Introduction Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
If You’re promoting Or considering selling online courses, you do not have to do much searching to come up with a Thinkific review. There are loads of Thinkific reviews on the market. The main difference this one provides is that it is written by someone with: Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
- Over 20 years experience in the e-learning industry, with a specific focus on businesses that sell schooling (compared to, for example, corporate training departments, That Don’t have to convince their students to buy)
- Extensive experience designing, creating, and implementing online class 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 class platforms and assisting individuals and organizations pick the Ideal platform for selling courses
I have been Tracking Thinkific and other providers which have emerged in the previous several years as a new type of online course platforms. These are programs which are less expensive and much more user-friendly than traditional learning management systems, or LMSes. They’re a blessing for solo edupreneurs and businesses that are looking to get into the online course business. As time passes, I think they have real potential to interrupt the learning management system marketplace.
Thus, having said That, let us get started.
Construction and Presence Your Online Course Web Site
Any classes you Sell have to”live” somewhere, and that somewhere supplies an attractive, user friendly for your students and potential students. Since the debut of its Website Builder capabilities this season, Thinkific is definitely up to the project. Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
Using Site Builder — which is only a part of the admin board to the stage — you have the ability to set up an appealing home page for your course website and create as many custom pages as you need (e.g., to give details about you and your other services). Despite the fact that you don’t have complete control — you can’t, for instance, set up your own style sheets (CSS) — you can possess very excellent capabilities for modifying branding components like colors and font styles and you can upload pretty much any type of images or media you’d want to use.
Site Builder Currently comes with three topics and there are variants for each of those themes. (The company says more topics are part of the upcoming development plan.) Additionally, there are a range of pre-fab”sections” that you can add and modify on any webpage 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 critical tools you need for running a successful path or membership site. There’s also a blank slate”Text & media” section which may be utilised to make pretty much anything you want.
As is the case With more or less any content management system, it took me a while to figure out the way to do some basic things like delete sections (the topics offer a house page pre-populated with sections) and include custom pages to the site menu. However service was readily available for them. Thinkific has a solid support site on which you can look for aid, but I often only use a Google search along with the phrase”Thinkific” to find whatever I need (e.g.,”create custom site pages Thinkific”). I’ve yet to not find decent support using this method, whether to the Thinkific site or from another user.
Some added Features to notice:
- Customized URL (under Settings > Website ) — By default, you are assigned a thinkific.com address — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. With a paid program (beginning at $49 a month for Basic) you can find a custom URL
- SSL (Under Settings > Website ) — With any plan you have the choice to turn on SSL (secure socket layer), a best practice for virtually any Web site nowadays. (Google smiles on this.)
- White tagging (below Settings > Site)– By leaping up to a Pro Plan ($99 a month) using the Development Add-on ($.10 per busy student/per month) you can easily get rid of the”Powered by Thinkific” language on your website and courses.
- Text Dimensions (under Settings > Learning Content and several other areas) — You can change a lot of the default language which is used in navigation and other areas. For example, Thinkific uses”Chapters” because the label for portions of a course. You may like to change this to”Lessons” Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
Thus, you may be asking,”Can I use Thinkific for my primary Web website?”
For edupreneurs That are only starting off and do not have an Internet presence the response 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 ways to find an adequate Web site set up”) and focus on creating and launching your classes. You can worry about a more complicated Web site later.
If you already Have an Internet site, though — especially on a fuller-featured content management system like WordPress — I wouldn’t recommend relying on Thinkific (or any other route platform) for your main Internet site. Website Builder is fantastic for what it does — and may create a fantastic course website to complement your primary Web site — but ultimately it is relatively limited. Some of the key present constraints include:
- All motifs are column. Therefore, for instance, you can’t put e-mail signup forms, promotions for class, or other items down the left or right side of your site.
- As noted, you can’t use your own CSS (cascading style sheets), mostly a limitation if you really want to mirror the branding of an existing Web site.
- There is absolutely no control on search engine optimization settings on Web pages — e.g., you can’t define the title tags or meta tag descriptions. You , however, do so on course landing pages, which is possibly more important for the average edupreneur.
- Thinkific lacks the wealth of plug-ins and the broad network of experienced contractors that are available to support platforms like WordPress.
Regardless of these Limits, Website Builder is likely to do the job well for many edupreneurs and is quite a bit 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 courses, the classes themselves are the main 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 that may be quite beneficial to course builders looking for help with how to organize their content. The templates cover the range of standard scenarios you would be prone to think about for supplying an educational product. All these are:
- Blank — Start new and build your course to match your specific curriculum needs.
