Background Selling Training Programs
If You’re promoting Or considering selling classes, you do not need to do much searching to come up with a Thinkific review. There are loads of Thinkific reviews on the market. The main difference that this one provides is that it is written by someone with: Selling Training Programs
- Over 20 years expertise in the e-learning industry, with a Particular focus on companies that sell schooling (as opposed to, by Way of Example, corporate training departments, that do not have to convince their students to purchase )
- Extensive experience designing, creating, and implementing online class platforms (I had been the founder and CEO of an e-learning platform and course development company.)
- Over 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 closely Tracking Thinkific and other providers that have emerged within the previous decades as a new class of course platforms. These are programs that are more user-friendly and less costly than learning management systems, or LMSes. They are a boon for solo edupreneurs and tiny companies that are looking to enter the online course business. As time passes, I believe they have real potential to disrupt the learning management system market.
Thus, having said That, let us get started.
Building and Branding Your Online Course Web Site
Any courses you Market need to”live” somewhere, and ideally that somewhere provides an appealing, user friendly to the students and potential students. Since the debut of its Website Builder capacities earlier this year, Thinkific is up to the job. Selling Training Programs
Using Site Builder — that is simply part of the admin board for the stage — you now have the capacity to set up an appealing home page to your course site and create as many custom pages as you need (e.g., to provide details about you and your other services). Despite the fact that you don’t have complete control — you can not, as an instance, install your own style sheets (CSS) — you can possess very good capabilities for modifying branding components like colors and font styles and you can upload pretty much any kind of images or media you’d like to use.
Website Builder Comes with three topics and there are numerous variants for each of those themes. (The company says more topics are a part of the future development program.) Additionally, there are a range of pre-fab”segments” you are able to add and change on any webpage to provide for matters like social proof (e.g. customer quotations or”as seen on” logos), calls for action, count down timer, and pricing choices — essentially, all of the critical tools you require for conducting a successful path or membership website. There is also a blank slate”Text & media” 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 a while to figure out the way to do some basic things like delete segments (the themes offer a home page pre-populated with segments ) and include custom pages to the site menu. But service has been readily available for these. Thinkific has a solid support site on which you are able to search for aid, but I tend to just use a Google search together with the phrase”Thinkific” to discover whatever I need (e.g.,”create custom site pages Thinkific”). I have yet to not find decent support using this method, whether to the Thinkific website or from another user.
Some additional Features to note:
- Customized URL (under Settings > Site) — 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 leaping up to a Pro Plan ($99 per month) using the Growth Add-on ($.10 per busy student/per month) you can quickly remove the”Powered by Thinkific” speech on your site and courses.
- Text Dimensions (under Settings > Learning Content and several other 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.” Selling Training Programs
Thus, you might be asking,”Could I use Thinkific for the main Web site?”
For edupreneurs That are only starting off and do not have an Internet presence the answer 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 launching your classes. You can worry about a more sophisticated Web site later.
If you already Have an Internet site, though — 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 Internet site. Site Builder is great for what it does — and may create a fantastic course website to match your main Web site — but ultimately it’s relatively limited. Some of the key current limitations include:
- All themes are pillar. Therefore, as an instance, you can not put e-mail signup forms, promotions for class, or other things down the left or right side of your website.
- As noted, you can’t use your own CSS (cascading style sheets), mostly a limitation if you truly wish to mirror the branding of an present Web site.
- There is absolutely no control on search engine optimization configurations on Web 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 possibly more significant for the typical edupreneur.
- Thinkific lacks the abundance of plug-ins along with the extensive network of experienced contractors who are available to support platforms such as WordPress.
In spite of these Limits, Site Builder is very likely to do the job well for most edupreneurs and is a bit better than what many online course platforms provide.
Creating Online Courses with Thinkific
While you Definitely want an attractive, user-friendly website to house your classes, the courses themselves are the main 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 that can be very useful to course builders looking for help with how to organize their content. The templates cover the assortment of standard scenarios you would be prone to think about for supplying an educational item. These are:
- Blank — Start new and construct your course to match your particular curriculum needs.
- Mini-course — Use a free or low-cost mini-course to create leads for a complete flagship course or service.
- Flagship Course — Build a full online class employing a robust curriculum outline made using best practices in your mind.
- Pre-sell — Produce a pre-sell landing page and start constructing a waitlist to judge interest on your course.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable documents in an online course to generate revenue 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 change the content in the sections which are provided, delete segments, or add new segments to arrive at the approach that is ideal for your content. All throughout the procedure, Thinkific supplies”smart mentor course building hints” to help you. (I found these useful, but they may be easily turned off, if you prefer.) Selling Training Programs
If you have zero Experience working with Internet content, there’ll inevitably be a bit of a learning curve, but my view is that Thinkific has done a good job making that curve as manageable as possible. Invest in making your it up, and you’ll reap the benefits.
And You’re Already comfortable using other Internet content systems — like, by way of a different program platform, WordPress or instance — I believe that you will find working in Thinkific to be a breeze.
