class platforms such as Thinkific is crowded and noisy. You can be certain that a lot will be gone. I feel convinced that Thinkific will be around, and the organization is clearly growing and always investing to improve its own platform. Free Online Classroom Platforms