Introduction Rob Thinkific
If You’re currently promoting Or even considering selling online courses, you do not have to do much searching to think of a Thinkific review. There are loads of Thinkific reviews out there. The main difference that this one offers is It Is written by someone with: Rob Thinkific
- Over 20 years expertise in the e-learning industry, with a Particular focus on companies that sell education (compared to, for example, corporate training departments, that do not have to convince their students to purchase )
- Extensive experience designing, developing, and executing online course platforms (I was the founder and CEO of an e-learning platform and course development company.)
- More than a decade of experience tracking and exploring online class platforms and assisting individuals and organizations pick the right platform for selling classes
I’ve been Tracking Thinkific and other providers that have emerged as a new type of course platforms within the past years. These are programs which LMSes, or are more user friendly and less costly than learning management methods. They are small businesses that want to enter the online course business and a boon for solo edupreneurs. Over time, I think they also have potential to interrupt the learning management system marketplace.
Thus, having said That, let’s begin.
Construction and Branding Your Online Course Web Site
Any courses you Market need to”live” somewhere, and ideally that someplace supplies an attractive, user friendly for the students and potential students. Since the debut of its Website Builder capacities Thinkific is up to the job. Rob Thinkific
Using Site Builder — that is simply part of the admin board for the platform — you have the capacity to prepare an attractive home page for your course website and make as many custom pages as you need (e.g., to provide details about you and your other solutions ). While you don’t have total control — you can’t, as an example, install your own style sheets (CSS) — you can get really excellent capabilities for changing branding elements like font and colors styles and you may upload just about any type of pictures or media you’d want to utilize.
Site Builder Now comes with three themes to choose from, and there are variants for each of those topics. (The company says more topics are a part of their upcoming development program.) 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 to action, count down timer, and pricing options — basically, all the essential tools you need for running a successful path or membership website. There is also a blank slate”media & Text” section which may be used to make pretty much anything you want.
As is the case With just about any content management system, it took a while to figure out how to do some basic things like delete segments (the themes provide a home page pre-populated with segments ) and include custom pages to the site menu. But service has been readily available for them. Thinkific includes a solid support site on which you can look for aid, but I often just use a Google search together with the word”Thinkific” to discover whatever I want (e.g.,”create custom site pages Thinkific”). I’ve yet to not find decent support by doing this, whether to the Thinkific website or from another user.
Some added Features to notice:
- Customized URL (under Settings > Website ) — By default, you are assigned a thinkific.com address — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. Having 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 option to turn on SSL (secure socket layer), a best practice for any Web site nowadays. (Google smiles on this.)
- White tagging (below Settings > Site)– By jumping up to a Guru Plan ($99 a month) with the Growth Add-on ($.10 per busy student/per month) you can quickly get rid of the”Powered by Thinkific” language on your site and courses.
- Text Dimensions (under Settings > Learning Content and various other areas) — It is possible to change a lot of the default language that is used in navigation and other areas. By way of example, Thinkific uses”Chapters” as the label for parts of a course. You might prefer to change this to”Lessons” Rob Thinkific
So, you may be asking,”Could I use Thinkific for my primary Web website?”
For edupreneurs That are just starting off and don’t have a Web presence the response is an emphatic”yes.” Utilizing Thinkific is a great way to have a big item from your”to do” list (i.e.,”figure out how to get an adequate Web site setup”) and concentrate on creating and launch your classes. It is possible to worry about a more complicated Web site after.
If you already Have an Internet site, though — especially on a fuller-featured content management system like WordPress — I would not suggest relying on Thinkific (or some other route platform) for your main Web website. Site Builder is great for what it does — and may create a great course website to match your main Web site — but finally it’s relatively restricted. Some of the key present limitations include:
- All themes are pillar. So, for instance, you can not put e-mail signup types, promotions for course, or other things down the left or right side of your website.
- As noted, you can’t apply your own CSS (cascading style sheets), mostly a limit in the event that you truly want to reflect the branding of an present Web site.
- There’s no control over search engine optimization settings on Internet pages — e.g., you can’t define the name tags or meta tag 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 and the broad network of experienced contractors that are available to support platforms such as WordPress.
In spite of those Limits, Site Builder is very likely to perform the job well for many edupreneurs and is a bit better than what most online course platforms provide.
Creating Online Courses with Thinkific
While you Definitely want to have an attractive, user-friendly website to house your classes, the courses themselves are the main attraction. As you may 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 track builders looking for help with how to organize their content. The templates cover the range of standard scenarios you would be likely to think about for offering an educational product. All 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 generate prospects for a full flagship course or service.
- Flagship Course — Build a complete online class employing a strong curriculum outline made using best practices in mind.
