Background Online Video Courses
If You’re selling Or even considering selling online courses, you do not have to do much hunting to think of a Thinkific review. There are loads of Thinkific reviews on the market. The main difference that this one offers is It Is written by someone with: Online Video Courses
- Over 20 years experience in the e-learning Business, with a Particular focus on businesses that sell schooling (compared 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 was the founder and CEO of an e-learning platform and course development company.)
- Over a decade of experience tracking and exploring online course platforms and helping organizations and individuals pick the right platform for selling classes
I have been closely Monitoring Thinkific and other suppliers which have emerged in the past several decades as a new type of course platforms. These are platforms that are more user-friendly and less expensive or LMSes. They’re a true blessing for solo edupreneurs and tiny companies that are looking to enter the course business. Over time, I think they have potential to disrupt the learning management system marketplace that is conventional.
Thus, having said That, let’s begin.
Construction and Presence Your Online Course Web Site
Any classes you Sell have to”live” somewhere, and ideally that someplace supplies an appealing, user friendly to your students and potential students. Since the introduction of its Website Builder capacities Thinkific is definitely up to the job. Online Video Courses
Using Site Builder — that is simply a part of the admin panel for the platform — you have the capacity to prepare an appealing home page for your course site and make as many custom pages as you desire (e.g., to give information about you and your other solutions ). Despite the fact that you don’t have complete control — you can not, for instance, set up your own style sheets (CSS) — you can get really excellent capabilities for modifying branding elements like font and colors styles and you can upload pretty much any type of images or media you’d like to utilize.
Site Builder Now comes with three themes and there are variations for each one of these topics. (The company says more themes are a part of the future growth plan.) There are also a range of pre-fab”segments” that you can insert and change on any page to provide for matters like social proof (e.g. customer quotations or”as seen on” logos), calls to action, count down timer, and pricing options — basically, all of the essential tools you need for running a successful path or membership site. There is also a blank slate”media & Text” section that may be used to create pretty much whatever you want.
As is the case With more or less any content management system, it took me a while to work out the way to do some basic things like delete sections (the themes offer a house page pre-populated with sections) and include custom pages to the site menu. But support was readily available for these. Thinkific has a solid support site on which you can search for help, but I tend to 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 decent support by doing this, whether to the Thinkific website or from a different user.
Some additional Features to notice:
- Custom URL (under Settings > Website ) — By default, you are assigned a thinkific.com speech — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. Having a paid program (starting at $49 a month for Fundamental ) you can find 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 any Web site these days. (Google smiles on this)
- White tagging (below Settings > Website )– By jumping up into a Guru Plan ($99 per month) with the Development Add-on ($.10 per busy student/per month) you can easily get rid of the”Powered by Thinkific” speech on your site and courses.
- Text Dimensions (under Settings > Learning Content and various different areas) — You can change a lot of the default language which is used in navigation and other areas. For example, Thinkific utilizes”Chapters” as the tag for parts of a program. You might like to change this to”Lessons.” Online Video Courses
Thus, you might be asking,”Could I use Thinkific for the main Web website?”
For edupreneurs That are only starting off and do not have an Internet presence the answer is an emphatic”yes.” Using Thinkific is a good way to have a huge item from your”to do” list (i.e.,”figure out how to find a decent Web site setup”) and concentrate on creating and launch your classes. You can be concerned about a more sophisticated Web site later.
If you already Have an Internet site, though — particularly on a fuller-featured content management system like WordPress — I wouldn’t suggest relying on Thinkific (or some other route platform) for your main Web site. Website Builder is great for what it does — and can create a fantastic course website to complement your main site — but ultimately it’s relatively restricted. Some of the key present limitations include:
- All themes are single column. Therefore, for instance, you can not put e-mail signup types, promotions for course, or other things down the left or right side of your site.
- As mentioned, you can’t use your own CSS (cascading style sheets), mostly a limitation if you really wish to mirror the branding of an existing Web website.
- There’s absolutely no control over search engine optimization settings 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 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, Website Builder is very likely to do the work well for many edupreneurs and is a little better than what most online course platforms supply.
Creating Online Courses with Thinkific
While you Definitely need to have an attractive, user-friendly website to house your classes, the classes themselves are the main attraction. As you might expect, this is an area where Thinkific really shines.
To Begin with, the Platform provides a variety of pre-configured templates that can be very beneficial to course builders looking for assistance with how to arrange their content. The templates cover the range of standard scenarios you would be likely to think about for supplying an educational product. These are:
- Blank — Start new and build your course to meet your particular curriculum needs.
