Background Make My Course
If You’re promoting Or considering selling online courses, you don’t need to do much hunting to come up with a Thinkific review. There are loads of Thinkific reviews on the market. The main difference this one offers is It Is written by someone with: Make My Course
- Over 20 years experience in the e-learning Business, with a specific focus on companies that sell education (as opposed to, by Way of Example, corporate training departments, That Don’t have to convince their students to buy)
- Extensive experience designing, creating, and implementing online class platforms (I had been the founder and CEO of an e-learning platform and course development company.)
- Over a decade of experience monitoring and researching online class platforms and helping individuals and organizations pick the right platform for selling classes
I have been closely Monitoring Thinkific and other providers that have emerged as a new type of course platforms within the previous decades. These are platforms which LMSes, or are a lot more user-friendly and less costly than learning management systems. They are businesses that are looking to get into the online course enterprise and a boon for solo edupreneurs. Over time, I think they also have potential to disrupt the learning management system marketplace that is traditional.
So, having said All that, let us get started.
Building and Presence Your Online Course Web Site
Any courses you Sell have to”live” somewhere, and that somewhere provides an appealing, user friendly to the students and prospective students. Since the introduction of its Site Builder capacities this season, Thinkific is up to the job. Make My Course
Using Site Builder — that is only a part of the admin panel for the stage — you have the ability to prepare an appealing home page to your course site and create as many custom pages as you need (e.g., to give details about you and your other solutions ). Despite the fact that you don’t have total control — you can not, as an instance, set up your own style sheets (CSS) — you do possess really good capabilities for changing branding components like colors and font styles and you can upload just about any kind of pictures or media you’d want to utilize.
Website Builder Comes with three themes and there are numerous variants for each of those themes. (The company says more themes are part of their upcoming growth plan.) Additionally, there are a selection of pre-fab”segments” that you are able to add 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 options — basically, all of the essential tools you need for running a successful path or membership website. There is also a blank slate”Text & media” section which may be used 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 work out how to do some basic things like delete segments (the themes offer a home page pre-populated with sections) and add custom pages to the website menu. However support was readily available for them. Thinkific has a solid support site on which you can look for help, but I often only use a Google search along with the phrase”Thinkific” to discover whatever I need (e.g.,”create custom website pages Thinkific”). I have yet to not find good support by doing this, whether on the Thinkific site or from a different user.
Some added Features to note:
- Custom URL (under Settings > Website ) — By default, you are assigned a thinkific.com speech — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. With a paid program (starting at $49 per month for Basic) you can get a customized 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 labeling (under Settings > Website )– By jumping up into a Pro Plan ($99 a month) using the Development Add-on ($.10 per busy student/per month) you can easily remove the”Powered by Thinkific” language on your website and courses.
- Text Dimensions (under Settings > Learning Content and several other areas) — It is possible to change a lot of the default language which is used in navigation and other areas. For instance, Thinkific uses”Chapters” as the label for parts of a program. You may like to change this to”Lessons.” Make My Course
So, you may be asking,”Can I use Thinkific for my main Web website?”
For edupreneurs That are just starting off and do not already have an Internet presence the answer is an emphatic”yes.” Using Thinkific is a great way to have a big item off of your”to do” list (i.e.,”figure out ways to find a decent Web site setup”) and focus on creating and launch your courses. It is possible to be concerned about a more sophisticated Web site later.
If you already Have an Internet site, however — particularly on a fuller-featured content management system like WordPress — I wouldn’t recommend relying on Thinkific (or some other route platform) for your main Internet website. Site Builder is fantastic for what it does — and may create a great course site to match your primary Web site — but finally it is relatively limited. Some of the key current constraints include:
- All motifs are column. Therefore, for example, you can’t put email signup types, promotions for class, or other things down the left or right side of your site.
- As mentioned, you can’t use your own CSS (cascading style sheets), largely a limit if you really want to reflect the branding of an present Web website.
- There’s absolutely no control over search engine optimization configurations on Internet pages — e.g., you can’t specify the name tags or meta tag descriptions. You can, however, do so on course landing pages, which is possibly more significant for the typical edupreneur.
- Thinkific lacks the abundance of plug-ins and the broad network of seasoned contractors that are available to encourage platforms like WordPress.
In spite of these Limits, Site Builder is likely to perform the work well for most edupreneurs and is quite a bit better than what many online course platforms provide.
Creating Online Courses with Thinkific
While you Definitely want an attractive, user-friendly website to house your classes, the classes themselves are the primary attraction. As you might expect, this is a place where Thinkific really shines.