- Mini-course — Utilize a low-cost or free mini-course to generate prospects for a full flagship program or service.
- Flagship Course — Build a full online class using a robust curriculum outline created with best practices in your mind.
- Pre-sell — Create a pre-sell landing page and get started constructing a waitlist to judge interest on your course.
- 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 package for this template.
- Webinar Replay — Host your webinar replay video to permit registrants to assess your presentation and provide.
All these can Be modified broadly — you can alter the content in the sections that are supplied, delete sections, or add new segments to reach the strategy that’s ideal for your content. All throughout the process, Thinkific provides”smart coach course building hints” to help you. (I found them useful, but they can be easily turned off, if you prefer.) Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
In Case You Have zero Experience working with Internet content, there’ll inevitably be a small learning curve, but my opinion is that Thinkific has done a fantastic job making that curve as manageable as possible. Invest in earning your it up, and you’ll reap the benefits.
And, if You’re Already comfortable with other Web content programs — like, for instance, WordPress or a different program platform — I believe that you will find working in Thinkific for a breeze.
Overall, the logic A class at Thinkific makes complete sense. After selecting”New Course,” picking your course type, naming it (which you can change at any point), and rescue it, you include”Chapters” (or change ones in the template) to create the structure of the program. As noted above, if you do not like the expression”Chapters,” you can change it to whatever you prefer.
You fill the Chapters with content in a way very similar to the way I described using Website Builder above. There are 11 options:
- Video lessons — Upload a video file. (This gets saved in a movie library for re-use in other classes. Videos stored in this library are protected from access by anyone who is not a registered user of your site.)
- Classes — Create a quiz for your students. (More info on quizzes below)
- Multimedia classes — This is a way to link out to articles not hosted on Thinkific and also make it an integrated part of your 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 Pro or Enterprise license. More on this below)
- Text classes — Combine text, images, videos, etc. into a single lesson. This is essentially the equivalent to”Text and Media” Site Builder option mentioned above.
- Survey lessons — Collect information/feedback from your students by building a poll in Thinkific.
- PDF classes.
- Disqus classes — Insert Disqus discussion boards into your program. (Note: there’s also a discussion alternative built into Thinkific which you can turn off or on under Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio classes — Upload an audio file.
- Downloads resources.
- Presentation lessons — Upload a demonstration as a PDF document and record audio for each slide.
- Exam lessons — Contain a Brillium exam in your course. (A Brillium permit is separate from Thinkific and starts at $49 per month. More on this below.)
The aforementioned Choices Will find the work done for all but the most complex edupreneurs. The main areas they fall short is in
- Supplying for branching scenarios — i.e., enabling learners to go down different paths depending on their performances from the course or data you gather about them and
- Adding components.
If those are Choices you genuinely want, you’d be better off with a full size course authoring tool such as iSpring or Articulate Storyline (see more about these types of tools here). Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
Use of Articulate and Captivate in Thinkific
Many course Creators will be content with using the tools in Thinkific to create courses, but some may prefer the option of producing their classes with third party e-learning course creation software like Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate.
Fundamentally, 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), and/or (b) you expect developing a significant catalog of lessons with a comparatively long”shelf life” — in which case you might not wish your courses locked into a specific delivery platform.
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 route.
First, Thinkific (like all other platforms in its own class) hasn’t implemented SCORM, which stands for the Shareable Content Object Reference Model. There is a lot to SCORM, but the main thing for edupreneurs to know is that it provides standards for how an internet course can communicate using a learning platform to deliver it information like how long a student has invested in a course, or whether specific parts of the course have been completed successfully. Thinkific tracks this type of information. (More about SCORM here.)
Secondly, you Can’t Import an Captivate or Articulate course into Thinkific on your own. These courses comprise of over a single file (like, as an example, a video file), so to get them inside the platform, you have to zip the files up and send them into Thinkific customer service.
The Best Features and How They Benefit You
A great Online course construction platform offers the features you need from begin to finish to you. Including the promotion the course building, the selling, and also the management.
Systems such as Thinkific do not host courses on your own website. Your articles is really hosted with Thinkific (so you do not need to go outside and find your personal hosting,) but it gives you total control on what your website looks like.
When compared to Systems such as Udemy, Thinkific certainly provides management and more liberty. Let’s explore a few of the other standout attributes.
Outstanding Student Management and Communication Modules
Within my Thinkific review, I noticed that the smoothness of the student communication tools. It’s a visual student management area, together with images of your students, titles, contact information, and details for how far they are on your course.
