Background Online Classroom Platforms
If you are selling Or even considering selling online classes, you don’t have to do much hunting to come up with a Thinkific review. There are loads of Thinkific reviews on the market. The main difference that this one provides is that it is written by someone with: Online Classroom Platforms
- More than 20 years experience in the e-learning industry, with a specific focus on companies that sell schooling (as opposed to, by Way of Example, corporate training departments, That Don’t have to convince their students to buy)
- Extensive experience designing, developing, and executing online course platforms (I had been the founder and CEO of an e-learning platform and path development company.)
- More than a decade of experience monitoring and researching online course platforms and assisting individuals and organizations pick the right platform for selling classes
I have been Tracking Thinkific and other providers which have emerged as a new class of course platforms. These are platforms which are less costly and more user friendly than learning management systems, or LMSes. They are a boon for solo edupreneurs and tiny businesses that want to enter the course enterprise. As time passes, I believe they also have potential to interrupt the traditional learning management system marketplace.
Having said All that, let’s begin.
Construction and Presence Your Online Course Web Site
Any classes you Sell have to”live” somewhere, and that someplace supplies an attractive, user friendly to the students and prospective students. Since the debut of its Site Builder capabilities Thinkific is up to the project. Online Classroom Platforms
Using Site Builder — which is simply part of the admin board to the stage — you have the ability to prepare an attractive home page for your course site and make as many custom pages as you need (e.g., to give information about you and your other solutions ). While you do not have total control — you can not, for example, set up your own style sheets (CSS) — you can possess really good capabilities for modifying branding components like font and colors styles and you can upload pretty much any kind of pictures or media you’d like to utilize.
Website Builder Comes with three themes and there are multiple variations for each one of those topics. (The company says more themes are part of the upcoming growth program.) There are also a range of pre-fab”sections” you are able to add and change on any webpage to provide for matters like social evidence (e.g. customer quotes or”as seen on” logos), calls for action, count down timer, and pricing options — basically, all of the essential tools you require for conducting a successful course or membership site. There’s also a blank slate”media & Text” section which can be used to make pretty much anything you desire.
As is the case With just about any content management system, it took me a while to figure out how to do some basic things like delete sections (the topics offer a home page pre-populated with sections) and include custom pages to the site menu. But support has been readily available for them. Thinkific includes a good support site on which you are able to search for help, but I often just use a Google search along with the phrase”Thinkific” to find whatever I need (e.g.,”create custom website pages Thinkific”). I have yet to not find good support by doing this, whether to the Thinkific site or from a different user.
Some added Features to notice:
- Customized URL (under Settings > Website ) — By default, you’re assigned a thinkific.com address — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. Having a paid program (starting at $49 a month for Fundamental ) you can get 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 labeling (below Settings > Website )– By leaping up to a Pro Plan ($99 a month) with the Growth Add-on ($.10 per active student/per month) you can easily remove the”Powered by Thinkific” speech on your website and courses.
- Text Changes (under Settings > Learning Content and several different areas) — You can change a lot of the default language that is used in navigation and other regions. By way of instance, Thinkific uses”Chapters” as the label for portions of a program. You may prefer to change this to”Lessons” Online Classroom Platforms
So, you may be asking,”Could I use Thinkific for my main Web website?”
For edupreneurs That are only starting off and don’t already have an Internet presence the response is an emphatic”yes.” Utilizing Thinkific is a great way to take a huge item from 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 sophisticated Web site after.
If you already Have an Internet site, though — particularly on a fuller-featured content management system such as WordPress — I would not suggest relying on Thinkific (or some other route platform) for your primary Internet site. Site Builder is fantastic for what it does — and may create a great course website to complement your main site — but ultimately it’s relatively limited. A few of the key present constraints include:
- All themes are single pillar. So, as an instance, you can not put email signup forms, promotions for class, or other things down the left or right side of your website.
- As mentioned, you can not use your own CSS (cascading style sheets), largely a limit if you really wish to reflect the branding of an present Web site.
- There’s no control on search engine optimization settings on Web pages — e.g., you can’t define the name tags or meta tag descriptions. You can, however, do this on course landing pages, which is possibly more important for the typical edupreneur.
- Thinkific lacks the wealth of plug-ins and the extensive network of seasoned contractors that are available to support platforms such as WordPress.
Regardless of those Limits, Website Builder is likely to perform the job well for many edupreneurs and is a little better than what most online course platforms provide.
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 might expect, this is a place where Thinkific really shines.
To Begin with, the Platform provides a range of pre-configured templates that can be quite beneficial to course builders searching for assistance with how to arrange their content. The templates cover the assortment of standard scenarios you’d be prone to consider for offering an educational item. All these are:
- Blank — Start fresh and build your own course to match your specific curriculum needs.
