Background Saas Training Platform
If You’re promoting Or even thinking about selling online courses, you don’t have to do much searching to come up with a Thinkific review. There are loads of Thinkific testimonials on the market. The main difference this one offers is It Is written by someone with: Saas Training Platform
- Over 20 years expertise in the e-learning Business, with a Particular focus on companies that sell education (compared to, by Way of Example, corporate training departments, that do not have to convince their learners to buy)
- Extensive experience designing, developing, and implementing online class platforms (I had been the founder and CEO of an e-learning platform and course development firm.)
- More than a decade of experience monitoring and researching online course platforms and assisting organizations and individuals pick the right platform for selling courses
I’ve been closely Monitoring Thinkific and other providers which have emerged in the past years as a new class of online course platforms. These are programs that LMSes, or are less expensive and more user friendly than learning management systems. They’re a true boon for solo edupreneurs and small companies that are looking to get into the course enterprise. Over time, I think they have potential to interrupt the conventional learning management system marketplace.
Having said That, let’s get started.
Building and Branding Your Online Course Web Site
Any courses you Sell have to”live” somewhere, and that somewhere provides an attractive, user friendly to your students and prospective students. Since the debut of its Website Builder capacities Thinkific is up to the project. Saas Training Platform
Using Site Builder — which is only part of the admin board to the stage — you have the ability to prepare an appealing home page to your course site and make as many custom pages as you desire (e.g., to provide details about you and your other solutions ). Despite the fact that you don’t have complete control — you can not, for example, set up your own style sheets (CSS) — you do possess really excellent capabilities for modifying branding elements like font and colors styles and you may upload just about any type of images or media you’d want to use.
Site Builder Comes with three themes to select from, and there are multiple variations for each of those themes. (The company says more themes are part of the future growth program.) There are also a selection of pre-fab”sections” you are able to insert and modify on any webpage to provide for matters like social proof (e.g. customer quotes or”as seen on” logos), calls to action, count down timer, and pricing choices — essentially, all the critical tools you need for conducting a successful path or membership site. There’s also a blank slate”media & Text” section that can be utilised to make pretty much whatever you want.
As is the case With more or less any content management system, it took a while to work out how to do some basic things like delete sections (the themes provide a house page pre-populated with segments ) and include custom pages to the website menu. However service was readily available for these. Thinkific includes a good support website on which you are able to look for aid, but I often just use a Google search together with the phrase”Thinkific” to find whatever I need (e.g.,”create custom site pages Thinkific”). I’ve yet to not find decent support by doing this, whether to the Thinkific site or from another user.
Some additional Features to notice:
- Custom URL (under Settings > Site) — By default, you’re assigned a thinkific.com address — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. Having a paid plan (beginning at $49 a month for Fundamental ) you can get a customized URL
- SSL (Under Settings > Website ) — With any strategy 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 (under Settings > Site)– 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 website and courses.
- Text Changes (below Settings > Learning Content and various different areas) — It is possible to change a great deal of the default language that is used in navigation and other regions. For instance, Thinkific utilizes”Chapters” as the label for parts of a course. You might like to change this to”Lessons.” Saas Training Platform
So, you may be asking,”Could I use Thinkific for the primary Web website?”
For edupreneurs That are only starting off and do not already have an Internet presence the response is an emphatic”yes.” Using Thinkific is a good way to have a big item from your”to do” list (i.e.,”figure out how to find an adequate Web site setup”) and concentrate on creating and launching your courses. It is possible to be concerned about a more complicated Web site after.
If you already Have an Internet site, however — particularly on a fuller-featured content management system such as WordPress — I would not suggest relying on Thinkific (or some other route platform) to your main Web site. Website Builder is fantastic for what it does — and can create a great course site to complement your primary site — but ultimately it’s relatively restricted. A few of the key current constraints include:
- All motifs are single column. So, as an instance, you can not put email signup types, promotions for class, or other items down the left or right side of your website.
- As mentioned, you can not apply your own CSS (cascading style sheets), largely a limit in the event that you truly wish to reflect the branding of an present Web site.
- There’s no control over 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 significant for the average edupreneur.
- Thinkific lacks the wealth of plug-ins and the broad network of experienced contractors who are available to encourage platforms like WordPress.
In spite of those Limits, Site Builder is very likely to perform the work well for most edupreneurs and is quite a little better than what many online course platforms supply.
Creating Online Courses with Thinkific
While you Definitely need an attractive, user-friendly site to house your courses, the courses themselves are the primary attraction. As you may expect, this is an area where Thinkific really shines.
