Introduction Online Course Creation Tools
If You’re currently promoting Or thinking about selling online classes, you do not have to do much hunting to come up with a Thinkific review. There are plenty of Thinkific reviews out there. The main difference this one offers is that it is written by someone with: Online Course Creation Tools
- Over 20 years experience in the e-learning Business, with a Particular focus on businesses that sell education (as opposed to, by Way of Example, corporate training departments, That Don’t have to convince their students to purchase )
- 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 exploring online class platforms and helping individuals and organizations pick the right platform for selling courses
I’ve been closely Monitoring Thinkific and other suppliers that have emerged as a new type of course platforms within the past several decades. These are programs which are much more user friendly and less costly or LMSes. They’re companies that are looking to enter the online course business and a boon for solo edupreneurs. As time passes, I think they also have potential to interrupt the learning management system marketplace.
Having said That, let’s begin.
Building and Branding Your Online Course Web Site
Any classes you Sell have to”live” somewhere, and that somewhere supplies an attractive, user friendly to the students and potential students. Since the debut of its Site Builder capabilities Thinkific is up to the project. Online Course Creation Tools
Using Site Builder — which is only a part of the admin panel for the stage — you now have the capacity to prepare an attractive home page to your course website and make as many custom pages as you need (e.g., to provide details about you and your other solutions ). Despite the fact that you do not have complete control — you can not, for example, set up your own style sheets (CSS) — you can get really excellent capabilities for modifying branding components like font and colors styles and you can upload just about any type of pictures or media you would like to use.
Site Builder Currently comes with three topics to select from, and there are numerous variants for each of these themes. (The company says more themes are part of the future development plan.) There are also a selection of pre-fab”sections” that you can add and change on any webpage to provide for things like social evidence (e.g. customer quotes or”as seen on” logos), calls to action, count down timer, and pricing options — essentially, all of the essential tools you need for running a successful path or membership site. There’s also a blank slate”Text & media” section which may be used to create 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 house page pre-populated with segments ) and include custom pages to the site menu. However support was readily available for these. Thinkific has a solid support website on which you are able to look for aid, but I tend to just use a Google search together with the word”Thinkific” to find whatever I want (e.g.,”create custom website pages Thinkific”). I’ve yet to not find good support using this method, whether on the Thinkific site or from a different user.
Some added Features to note:
- Customized URL (under Settings > Website ) — By default, you are assigned a thinkific.com speech — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. With a paid plan (beginning at $49 per month for Fundamental ) you can get 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 any Web site these days. (Google smiles on this)
- White labeling (under Settings > Website )– By leaping up to a Pro Plan ($99 per month) using the Development Add-on ($.10 per active student/per month) you can quickly remove the”Powered by Thinkific” language on your site and courses.
- Text Changes (under Settings > Learning Content and various other areas) — You can change a lot of the default language that is used in navigation and other areas. By way of instance, Thinkific utilizes”Chapters” as the label for portions of a course. You may prefer to change this to”Lessons.” Online Course Creation Tools
So, you might be asking,”Can I use Thinkific for my primary Web website?”
For edupreneurs That are only starting off and do not already have an Internet presence the answer is an emphatic”yes.” Using Thinkific is a good way to take a big item from your”to do” list (i.e.,”figure out ways to get an adequate Web site set up”) and concentrate 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, though — especially on a fuller-featured content management system such as WordPress — I wouldn’t suggest relying on Thinkific (or any other route platform) to your primary Internet site. Website Builder is fantastic for what it does — and may create a fantastic course website to match your primary site — but ultimately it’s relatively limited. A few of the key present constraints include:
- All motifs are single pillar. So, as an instance, you can’t put e-mail sign-up types, promotions for class, or other items down the left or right side of your site.
- As mentioned, you can not use your own CSS (cascading style sheets), largely a limitation if you truly want to mirror the branding of an present Web website.
- There’s absolutely no control on search engine optimization settings on Internet pages — e.g., you can not define the title tags or meta descriptions. You can, however, do this on track landing pages, which is arguably more important for the average edupreneur.
- Thinkific lacks the wealth of plug-ins along with the extensive network of experienced contractors who are available to encourage platforms like WordPress.
In spite of these Limits, Site Builder is likely to perform the job well for many edupreneurs and is quite a bit better than what most online course platforms supply.
Creating Online Courses with Thinkific
While you Definitely need to have an attractive, user-friendly site to house your courses, the classes themselves are the primary attraction. As you may expect, this is a place where Thinkific really shines.