- Mini-course — Use a free or low-cost mini-course to generate leads for a full flagship course or assistance.
- Flagship Course — Build a full online course using a strong curriculum outline created with best practices in mind.
- Pre-sell — Produce a pre-sell landing page and start building a waitlist to judge interest on your program.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable documents in an internet course to create earnings 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 allow registrants to review your presentation and offer.
All of these can Be modified broadly — you can alter the content in the sections which are supplied, delete segments, or insert new segments to arrive at the strategy that is right for your content. All throughout the process, Thinkific supplies”smart mentor course construction tips” to help you. (I found them helpful, but they can be easily switched off, should you prefer.) Online Classroom Platforms
In Case You Have zero Experience working with Web 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 earning your way up it, and you will reap the benefits.
And, in case you are Already comfortable using other Web content systems — such as, by way of another course platform, WordPress or example — I believe that you will find operating in Thinkific to be a breeze.
Overall A course in Thinkific makes sense. After choosing”New Course,” choosing your course type, naming it (which you may change at any stage ), and saving it, you add”Chapters” (or change 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 anything you would like.
You fill the Chapters with content in a way very similar to how I described using Website Builder over. There are 11 choices:
- Video lessons — Upload a movie file. (This gets stored in a movie library for re-use in different 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 information on quizzes under )
- Multimedia classes — This is a means to link out to content not hosted on Thinkific and also make it an integrated part of your program. Some of the possibilities include:
- Webinar tools (supply the link to a live Zoom session, for example)
- Surveys (e.g. Typeform)
- Appointment booking tools (e.g. Calendly)
- Presentations (e.g. Prezi)
- Google Docs
- Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate documents (Requires Professional or Enterprise license. More about that below)
- Text lessons — Combine text, pictures, videos, etc. into a single lesson. This is basically the equivalent to”Text & Media” Website Builder alternative discussed previously.
- Research lessons — Gather information/feedback from your students by building a survey in Thinkific.
- PDF lessons.
- Disqus lessons Disqus discussion boards to 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 classes — Upload an audio file.
- Downloads resources available for download from within the program participant.
- Presentation classes — synchronize a demonstration as a PDF file and record sound for each slide.
- Exam classes — Include a Brillium exam in your program. (A Brillium license is separate from Thinkific and starts at $49 per month. More on this below.)
The above options Will get the job completed for all but the most sophisticated edupreneurs. The primary areas they fall short is in
- Supplying for branching scenarios — i.e., allowing learners to go down different paths depending on their performances from the course or information you collect about them — and
- Adding elements.
If those are Choices you truly need, you would be better off with a full-blown course authoring tool like iSpring or even Articulate Storyline (see more about these types of tools here). Online Classroom Platforms
The use of Articulate and Captivate at Thinkific
Many course Founders will be perfectly content with using the resources in Thinkific to make classes, but some might prefer the option of producing their courses with third party e-learning course creation software like Articulate Storyline or 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 case you probably do not need to have to re-create them utilizing Thinkific course creation tools), or (b) you expect developing a significant catalogue of courses with a comparatively long”shelf life” — in which case you might not want your courses locked to a specific delivery platform.
You can use these Types of tools with Thinkific — Articulate Storyline and Captivate are supported — however there are some limitations you should be aware of if you go this route.
First, Thinkific (like all other platforms in its own course ) hasn’t implemented SCORM, which stands to the Shareable Content Object Reference Model. There is a lot to SCORM, but the principal thing for edupreneurs to understand is that it provides standards for how an internet course can communicate using a learning platform to deliver it information like how long a learner has spent in a program, or whether particular areas of the class have been completed successfully. Thinkific monitors this type of information. (More about SCORM here.)
Second, you Can’t Import an Captivate or Articulate route into Thinkific all on your own. These classes are made up of more than one file (such as, for example, a video file), and 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
An excellent Online course construction platform typically offers you. This includes the training course building, the promotion, the selling, and the management.
Systems like Thinkific do not host classes on your own website. Your content is actually hosted with Thinkific (so that you do not have to go out and find your personal hosting,) but it still gives you complete control on what your website looks like.
When compared to Systems such as Udemy, Thinkific surely provides more liberty and control. Let’s explore some of the other standout features.
Outstanding Student Management and Communication Modules
Within my Thinkific review, I noticed that the smoothness of the pupil communication tools. It is a visual pupil management area, with images of your pupils, names, contact information, and details for how far they’re on your course.