- Pre-sell — Produce a pre-sell landing page and get started constructing a waitlist to judge interest in your course.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable documents in an online course to create revenue 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 assess your presentation and offer.
All these can Be modified extensively — you can change the content from the sections which are supplied, delete sections, or insert new sections to arrive at the strategy that’s right for your content. All throughout the procedure, Thinkific supplies”smart coach course construction tips” to help you. (I found these helpful, but they can be easily switched off, should you prefer.) Rob Thinkific
If you have zero Experience working with Web content, there’ll inevitably be a bit of a learning curve, but my opinion is that Thinkific has done a good job making that curve as manageable as possible. Invest in earning your way up it, and you will reap the rewards.
And, if You’re Comfortable using other Internet content programs — such as, by way of example, WordPress or another program platform — I think you will find operating in Thinkific to be a breeze.
Overall Of putting together a course at Thinkific makes sense from my perspective. After selecting”New Course,” choosing your course type, naming it (which you may change at any point), and rescue it, you add”Chapters” (or change ones already in the template) to produce the structure of the program. As mentioned above, if you don’t like the expression”Chapters,” you can change it to anything you prefer.
You fill the Chapters with articles in a way. There are 11 choices:
- Video lessons — Upload a file. (This gets saved in a video library for re-use in other courses. Videos stored in this library are protected from access by anyone who is not a registered user of your site.)
- Classes — Create a quiz for your students. (More information on quizzes under )
- Multimedia lessons — This is a means to link out to articles not hosted on Thinkific and also make it an integrated part of your program. A Few of the possibilities include:
- Webinar tools (supply the link to some live Zoom session, by Way of Example )
- Surveys (e.g. Typeform)
- Appointment booking tools (e.g. Calendly)
- Presentations (e.g. Prezi)
- Google Docs
- Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate files (Requires Pro or Enterprise license. More on this below)
- Text lessons — Combine text, images, videos, etc. into one lesson. This is essentially the equivalent to”Text and Media” Site Builder alternative mentioned previously.
- Research lessons — Collect information/feedback from the students by building a poll in Thinkific.
- PDF lessons.
- Disqus lessons — Insert Disqus discussion boards to your program. (Note: there’s also a discussion option built into Thinkific which you may turn off or on under Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio lessons — Upload a sound file.
- Downloads resources.
- Demo classes — synchronize a demonstration as record sound and a PDF file for each slide.
- Lessons — Include a Brillium exam in your course. (A Brillium permit is distinct from Thinkific and begins at $49 a month. More about that below.)
The above Choices Will get the job completed for all but the most sophisticated edupreneurs. The primary places 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 information you gather about them — and
- Like learning games, Adding interactive components.
If those are Options you truly want, you’d be better off using a full size course authoring tool like iSpring or even Articulate Storyline (see more about these kinds of tools here). Rob Thinkific
Use of Articulate and Captivate at Thinkific
Many course Founders will be perfectly content with using the tools in Thinkific to make courses, but some may prefer the option of producing their classes with third-party e-learning course creation software such as Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate.
Basically, using a Third party tool is an alternative to seriously consider if you (a) currently have a significant number of classes built out in these applications (in which you case you probably don’t want to have to re-create them utilizing Thinkific course creation tools), or (b) you anticipate developing a substantial catalogue of lessons with a relatively long”shelf life” — in which case you may not wish your classes locked to a specific shipping stage.
These can be used by you Types of tools with Thinkific — Articulate Storyline and Captivate are supported — however there are a few limitations you should be aware of if you go this route.
First, Thinkific (like the rest of the platforms in its own course ) has not implemented SCORM, which stands for the Shareable Content Object Reference Model. There’s a lot to SCORM, but the principal thing for edupreneurs to understand is that it provides standards for how an internet course can communicate with a learning platform to deliver it information like how much time a student has spent in a program, or if particular parts of the course have been finished successfully. Thinkific tracks this type of information using its own procedures. (More about SCORM here.)
You Can’t Import an Captivate or Articulate course into Thinkific on your own. These classes are made up of over a single file (such as, as an instance, a video file), so to get them into the platform, you need to zip the files up and send them to Thinkific customer service.
The Features and How They Benefit You
An excellent Course building platform offers the features you need from start to finish to you. This includes the promotion, the training course construction, the selling, and also also the management.
Systems such as Thinkific don’t host courses on your own website. Your content is really hosted with Thinkific (so you don’t need to venture outside and find your personal hosting,) but it gives you complete control over what your website looks like.
When compared to Systems like Udemy, Thinkific certainly provides more freedom and management that is branding. Let us explore a few of the standout features.
Excellent Student Management and Communication Modules
Within my Thinkific review, I noticed the smoothness of the pupil communication tools. It is a visual student management area, with images of your students, titles, contact information, and details for how far they are in your course.