You have the Choice to send customized emails to every one of the students or create a dialogue. Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
Incentives are Also part of the learning environment since Thinkific offers report cards, conclusion certificates, and during classes, the mails for sending out just about whatever you want of course.
In addition to Replays of language controls, course content, and optimization working together with the Thinkific platform ought to feel.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Part of the Motive Thinkific looks so great compared to the rivalry is that of its course designer. In case you don’t want to you don’t need to mess with any code.
In Reality, all of Your content is organized with a drag and drop editor, in which you move it around and pile the class content.
Speaking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of virtually all media types. From PDFs to audio files, and polls to quizzes, the stage is great for offering up a wide range of learning tools for your students.
As we mentioned Before, all of these documents are hosted on the Thinkific servers. You shouldn’t need to worry running on your servers that are shared or being too large.
When you personalize Your course website it features some useful editing tools to the beginners on the market. You can correct items such as banners, colour schemes, and logos without touching any code.
The further, however Advanced developers have complete control over the HTML and CSS. So, 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. This is unfortunate since there’s no way unless people know your path exists, to start earning money.
Thinkific does It the right way, with promotional and marketing tools built into the program. Much of this is automated also. So, if you want to trickle articles to your students Thinkific has this functionality. Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
Furthermore, you Have the ability and send out emails that are automated based on a schedule. Pricing is done through Thinkific, in addition to the choice to get paid instantly when someone signs up on your course.
In Terms of becoming People beyond your site to come try it out, Thinkific includes an affiliate marketing program to benefit men and women who advocate your course and bloggers. Coupons are supplied through Thinkific, giving a opportunity to create advertisements with specials and convince novices your class is well worth investing in to you.
Everything from Vouchers to affiliates is tracked in the dashboard, and you can join your Adwords, Facebook, and other social accounts where students are coming out of to determine.
Handling, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from One of the reasons for utilizing a online class platform is that it creates monitoring and managing your customers and their information a lot easier.
Communicating with Learners
In addition to Assisting you to arrange your learners, Thinkific also enables several ways for them to give comments on the course and for you to communicate with your learners. Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
As already noted, By way of example, you can enable discussion to your classes and manage your pupils contributions under Service Your Students Discussions, where you can sort talks by course, respond to students, and — if needed –“Disapprove” contributions that you don’t wish to appear in the program. (Note: Letting talks is now a nothing choice in Thinkific — i.e., possibly all courses have no or it courses have it. The workaround for this is to use the Disqus option on a course-by-course foundation )
You can also Allow your student to submit testimonials for your classes. You then have the ability to approve these reviews (they are not printed automatically) and utilize them as social evidence on your earnings page for the course. Unlike discussions, this feature can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
There are A number of notifications which could be disabled or enabled at the Thinkific platform, a few of which can be customized. You can send pupils a customized message if they enroll for your site, enroll in a course, or finish a course. It is also possible to send out reminder messages. (Note: Reminders are site-wide, not course-specific.)
Managing and Organizing Learners
To start with, When an individual signs up in 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 > Programs & accounts) you can easily add fields to capture whatever special information you want from the own users. (Note that, unlike programs such as Udemy, you get complete access to the user data you collect.)
You can also Organize users into groups. This feature can have a big impact on your business model by making it possible for you to market classes in bulk to organizations — one of the best ways for course sellers to induce revenue growth that is significant , in my experience.
Using classes Can easily organize your students by business, or cohort, time, registration, job-type, or other factors, making it possible also to refine your marketing moving ahead and to monitor the effectiveness of your offerings. (Note: Use of the Groups attribute requires a Pro program license with the Growth Add-on.) Find out more about the Thinkific Groups performance Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
Tracking and Reporting
A motive to Have a technical course platform — to just posting content behind a password on a Web site instead, by way of example — is it is going to track quiz and survey information in addition to things like course progress and completion.
Thinkific’s Advancement tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) enables you to pick a specific student and track a number of factors for each class in which the student is enrolled. For every 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 in (date)
I enjoy that you If you’re adding new lessons can choose to reset the completion percentage of a student at any moment.
Overall, the Course coverage is rather basic, but I suspect it’ll serve the demands of the huge majority of course entrepreneurs.
Unlike the course Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported into a .CSV document (rather than displayed on display ) and e-mailed to you. The .csv file includes the answers from all students who have taken a questionnaire a quiz email address, together with their title, and when they shot it. For quizzes, in addition, it supplies percentage and the amount of questions the student got right.
