Introduction Lisa Work Thinkific
If you are currently selling Or considering selling online courses, you don’t have to do much searching to think of a Thinkific review. There are plenty of Thinkific reviews out there. The main difference that this one offers is It Is written by someone with: Lisa Work Thinkific
- More than 20 years experience in the e-learning industry, with a Particular focus on businesses that sell education (as opposed to, for example, corporate training departments, that do not have to convince their learners to buy)
- Extensive experience designing, developing, and executing online class platforms (I had been the founder and CEO of an e-learning platform and path development company.)
- More than a decade of experience tracking and exploring online class platforms and assisting individuals and organizations pick the right platform for selling courses
I’ve been Monitoring Thinkific and other suppliers that have emerged in the previous years as a new type of course platforms. These are platforms which LMSes, or are more user friendly and less expensive than learning management methods. They are a boon for solo edupreneurs and tiny companies that are looking to enter the online course enterprise. As time passes, I think they have potential to disrupt the learning management system market that is conventional.
So, having said All that, let’s begin.
Building and Branding Your Online Course Web Site
Any courses you Sell have to”live” somewhere, and ideally that somewhere provides an appealing, user friendly for the students and prospective students. Since the debut of its Site Builder capabilities Thinkific is definitely up to the job. Lisa Work Thinkific
Using Site Builder — which is only part of the admin board for the platform — you have the ability to prepare an appealing home page for your course site and make as many custom pages as you need (e.g., to give details about you and your other solutions ). Despite the fact that you do not have total control — you can’t, as an example, install your own style sheets (CSS) — you do possess really good capabilities for modifying branding elements like font and colors styles and you may upload just about any kind of pictures or media you’d like to use.
Website Builder Comes with three topics to select from, and there are variations for each one of these themes. (The company says more topics are a part of their future growth plan.) There are also a range of pre-fab”segments” you can add and change on any page to provide for things like social evidence (e.g. customer quotations or”as seen on” logos), calls for action, count down timer, and pricing choices — essentially, all the essential tools you require for conducting a successful path or membership site. There is also a blank slate”Text & media” section which can be used to create pretty much whatever you want.
As is the case With just about any content management system, it took a while to work out the way to do some basic things like delete segments (the themes provide a house page pre-populated with segments ) and include custom pages to the site menu. However support was readily available for them. Thinkific includes a solid support website on which you can look for help, but I tend to just use a Google search along with the word”Thinkific” to find whatever I want (e.g.,”create custom website pages Thinkific”). I have yet to not find decent support by doing this, whether on the Thinkific website or from another user.
Some additional Features to note:
- Customized URL (under Settings > Site) — By default, you’re assigned a thinkific.com speech — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. With a paid plan (starting at $49 per month for Fundamental ) you can get a customized URL
- SSL (Under Settings > Site) — With any plan you have the option 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 Guru Plan ($99 per month) using the Growth Add-on ($.10 per busy student/per month) you can quickly get rid of the”Powered by Thinkific” speech on your website and courses.
- Text Changes (below Settings > Learning Content and several different areas) — You can change a lot of the default language that is used in navigation and other regions. For example, Thinkific uses”Chapters” as the tag for parts of a course. You might like to change this to”Lessons.” Lisa Work Thinkific
Thus, you may be asking,”Could I use Thinkific for my main Web site?”
For edupreneurs Who are only starting off and do not already have an Internet presence the answer is an emphatic”yes.” Utilizing Thinkific is a great way to have a big item off of your”to do” list (i.e.,”figure out ways to get a decent Web site set up”) and concentrate on creating and launch your classes. You can be concerned about a more sophisticated Web site later.
If you already Have a Web site, though — particularly on a fuller-featured content management system like WordPress — I would not recommend relying on Thinkific (or any other route platform) to your primary Internet website. Site Builder is fantastic for what it does — and can create a great course site to complement your main site — but ultimately it’s relatively limited. Some of the key current constraints include:
- All motifs are pillar. Therefore, for example, you can not put e-mail signup types, promotions for course, or other things down the left or right side of your website.
- As noted, you can not apply your own CSS (cascading style sheets), mostly a limitation if you really wish to mirror the branding of an present Web site.
- There’s no control over search engine optimization settings on Web pages — e.g., you can not specify the title tags or meta descriptions. You can, however, do so 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.
In spite of those Limitations, Site Builder is very likely to perform the work 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 an attractive, user-friendly site to house your courses, the classes themselves are the main attraction. As you may expect, this is an area where Thinkific really shines.