To start with, the Platform provides a variety of pre-configured templates which may be very 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 think about for supplying an educational product. These are:
- Blank — Start new and construct your own course to match your specific curriculum needs.
- Mini-course — Utilize a free or low-cost mini-course to create prospects for a complete flagship course or service.
- Flagship Course — Build a full online course employing a strong curriculum outline created with best practices in your mind.
- Pre-sell — Create a pre-sell landing page and get started building a waitlist to gauge interest on your program.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable documents in an online course to create revenue 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 assess your presentation and offer.
All these can Be modified broadly — you can alter the content from the sections which are provided, delete segments, or add new segments to reach the strategy that’s ideal for your content. All throughout the procedure, Thinkific provides”smart mentor course construction hints” to assist you. (I found them helpful, but they may be easily switched off, should you prefer.) Saas Training Platform
If you have zero Experience working with Internet content, there will 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 it up, and you will reap the rewards.
And you are Already comfortable with other Internet content programs — like, for example, WordPress or another course platform — I think you will find working in Thinkific to be a breeze.
The logic, overall A class at Thinkific makes sense. After choosing”New Course,” picking your course type, naming it (which you can change at any stage ), and saving it, you add”Chapters” (or modify ones in the template) to create the structure of this program. As noted above, if you don’t like the expression”Chapters,” you can change it to whatever you would like.
You fill the Chapters with content in a way similar to how I described using Website Builder above. There are 11 options:
- Video classes — Upload a video file. (This has 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.)
- Quiz classes — Create a quiz for the students. (More information on quizzes below)
- 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. A Few of the possibilities include:
- Webinar tools (provide 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 files (Requires Pro or Enterprise license. More about that below)
- Text classes — Combine text, images, videos, etc. into a single lesson. This is essentially the equivalent to”Text and Media” Website Builder alternative mentioned previously.
- Research lessons — Gather information/feedback from your pupils by building a short survey in Thinkific.
- PDF lessons.
- Disqus lessons Disqus discussion boards into your course. (Note: there is also a discussion alternative built into Thinkific that you may turn off or on under Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio classes — Upload a sound file.
- Downloads — Include resources.
- Presentation lessons — Upload a presentation as record sound and a PDF document for each slide.
- Lessons — Contain a Brillium examination in your program. (A Brillium permit is distinct from Thinkific and starts at $49 a month. More about that below.)
The above options Will get the work done for all but the edupreneurs. The main areas they fall short is in
- Supplying for branching scenarios — i.e., allowing learners to go down different paths based on their performances in the course or information you gather about them and
- Inserting elements like learning games.
If those are Choices you truly want, you’d be better off using a full size course authoring tool like iSpring or Articulate Storyline (see more about these kinds of programs here). Saas Training Platform
Use of Articulate and Captivate at Thinkific
Many course Creators will be perfectly content with using the tools in Thinkific to make courses, but some might prefer the option of creating their courses with third-party e-learning course creation software like Articulate Storyline or even Adobe Captivate.
Basically, using a Third party tool is an alternative to seriously consider if you (a) already have a significant number of courses built out in one of these tools (in which you case you probably do not want to need to re-create them utilizing Thinkific course creation tools), and/or (b) you anticipate developing a substantial catalogue of courses with a relatively long”shelf life” — in which case you might not want to have your courses locked to a specific shipping platform.
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 path.
First, Thinkific (like all other platforms in its own course ) has not implemented SCORM, which stands to 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 using a learning platform to send it data like how much time a learner has spent in a program, or whether specific parts of the course have been finished successfully. Thinkific tracks this type of data. (More about SCORM here.)
Secondly, you cannot Import an Captivate or Articulate route into Thinkific all on your own. These courses are made up of more than a single file (such as, as an instance, a video file), so to get them into the platform, you need to zip up the files and send them into Thinkific customer support.
The Features and How They Benefit You
A great Online course construction platform offers you the features you need from begin to finish. This includes the promotion, the marketing, the training course building, and the management.
Systems such as Thinkific don’t host courses on your own website. Your articles is really hosted with Thinkific (so you do not have to go outside and find your own hosting,) but it gives you complete control on what your site looks like.
When compared to Systems like Udemy, Thinkific certainly provides branding control and more liberty. Let’s explore some of the standout attributes.
Outstanding Student Management and Communication Modules
During my Thinkific review, I noticed that the smoothness of the student communication tools. It’s a visual pupil management area, together with images of your students, names, contact information, and information for how far they are in your program.