Overall, reporting For quizzes/surveys and courses is one of the areas where the Thinkific system could be more powerful. In fairness, this tends to be true for much of the all the platforms . Over time, it would be possible to get course completion and quiz/survey data through a single Web interface. Even better, it would be great to have the ability to view a student transcript that displays hours associated with a program, any credit earned (not now captured in any way at Thinkific), along with a link to obtain the certificate related to the course. Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
What Thinkific is Missing
Anyone who has Been operating in the e-learning sector for the last couple of decades (as I have) will understand that Thinkific offers a remarkable range of features at a very affordable price. It wasn’t that long ago that a system with these capacities may have cost tens of thousands of dollars a year.
With that in mind, It is hard to assert that Thinkific is”missing” much. Nonetheless, there are gaps that will rule it out to a few class vendors — and these all tend to be. The main ones I find are:
No support for xAPI/TinCan or SCORM
As noted above, While Thinkific can host and deliver classes created in shared authoring tools like Articulate and Captivate, it does not really take advantage of the SCORM (or xAPI/TInCan) packaging capacities of these applications. In case you have a reason for using one of the major criteria, then Thinkific would not be the thing to do.
Like I said, these Are areas which aren’t served well by platforms that are in Thinkific’s class. To acquire a platform that supports all three normally means a price point a few times greater than Thinkific — and it can go a lot from there . Be sure these are openings for you before judgment out Thinkific.
No continuing education credit capabilities
While you can Indicate the variety of hours for completing a class in Thinkific, you cannot define the total amount of continuing education. While there may be work-arounds, for many course suppliers that focus on providing continuing education credit, this will be a significant barrier to using Thinkific, Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
No multi-tenancy option
Multi-tenancy Means that you can make and manage a number of instances of a platform under one umbrella. This can be very useful if, as an example, you are a training company that has many clients and those customers want their very own branded instance of the platform for managing and serving their customers. While the Group performance in Thinkific makes you a part of the way there, it isn’t the same matter as multi-tenancy.
Although I’ve yet To discover an internet course platform that has many hidden fees, Thinkific advertises that it too has no hidden fees or contracts. That is good to know, but nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does offer a program that is totally free for people who want to try the platform out but not get bogged down from limitations. In theory, it helps you start your store and begin building a student base. There is also a free trial if you give a whirl to one of the plans that are more advanced.
The pricing is Broken up into four simple plans:
Starter — $0 for all core Thinkific features. This plan has a 10% transaction fee, everything you need to make, promote, and market content hosting , unlimited courses, class upsells, your classes, fundamental integrations, Stripe/PayPal service, and access to all funds.
Basics — For $49 per month you receive all core and starter features, along with a 5% transaction fee, promotions and coupons, monthly subscriptions, course packages, intermediate integrations, fundamental Zapier, trickle articles, affiliate coverage, a majority student emailer, custom domainname, and additional course prices. Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
Business — For $99 per month you get the attributes from all previous programs, no transaction fees, completion certificates, private and concealed classes, site white labeling, a host storyline, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, innovative HTML/CSS editing, priority service, instructor payout coverage, an onboarding telephone, payment plans, along with a direct Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 a month you receive all attributes from previous plans, no transaction fees, a single sign-on (SSO), three website admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding professional, onboarding package, public API, innovative integrations, and innovative Zapier.
Thinkific has some Advantages to its pricing layout. Not only can you start your course for free (something that is not offered with competitions such as Teachable,) but the extra three plans are broken down into a logical fashion.
After all, you Most probably do not need API accessibility until you start getting advanced with your path selling.
I would not mind Seeing the completion certificates as well as also the HTML editing however $99 per month still isn’t that bad.
As you can see, The trade prices are 10% to the plan that is free. That is large, but it creates an excellent environment for anyone with low volume or people who don’t have the funds to launch a professional online store. Once you start earning money that trade fee can be reduce by you.
You can Save money. So, the Essentials plan goes down to $39 per month if you cover it all upfront. The Business plan is $79 per month and the Advanced plan is $219. That makes the pricing programs similar to Teachable.
I will end this Thinkific review at which I began: this is a platform I highly recommend. Hopefully it’s clear by now that it offers a range of the characteristics that are essential to encourage your edupreneur.
I Believe it is also Important to repeat as I wrap up that Thinkific is a business with a lot of momentum. This is certainly not a trivial point: the market for online class platforms like Thinkific is noisy and crowded. You can be sure that a lot of the platforms which are here today is going to undoubtedly be gone. I feel confident that Thinkific will be about, and the company is clearly growing and always investing to improve its own platform. Greg Smith Thinkific Founder