Intro Selling Online Courses
If you are promoting Or considering selling online courses, you don’t have to do much hunting to think of a Thinkific review. There are loads of Thinkific reviews out there. The main difference that this one provides is It Is written by someone with: Selling Online Courses
- Over 20 years expertise in the e-learning industry, with a Particular focus on businesses that sell education (as opposed 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 was the founder and CEO of an e-learning platform and course development company.)
- Over a decade of experience monitoring and researching online course platforms and assisting individuals and organizations pick the right platform for selling courses
I’ve been Tracking Thinkific and other providers which have emerged in the previous several years as a new type of course platforms. These are programs which LMSes, or are much more user friendly and less expensive than conventional learning management methods. They are companies that want to get into the course enterprise and a true boon for solo edupreneurs. Over time, I believe they also have potential to disrupt the conventional learning management system marketplace.
So, having said That, let’s get started.
Construction and Branding Your Online Course Web Site
Any classes you Market need to”live” somewhere, and ideally that someplace supplies an attractive, user friendly for your students and prospective students. Since the introduction of its Site Builder capabilities earlier this year, Thinkific is up to the project. Selling Online Courses
Using Site Builder — that is only part of the admin board for the platform — you have the ability to set up an appealing home page for your course site and create as many custom pages as you need (e.g., to provide information about you and your other services). While you don’t have complete control — you can’t, for instance, set up your own style sheets (CSS) — you do possess really good capabilities for modifying branding elements like colors and font styles and you can upload just about any type of images or media you’d like to utilize.
Site Builder Comes with three topics and there are numerous variations for each of these topics. (The company says more themes are part of their future development plan.) There are also a selection of pre-fab”sections” that you are able to insert and modify on any page to provide for things like social evidence (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’s also a blank slate”media & Text” section which may be used to create pretty much whatever 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 sections (the themes offer a house page pre-populated with segments ) and include custom pages to the website menu. But service was readily available for them. Thinkific has a solid support site on which you can look for help, but I tend to only use a Google search along with the word”Thinkific” to find whatever I need (e.g.,”create custom website pages Thinkific”). I’ve yet to not find decent support using this method, whether on the Thinkific website or from another user.
Some additional Features to note:
- Custom URL (under Settings > Site) — By default, you’re assigned a thinkific.com address — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. With a paid plan (starting at $49 per month for Fundamental ) you can get a customized URL
- SSL (Under Settings > Website ) — With any plan you have the option to turn on SSL (secure socket layer), a best practice for virtually any Web site these days. (Google smiles on this.)
- White tagging (below Settings > Website )– By leaping up into a Pro Plan ($99 a month) with the Development Add-on ($.10 per busy student/per month) you can quickly get rid of the”Powered by Thinkific” speech on your website and courses.
- Text Dimensions (below Settings > Learning Content and various different areas) — It is possible to change a lot of the default language which is used in navigation and other regions. For instance, Thinkific utilizes”Chapters” as the tag for parts of a program. You may like to change this to”Lessons.” Selling Online Courses
So, you might be asking,”Can I use Thinkific for the primary Web site?”
For edupreneurs That are only starting off and don’t already have an Internet presence the response is an emphatic”yes.” Utilizing Thinkific is a good way to take a huge item off of your”to do” list (i.e.,”figure out ways to find a decent Web site set up”) and focus on creating and launching your courses. It is possible to worry about a more complicated Web site after.
If you already Have a Web site, however — particularly on a fuller-featured content management system like WordPress — I wouldn’t suggest relying on Thinkific (or some other course platform) for your primary Internet website. Site Builder is great for what it does — and can create a fantastic course site to match your main site — but ultimately it’s relatively limited. Some of the key present limitations include:
- All motifs are column. So, for instance, you can not put e-mail signup forms, promotions for class, or other items down the left or right side of your website.
- As mentioned, you can’t apply your own CSS (cascading style sheets), mostly a limit if you really wish to reflect the branding of an existing Web site.
- There’s no control over search engine optimization configurations on Web pages — e.g., you can not specify the title tags or meta descriptions. You , however, do so on course landing pages, which is arguably more significant for the typical 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 those Limits, Site Builder is very likely to perform the job well for most edupreneurs and is quite a bit better than what many online course platforms supply.
Creating Online Courses with Thinkific
While you Definitely need to have an attractive, user-friendly website to house your courses, the classes themselves are the primary attraction. As you might expect, this is an area where Thinkific really shines.
To start with, the Platform provides a range of pre-configured templates which may be quite useful to track builders looking for assistance with how to organize their content. The templates cover the assortment of standard scenarios you would be likely to think about for supplying an educational item. These are:
- Blank — Start fresh and construct your own course to meet your specific program requirements.