To Begin with, the Platform provides a variety of pre-configured templates that may be quite beneficial to course builders searching for assistance with how to organize their content. The templates cover the range of standard scenarios you’d be prone to think about for offering an educational product. All these are:
- Blank — Start fresh and construct your own course to match your specific curriculum requirements.
- Mini-course — Use a low-cost or free mini-course to generate leads for a complete flagship program or service.
- Flagship Course — Construct a full online course employing a strong curriculum outline created with best practices in mind.
- Pre-sell — Produce a pre-sell landing page and start constructing a waitlist to gauge interest in your course.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable documents in an online course to generate earnings or collect email addresses.
- Membership Resource Library — Host downloadable tools to be included in a membership package with this template.
- Webinar Replay — Host your webinar replay video to permit registrants to review your presentation and offer.
All these can Be modified broadly — you can alter the content from the sections that are provided, delete sections, or insert new segments to reach the strategy that is ideal for your content. All throughout the process, Thinkific provides”smart mentor course construction tips” to help you. (I found these helpful, but they may be easily turned off, if you prefer.) Make My Course
If you have zero Experience working with Web content, there will 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 making your it up, and you’ll reap the rewards.
And, in case You’re Already comfortable with other Web content systems — like, by way of another program platform, WordPress or instance — I believe that you will find working in Thinkific to be a breeze.
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 saving it, you include”Chapters” (or modify ones already in the template) to create the structure of the course. As mentioned above, if you don’t like the expression”Chapters,” you can change it to anything you would like.
You fill the Chapters with content in a way very similar to the way I described using Site Builder over. There are 11 choices:
- Video classes — Upload a file. (This has stored in a movie library for re-use in different classes. Videos stored in this library are protected from access by anyone who is not a registered user of your website.)
- Quiz lessons — Create a quiz for your students. (More info on quizzes under )
- Multimedia classes — This can be a way to link out to content not hosted on Thinkific and make it an integrated part of your program. Some of the possibilities include:
- Webinar tools (supply the URL 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 documents (Requires Professional or Enterprise license. More on this below)
- Text lessons — Combine text, images, videos, etc. into one lesson. This is basically the equivalent to”Text and Media” Site Builder option mentioned above.
- Survey lessons — Collect information/feedback from the pupils by building a poll in Thinkific.
- PDF classes — Publish a PDF document to be viewed within the course participant.
- Disqus classes — Add Disqus discussion boards to your program. (Note: there’s also a discussion option built into Thinkific which you can turn on or off beneath Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio classes — Upload a sound file.
- Downloads — Include resources.
- Presentation lessons — Upload a demonstration as a PDF file and record audio for each slide.
- Exam classes — Include a Brillium examination in your program. (A Brillium license is separate from Thinkific and starts at $49 per month. More on this below.)
The above Choices Will get the job done for all but the most complex edupreneurs. The primary areas 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 information you collect about them — and
- Like studying games Adding interactive components.
If those are Choices you truly need, you’d be better off using a full-blown course authoring tool like iSpring or even Articulate Storyline (see more about these types of programs here). Make My Course
Use of Articulate and Captivate at Thinkific
Many course Creators will be perfectly content with using the resources in Thinkific to make classes, but some might prefer the option of creating their courses with third party e-learning course creation software such as Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate.
Fundamentally, using a Third party tool is an option to seriously consider if you (a) already have a significant number of courses built out in one of these applications (in which you probably don’t need to have to re-create them using Thinkific course creation tools), and/or (b) you expect developing a substantial catalogue of courses with a relatively long”shelf life” — in which case you may not want to have your classes locked into a particular shipping platform.
You can use these Types of tools with Thinkific — Articulate Storyline and Captivate are encouraged — but there are a few limitations you should be aware of if you go this path.
First, Thinkific (like all other platforms in its own class) has not implemented SCORM, which stands for the Shareable Content Object Reference Model. There is a whole lot to SCORM, but the main thing for edupreneurs to know is that it provides criteria for how an online course can communicate with a learning platform to deliver it data like how long a learner has spent in a program, or if specific areas of the course have been completed successfully. Thinkific tracks this type of information with its own methods. (More about SCORM here.)
You cannot Import an Articulate or Captivate route into Thinkific on your own. These classes comprise of over a single file (like, for example, a video file), and to get them inside the platform, you need to zip up the files and send them to Thinkific customer service.
The Best Features and How They Benefit You
A great Online course construction platform typically offers you the features you need from start to finish. This includes the teacher/student management, the promotion, the selling, and also the training course construction.
Systems such as Thinkific do not host classes . Your content is actually hosted with Thinkific (so you do not need to go out and find your own hosting,) but it gives you total control over 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 other standout features.