You’ve got the Choice to send emails that are customized to each of those pupils or create a conversation with the entire community. Online Classroom Platforms
Incentives are A part of this learning environment because Thinkific offers completion certificates, report cards, and during classes, the emails for sending out just about whatever you want of course.
In addition to Replays of language controls, course material, and optimization, students working together with the Thinkific platform should feel.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Part of this Reason Thinkific seems so great compared to this rivalry is that of its class designer. You don’t need to mess with any code if you don’t want to.
In fact Your content is coordinated with an easy drag and drop editor, where you move it about and stack the class content.
Speaking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of all media forms. From PDFs to sound files, and surveys to quizzes, the stage is great for offering up a vast assortment of learning tools for your students.
As we mentioned All these documents are hosted on the Thinkific servers. Therefore, you should not have to worry much about a file being too large or running slowly on your very own servers that are shared.
When you personalize Your course website it offers some useful editing tools for the novices on the market. You can correct items like logos, color schemes, and banners, all without touching any code.
However, the further Advanced programmers have full control over the HTML and CSS. So, if you want to make your site unique, the alternative is there for you.
Promotions on Autopilot
Some online course Platforms fail from the promotions arena. This is unfortunate as there’s no way unless people know that your path exists, to start earning money.
Thinkific does It the ideal way, with promotional and marketing tools built into the app. A lot of this is automated. So, if you want to drip content to your students–in which courses would be released over the years –Thinkific has this operation. Online Classroom Platforms
Furthermore, you Have the ability and send emails out based on a program. Pricing is done through Thinkific, along with the choice to become paid instantly when somebody signs up on your course.
As for getting It is tried by people outside of your website out, Thinkific includes an online affiliate marketing program to benefit other people who advocate your program and bloggers. Coupons are supplied through Thinkific, giving a chance to create ads with specials and convince novices your class is well worth investing in to you.
Everything from Vouchers to affiliates is monitored right in the dashboard, and you can also link Facebook, your Adwords, and other accounts to determine where students are coming out of.
Handling, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from Allowing you to produce your classes, one of the key reasons for utilizing a technical online course platform is that it makes handling and monitoring your users and their data a lot simpler.
Communicating with Learners
Along with Assisting you to organize your students, Thinkific also enables several ways for you and your students to communicate and also for them to provide comments on the program. Online Classroom Platforms
As noted, By way of instance, you can empower discussion to your courses and then manage your students contributions under Support Your Students Discussions, where it is possible to sort talks by course, respond to pupils, and — if desired –“Disapprove” gifts that you don’t wish to show up in the course. (Note: Letting discussions is now an all or nothing choice in Thinkific — i.e., either all classes have it or no courses have it. The workaround for this would be to utilize the Disqus alternative on a course-by-course foundation )
You can also Allow your student to submit reviews for your classes. Then you have the ability to approve these reviews (they aren’t printed automatically) and use them as social proof on your earnings page to your program. Unlike talks, this feature can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
Finally, there are Numerous notifications that can be enabled or disabled in the Thinkific platform, some of which can be personalized. You can send a message when your website is registered for by them to students, enroll in a course, or complete a program. You can also send out weekly reminder messages. (Note: Reminders are site-wide, not course-specific.)
Managing and Organizing Learners
To start with, When an individual 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 Preferences > Programs & accounts) you can easily add areas to catch whatever specific information you want from the own users. (Notice that, unlike platforms such as Udemy, you get full access to the user information you collect.)
You can also Organize users into classes. This feature can have a large effect on your business model by making it possible for you to sell courses in bulk to associations — among the best ways for online course vendors to drive revenue growth, in my experience.
You, groups Can also easily arrange your students by other variables, or organization, or cohort, time, enrollment, job-type, which makes it possible also to enhance your marketing going forward and to monitor the effectiveness of your own offerings with each group. (Note: Use of the Groups attribute requires a Pro plan license with the Development Add-on.) Find out more about the Thinkific Groups functionality Online Classroom Platforms
Tracking and Reporting
A key motive to Have a technical online course platform — to posting content supporting a password on a Web site, as opposed, for instance — is that it is going to track things like course progress and completion in addition to quiz and survey information.
Thinkific’s Advancement tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) enables you to select a specific student and track numerous variables for each class 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 Launched at (date)
- Course Activated at (date)
- Last sign (date)
I like this you If you’re adding new classes to an already finished course can choose to reset a student’s completion percentage for instance,, at any moment.
Overall, the Course coverage is rather basic, but I suspect it will serve the needs of the huge majority of course entrepreneurs.
Contrary to the course Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported to a .CSV file (rather than displayed on display ) and emailed to you. The .csv file contains the answers from all students who’ve obtained a survey a quiz email address, together with their name, and if they took it. For quizzes, it provides percent and the amount .