To Begin with, the Platform provides a variety of pre-configured templates that may be very beneficial to course builders searching for help with how to arrange their content. The templates cover the assortment of standard scenarios you’d be prone to think about for supplying an educational item. These are:
- Blank — Start fresh and construct your own course to match your particular curriculum requirements.
- Mini-course — Utilize a free or low-cost mini-course to generate leads for a complete flagship course or assistance.
- Flagship Course — Build a complete online class employing a robust curriculum outline made with best practices in your mind.
- Pre-sell — Create a pre-sell landing page and get started constructing a waitlist to judge interest in your course.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable files in an online course to generate earnings or collect email addresses.
- Membership Resource Library — Host downloadable resources to be included in a membership bundle for this template.
- Webinar Replay — Host your webinar replay video to allow registrants to review your presentation and provide.
All of these can Be modified extensively — you can alter the content from the sections which are supplied, delete segments, or insert new sections to reach the strategy that’s right for your content. All throughout the process, Thinkific supplies”smart mentor course building tips” to assist you. (I found them helpful, but they may be easily turned off, should you prefer.) Lisa Work Thinkific
In Case You Have zero Experience working with Web content, there’ll inevitably be a small learning curve, but my opinion is that Thinkific has done a good job making that curve as manageable as possible. Invest in earning your way up it, and you’ll reap the benefits.
And, if You’re Already comfortable with other Internet content systems — such as, for a different course platform, WordPress or example — I think you will find operating in Thinkific to be a breeze.
Overall A class at Thinkific makes complete sense. After choosing”New Course,” choosing your course type, naming it (which you may change at any stage ), and saving it, you include”Chapters” (or change ones already in the template) to create the structure of this program. As mentioned above, if you don’t like the term”Chapters,” you can change it to whatever you prefer.
You fill the Chapters with content in a way similar to how I described using Website Builder over. There are 11 options:
- Video classes — Upload a file. (This has stored in a video library for re-use in other courses. 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 the students. (More info on quizzes under )
- Multimedia lessons — This is a way to link out to content 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 on this below)
- Text classes — Combine text, pictures, videos, etc. into a single lesson. This is basically the equivalent to”Text & Media” Website Builder alternative discussed previously.
- Survey lessons — Collect by building a brief survey in Thinkific.
- PDF lessons — Upload a PDF document to be viewed within the course player.
- Disqus lessons — Insert Disqus discussion boards into your course. (Note: there’s also a discussion option built into Thinkific that you may turn off or on beneath Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio lessons — Upload an audio file.
- Downloads resources available for download from within the program participant.
- Demo lessons — Upload a demonstration as record audio and a PDF file for each slide.
- Lessons — Include a Brillium examination on your course. (A Brillium permit is distinct from Thinkific and begins at $49 per month. More about that below.)
The aforementioned options Will find the job completed for all but the most sophisticated edupreneurs. The primary places they fall short is in
- Providing for branching scenarios — i.e., allowing learners to go down different paths based on their performances in the course or data you gather about them — and
- Like learning games, Adding interactive elements.
If those are Choices you genuinely want, you’d be better off using a full-blown course authoring tool like iSpring or even Articulate Storyline (see more about these kinds of programs here). Lisa Work Thinkific
The use of Articulate and Captivate in Thinkific
Many course Founders will be content with using the tools in Thinkific to create classes, but some may prefer the option of producing their courses with third party e-learning class creation software such as Articulate Storyline or even Adobe Captivate.
Fundamentally, using a Third party tool is an option to seriously consider if you (a) currently have a substantial number of classes built out in these applications (in which you case you probably don’t need to have to re-create them using Thinkific course production tools), or (b) you expect developing a substantial catalogue of courses with a comparatively long”shelf life” — in which case you might not wish your courses locked to a specific delivery platform.
You can use these Kinds of tools with Thinkific — Articulate Storyline and Captivate are supported — however there are a few limitations you should be aware of if you go this route.
First, Thinkific (like the rest of the 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 understand is that it provides criteria for how an internet course can communicate using a learning platform to deliver it information like how much time a learner has invested in a program, or whether particular parts of the course have been completed successfully. Thinkific monitors this kind of information using its own methods. (More about SCORM here.)
You cannot Import an Articulate or Captivate course into Thinkific all on your own. These courses are made up of over a single file (like, as an instance, a video file), so to get them into the platform, you have to zip the files up and send them into Thinkific customer support.
The Best Features and How They Benefit You
An excellent Online course building platform typically offers you. This includes the teacher/student management, the marketing, the promotion, and also the course construction.
Systems such as Thinkific don’t host courses . Your articles is really hosted with Thinkific (so that you do not have to venture out and find your own hosting,) but it still gives you complete control over what your site looks like.