Excellent Student Management and Communication Modules
During my Thinkific review, I noticed that the smoothness of the pupil communication tools. It is a visual pupil management area, with pictures of your students, titles, contact information, and information for how far they’re on your program.
You have the Choice create a dialogue with the whole community or to send emails that are customized to every one of those pupils. Make My Course
Incentives are A part of this learning environment since Thinkific offers report cards, conclusion certificates, and of course, the emails for sending out just about whatever you want throughout courses.
In addition to Replays of language controls course material, students, and optimization working with the Thinkific platform ought to feel.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Section of this Motive Thinkific looks so great in contrast to this rivalry is that of its class designer. You do not need to mess with any code if you don’t want to.
In Reality, all of Your content is coordinated using a drag and drop editor, in which you move it about vertically and pile the course content.
Talking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of media types. From PDFs to sound files, and surveys to quizzes, the stage is great for offering up a vast assortment of learning resources for the students.
As we mentioned All these files are hosted on the Thinkific servers. You should not have to worry about a file running in your very own servers or being too large.
When you customize Your course website it offers some useful editing tools for the novices out there. As an example, you can adjust items such as banners, colour schemes, and logos, all without touching any code.
However Advanced developers have full control over the HTML and CSS. Consequently, if you would like to make your website unique, the option is there for you.
Promotions on Autopilot
Some online course Platforms fail from the promotions arena. Since there’s no way to begin earning money unless people know that your course 19, this is unfortunate.
Thinkific does The app was built into by it the ideal way, with marketing and promotional instruments. Much of this is automatic. Consequently, if you want to drip articles to your students Thinkific has this operation. Make My Course
Furthermore, you Have the ability to target the ideal people and send emails based on a schedule. Pricing is done through Thinkific, along with the choice to become paid instantly when somebody signs up on your program.
As for getting People beyond your site try it out, Thinkific comes with an affiliate marketing program to reward other men and women who advocate your course and bloggers. Coupons are also supplied through Thinkific, giving you a chance to create advertisements and convince novices that your class is worth investing in.
Everything from Vouchers to affiliates is monitored right in the dashboard, and you can join your Adwords, Facebook, and other social reports where students are coming out of to see.
Handling, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from One of the reasons for utilizing a specialized class platform is that it creates handling and monitoring your customers and their information much more easy.
Communicating with Learners
Along with Helping you organize your learners, Thinkific also enables several ways that you communicate with your learners and also for them to provide comments on the program. Make My Course
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, respond to students, and — if desired –“Disapprove” gifts that you don’t wish to show up in the course. (Note: Letting talks is currently an all or nothing choice in Thinkific — i.e., either all classes have it or no classes have it. The workaround for this would be to utilize the Disqus alternative on a course-by-course foundation )
You can also Enable your student to submit reviews for your courses. You then have the capability to approve these reviews (they are not published automatically) and utilize them as social proof on your sales page to the program. Unlike discussions, this attribute can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
There are A number of notifications which could be enabled or disabled at the Thinkific platform, some of which can be customized. You can send pupils a customized message if they register for your site, register in a particular course, or complete a program. You can also send out weekly reminder messages. (Note: Reminders are site-wide, maybe not course-specific.)
Managing and Organizing Learners
To start with, When an individual signs up in your website, Thinkific captures all of their key contact data (e.g., first name, last name, email ) and utilizing custom log-in fields (under Settings > Programs & accounts) you can easily add fields to capture whatever specific information you desire from the own users. (Note that, unlike programs like Udemy, you receive complete access to the user data you collect.)
You can also Organize users into groups. This feature may have a big effect on your business model by making it feasible for you to market courses in bulk to organizations — one of the greatest ways for internet course sellers to drive revenue growth that is significant .
You, groups May also easily organize your students by cohort, time, enrollment, job-type, or organization, or other variables, making it feasible to enhance your marketing going and to monitor the effectiveness of your offerings. (Note: use of the Groups feature requires a Pro program license with the Growth Add-on.) Discover More about the Thinkific Groups functionality Make My Course
Tracking and Reporting
A reason to Have a online class platform — as opposed to posting content behind a password on a Web site — is that it is going to track things like completion and course progress as well as quiz and survey data.
Thinkific’s Progress tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) enables you to select a particular student and track a number of factors for every class in which the pupil is enrolled. For each course you will 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 in (date)
I enjoy this you Can choose to reset a student’s completion percentage at any time if you’re adding new classes.
Overall, the Course reporting is rather basic, but I suspect it will serve the needs of the huge majority of course entrepreneurs.