You’ve got the Option create a dialogue with the entire community or to send emails that are customized to every one of those students. Rob Thinkific
Incentives are part of this learning environment because Thinkific offers report cards, completion certificates, and needless to say, the mails for sending out just about whatever you want during courses.
Along with Replays of speech controls, course content, pupils, and mobile optimisation working with the Thinkific platform ought to feel.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Section of the Motive Thinkific looks so great in contrast to this competition is that of its course designer. In case you don’t need to you do not have to mess with any code.
In fact Your content is organized using a drag and drop editor, where you pile the course content and move it about .
Speaking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of media forms. From PDFs to sound files, and surveys to quizzes, the stage is fantastic for offering up a wide range of learning tools for the students.
As we mentioned Before, every one of these documents are hosted on the Thinkific servers. Therefore, you shouldn’t have to worry running on your servers that are shared or being too big.
When you personalize Your course website it offers some useful editing tools for the beginners out there. As an example, you can adjust items such as colour schemes, banners, and logos, all without touching any code.
However Advanced developers have complete control over the HTML and CSS. So, if you would like to make your site unique, the option is there for you.
Promotions on Autopilot
Some online course Platforms fail in the promotions arena. Since there’s no way to start earning money unless people know that your path 19, this is unfortunate.
Thinkific does The program was built into by it the way, with marketing and promotional tools. Much of this is automated as well. Consequently, if you’d like to drip articles to your students Thinkific has this functionality. Rob Thinkific
Furthermore, you Have the ability to target the ideal people and send automated emails based on a program. Pricing is also done through Thinkific, in addition to the option to become paid immediately when somebody signs up on your program.
In Terms of getting People outside of your site to come try it out, Thinkific comes with an affiliate marketing program to benefit other men and women who advocate your course and bloggers. Coupons are provided through Thinkific, giving a chance convince newcomers that your course is well worth investing in and to create advertisements with specials to you.
Everything from Coupons to affiliates is tracked right in the dashboard, and you can also link Facebook, your Adwords, and other reports to determine where students are coming out of.
Handling, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from One of the reasons for using a technical online class platform is that it creates handling and monitoring your customers and their data much simpler.
Communicating with Learners
Along with Assisting you to organize your students, Thinkific also enables a number of ways for you to communicate with your students and also for them to provide feedback on the course. Rob Thinkific
As noted, For instance, you can enable discussion to your courses and manage your pupils gifts under Support Your Students Discussions, where it is possible to sort talks by course, respond to pupils, and — if desired –“Disapprove” gifts which you don’t wish to show up in the course. (Note: Letting discussions is currently a nothing option in Thinkific — i.e., possibly 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 basis.)
You can also Allow your student. You then have the capability to approve these testimonials (they aren’t printed automatically) and utilize them as social proof on your earnings page for the course. Unlike talks, this attribute can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
Ultimately, there are A number of notifications that could be enabled or disabled at the Thinkific platform, some of which can be personalized. You can, as an example, send a customized message when they register for your site to students, enroll in a particular course, or complete a program. You can also send reminder messages. (Note: Reminders are site-wide, maybe not course-specific.)
Managing and Organizing Learners
To start with, When a user signs up in your website, Thinkific captures all their key contact information (e.g., first name, last name, email ) and utilizing custom sign-up fields (under Preferences > Programs & accounts) you can easily add areas to capture whatever special information you desire from your users. (Note that, unlike platforms such as Udemy, you receive complete access to the user information you collect.)
You can also Organize users into classes. This apparently simple feature may have a large impact on your business model by making it possible for you to market courses in bulk to associations — one of the best ways for course sellers to induce revenue growth that is significant .
Using groups, you May easily arrange your learners by cohort, time, registration, job-type, or organization, or other variables, which makes it feasible to monitor the efficacy of your offerings with each group and to enhance your marketing. (Note: Use of the Groups feature requires a Guru plan license with the Growth Add-on.) Discover More about the Thinkific Groups functionality Rob Thinkific
Tracking and Reporting
A motive to Have a specialized online course platform — to posting articles behind a password on a Web site, as opposed, for instance — is it is going to track things like completion and path progress as well as quiz and survey information.
Thinkific’s Progress tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) allows you to select a specific student and monitor numerous variables for each course in which the student is enrolled. For each course you may 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 like that you If you are adding new lessons to an already finished course May also opt to reset the completion percentage of a student at any moment.
Overall, the Course coverage is rather simple, but I guess it’ll serve the needs of the huge majority of course entrepreneurs.
Unlike the course Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported to a .CSV document (instead of displayed on display ) and emailed to you. The .csv file contains the responses from all students who have obtained a questionnaire a quiz e-mail address, along with their title, and if they took it. For quizzes, in addition, it supplies percent and the number of questions the student got correct.