In comparison to Systems such as Udemy, Thinkific certainly provides more liberty and control that is branding. Let’s explore some of the other standout features.
Outstanding Student Management and Communication Modules
During my Thinkific review, I noticed that the smoothness of the student communication tools. It’s a visual pupil management area, together with images of your pupils, titles, contact information, and details for how far they are on your program.
You’ve got the Option create a conversation with the whole community or to send emails that are customized to each of those pupils. Lisa Work Thinkific
Incentives are part of the learning environment since Thinkific offers conclusion certificates, report cards, and of course, the emails for sending out just about whatever you want throughout courses.
Along with Unlimited replays of course material, speech controls, and cellular optimization working with the Thinkific platform should feel.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Section of this Reason Thinkific looks great in contrast to the rivalry is that of its course designer. You do not have to mess with any code if you don’t need to.
In Reality, all of Your content is organized with an easy drag and drop editor, where you move it about vertically and pile the class content.
Talking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of media forms. From PDFs to audio files, and surveys to quizzes, the stage is great for offering up a vast range of learning resources for the students.
As we mentioned Before, every one these documents are hosted on the Thinkific servers. Therefore, you shouldn’t need to worry about a file being too big or running in your own servers that are shared.
When you customize Your course website it features some editing tools to the novices on the market. For instance, you can correct items like colour schemes banners, and logos without touching any code.
The further, however Advanced programmers have full 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. As there’s no way to start earning money unless people understand your course 19, this is unfortunate.
Thinkific does It the way, with promotional and marketing instruments built into the app. Much of this is automated also. So, if you want to drip content to your students Thinkific has this functionality. Lisa Work Thinkific
Furthermore, you Have the ability to target the right people and send out emails that are automated based on a program. Pricing is done through Thinkific, in addition to the option to become paid instantly when someone signs up for your program.
As for getting It is tried by people beyond your site to come out, Thinkific includes an affiliate marketing program to benefit bloggers. Coupons are also supplied through Thinkific, giving a opportunity to create ads with specials and convince novices your class is worth investing in to you.
Everything from Vouchers to affiliates is monitored directly in the dashboard, and you can link your Adwords, Facebook, and other accounts where students are coming from to see.
Managing, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from One of the reasons for using a technical online course platform is that it creates tracking and handling your customers and their information much simpler.
Communicating with Learners
In addition to Assisting you to arrange your learners, Thinkific also enables a number of ways for you and your learners to communicate and also for them to provide feedback. Lisa Work Thinkific
As noted, For instance, you can empower discussion for your classes and manage your pupils gifts under Service Your Students > Discussions, where it is possible to sort discussions by course, react to pupils, and — if needed –“Disapprove” contributions which you don’t want to show up in the course. (Note: Enabling talks is currently a nothing choice in Thinkific — i.e., either all classes have it or no 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 reviews for your courses. You then have the capability to approve these testimonials (they aren’t published automatically) and use them as social evidence on your sales page for your program. Unlike talks, this feature can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
Ultimately, there are Numerous notifications which can be disabled or enabled at the Thinkific platform, a few of which can be personalized. You can send a customized message if they enroll for your site to students, register in a course, or complete a program. It is also possible to send weekly 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 of their key contact information (e.g., first name, last name, email ) and utilizing custom log-in fields (under Preferences > Orders & accounts) you can easily add fields to capture whatever specific information you want from the own users. (Note that, unlike programs like Udemy, you get full access to the user information you accumulate.)
You can also Organize users into groups. This feature may have a large effect on your business model by making it feasible for you to market courses in bulk one of the greatest ways for course vendors to drive revenue growth that is significant .
Using classes, you Can easily organize your learners by organization, or cohort, time, registration, job-type, or other factors, which makes it possible to enhance your marketing going and to monitor the efficacy of your own offerings. (Note: Use of the Groups feature requires a Pro program license with the Development Add-on.) Find out more about the Thinkific Groups performance Lisa Work Thinkific
Tracking and Reporting
A motive to Have a specialized online course platform — to just posting content behind a password on a Web site as opposed, by way of example — is that it will track quiz and survey information as well as things like conclusion and course progress.
Thinkific’s Advancement tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) enables you to pick a specific student and track numerous variables for every course in which the student is registered. For every class 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 can choose to reset a student’s completion percentage at any moment.
Overall, the Course coverage is fairly basic, but I suspect it’ll serve the needs of the huge majority of course entrepreneurs.
Unlike the Program Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported to a .CSV document (instead of displayed on screen) and e-mailed to you. The .csv document contains the responses from all students who’ve taken a survey a quiz e-mail address, together with their name, and if it was taken by them. For quizzes, it supplies percentage and the amount of questions the student got correct.