To Begin with, the Platform provides a variety of pre-configured templates which may be quite useful to course builders searching for assistance with how to organize their content. The templates cover the range of standard scenarios you would be prone to consider for offering an educational product. These are:
- Blank — Start new and build your course to meet your particular curriculum requirements.
- Mini-course — Utilize a low-cost or free mini-course to create prospects for a complete flagship program or service.
- Flagship Course — Build a full online course employing a robust curriculum outline created using best practices in mind.
- Pre-sell — Produce a pre-sell landing page and get started building a waitlist to gauge interest on your program.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable files in an online course to create earnings or collect email addresses.
- Membership Resource Library — Host downloadable tools to be included in a membership bundle for this template.
- Webinar Replay — Host your webinar replay video to permit registrants to review your presentation and offer.
All of these can Be modified broadly — you can alter the content in the segments which are provided, delete sections, or add new sections to arrive at the strategy that is ideal for your content. All throughout the process, Thinkific supplies”smart mentor course building hints” to assist you. (I found them useful, but they can be easily switched off, if you would like.) Online Course Creation Tools
If you have zero Experience working with Web content, there will inevitably be a bit of a learning curve, but my opinion is that Thinkific has done a fantastic job making that curve as manageable as possible. Invest in earning your way up it, and you’ll reap the benefits.
And, if you are Already comfortable with other Web content systems — such as, for instance, WordPress or a different program platform — I believe that you will find operating in Thinkific for a breeze.
Overall, the logic Of putting together a class at Thinkific makes complete sense in my perspective. After selecting”New Course,” picking your path type, naming it (which you may change at any stage ), and saving it, you add”Chapters” (or modify ones in the template) to create the structure of the program. As noted above, if you don’t like the term”Chapters,” you can change it to whatever you would like.
You fill the Chapters with content in a way very similar to the way I described using Website Builder over. There are 11 options:
- Video lessons — Upload a movie file. (This has saved in a video library for re-use in different courses. Videos stored in this library are protected from access by anyone who isn’t a registered user of your website.)
- Classes — 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 make it an integrated part of your course. Some of the possibilities include:
- Webinar tools (provide 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 Pro or Enterprise license. More on this below)
- Text lessons — Combine text, images, videos, etc. into a single lesson. This is basically the equivalent to”Text & Media” Website Builder alternative mentioned previously.
- Survey lessons — Collect by building a short poll in Thinkific.
- PDF lessons.
- Disqus classes — Add Disqus discussion boards to your course. (Note: there is 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 — Include resources available for downloading from inside the course participant.
- Demo lessons — Upload a demonstration as record audio and a PDF document for each slide.
- Classes — Include a Brillium exam on your program. (A Brillium license is separate from Thinkific and starts at $49 per month. More about that below.)
The above options Will get the work completed for all but the most sophisticated edupreneurs. The primary areas they fall short is in
- Providing for branching scenarios — i.e., enabling learners to move down different paths depending on their performances in the course or data you collect about them and
- Adding interactive components like learning games.
If those are Choices you truly need, you would be better off using a full size course authoring tool such as iSpring or even Articulate Storyline (see more about these kinds of programs here). Online Course Creation Tools
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 producing their courses with third party e-learning course creation software such as Articulate Storyline or even Adobe Captivate.
Fundamentally, using a Third party tool is an alternative to seriously consider if you (a) already have a substantial number of classes built out in one of these applications (in which you probably do not want to have to re-create them using Thinkific course production tools), and/or (b) you anticipate developing a significant catalogue of courses with a comparatively long”shelf life” — in which case you may not want to have your classes locked into a particular delivery stage.
These can be used by you Types of tools with Thinkific — Articulate Storyline and Captivate are supported — but there are a few limitations you should be aware of if you go this route.
First, Thinkific (like the rest of the platforms in its course ) hasn’t implemented SCORM, which stands for the Shareable Content Object Reference Model. There’s a whole lot to SCORM, but the main thing for edupreneurs to know is that it provides standards for how an online course can communicate using a learning platform to deliver it data like how much time a learner has spent in a program, or if specific parts of the class have been finished successfully. Thinkific tracks this kind of information. (More about SCORM here.)
Second, you Can’t Import an Articulate or Captivate route into Thinkific on your own. These classes are made up of over a single file (like, as an example, a video file), and to get them inside the platform, you need to zip the files up and send them into Thinkific customer service.
The Best Features and How They Benefit You
A great Course building platform typically offers the features you need from start to finish to you. This includes the selling, the promotion, the course construction, and also the teacher/student management.
Systems like Thinkific don’t host courses on your own site. Your content is actually hosted with Thinkific (so that you don’t have to venture outside and find your own hosting,) but it still gives you complete control over what your site looks like.