- Mini-course — Utilize a low-cost or free mini-course to generate prospects for a complete flagship course or assistance.
- Flagship Course — Construct a full online course employing a robust curriculum outline made with best practices in mind.
- Pre-sell — Create a pre-sell landing page and start constructing a waitlist to judge interest on your course.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable documents in an internet course to create earnings or collect email addresses.
- Membership Resource Library — Host downloadable resources to be included in a membership package with this template.
- Webinar Replay — Host your webinar replay video to allow registrants to assess your presentation and provide.
All of these can Be modified broadly — you can alter the content from the sections which are supplied, delete sections, or insert new sections to reach the strategy that’s ideal for your content. All throughout the process, Thinkific supplies”smart mentor course construction hints” to assist you. (I found these useful, but they can be easily turned off, should you would like.) Selling Online Courses
In Case 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 fantastic job making that curve as manageable as possible. Invest in making your way up it, and you’ll reap the benefits.
And You’re Already comfortable with other Web content systems — like, for another program platform, WordPress or example — I believe that you will find working in Thinkific to be a breeze.
Overall, the logic Of putting together a class in Thinkific makes sense in my perspective. After selecting”New Course,” choosing your path type, naming it (which you may change at any point), and saving it, you include”Chapters” (or modify ones in the template) to create the structure of the program. As mentioned above, if you do not like the expression”Chapters,” you can change it to whatever you prefer.
You fill the Chapters with articles in a way. There are 11 options:
- Video lessons — Upload a file. (This gets stored in a video 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.)
- Classes — Create a quiz for your students. (More info on quizzes under )
- Multimedia lessons — This can be a means to link out to articles not hosted on Thinkific and make it an integrated part of your course. 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 Professional or Enterprise license. More on this below)
- Text classes — Combine text, images, videos, etc. into a single lesson. This is basically the equivalent to”Text & Media” Website Builder alternative discussed above.
- Research lessons — Gather by building a poll in Thinkific.
- PDF classes — Publish a PDF document to be looked at within the course player.
- Disqus lessons Disqus discussion boards to your course. (Note: there’s also a discussion alternative built into Thinkific which you can turn off or on under Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio classes — Upload an audio file.
- Downloads — Contain resources.
- Presentation lessons — Upload a demonstration as record audio and a PDF file for each slide.
- Classes — Contain a Brillium examination on your course. (A Brillium license is distinct from Thinkific and begins at $49 per month. More on this below.)
The aforementioned Choices Will find the job done for all but the edupreneurs. The main places they fall short is in
- Providing for branching scenarios — i.e., enabling learners to move down different paths based on their performances from the course or information you collect about them — and
- Like learning games, Adding elements.
If those are Options you truly need, you would be better off using a full-blown course authoring tool such as iSpring or even Articulate Storyline (see more about these kinds of programs here). Selling Online Courses
Use of Articulate and Captivate at Thinkific
Many course Founders will be content with using the tools in Thinkific to create courses, but some may prefer the option of producing their courses with third party e-learning class creation software such as Articulate Storyline or even Adobe Captivate.
Fundamentally, using a Third-party tool is an alternative to seriously think about if you (a) already have a significant number of courses built out in one of these applications (in which you probably do not want to need to re-create them utilizing Thinkific course creation tools), and/or (b) you expect developing a substantial catalog of lessons with a relatively long”shelf life” — in which case you may not want to have your courses locked to a specific shipping platform.
You can use these Types of tools with Thinkific — Articulate Storyline and Captivate are encouraged — however there are a few limitations you should be aware of if you go this path.
First, Thinkific (like all other platforms in its own class) has not implemented SCORM, which stands for the Shareable Content Object Reference Model. There is a lot to SCORM, but the main thing for edupreneurs to understand is that it provides standards for how an online course can communicate using a learning platform to deliver it information like how much time a student has spent in a program, or whether specific parts of the course have been finished successfully. Thinkific monitors this kind of data. (More about SCORM here.)
You cannot Import an Articulate or Captivate course into Thinkific on your own. These classes are made up of over one file (such as, as an instance, a video file), so to get them inside the platform, you have to zip the files up and send them to Thinkific customer service.
The Features and How They Benefit You
An excellent Online course construction platform typically offers you. This includes the marketing the course building, the selling, and the management.
Systems such as Thinkific don’t host classes . Your content is really hosted with Thinkific (so you don’t need to venture out and find your personal hosting,) but it gives you complete control over what your website looks like.