Overall, reporting For courses and quizzes/surveys is one of the areas in which the Thinkific system could be more powerful. In fairness, this tends to be true for much of the all of the platforms . Over time, it would be possible to access quiz/survey data and course completion through a single Web interface. Better still, it might be good to be able to view a student transcript that displays hours associated with a program, any credit earned (not now captured at all at Thinkific), along with a link to download the certificate related to the program. Lisa Work Thinkific
What Thinkific is Missing
Anyone who has Been operating in the e-learning industry for the past couple of years (as I have) will realize that Thinkific provides a remarkable range of features at a really reasonable price. It wasn’t long ago a system with these capabilities could have easily cost tens of thousands of dollars a year.
With that in mind, It is hard to argue that Thinkific is”missing” much. Still, there are gaps that will rule it out to some class vendors — and these tend to be. The main ones that I find are:
No support for SCORM or xAPI/TinCan
As noted above, While Thinkific may host and deliver classes created in shared authoring tools like Articulate and Captivate, it doesn’t actually take advantage of the SCORM (or xAPI/TInCan) packaging capacities of these programs. If you’ve got a strong and legitimate reason for using one of the significant e-learning standards, Thinkific would not be the way to go.
Like I Are areas that, for the most part, are not served well by other platforms which are in Thinkific’s class. To acquire a platform that supports all three generally means a price point than Thinkific — and it can go a lot from there. So, be sure these are gaps for you before ruling out Thinkific.
No continuing education credit capabilities
While you can Indicate the number of hours for completing a class in Thinkific, you cannot define the amount of education. While There Might Be work-arounds, for many course providers that focus on providing continuing education credit, this will be a Substantial barrier to utilizing Thinkific, Lisa Work Thinkific
No multi-tenancy option
Multi-tenancy Means that you can make and manage multiple instances of a platform under a single umbrella. This can be very handy if you are a training company with corporate clients and those customers want their branded instance of this platform for handling and serving their customers. 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’ve yet To find an online course platform that has hidden charges, Thinkific advertises that it too has no hidden charges or contracts. That is good to know, however, nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does offer a program that is totally free for those who want to test the platform out but not get bogged down from constraints. In theory, it helps you begin building a student base without having to pay a dime and start your store. If you would rather give one of those plans a whirl there’s also a free trial.
The pricing is Broken up into four simple plans:
Starter — $0 for all core Thinkific features. This plan has a high transaction fee, all you want to make, market, and sell Stripe/PayPal service , unlimited courses, course upsells, content hosting, basic integrations, your courses, and immediate access to all capital.
Essentials — For $49 a month you receive all core and newcomer features, together with a 5% transaction fee, promotions and coupons, monthly subscriptions, class packages, intermediate integrations, basic Zapier, drip content, affiliate reporting, a majority student emailer, custom domainname, and additional course prices. Lisa Work Thinkific
Business — For $99 per month you get the features from all prior programs, no transaction fees, completion certificates, private and concealed courses, website white tagging, a host narrative, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, innovative HTML/CSS editing, priority support, teacher 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 site admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding professional, onboarding package, people API, advanced integrations, and innovative Zapier.
Thinkific has some Fantastic advantages to its pricing design. Not only can you begin your course at no cost (something that’s not offered with competitions such as Teachable,) but the extra three plans are broken down into a reasonable fashion.
After all, you Most likely don’t need API accessibility until you start getting advanced with your course promoting.
I wouldn’t mind Seeing also the HTML editing and the completion certificates at the Essentials plan, but $99 per month is bad.
As you can see, The trade fees are 10% for the plan. That is large, but it creates an environment for anyone with low quantity now or people who do not have the upfront capital. As soon as you start earning money that trade fee can be reduce by you.
Finally, you can By paying an annual basis, also save money. So, the snowball strategy goes down to $39 per month if you pay it all upfront. The company program is $79 a month and the Advanced program is $219. This makes the pricing plans similar to Teachable.
I’ll finish this Thinkific review where I started: this is a stage I recommend. Hopefully it’s clear by now that it offers a complete range of the most essential characteristics to encourage your average edupreneur in selling classes that are online.
I think it is Important to repeat as I wrap up that Thinkific is a company with a great deal of momentum. This is certainly not a trivial point: the market for online course platforms such as Thinkific is currently crowded and noisy. You can be sure that a lot of the programs which are here today is going to be gone. I’m confident that Thinkific will be about, and the organization is obviously growing and continually investing to boost its platform. Lisa Work Thinkific