- Mini-course — Use a free or low-cost mini-course to generate prospects for a full flagship program or assistance.
- Flagship Course — Build a complete online course using a strong curriculum outline made using best practices in mind.
- Pre-sell — Create a pre-sell landing page and start constructing a waitlist to gauge interest in your program.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable files in an internet course to generate revenue or collect email addresses.
- Membership Resource Library — Host downloadable resources to be included in a membership bundle with this template.
- Webinar Replay — Host your webinar replay video to permit registrants to review your presentation and offer.
All of these can Be modified extensively — you can alter the content in the sections which are provided, delete sections, or insert new segments to reach the strategy that’s right for your content. All throughout the process, Thinkific provides”smart coach course building tips” to assist you. (I found them useful, but they can be easily switched off, should you prefer.) Online Video Courses
In Case You Have zero Experience working with Internet content, there’ll inevitably be a small learning curve, but my opinion is that Thinkific has done a good job making that curve as manageable as possible. Invest in earning your it up, and you will reap the benefits.
And, if You’re Comfortable using other Internet content programs — like, by way of a different program platform, WordPress or instance — I believe that you will find working in Thinkific to be a breeze.
Overall Of putting together a class at Thinkific makes sense. After selecting”New Course,” picking your path type, naming it (which you may change at any stage ), and rescue it, you add”Chapters” (or modify ones in the template) to create the structure of this program. As mentioned above, if you do not like the expression”Chapters,” you can change it to whatever you prefer.
You fill the Chapters with content in a way very similar to the way I described using Website Builder over. There are 11 options:
- Video lessons — Upload a video file. (This has saved in a movie library for re-use in different classes. Videos stored in this library are protected from access by anyone who isn’t a registered user of your site.)
- Quiz lessons — Create a quiz for your students. (More information on quizzes below)
- Multimedia classes — This can be a means to link out to articles not hosted on Thinkific and also make it an integrated part of your program. Some of the possibilities include:
- Webinar tools (provide the URL to some live Zoom session, for example)
- Surveys (e.g. Typeform)
- Appointment booking tools (e.g. Calendly)
- Presentations (e.g. Prezi)
- Google Docs
- Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate documents (Requires Professional or Enterprise license. More about that below)
- Text classes — Combine text, images, videos, etc. into a single lesson. This is basically the equivalent to”Text and Media” Site Builder option mentioned previously.
- Survey lessons — Collect by building a poll in Thinkific.
- PDF classes — Upload a PDF file to be viewed within the course participant.
- Disqus lessons Disqus discussion boards into your course. (Note: there’s also a discussion option built into Thinkific which you may turn off or on beneath Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio lessons — Upload an audio file.
- Downloads resources.
- Presentation lessons — Upload a demonstration as a PDF file and record sound for each slide.
- Classes — Contain a Brillium examination in your course. (A Brillium license is separate from Thinkific and starts at $49 a month. More on this below.)
The above Choices Will get the work completed for all but the most sophisticated edupreneurs. The main places they fall short is in
- Supplying for branching scenarios — i.e., enabling learners to go down different paths depending on their performances in the course or data you gather about them — and
- Like studying games Adding interactive components.
If those are Choices you genuinely need, you would be better off with a full-blown course authoring tool like iSpring or Articulate Storyline (see more about these types of programs here). Online Video Courses
Use of Articulate and Captivate at Thinkific
Many course Founders will be content with using the resources in Thinkific to make classes, but some might prefer the option of creating their classes with third party e-learning course creation software such as Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate.
Fundamentally, using a Third party tool is an alternative to seriously think about if you (a) already have a substantial number of classes built out in one of these applications (in which you probably do not need to need to re-create them utilizing Thinkific course creation tools), or (b) you anticipate developing a significant catalog of lessons with a relatively long”shelf life” — in which case you may not want to have your courses locked into a particular shipping platform.
These can be used by you Kinds 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 all other platforms in its own class) has not implemented SCORM, which stands to the Shareable Content Object Reference Model. There’s a whole lot to SCORM, but the principal thing for edupreneurs to know is that it provides standards for how an internet course can communicate using a learning platform to send it information like how much time a learner has invested in a program, or if particular parts of the class have been completed successfully. Thinkific monitors this type of information with its own procedures. (More about SCORM here.)
Second, you Can’t Import an Articulate or Captivate route into Thinkific all on your own. These classes are made up of over a single file (like, for instance, a video file), so to get them inside the platform, you need to zip up the files and send them to Thinkific customer support.
