Background Free Platforms For Teaching Online Courses
If You’re promoting Or even considering selling classes, you do not have to do much hunting to think of a Thinkific review. There are plenty of Thinkific reviews on the market. The main difference this one provides is that it is written by someone with: Free Platforms For Teaching Online Courses
- Over 20 years expertise in the e-learning industry, with a specific focus on businesses that sell education (as opposed to, for example, corporate training departments, That Don’t have to convince their learners to purchase )
- Extensive experience designing, developing, and executing online course platforms (I was the founder and CEO of an e-learning platform and course development company.)
- Over a decade of experience tracking and exploring online course platforms and assisting organizations and individuals pick the Ideal platform for selling courses
I have been Tracking Thinkific and other suppliers which have emerged within the past decades as a new type of online course platforms. These are platforms that LMSes, or are more user-friendly and less expensive than conventional learning management methods. They are companies that are looking to get into the course enterprise and a true boon for solo edupreneurs. As time passes, I believe they have real potential to disrupt the learning management system market that is traditional.
Having said That, let us begin.
Building and Presence Your Online Course Web Site
Any classes you Sell have to”live” somewhere, and that somewhere supplies an appealing, user friendly for your students and prospective students. Since the introduction of its Site Builder capacities Thinkific is definitely up to the project. Free Platforms For Teaching Online Courses
Using Site Builder — that is simply part of the admin board to the stage — you now have the ability to prepare an appealing home page to your course website and create as many custom pages as you desire (e.g., to provide details about you and your other solutions ). Despite the fact that you do not have complete control — you can’t, as an instance, install your own style sheets (CSS) — you can possess really excellent capabilities for modifying branding components like font and colors styles and you can upload just about any type of images or media you would want to utilize.
Site Builder Comes with three topics to choose from, and there are numerous variations for each of these topics. (The company says more themes are part of their future growth program.) There are also a selection of pre-fab”sections” that you can insert and modify on any page to provide for matters like social proof (e.g. customer quotations or”as seen on” logos), calls for action, count down timer, and pricing choices — basically, all of the essential tools you need for running a successful path or membership website. There’s also a blank slate”media & Text” section that can be utilised to create 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 themes offer a house page pre-populated with segments ) and add custom pages to the website menu. But support has been readily available for these. Thinkific has a solid support website on which you are able to look for help, but I tend to only use a Google search together with the phrase”Thinkific” to find whatever I need (e.g.,”create custom site pages Thinkific”). I have yet to not find good support by doing this, whether to the Thinkific site or from another user.
Some additional Features to note:
- Customized URL (under Settings > Website ) — By default, you’re assigned a thinkific.com address — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. With a paid program (beginning at $49 per month for Fundamental ) 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 virtually any Web site these days. (Google smiles on this)
- White tagging (below Settings > Website )– By leaping up to a Guru Plan ($99 a month) with the Growth Add-on ($.10 per busy student/per month) you can quickly remove the”Powered by Thinkific” speech on your website and courses.
- Text Changes (below Settings > Learning Content and various different areas) — It is possible to change a lot of the default language that is used in navigation and other regions. By way of instance, Thinkific utilizes”Chapters” as the tag for portions of a program. You may like to change this to”Lessons” Free Platforms For Teaching Online Courses
Thus, you might be asking,”Can I use Thinkific for the primary Web site?”
For edupreneurs That are only starting off and don’t already have an Internet presence the answer is an emphatic”yes.” Using Thinkific is a great way to take a huge item off of your”to do” list (i.e.,”figure out how to get a decent Web site setup”) and focus on creating and launching your courses. It is possible to worry about a more sophisticated Web site later.
If you already Have a Web site, though — particularly on a fuller-featured content management system such as WordPress — I would not recommend relying on Thinkific (or some other route platform) for your main Internet site. Site Builder is fantastic for what it does — and can create a fantastic course site to complement your primary Web site — but ultimately it is relatively limited. A few of the key present limitations include:
- All themes are pillar. So, as an example, you can’t put email 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 limit in the event that you really want to mirror the branding of an existing Web website.
- There is absolutely no control over 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 track landing pages, which is arguably more important for the average edupreneur.
- Thinkific lacks the abundance of plug-ins and the extensive network of experienced contractors who are available to support platforms like WordPress.
Regardless of these Limitations, Website Builder is very likely to do the job well for most edupreneurs and is quite a little better than what many online course platforms supply.
Creating Online Courses with Thinkific
While you Definitely need to have an attractive, user-friendly website 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 which can be quite useful to course builders searching for assistance with how to arrange their content. The templates cover the range of standard scenarios you would be prone to consider for supplying an educational item. These are:
- Blank — Start fresh and build your course to match your specific program needs.