When compared to Systems such as Udemy, Thinkific certainly provides more freedom and control that is branding. Let’s explore some of the standout features.
Outstanding Student Management and Communication Modules
Within my Thinkific review, I noticed the smoothness of the student communication tools. It is a visual student management area, with images of your pupils, names, contact information, and details for how far they are on your program.
You’ve got the Choice to send customized emails to each of the pupils or create a conversation. Online Course Creation Tools
Incentives are Also part of this learning environment because Thinkific offers report cards, completion certificates, and of course, the emails for sending out just about whatever you want throughout courses.
In addition to Infinite replays of language controls course content, students, and optimization working with the Thinkific platform ought to feel.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Part of this Motive Thinkific looks great compared to the competition is that of its class designer. In case you don’t want to you do not need to mess with any code.
In fact Your content is organized using a simple drag and drop editor, where you move it around vertically and pile the class content.
Speaking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of media forms. By PDFs to sound files, and polls to quizzes, the platform is great for offering up a wide range of learning tools for your students.
As we mentioned Before, all these documents are hosted on the Thinkific servers. Therefore, you should not need to worry running on your shared servers or being too large.
When you personalize Your course site it offers some useful editing tools to the beginners out there. You can correct items like logos, color schemes, and banners, without touching any code.
However Advanced developers have complete control over the HTML and CSS. Consequently, if you want to make your website unique, the option is there for you.
Promotions on Autopilot
Some online course Platforms fail from the promotions arena. This is unfortunate since there’s no way unless people know that your course exists, to begin making money.
Thinkific does The app was built into by it the way, with promotional and marketing tools. A lot of this is automatic. Consequently, if you want to trickle articles to your students Thinkific has this operation. Online Course Creation Tools
Furthermore, you Have the ability to target the ideal people and send out automated emails based on a schedule. Pricing can be also done through Thinkific, in addition to the option to get paid instantly when someone signs up for your course.
As for becoming It is tried by people outside of your site out, Thinkific includes an affiliate marketing program to benefit bloggers and men and women who advocate your program. Coupons are also supplied through Thinkific, giving a chance convince newcomers that your course is worth investing in and to create ads with specials to you.
Everything from Vouchers to affiliates is monitored in the dashboard, and you could link Facebook, your Adwords, and other social reports where students are coming out of to determine.
Handling, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from One of the key reasons for utilizing a technical course platform is that it makes tracking and handling your users and their information much easier.
Communicating with Learners
In addition to Assisting you to arrange your learners, Thinkific also enables several ways also for them to give feedback on the course and for you to communicate with your students. Online Course Creation Tools
As noted, For example, you can enable discussion to your classes and manage your pupils contributions under Service Your Students > Discussions, where you can sort discussions by course, react to pupils, and — if desired –“Disapprove” gifts which you don’t want to show up in the program. (Note: Enabling discussions is now an all or nothing option in Thinkific — i.e., either all classes have it or no classes have it. The workaround for this would be to use the Disqus alternative on a course-by-course basis.)
You can also Enable your student to submit reviews for your courses. You then have the capability to approve these testimonials (they aren’t printed automatically) and utilize them as social evidence on your earnings page for the program. Unlike talks, this feature can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
There are A number of notifications which can be enabled or disabled in the Thinkific platform, a few of which can be personalized. You register in a specific course can send a message if they enroll for your website to students, or finish a program. You can also send reminder messages. (Note: Reminders are site-wide, maybe not course-specific.)
Managing and Organizing Learners
To Begin with, When an individual signs up at your website, Thinkific captures all of their key contact data (e.g., first name, last name, email ) and utilizing custom sign-up fields (under Settings > Orders & accounts) you can easily add areas to capture whatever specific information you desire from your own users. (Note that, unlike platforms such as Udemy, you get complete access to the user information you collect.)
You can also Organize users. This simple feature may have a big impact on your business model by making it possible for you to sell courses in bulk to organizations — among the best ways for course sellers to drive revenue development that is significant .
Using groups, you Can also easily organize your learners by business, or cohort, time, registration, job-type, or other variables, making it possible to track the effectiveness of your own offerings with each group and also to enhance your marketing. (Note: use of the Groups attribute requires a Guru plan license with the Development Add-on.) Find out more about the Thinkific Groups functionality Online Course Creation Tools
Tracking and Reporting
A key reason to Have a specialized online course platform — as opposed, by way of instance, to posting content behind a password on a Web site — is it is going to monitor quiz and survey data as well as things like completion and course progress.