Unlike the course Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported into a .CSV file (instead of displayed on display ) and e-mailed to you. The .csv document contains the responses from all students who have obtained a survey a quiz together with their name and when they shot it. For quizzes, it supplies percent and the number 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 has a tendency to be true for pretty much of the all of the platforms within this category of platforms. Over time, it might be possible to get course conclusion and quiz/survey data via a Web interface. Even better, it might be good to be able to view a student transcript that shows hours related to a program, any credit earned (not now captured in any way at Thinkific), and a URL to download the certificate related to the course. Make My Course
What Thinkific is currently Missing
Anyone who has Been operating in the e-learning industry for the past few years (as I have) will realize that Thinkific provides a remarkable range of features at a very affordable price. It wasn’t that long ago a system with those capacities may have cost thousands of dollars a year.
With that in mind, It is hard to assert that Thinkific is”missing” much. There are openings which will rule out it and all of these tend to be. The main ones that I see are:
No support for xAPI/TinCan or SCORM
As noted above, While Thinkific may host and deliver courses created in common authoring tools such as Articulate and Captivate, it doesn’t actually make use of the SCORM (or even xAPI/TInCan) packaging capacities of these programs. If you have a reason for using one of the major e-learning criteria, then Thinkific would not be the way to go.
As I Are areas which aren’t served well by platforms which are in Thinkific’s course. To get a platform which supports all three normally means a beginning price point a few times greater than Thinkific — and it could go up a lot from there. Be sure these are openings for you before ruling out Thinkific.
No continuing education credit capacities
While you can Indicate the variety of hours for finishing a class in Thinkific, you can’t define the amount of continuing education accessible for a course. While There Might Be work-arounds, for many course providers that focus on providing continuing education credit, this will be a significant barrier to utilizing Thinkific, Make My Course
No multi-tenancy alternative
Multi-tenancy Means that you manage and can make a number of instances of a platform under a single umbrella. This can be useful if, for instance, you’re a training company with many clients and those customers want their branded instance of this platform for handling and serving their own customers. While the Group performance in Thinkific makes you a part of the way there, it is not the same thing as multi-tenancy.
Although I’ve yet To find an internet course platform that has hidden fees, Thinkific advertises it too has no hidden fees or contracts. That’s very good to know, but nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does offer a plan for people who want to test the stage but not get bogged down from limitations. In theory, it helps you start your store and begin building a student base. There’s also a free trial if you would rather give one of those more innovative plans a whirl.
The pricing is Broken up into four easy strategies:
Starter — $0 to all core Thinkific features. This plan has a high transaction fee, all you want to make, market, and sell content hosting , infinite courses, class upsells, your classes, fundamental integrations, Stripe/PayPal support, and instant access to all funds.
Essentials — For $49 per month you receive all center and starter features, along with a 5% transaction fee, promotions and coupons, monthly subscriptions, class packages, intermediate integrations, fundamental Zapier, drip content, affiliate reporting, a bulk student emailer, custom domainname, along with extra course rates. Make My Course
Business — For $99 a month you receive the features from all prior plans, no transaction fees, completion certificates, private and hidden classes, website white tagging, a host narrative, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, advanced HTML/CSS editing, priority service, instructor payout reporting, an onboarding telephone, payment plans, along with a direct Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 a month you receive 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 bundle, people API, innovative integrations, and advanced Zapier.
Thinkific has some Great benefits to its pricing layout. Not only can you begin your course at no cost (something that is not offered with competitors like Teachable,) but the extra three plans are broken down in a logical manner.
After all, you Most probably don’t need API accessibility until you start becoming advanced with your path selling.
I would not mind Seeing the HTML editing as well as the completion certificates in the Essentials plan, but $99 per month still is bad.
As you can see, The trade prices are 10% to the program that is free. That is large, however, it creates an environment for people who do not have the upfront capital to launch a professional online store or anyone with low quantity right now. Once you get started earning money you can cut that trade fee down.
Finally, you can Also save money. The Essentials plan goes down to $39 a month if you pay it all upfront. The company plan is $79 a month and the Advanced program is $219. That makes the pricing programs quite similar to Teachable.
I will end this Thinkific review where I began: this is. Hopefully it is clear by now that it offers a range of the most essential characteristics to encourage your average edupreneur in selling classes that are online.
I Believe it is also Important to repeat as I wrap up that Thinkific is a business with a lot of momentum. This is not a trivial point: the marketplace for online class platforms like Thinkific is now crowded and noisy. You can be certain that a lot of the platforms which are here today will undoubtedly be gone. I feel convinced Thinkific will be around, and the organization is obviously growing and continually investing to boost its own platform. Make My Course