Overall, reporting For both courses and quizzes/surveys is among the areas where the Thinkific system could be stronger. In fairness, this tends to be true for much the platforms of the all within this category of platforms. Over time, it would be possible to access course completion and quiz/survey data through a Web interface. Even better, it would be great to be able to see a student transcript that displays hours related to a course, any credit earned (not currently captured at all in Thinkific), along with a URL to download the certificate associated with the program. Online Classroom Platforms
What Thinkific is currently Missing
Anyone who has Been operating in the e-learning industry for the past couple of decades (as I have) will realize that Thinkific offers a remarkable range of features at a really affordable price. It wasn’t long ago a system with these capacities could have cost tens of thousands of dollars.
With that in mind, It is really hard to argue that Thinkific is”missing” much. Still, there are gaps that can rule it out and these tend to be. The main ones that I find are:
No support for xAPI/TinCan or SCORM
As mentioned previously, While Thinkific can host and deliver courses created in shared authoring tools such as Articulate and Captivate, it doesn’t really make use of the SCORM (or even xAPI/TInCan) packaging capacities of these applications. In case you’ve got a reason for using one of the significant e-learning criteria, then Thinkific would not be the way to go.
Like I Are areas which are not served by other platforms that are in Thinkific’s course. To get a platform that supports all three generally means a beginning price point three to four times higher than Thinkific — and it could go far from that point up. So, be sure that these are openings for you before judgment out Thinkific.
No continuing education credit capacities
While you can Indicate the estimated number of hours for completing a course in Thinkific, you cannot specify the total 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 using Thinkific, Online Classroom Platforms
No multi-tenancy alternative
Multi-tenancy Means that you handle and can make a number of instances of a platform under one umbrella. This can be really handy if you are a training company that has corporate clients and those customers want their very own example of this platform for handling and serving their users. While the Group functionality in Thinkific gets you part of the way there, it isn’t the exact same matter as multi-tenancy.
Although I have yet To discover an online course platform which has hidden fees, Thinkific advertises that it too has no hidden fees or contracts. That is good to know, however, nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does provide a free plan for people who wish to test the stage but not get bogged down from constraints. In theory, it helps you launch your store and begin building a student base. There is also a free trial if you would rather give a whirl to one of the plans.
The pricing is Divided into four simple strategies:
Starter — $0 for many core Thinkific features. This plan has a top transaction fee, everything you need to create, promote, and market your courses, unlimited courses, class upsells, content hosting, basic integrations service, and access to all funds.
Basics — For $49 per month you receive all core and newcomer features, together with a 5% transaction fee, coupons and promotions, monthly subscriptions, class packages, intermediate integrations, basic Zapier, trickle articles, affiliate reporting, a bulk student emailer, customized domain, and additional course rates. Online Classroom Platforms
Business — For $99 per month you get the attributes from all prior programs, no transaction fees, completion certificates, private and hidden classes, website white tagging, a host storyline, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, innovative HTML/CSS editing, priority support, teacher payout reporting, an onboarding call, payment strategies, along with an immediate Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 a month you get all attributes from prior programs, no transaction fees, one sign-on (SSO), three site admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding professional, onboarding bundle, public API, advanced integrations, and innovative Zapier.
Thinkific has some Advantages to its pricing layout. Not only are you able to begin your course at no cost (something that’s not offered with competitions such as Teachable,) but the additional three programs are broken down into a logical fashion.
After all, you Most probably do not need API accessibility until you really start becoming advanced with your course selling.
I would not mind Seeing the HTML editing as well as the completion certificates however $99 a month still is not that bad.
As you can see, The transaction prices are 10% for the plan that is free. That’s large, but it creates an atmosphere for those who have low volume or individuals who do not have the upfront capital to launch a professional online shop. Once you start making money you’ll be able to reduce that trade fee.
You can Save money. The Essentials plan goes to $39 per month if you pay it all upfront. The Business program is $79 a month and also the Advanced plan is $219. That makes the pricing programs much like Teachable.
I’ll finish this Thinkific review where I began: this really is. Hopefully it is clear by now that it offers a range of the features that are vital to support your average edupreneur.
I think it is Important to repeat as I wrap up that Thinkific is a business with a great deal of momentum. This is definitely not a trivial point: the marketplace for online course platforms such as Thinkific is now crowded and noisy. You can be certain that a lot of the platforms which are here now will undoubtedly be gone tomorrow. I’m convinced Thinkific will be about, and the organization is clearly growing and always investing to boost its platform. Online Classroom Platforms