The Features and How They Benefit You
An excellent Online course building platform typically offers you. This includes the selling, the promotion, the training course construction, and the management.
Systems such as Thinkific do not host classes . Your articles is really hosted with Thinkific (so you do not have to venture out and find your personal hosting,) but it gives you total control on what your site looks like.
When compared to Systems such as Udemy, Thinkific surely provides management and more liberty. Let’s explore a few of the other standout attributes.
Outstanding Student Management and Communication Modules
During my Thinkific review, I noticed the smoothness of the student communication tools. It is a visual pupil management area, together with pictures of your pupils, titles, contact information, and details for how far they are in your course.
You’ve got the Option to send emails that are customized to each of those students or create a dialogue. Online Video Courses
Incentives are Also part of this learning environment since Thinkific offers report cards, conclusion certificates, and throughout classes, the emails for sending out just about anything you want needless to say.
In addition to Unlimited replays of course content, speech controllers, and mobile optimization working with the Thinkific platform should feel.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Section of the Reason Thinkific looks great in contrast to this rivalry is that of its course designer. In case you don’t need to you do not need to mess with any code.
In fact Your content is coordinated with an easy drag and drop editor, in which you pile the course content and move it around vertically.
Speaking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of media forms. By PDFs to sound files, and surveys to quizzes, the stage is great for offering up a wide assortment of learning resources for the students.
As we mentioned Every one of these files are hosted on the Thinkific servers. For this reason, you should not need to worry running in your servers that are shared or being too large.
When you customize Your course site it offers some useful editing tools for the beginners on the market. You can adjust items such as banners, color schemes, and logos without touching any code.
However Developers have complete control over the HTML and CSS. Consequently, if you want to make your website 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 course exists to start earning money.
Thinkific does It the ideal way, with promotional and marketing tools built into the program. Much of this is automatic. Consequently, if you want to trickle content to your students Thinkific has this functionality. Online Video Courses
Furthermore, you Have the ability to target the ideal people and send emails that are automated out based on a program. Pricing can be done through Thinkific, in addition to the choice to become paid instantly when someone signs up for your course.
As for becoming People outside of your site to come try it out, Thinkific comes with an affiliate marketing program to reward bloggers and people who advocate your program. Coupons can also be provided through Thinkific, giving you a opportunity convince newcomers that your class is worth investing in and to create ads.
Everything from Coupons to affiliates is monitored in the dashboard, and you can also join your Adwords, Facebook, and other social reports where students are coming out of to determine.
Managing, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from Allowing you to deliver your courses, one of the reasons for utilizing a online class platform is that it creates handling and tracking your users and their data a lot more easy.
Communicating with Learners
Along with Assisting you to organize your learners, Thinkific also enables a number of ways also for them to give feedback and for you to communicate with your students. Online Video Courses
As already noted, For instance, you can enable discussion for your classes and then manage your students contributions under Service Your Students Discussions, where you can sort talks by course, respond to students, and — if desired –“Disapprove” contributions which you don’t wish to appear in the program. (Note: Letting discussions is now a nothing choice in Thinkific — i.e., possibly all classes have no or it courses have it. The workaround for this would be to use the Disqus alternative on a course-by-course basis.)
You can also Allow your student to submit testimonials for your classes. Then you have the ability to approve these testimonials (they are not published automatically) and utilize them as social evidence on your sales page to your program. Unlike discussions, this feature can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
There are A number of notifications which can be disabled or enabled in the Thinkific platform, a few of which can be customized. You can, as an example, send a customized message if they enroll for your site to students, register in a course, or complete a course. It is also possible to send 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 their key contact data (e.g., first name, last name, e-mail) and using custom log-in fields (under Settings > Programs & accounts) you can easily add fields to capture whatever specific information you desire from your users. (Note that, unlike platforms like Udemy, you receive full access to the user data you accumulate.)
You can also Organize users. This feature can have a large impact on your business model by making it possible for you to sell courses in bulk among the best ways for internet course vendors to drive revenue development that is major , in my experience.
You, classes May also easily arrange your students by cohort, time, enrollment, job-type, or organization, or other factors, making it feasible to track the effectiveness of your offerings and also to enhance your marketing. (Note: use of the Groups attribute requires a Guru program license with the Development Add-on.) Discover More about the Thinkific Groups functionality Online Video Courses
Tracking and Reporting
A reason to Have a technical class platform — to posting content supporting a password on a Web site, instead, by way of instance — is that it will monitor quiz and survey data as well as things like conclusion and path progress.