When compared to Systems like Udemy, Thinkific surely provides more liberty and management that is branding. Let us explore some of the other standout attributes.
Excellent Student Management and Communication Modules
During my Thinkific review, I noticed the smoothness of the pupil communication tools. It is a visual pupil management area, together with images of your students, titles, contact information, and information for how far they are in your course.
You’ve got the Choice create a conversation with the whole community or to send emails that are customized to every one of those students. Selling Online Courses
Incentives are part of the learning environment because Thinkific offers completion certificates, report cards, and of course, the mails for sending out just about anything you want throughout classes.
Along with Replays of language controls course content, students, and mobile optimization working together with the Thinkific platform should feel.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Section of the Motive Thinkific looks great in contrast to this competition is that of its class 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 with a drag and drop editor, where you pile the course content and move it about .
Speaking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of virtually all media forms. From PDFs to audio files, and polls to quizzes, the platform is great for offering up a wide assortment of learning tools for your students.
As we mentioned Every one these files are hosted on the Thinkific servers. For this reason, you shouldn’t have to worry being too large or running in your own shared servers.
When you personalize Your course site it features some handy editing tools to the beginners out there. As an example, you can correct items like color schemes banners, and logos without touching any code.
However Advanced programmers have full control over the HTML and CSS. So, 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 to start earning money unless people understand your path exists.
Thinkific does The app was built into by it the right way, with promotional and marketing tools. Much of this is automated as well. Consequently, if you want to trickle articles to your students–in which certain courses would be released over the years –Thinkific has this operation. Selling Online Courses
Furthermore, you Have the ability to target the right people and send emails that are automated based on a program. Pricing is also done through Thinkific, along with the choice to get paid instantly when somebody signs up for your course.
In Terms of becoming It is tried by people outside of your site out, Thinkific includes an online affiliate marketing program to benefit men and women who advocate your program and bloggers. Coupons can also be provided through Thinkific, giving a chance to create ads and convince newcomers your class is worth investing in to you.
Everything from Vouchers to affiliates is monitored right in the dashboard, and you can also link your Adwords, Facebook, and other reports where students are coming from to see.
Managing, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from Enabling you to produce your classes, one of the important reasons for utilizing a online course platform is that it makes managing and monitoring your users and their information much simpler.
Communication with Learners
In addition to Assisting you to organize your students, Thinkific also enables several ways for them to provide feedback and for you to communicate with your students. Selling Online Courses
As noted, For instance, you can enable discussion for your courses and then manage your students contributions under Service Your Students > Discussions, where it is possible to sort talks by course, respond to pupils, and — if desired –“Disapprove” contributions that you don’t want to appear in the program. (Note: Enabling talks is currently an all or nothing choice in Thinkific — i.e., either all classes have no or it classes have it. The workaround for this is to utilize the Disqus option on a course-by-course foundation )
You can also Enable your student to submit reviews for your classes. You then have the ability to approve these reviews (they aren’t printed automatically) and utilize them as social evidence on your earnings page for your program. Unlike talks, this attribute can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
There are A number of notifications which could be disabled or enabled at the Thinkific platform, a few of which can be customized. You can send a customized message when they register for your site to pupils, enroll in a specific course, or finish a program. It is also possible to send weekly reminder messages. (Note: Reminders are site-wide, maybe not course-specific.)
Managing and Organizing Learners
To start with, When an individual signs up in your website, Thinkific captures all their key contact information (e.g., first name, last name, e-mail) and using custom log-in fields (under Preferences > Programs & accounts) you can easily add areas to catch whatever specific information you desire from the users. (Note that, unlike programs such as Udemy, you receive full access to the user information you collect.)
You can also Organize users into classes. This feature may have a large effect on your business model by making it possible for you to sell classes in bulk among the best ways for course sellers to induce significant revenue growth, in my experience.
Using groups, you May easily arrange your learners by cohort, time, enrollment, job-type, or organization, or other factors, which makes it feasible to monitor the effectiveness of your offerings with every group and to enhance your marketing. (Note: Use of the Groups attribute requires a Guru plan license with the Growth Add-on.) Find out more about the Thinkific Groups functionality Selling Online Courses
Tracking and Reporting
A motive to Have a technical course platform — to posting content behind a password on a Web site instead, for example — is it is going to monitor quiz and survey information as well as things like completion and course progress.
Thinkific’s Advancement tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) enables you to pick a particular student and monitor a number of factors for each course in which the pupil is enrolled. For each 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 If you are adding new lessons can also opt to reset the completion percentage of a student at any time, for instance,.