- Mini-course — Use a low-cost or free mini-course to generate prospects for a full flagship course or assistance.
- Flagship Course — Build a complete online course employing a strong curriculum outline created with best practices in your mind.
- Pre-sell — Create a pre-sell landing page and get started building a waitlist to judge interest in your program.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable files in an online course to create earnings 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 allow registrants to assess your presentation and provide.
All of these can Be modified extensively — you can alter the content from the sections which are provided, delete sections, or add new sections to reach the approach that is right for your content. All throughout the procedure, Thinkific supplies”smart mentor course building tips” to assist you. (I found these useful, but they can be easily switched off, should you prefer.) Free Platforms For Teaching Online Courses
In Case You Have zero Experience working with Internet content, there’ll inevitably be a bit of a learning curve, but my view is that Thinkific has done a good job making that curve as manageable as possible. Invest in making your way up it, and you will reap the rewards.
And, in case you are Already comfortable using other Web content programs — like, by way of a different course platform, WordPress or instance — I think you will find operating in Thinkific to be a breeze.
The logic, overall A class at Thinkific makes complete sense. After choosing”New Course,” picking your course type, naming it (which you can change at any point), and rescue it, you include”Chapters” (or modify ones in the template) to create the structure of the program. As mentioned above, if you do not like the expression”Chapters,” you can change it to whatever you prefer.
You fill the Chapters with articles in a way. There are 11 choices:
- Video lessons — Upload a file. (This has saved in a video library for re-use in different classes. Videos stored in this library are protected from access by anyone who isn’t a registered user of your site.)
- Quiz lessons — Create a quiz for the students. (More info on quizzes below)
- Multimedia classes — This is a means to link out to articles not hosted on Thinkific and make it an integrated part of your program. A Few of the possibilities include:
- Webinar tools (provide the link 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 Pro or Enterprise license. More about that below)
- Text classes — Combine text, images, videos, etc. into one lesson. This is basically the equivalent to”Text and Media” Website Builder alternative mentioned above.
- Survey lessons — Gather by building a short poll in Thinkific.
- PDF lessons.
- Disqus lessons — Add Disqus discussion boards to your course. (Note: there is also a discussion alternative built into Thinkific that you may turn off or on under Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio lessons — Upload a sound file.
- Downloads resources available for download from within the program participant.
- Presentation lessons — Upload a demonstration as record sound and a PDF document for each slide.
- Exam lessons — Include a Brillium exam in your program. (A Brillium license is distinct from Thinkific and begins at $49 per month. More on this below.)
The above options Will find the job completed for all but the edupreneurs. The primary places they fall short is in
- Providing for branching scenarios — i.e., enabling learners to move down different paths depending on their performances in the course or data you gather about them and
- Inserting elements like learning games.
If those are Choices you truly want, you would be better off using a full-blown course authoring tool such as iSpring or Articulate Storyline (see more about these kinds of programs here). Free Platforms For Teaching Online Courses
Use of Articulate and Captivate at Thinkific
Many course Founders will be perfectly content with using the tools in Thinkific to make classes, but some may prefer the option of producing their classes with third party e-learning class creation software such as Articulate Storyline or even Adobe Captivate.
Basically, using a Third party tool is an option to seriously consider if you (a) currently have a significant number of courses built out in one of these tools (in which you case you probably don’t need to have to re-create them using Thinkific course creation tools), or (b) you expect developing a substantial catalog of courses with a comparatively long”shelf life” — in which case you might not want your classes locked into a particular shipping stage.
These can be used by you Kinds of tools with Thinkific — Articulate Storyline and Captivate are supported — but there are a few limitations you should be aware of if you go this path.
First, Thinkific (like all other platforms in its course ) has not implemented SCORM, which stands to 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 with a learning platform to send it information like how much time a learner has spent in a course, or if particular areas of the class have been finished successfully. Thinkific monitors this kind of data using its own procedures. (More about SCORM here.)
You cannot Import an Articulate or Captivate course into Thinkific on your own. These classes are made up of more than one file (like, for example, a video file), so to get them inside the platform, you have to zip up the files and send them to Thinkific customer service.
The Features and How They Benefit You
An excellent Online course construction platform typically offers you the features you need from start to finish. Including the selling, the promotion, the training course construction, and also the teacher/student management.
Systems such as Thinkific do not host courses . Your articles is really hosted with Thinkific (so you do not need to go outside and find your own hosting,) but it gives you total control over what your site looks like.
When compared to Systems such as Udemy, Thinkific surely provides control that is branding and more liberty. Let’s explore a few of the standout features.