You have the Option to send emails that are customized to every one of the pupils or create a dialogue with the whole community. Saas Training Platform
Incentives are Also a part of this learning environment since Thinkific offers report cards, completion certificates, and during classes, the emails for sending out just about whatever you want of course.
In addition to Infinite replays of course content, speech controllers, and optimization working together with the Thinkific platform should feel right at home.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Part of this Reason Thinkific looks great in contrast to this rivalry is that of its course designer. In case you don’t need to you don’t need to mess with any code.
In fact, all of Your content is organized using an easy drag and drop editor, in which you move it around vertically and stack the course content.
Speaking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of media types. From PDFs to audio files, and surveys to quizzes, the stage is fantastic for offering up a vast assortment of learning tools for your students.
As we mentioned Every one of these files are hosted on the Thinkific servers. Therefore, you should not need to worry being too big or running slowly in your own servers that are shared.
When you customize Your course site it features some editing tools for the beginners on the market. For instance, you can adjust items like logos, colour schemes, and banners, 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 in the promotions arena. This is unfortunate since there’s no way.
Thinkific does The program was built into by it the way, with promotional and marketing tools. Much of this is automated. So, if you’d like to trickle content to your students Thinkific has this functionality. Saas Training Platform
Furthermore, you Have the ability to target the ideal people and send automated emails based on a schedule. Pricing can be done through Thinkific, along with the choice to become paid immediately when someone signs up for your course.
In Terms of becoming It is tried by people beyond your site out, Thinkific comes with an affiliate marketing program to reward bloggers. Coupons are also supplied through Thinkific, giving you a chance convince novices your course is well worth investing in and to create ads.
Everything from Vouchers to affiliates is tracked directly in the dashboard, and you could link Facebook, your Adwords, and other reports to see where students are coming out of.
Managing, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from Allowing you to deliver your courses, one of the key reasons for utilizing a specialized class platform is that it creates managing and monitoring your customers and their data much more easy.
Communication with Learners
Along with Assisting you to arrange your learners, Thinkific also enables a number of ways for you and your students to communicate and for them to give feedback. Saas Training Platform
As previously noted, For example, you can enable discussion for your classes and manage your students gifts under Support Your Students Discussions, where you can sort discussions by course, react to pupils, and — if desired –“Disapprove” gifts that you don’t wish to appear in the program. (Note: Enabling discussions is currently a nothing option in Thinkific — i.e., either all classes have it or no classes have it. The workaround for this is to use the Disqus option on a course-by-course foundation )
You can also Allow your student to submit testimonials for your classes. You then have the capability to approve these testimonials (they are not published automatically) and utilize them as social evidence on your earnings page for the course. Unlike discussions, this attribute can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
There are Numerous notifications that can be enabled or disabled at the Thinkific platform, a few of which can be customized. You can, as an example, send a message if they enroll for your site to students, enroll in a specific course, or finish a course. It is also possible to send weekly reminder messages. (Note: Reminders are site-wide, 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 information (e.g., first name, last name, email ) and utilizing custom log-in fields (under Preferences > Orders & accounts) you can easily add fields to capture whatever specific information you desire from the users. (Note that, unlike programs like Udemy, you get complete access to the user data you collect.)
You can also Organize users into classes. This feature may have a large effect on your business model by making it feasible for you to sell courses in bulk to organizations — among the best ways for online course sellers to drive revenue development that is significant .
You, groups Can easily arrange your students by organization, or cohort, time, enrollment, job-type, or other variables, making it possible to track the efficacy of your offerings with each group and also to refine your marketing going forward. (Note: use of the Groups attribute requires a Guru program license with the Development Add-on.) Discover More about the Thinkific Groups functionality Saas Training Platform
Tracking and Reporting
A reason to Have a technical online class platform — as opposed, by way of example, to just posting content supporting a password on a Web site — is it is going to track things like conclusion and course progress as well as quiz and survey data.
Thinkific’s Advancement tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) allows you to select a specific student and track numerous factors for each class in which the student is registered. For every course you will see:
- Percentage of Course of Viewed
- Percentage of Course Completed
- Student Name
- Student Email
- Course Completed at (date)
- Course Started at (date)
- Course Activated at (date)
- Last sign (date)
I enjoy this you If you’re adding new classes can also opt to reset a student’s completion percentage at any time.
Overall, the Course reporting is rather basic, but I suspect it’ll serve the needs of the huge majority of course entrepreneurs.
Unlike the course Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported into a .CSV file (rather than displayed on screen) and emailed to you. The .csv file includes the responses from all students who’ve taken a survey a quiz e-mail address, together with their title, and if it was taken by them. For quizzes, it supplies percent and the number of questions the student got correct.