Overall, the Course reporting is fairly basic, but I suspect it will serve the needs of the 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 document includes the answers from all students who have obtained a questionnaire a quiz email address, together with their name, and when they took it. For quizzes, it also provides the number and percent of questions the student got correct.
Overall, reporting For courses and quizzes/surveys is among the areas where the Thinkific system could be more powerful. In fairness, this has a tendency to be true for much the platforms of the all within this class of platforms. Ideally, over time, it might be possible to get course completion and quiz/survey data through a single Web interface. Even better, it would be good to be able to see a student transcript that displays hours associated with a course, any credit earned (not now captured in any way in Thinkific), along with a link to download the certificate related to the course. Selling Online Courses
What Thinkific is Missing
Anyone who has Been working in the e-learning sector for the past couple of years (as I have) will realize that Thinkific offers a remarkable selection of features at a very reasonable price. It wasn’t long ago that a system with these capabilities could have easily cost thousands of dollars a year.
With that in mind, It is hard to argue that Thinkific is”missing” much. Still, there are openings which can rule out it for some course sellers — and all of these tend to be. The main ones I see are:
No support for xAPI/TinCan or SCORM
As noted above, While Thinkific can host and deliver classes created in common authoring tools such as Articulate and Captivate, it does not actually take advantage of the SCORM (or xAPI/TInCan) packaging capabilities of these programs. In case you’ve got a reason for using one of the major e-learning criteria, then Thinkific would not be the way to go.
As I Are areas that, for the most part, aren’t served well by programs that are in Thinkific’s course. To acquire a platform that supports all three means a price point than Thinkific — and it could go a lot from there . Be sure that these are openings 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 total amount of continuing education available for a program. While there may be work-arounds, for most course providers that focus on providing continuing education credit, this will be a significant barrier to utilizing Thinkific, Selling Online Courses
No multi-tenancy option
Multi-tenancy Means that you can make and handle a number of instances of a platform. This can be very handy if, as an example, you are a training company that has many clients and those customers want their branded example of this platform for managing and serving their customers. While the Group functionality in Thinkific makes you a part of the way there, it isn’t the same thing as multi-tenancy.
Although I’ve yet To discover an internet course platform that has many hidden charges, Thinkific advertises that it too has no hidden fees or contracts. That is very good to know, but nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does offer a free plan for those who want to test out the platform but not get bogged down by limitations. In theory, it helps you begin building a student base and launch your store. 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 Divided into four easy strategies:
Starter — $0 for many core Thinkific features. This plan has a high transaction fee, everything you need to make, market, and sell your courses, courses that are unlimited, course upsells, content hosting, basic integrations, Stripe/PayPal service, and immediate access to all capital.
Essentials — For $49 a month you receive all core and newcomer features, along with a 5% transaction fee, promotions and coupons, monthly subscriptions, course packages, intermediate integrations, fundamental Zapier, trickle articles, affiliate reporting, a bulk student emailer, customized domain, and extra course rates. Selling Online Courses
Business — For $99 a month you get the attributes from all prior programs, no transaction fees, completion certificates, personal and concealed classes, site white tagging, a host narrative, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, innovative HTML/CSS editing, priority service, teacher payout reporting, an onboarding call, payment plans, and a direct Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 a month you get all features from previous plans, no transaction fees, a single sign-on (SSO), three site admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding specialist, onboarding bundle, people API, innovative integrations, and innovative Zapier.
Thinkific has some Benefits to its pricing layout. Not only can you start your course for free (something that’s not offered with competitions such as Teachable,) but the extra 3 plans are broken down in a reasonable manner.
After all Most probably don’t need API accessibility until you start becoming advanced with your path selling.
I wouldn’t mind Seeing the completion certificates as well as also the HTML editing at the Essentials plan, however $99 a month is bad.
As you can see, The transaction prices are 10% to the plan. That’s large, but it creates an environment for people who do not have the capital or those who have low volume right now. You can cut down that trade fee As soon as you get started earning money.
You can By paying an yearly basis, Save money. If you cover it all upfront, so, the Essentials plan goes down to $39 per month. The Business plan is $79 a month and the Advanced program is $219. This makes the pricing plans rather much like Teachable.
I’ll finish this Thinkific review where I began: this really is. Hopefully it is clear by now that it offers a range of the vital characteristics to encourage your ordinary edupreneur in selling courses that are online.
I Believe it is Important to repeat as I wrap up that Thinkific is a company with a lot of momentum. This is certainly not a trivial point: the marketplace for online course platforms such as Thinkific is now crowded and noisy. You can be certain that a lot of the platforms that are here now is going to be gone. I feel confident Thinkific will be about, and the company is clearly growing and always investing to improve its platform. Selling Online Courses