Outstanding Student Management and Communication Modules
Within my Thinkific review, I noticed the smoothness of the pupil communication tools. It is a visual student management area, with images of your students, titles, contact information, and information for how far they are in your program.
You’ve got the Option to send emails that are customized or create a conversation with the whole community. Free Platforms For Teaching Online Courses
Incentives are Also part of the learning environment since Thinkific offers report cards, completion certificates, and of course, the emails for sending out just about anything you want during courses.
Along with Replays of course material, speech controls, and mobile optimization working with the Thinkific platform ought to feel right at home.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Section of this Reason Thinkific looks great in contrast to this competition is that of its class designer. In case you don’t need to, you do not need to mess with any code.
In Reality Your content is coordinated with an easy drag and drop editor, where you move it about vertically and stack the class content.
Speaking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of all media forms. By PDFs to sound files, and polls to quizzes, the platform is great for offering up a vast range of learning tools for the students.
As we mentioned Before, all of these files are hosted on the Thinkific servers. Therefore, you should not need to worry running on your own servers or being too big.
When you personalize Your course website it features some handy editing tools to the beginners out there. You can correct items like logos, color schemes, and banners, all without touching any code.
However, the more Advanced programmers have complete control over the HTML and CSS. Consequently, if you want to make your website unique, the option is there for you.
Promotions on Autopilot
Some online course Platforms fail in the promotions arena. As there’s no way to start making money unless people know that your path 19, this is unfortunate.
Thinkific does It the right way, with marketing and promotional tools built into the program. A lot of this is automated. Consequently, if you want to drip content to your students Thinkific has this operation. Free Platforms For Teaching Online Courses
Furthermore, you Have the ability and send emails that are automated out based on a schedule. Pricing is also done through Thinkific, along with the choice to get paid immediately when someone signs up for your course.
In Terms of getting It is tried by people beyond your website to come out, Thinkific includes an affiliate marketing program to reward bloggers and men and women who recommend your course. Coupons are also provided through Thinkific, giving you a chance convince novices that your course is well worth investing in and to create advertisements.
Everything from Vouchers to affiliates is tracked in the dashboard, and you can link your Adwords, Facebook, and other reports where students are coming out of to see.
Handling, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from One of the key reasons for using a online class platform is that it creates handling and monitoring your customers and their data much simpler.
Communicating with Learners
Along with Assisting you to organize your learners, Thinkific also enables several ways for you and your students to communicate and for them to give comments. Free Platforms For Teaching Online Courses
As noted, By way of instance, you can empower discussion for your classes and then manage your students gifts under Service Your Students Discussions, where you can 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 talks is currently a nothing option in Thinkific — i.e., either all classes have it or no classes have it. The workaround for this would be to use the Disqus alternative on a course-by-course foundation )
You can also Allow your student to submit reviews for your classes. You then have the capability to approve these reviews (they aren’t printed automatically) and use them as social evidence on your sales page to the course. Unlike talks, this feature can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
There are A number of notifications that can be disabled or enabled at the Thinkific platform, a few of which can be customized. You register in a particular course can send a customized message when they register for your site to pupils, 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 Begin with, When a user signs up at your site, Thinkific captures all of their key contact data (e.g., first name, last name, email ) and using custom sign-up fields (under Settings > Orders & accounts) you can easily add fields to capture whatever special information you want from your own users. (Note that, unlike programs such as Udemy, you receive full access to the user information you accumulate.)
You can also Organize users. This simple feature can have a big impact on your business model by making it feasible for you to sell classes in bulk one of the greatest ways for course vendors to drive revenue development , in my experience.
You, using classes May easily arrange your learners by business, or cohort, time, enrollment, job-type, or other variables, which makes it feasible to monitor the efficacy of your own offerings and to enhance your marketing going forward. (Note: use of the Groups feature requires a Pro program license with the Growth Add-on.) Discover More about the Thinkific Groups functionality Free Platforms For Teaching Online Courses
Tracking and Reporting
A reason to Have a specialized class platform — as opposed, for example, to posting articles supporting a password on a Web site — is it will track quiz and survey information in addition to things like path progress and conclusion.
Thinkific’s Progress tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) enables you to select a particular student and track a number of variables for each 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 at (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 at any moment, for example.
Overall, the Course coverage is rather basic, but I suspect it’ll serve the needs of the majority of course entrepreneurs.
Unlike the Program Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported to a .CSV file (rather than displayed on screen) and emailed to you. The .csv file includes the answers from all students who have obtained a questionnaire a quiz email address, along with their title, and when they shot it. For quizzes, it also provides percentage and the amount .