Overall, reporting For both quizzes/surveys and courses is one of the regions in which the Thinkific system could be stronger. In fairness, this has a tendency to be true for pretty much the platforms of the all in this category of platforms. Over time, it would be possible to get quiz/survey data and course completion . 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 at Thinkific), along with a link to download the certificate related to the course. Saas Training Platform
What Thinkific is currently Missing
Anyone who has Been working in the e-learning industry for the last couple of decades (as I have) will realize that Thinkific provides a remarkable selection of features at a very reasonable price. It was not that long ago that a system with these capacities may have cost tens of thousands of dollars a year.
With that in mind, It’s hard to assert that Thinkific is”missing” much. There are gaps that can rule it out for a few course sellers — and all of these tend to be openings which are characteristic of this category of platforms. The main ones I find are:
No support for xAPI/TinCan or SCORM
As mentioned previously, While Thinkific may host and deliver classes created in shared authoring tools such as Articulate and Captivate, it doesn’t actually make use of the SCORM (or xAPI/TInCan) packaging capacities of these applications. In case you’ve got a reason for using one of the significant standards, Thinkific might not be the way to go.
Like I said, these Are areas which, for the most part, aren’t served well by additional platforms that are in Thinkific’s class. To acquire a platform which supports all three generally means a price point a few times higher than Thinkific — and it could go a lot from that point. Be sure these are gaps for you before ruling out Thinkific.
No continuing education credit capacities
While you can Indicate the estimated variety of hours for finishing a course in Thinkific, you can’t specify the 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 utilizing Thinkific, Saas Training Platform
No multi-tenancy option
Multi-tenancy Means that you manage and can make multiple instances of a stage under one umbrella. This can be really useful if you are a training company that has corporate clients and those customers want their branded instance of the platform for serving and managing their own customers. While the Group performance in Thinkific makes you part of the way there, it is not the same matter as multi-tenancy.
Although I’ve yet To discover an internet course platform which has hidden charges, Thinkific advertises that it too has no hidden charges or contracts. That’s very good to know, but nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does provide a totally free program for people who wish to test out the platform but not get bogged down by limitations. In theory, it makes it possible to start your shop and start building a pupil base without having to pay a dime. There’s also a free trial if you would rather give one of the plans a whirl.
The pricing is Divided into four simple plans:
Starter — $0 to all core Thinkific features. This plan has a top 10% transaction fee, everything you need to make, promote, and sell content hosting courses, course upsells, your courses, basic integrations service, and immediate access to all capital.
Essentials — For $49 per month you get all core and starter features, together with a 5 percent transaction fee, promotions and coupons, monthly subscriptions, class bundles, intermediate integrations, fundamental Zapier, trickle articles, affiliate coverage, a bulk student emailer, custom domainname, along with extra course prices. Saas Training Platform
Business — For $99 a month you receive the attributes from all prior programs, no transaction fees, completion certificates, private and concealed classes, site white labeling, a host narrative, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, advanced HTML/CSS editing, priority support, instructor payout reporting, an onboarding call, payment plans, along with a direct Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 per month you get all features from previous plans, no transaction fees, one sign-on (SSO), three website admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding specialist, onboarding bundle, public API, advanced integrations, and innovative Zapier.
Thinkific has some Fantastic benefits to its pricing layout. Not only can you begin your course at no cost (something that’s not offered with competitions such as Teachable,) however, the extra 3 programs are broken down in a logical fashion.
After all, you Most likely don’t need API accessibility until you really start becoming advanced with your course promoting.
I wouldn’t mind Seeing also the HTML editing as well as the completion certificates at the Essentials plan, however $99 per month still is not that bad.
As you can see, The trade fees are 10% to the program that is free. That’s large, but it creates an excellent environment for people who don’t have the capital or those who have low volume. Once you start making money you can reduce that trade fee.
You can By paying on an annual basis, Save money. The Essentials plan goes to $39 a month if you cover it all upfront. The company plan is $79 a month and the Advanced plan is $219. This makes the pricing programs rather much like Teachable.
I’ll end this Thinkific review where I began: this really is. Hopefully it’s evident by now that it offers a full range of the characteristics that are most vital to support your average edupreneur.
I think it is also Important to repeat as I wrap up that Thinkific is a company with a great deal of momentum. This is not a point: the marketplace for online class platforms such as Thinkific is now noisy and crowded. You can be certain that a lot is going to undoubtedly be gone tomorrow. I feel confident that Thinkific will be around, and the company is obviously growing and continually investing to improve its platform. Saas Training Platform