Thinkific’s Progress tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) allows you to pick a specific student and track numerous factors for every course in which the student 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 Started at (date)
- Course Activated at (date)
- Last sign in (date)
I like this you If you are adding new lessons can also choose to reset a student’s completion percentage for instance,, at any moment.
Overall, the Course coverage is fairly basic, but I suspect it’ll serve the needs of the vast majority of course entrepreneurs.
Contrary to the Program Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported into a .CSV file (rather than displayed on screen) and emailed to you. The .csv file contains the answers from all students who’ve obtained a questionnaire a quiz together with their title, email address, and when they took it. For quizzes, it also supplies percentage and the amount of questions the student got correct.
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 tends to be true for pretty much of most the platforms within this category of platforms. Ideally, over time, it might be possible to get course completion and quiz/survey data . Better still, it might be great to be able to see a student transcript that shows hours related to a course, any credit earned (not now captured in any way in Thinkific), and a link to download the certificate related to the course. Online Video Courses
What Thinkific is Missing
Anyone who has Been operating in the e-learning industry for the last couple of years (as I have) will understand that Thinkific offers a remarkable selection of features at a really reasonable price. It was not long ago a system with those capacities may have cost thousands of dollars per year.
With that in mind, It is hard to argue that Thinkific is”missing” much. Still, there are gaps which will rule out it and these all tend to be openings that are characteristic of the category of platforms. The main ones I find are:
No support for xAPI/TinCan or SCORM
As noted above, While Thinkific can host and deliver courses created in shared authoring tools such as Articulate and Captivate, it doesn’t really take advantage of the SCORM (or xAPI/TInCan) packaging capacities of these applications. If you have a reason for using one of the major e-learning standards, Thinkific might not be the thing to do.
Like I Are areas that aren’t served well by other platforms which are in Thinkific’s course. To get a platform that supports all three means a starting price point than Thinkific — and it can go a lot from that point. 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 completing a class in Thinkific, you cannot define the amount of continuing education. While There Might Be work-arounds, for many course suppliers that focus on providing continuing education credit, this will be a significant barrier to using Thinkific, Online Video Courses
No multi-tenancy alternative
Multi-tenancy Means that you can make and handle a number of instances of a stage under one umbrella. This can be really useful if, as an instance, you are a training company with corporate clients and those clients want their own instance of the platform for handling and serving their own users. While the Group functionality in Thinkific gets you part of the way there, it is not the exact same matter as multi-tenancy.
Although I’ve yet To discover an online course platform that has many hidden charges, 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 program for people who want to try the stage out but not get bogged down from constraints. In theory, it helps you start your shop and begin building a pupil base without having to pay a dime. There’s also a free trial if you would rather give a whirl to one of the plans that are more advanced.
The pricing is Broken up into four easy strategies:
Starter — $0 for all core Thinkific features. This strategy has a high transaction fee, everything you need to make, promote, and market infinite courses your classes, class upsells, content hosting integrations, Stripe/PayPal support, and access to all capital.
Essentials — For $49 a month you receive all center and starter features, along with a 5 percent transaction fee, promotions and coupons, monthly subscriptions, course bundles, intermediate integrations, fundamental Zapier, trickle articles, affiliate coverage, a bulk student emailer, customized domainname, and extra course prices. Online Video Courses
Business — For $99 per month you receive the attributes from all prior programs, no transaction fees, completion certificates, personal and concealed classes, site 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, and a direct Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 per 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 bundle, public API, advanced integrations, and advanced Zapier.
Thinkific has some Great advantages to its pricing layout. Not only are you able to start your course for free (something that’s not offered with competitions such as Teachable,) however, the extra three plans are broken down in a logical fashion.
After all, you Most probably do not need API access until you really start becoming advanced with your course promoting.
I wouldn’t mind Seeing the completion certificates as well as the HTML editing but $99 a month still is bad.
As you can see, The trade fees are 10% for the plan that is free. That’s high, however, it creates an environment for those with low quantity or individuals who don’t have the upfront capital. Once you start earning money you can reduce that trade fee.
You can Also save money. If you pay it all upfront, the Essentials plan goes down to $39 a month. The Business program is $79 a month and also the Advanced program is 219. This makes the pricing programs rather similar to Teachable.
I’ll end this Thinkific review where I started: this is. Hopefully it’s evident by now that it supplies a complete range of the characteristics to support your edupreneur in selling courses 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 certainly not a trivial point: the marketplace for online class platforms such as Thinkific is now noisy and crowded. You can be sure that a lot of the programs that are here now is going to be gone. I’m confident Thinkific will be about, and the company is obviously growing and continually investing to boost its platform. Online Video Courses