Thinkific’s Advancement tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) enables you to select a specific student and monitor numerous variables for every class in which the pupil is registered. For every class you will 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 in (date)
I enjoy that you Can choose to reset a student’s completion percentage at any moment, for instance, if you’re adding new lessons to an already finished class.
Overall, the Course reporting is fairly simple, but I suspect it will serve the needs of the vast majority of course entrepreneurs.
Unlike the Program Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported to a .CSV file (instead of displayed on display ) and emailed to you. The .csv file contains the answers from all students who’ve taken a survey a quiz along with their name, e-mail address, and if they shot it. For quizzes, in addition, it supplies percentage and the number .
Overall, reporting For both courses and quizzes/surveys is one of the chief areas in which the Thinkific system could be more powerful. In fairness, this has a tendency to be true for much the platforms of the all . Over time, it might be possible to access quiz/survey data and course conclusion . Better still, 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 at all in Thinkific), and a URL to obtain the certificate associated with the course. Online Course Creation Tools
What Thinkific is Missing
Anyone who has Been working 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 reasonable price. It wasn’t that long ago that a system with those capabilities may 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 openings that can rule out it and all of these tend to be openings which are characteristic of the category of platforms. The main ones I see are:
No support for xAPI/TinCan or SCORM
As mentioned previously, While Thinkific may host and deliver classes created in shared authoring tools like Articulate and Captivate, it does not really take advantage of the SCORM (or even xAPI/TInCan) packaging capacities of these programs. In case you have a reason for using one of the significant e-learning standards, Thinkific might not be the thing to do.
As I Are areas that, for the most part, are not served well by programs that are in Thinkific’s class. To acquire a platform that supports all three means a price point than Thinkific — and it can go a lot from there up. Thus, be sure that these are gaps 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 cannot define the amount of continuing education. 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, Online Course Creation Tools
No multi-tenancy alternative
Multi-tenancy Means that you can create and handle multiple instances of a stage. This can be really handy if, for example, you’re a training company that has corporate clients and those customers want their very own branded instance of the platform for serving and managing their customers. While the Group performance in Thinkific gets you a part of the way there, it isn’t the same thing as multi-tenancy.
Although I have yet To find an internet course platform that has hidden fees, Thinkific advertises it too has no hidden charges or contracts. That’s good to know, but nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does offer a plan that is totally free for people who wish to try the platform but not get bogged down by constraints. In theory, it helps you start your store and start building a student base. There is also a free trial if you would rather give a whirl to one of those plans that are more advanced.
The pricing is Divided into four simple plans:
Starter — $0 for many core Thinkific features. This plan has a 10% transaction fee, everything you want to create, market, and market infinite courses, your classes, course upsells, content hosting integrations support, and instant access to all funds.
Basics — For $49 a month you get all center and newcomer features, together with a 5 percent transaction fee, coupons and promotions, monthly subscriptions, class bundles, intermediate integrations, fundamental Zapier, drip content, affiliate reporting, a majority student emailer, custom domainname, and extra course prices. Online Course Creation Tools
Business — For $99 per month you receive the attributes from all previous programs, no transaction fees, completion certificates, private and hidden courses, site white labeling, a host storyline, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, advanced HTML/CSS editing, priority support, instructor payout reporting, an onboarding telephone, payment strategies, and a direct Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 per month you get all attributes from previous plans, no transaction fees, one sign-on (SSO), three website admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding professional, onboarding bundle, public API, advanced integrations, and innovative Zapier.
Thinkific has some Benefits to its pricing layout. Not only can you start your course for free (something that is not offered with competitors like Teachable,) but the extra three plans are broken down into a logical manner.
After all, you Most likely do not need API access until you start getting advanced with your course promoting.
I would not mind Seeing the completion certificates as well as also the HTML editing however $99 per month still is bad.
As you can see, The transaction prices are 10% to the plan that is free. That is high, but it creates an atmosphere for people who do not have the upfront capital to launch a professional online store or anyone with low quantity right now. Once you start earning money you can cut that transaction fee down.
Last, you can Save money. So, the Essentials plan goes to $39 per month if you pay it all upfront. The Business plan is $79 a month and the Advanced program is 219. This makes the pricing programs similar to Teachable.
I’ll end this Thinkific review at which I started: this really is. Hopefully it is clear by now that it supplies your edupreneur to be supported by a full range of the characteristics in selling classes.
I think it is Important to replicate as I wrap up that Thinkific is a company with a lot of momentum. This is not a trivial point: the market for online class platforms like Thinkific is now crowded and noisy. You can be certain that a lot of the programs which are here now is going to be gone. I feel confident that Thinkific will be about, and the company is obviously growing and continually investing to improve its platform. Online Course Creation Tools