Overall, reporting For quizzes/surveys and courses is one of the main regions in which the Thinkific system might be more powerful. In fairness, this tends to be true for pretty much the platforms of the all in this category of platforms. Ideally, over time, it would be possible to get course conclusion and quiz/survey data . Even better, it might be great to have the ability to view a student transcript that shows hours related to a program, any credit earned (not now captured in any way at Thinkific), along with a link to download the certificate related to the course. Free Platforms For Teaching Online Courses
What Thinkific is Missing
Anyone who has Been working in the e-learning industry for the last couple of years (as I have) will realize that Thinkific offers a remarkable selection of features at a really affordable price. It wasn’t long ago that a system with these capacities could have cost thousands of dollars.
With that in mind, It’s hard to argue that Thinkific is”missing” much. Nonetheless, there are gaps that will rule it out and these tend to be. The main ones I find are:
No support for xAPI/TinCan or SCORM
As mentioned previously, While Thinkific may host and deliver classes created in shared authoring tools such as Articulate and Captivate, it doesn’t really make use of the SCORM (or xAPI/TInCan) packaging capabilities of these programs. If you have a strong and legitimate reason for using one of the major standards, Thinkific might not be the way to go.
As I said, these Are areas that aren’t served well by additional programs which are in Thinkific’s class. To get a platform which supports all three means a price point a few times greater than Thinkific — and it can go far from that point . Thus, be sure these are gaps for you before judgment out Thinkific.
No continuing education credit capacities
While you can Indicate the number of hours for completing a course in Thinkific, you can’t specify the total amount of education accessible for a program. While There Might Be work-arounds, for most course providers that focus on providing continuing education credit, this will be a Substantial barrier to using Thinkific, Free Platforms For Teaching Online Courses
No multi-tenancy option
Multi-tenancy Means that you can create and manage multiple instances of a stage. This can be useful if, as an instance, you’re a training company with many clients and those clients want their very own instance of this platform for serving and managing their users. While the Group functionality in Thinkific makes you part of the way there, it isn’t the same thing as multi-tenancy.
Although I To find an online course platform that has hidden fees, Thinkific advertises it also has no hidden fees or contracts. That’s very good to know, however, nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does provide a totally free plan for people who wish to try the stage but not get bogged down from constraints. In theory, it helps you start building a student base and start your shop. If you would rather give one of those more advanced plans a whirl there is also a free trial.
The pricing is Broken up into four easy plans:
Starter — $0 to many core Thinkific capabilities. This plan has a top transaction fee, everything you want to create, promote, and sell unlimited courses your classes, course upsells, content hosting, fundamental integrations, Stripe/PayPal service, and access to all capital.
Essentials — For $49 a month you get all center and newcomer features, along with a 5% transaction fee, promotions and coupons, monthly subscriptions, course packages, intermediate integrations, basic Zapier, trickle articles, affiliate coverage, a majority student emailer, customized domainname, along with extra course prices. Free Platforms For Teaching Online Courses
Business — For $99 per month you get the features from all prior plans, no transaction fees, completion certificates, private and hidden courses, website white labeling, a host narrative, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, innovative HTML/CSS editing, priority service, instructor payout coverage, an onboarding call, payment strategies, and a direct Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 a month you get all attributes from previous programs, no transaction fees, one sign-on (SSO), three site admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding professional, onboarding package, public API, advanced integrations, and innovative Zapier.
Thinkific has some Fantastic benefits to its pricing design. Not only are you able to begin your course for free (something that is not offered with competitions such as Teachable,) however, the extra three plans are broken down in a reasonable fashion.
After all Most likely don’t need API accessibility until you start becoming advanced with your course selling.
I wouldn’t mind Seeing also the HTML editing and the completion certificates but $99 per month isn’t that bad.
As you can see, The trade prices are 10% for the plan that is free. That is large, but it creates an excellent atmosphere for people who do not have the capital to launch a professional online shop or anyone who have low volume right now. As soon as you start earning money that transaction fee can be reduce by you.
Finally, you can By paying on an annual basis, save money. If you cover it all upfront, the snowball strategy goes to $39 per month. The company plan is $79 a month and the Advanced plan is $219. This makes the pricing programs similar to Teachable.
I will end this Thinkific review at which I began: this is. Hopefully it is evident by now that it offers a range of the vital characteristics to support your ordinary edupreneur in selling courses that are online.
I Believe it is also Important to repeat as I wrap up that Thinkific is a company with a lot of momentum. This is not a point: the market for online class platforms such as Thinkific is currently noisy and crowded. You can be sure that a lot of the platforms which are here today is going to be gone tomorrow. I feel convinced that Thinkific will be around, and the organization is clearly growing and continually investing to improve its platform. Free Platforms For Teaching Online Courses