Overall, reporting For quizzes/surveys and courses is among the chief areas where the Thinkific system might be more powerful. In fairness, this has a tendency to be true for pretty much of the all the platforms in this category of platforms. Ideally, over time, it would be possible to get quiz/survey data and course conclusion . Even better, it might be good to be able to see a student transcript that shows hours related to a program, any credit earned (not now captured in any way in Thinkific), and a URL to download the certificate associated with the course. Rob Thinkific
What Thinkific is Missing
Anyone who has Been working in the e-learning industry for the past couple of years (as I have) will realize that Thinkific offers a remarkable range of features at a really reasonable price. It wasn’t that long ago that a system with these capacities may have easily cost thousands of dollars a year.
With that in mind, It is really hard to assert that Thinkific is”missing” much. Nonetheless, there are openings which can rule it out and all of these tend to be openings which are characteristic of this category of platforms. The main ones that I find are:
No support for SCORM or xAPI/TinCan
As mentioned previously, While Thinkific can host and deliver classes created in common authoring tools such as Articulate and Captivate, it doesn’t really take advantage of the SCORM (or xAPI/TInCan) packaging capacities of these programs. In case you’ve got a strong and legitimate reason for using one of the major standards, Thinkific might not be the thing to do.
Like I Are areas which aren’t served by other programs which are in Thinkific’s course. To get a platform which supports all three normally means a starting price point than Thinkific — and it could go a lot from there up. Be sure these are gaps for you before judgment out Thinkific.
No continuing education credit capabilities
While you can Indicate the number of hours for finishing a class in Thinkific, you can’t define the total amount of education. While there may be work-arounds, for most course providers that focus on providing continuing education credit, this will be a Substantial barrier to using Thinkific, Rob Thinkific
No multi-tenancy alternative
Multi-tenancy Means that you handle and can create a number of instances of a platform. This can be very useful if, for instance, you’re a training company with many clients and those clients want their very own branded example of the platform for serving and managing their users. While the Group performance in Thinkific gets you part of the way there, it is not the same matter as multi-tenancy.
Although I To discover an online course platform that has hidden charges, Thinkific advertises that it too has no hidden charges or contracts. That’s good to know, however, nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does offer a program that is totally free for people who want to try the stage out but not get bogged down from limitations. In theory, it helps you start your shop and begin building a pupil base without having to pay a dime. If you give a whirl to one of the more advanced plans there is also a free trial.
The pricing is Divided into four simple strategies:
Starter — $0 to many core Thinkific features. This strategy has a top 10% transaction fee, everything you want to create, promote, and market content hosting courses, class upsells, your courses, basic integrations, Stripe/PayPal service, and instant access to all capital.
Basics — For $49 a month you receive all core and starter features, together with a 5 percent transaction fee, promotions and coupons, monthly subscriptions, course packages, intermediate integrations, basic Zapier, drip content, affiliate coverage, a bulk student emailer, custom domain, along with additional course prices. Rob Thinkific
Business — For $99 per month you receive the features from all previous programs, no transaction fees, completion certificates, private and hidden classes, site white labeling, a host storyline, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, advanced HTML/CSS editing, priority service, instructor payout coverage, 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, a single sign-on (SSO), three site admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding specialist, onboarding package, people API, advanced integrations, and advanced Zapier.
Thinkific has some Advantages to its pricing layout. Not only are you able to start your course for free (something that’s not offered with competitors like Teachable,) but the additional 3 programs are broken down into a logical fashion.
After all, you Most probably don’t need API accessibility until you start getting advanced with your path selling.
I wouldn’t mind Seeing also the HTML editing and the completion certificates at the Essentials plan, however $99 per month is not that bad.
As you can see, The trade fees are 10% for the plan. That’s large, but it creates an atmosphere for those who have low quantity or people who don’t have the upfront capital to start a professional online store. Once you get started earning money you’ll be able to reduce that transaction fee.
You can By paying on an annual basis Save money. The Essentials plan goes to $39 a month if you pay it all upfront. The Business program is $79 a month and also the Advanced program is 219. That makes the pricing plans much like Teachable.
I’ll finish this Thinkific review where I started: this is. Hopefully it is evident by now that it offers a full range of the features to encourage your edupreneur in selling courses.
I Believe it is also Important to replicate as I wrap up that Thinkific is a business with a lot of momentum. This is certainly not a point: the market for online class platforms like Thinkific is currently noisy and crowded. You can be certain that a lot of the platforms that are here today is going to undoubtedly be gone. I feel confident Thinkific will be about, and the organization is obviously growing and always investing to improve its own platform. Rob Thinkific