The logic, overall A course at Thinkific makes sense. After selecting”New Course,” picking your path type, naming it (which you may change at any stage ), and saving it, you add”Chapters” (or modify ones already in the template) to create the structure of this course. As mentioned above, if you do not like the expression”Chapters,” you can change it to whatever you would like.
You fill the Chapters with articles in a way. There are 11 choices:
- Video lessons — Upload a file. (This has saved in a video library for re-use in different classes. Videos stored in this library are protected from access by anyone who is not a registered user of your website.)
- Classes — Create a quiz for the students. (More info on quizzes under )
- Multimedia classes — This can be a means to link out to content not hosted on Thinkific and make it an integrated part of your course. Some of the possibilities include:
- Webinar tools (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 documents (Requires Professional or Enterprise license. More about that below)
- Text lessons — Combine text, images, videos, etc. into one lesson. This is essentially the equivalent to”Text and Media” Website Builder option discussed previously.
- Survey lessons — Gather information/feedback from your pupils by building a survey in Thinkific.
- PDF lessons.
- Disqus lessons Disqus discussion boards to your course. (Note: there is also a discussion option built into Thinkific that you may turn on or off beneath Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio classes — Upload a sound file.
- Downloads resources to be available for downloading from inside the course participant.
- Presentation lessons — Upload a demonstration as a PDF document and record sound for each slide.
- Lessons — Include a Brillium exam on your program. (A Brillium license is separate from Thinkific and starts at $49 per month. More about that below.)
The aforementioned options Will find the job completed for all but the most complex edupreneurs. The primary areas they fall short is in
- Providing for branching scenarios — i.e., allowing learners to move down different paths depending on their performances from the course or data you collect about them — and
- Like learning games inserting interactive components.
If those are Choices you genuinely want, you’d be better off using a full size course authoring tool like iSpring or Articulate Storyline (see more about these kinds of tools here). Selling Training Programs
The use of Articulate and Captivate in Thinkific
Many course Founders will be perfectly content with using the resources in Thinkific to create classes, but some may prefer the option of creating their courses with third-party e-learning course creation software such as Articulate Storyline or even Adobe Captivate.
Fundamentally, using a Third-party tool is an option to seriously think about if you (a) currently have a significant number of classes built out in these tools (in which you case you probably do not need to need to re-create them using Thinkific course creation tools), and/or (b) you expect developing a substantial catalog of courses with a relatively long”shelf life” — in which case you may not want your classes locked to a specific delivery stage.
You can use these Kinds 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 route.
First, Thinkific (like all other platforms in its course ) has not implemented SCORM, which stands for the Shareable Content Object Reference Model. There’s a lot to SCORM, but the main thing for edupreneurs to understand is that it provides criteria for how an online course can communicate with a learning platform to send it information like how long a learner has invested in a program, or whether particular areas of the course have been completed successfully. Thinkific tracks this type of data. (More about SCORM here.)
Second, you Can’t Import an Articulate or Captivate course into Thinkific all on your own. These courses comprise of over one file (like, for example, a video file), so to get them into the platform, you have to zip the files up and send them to Thinkific customer support.
The Best Features and How They Benefit You
An excellent Online course construction platform offers you. This includes the promotion, the training course building, the selling, and also also the management.
Systems such as Thinkific do not host courses on your own site. Your articles is really hosted with Thinkific (so you do not need to venture out and find your own hosting,) but it still gives you complete control over what your website looks like.
When compared to Systems like Udemy, Thinkific certainly provides more freedom and control that is branding. Let us explore a few of the other standout attributes.
Outstanding Student Management and Communication Modules
During my Thinkific review, I noticed the smoothness of the pupil communication tools. It is a visual student management area, together with images of your pupils, titles, contact information, and details for how far they’re in your program.
You’ve got the Option create a dialogue with the whole community or to send emails that are customized to every one of those students. Selling Training Programs
Incentives are part of this learning environment since Thinkific offers report cards, conclusion certificates, and throughout classes, the mails for sending out just about anything you want needless to say.
Along with Unlimited replays of speech controls course content, students, and optimisation working with the Thinkific platform should feel.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Section of the Motive Thinkific seems great in contrast to the rivalry is that of its course designer. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to mess with any code.
In fact, all of Your content is coordinated with a simple drag and drop editor, in which you move it around vertically and stack the course content.
Speaking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of media forms. By PDFs to sound files, and polls to quizzes, the stage is great for offering up a vast assortment of learning resources for your students.
As we mentioned All of these files are hosted on the Thinkific servers. You shouldn’t have to worry much about a file being too big or running slowly on your own servers that are shared.
When you personalize Your course site it offers some useful editing tools for the novices out there. As an example, you can correct items like banners, color schemes, and logos, all without touching any code.
The further, however Advanced developers have full control over the HTML and CSS. Consequently, if you want to make your site unique, the alternative is there for you.
Promotions on Autopilot
Some online course Platforms fail from the promotions arena. This is unfortunate since there’s no way unless people know your course exists, to begin making money.
Thinkific does The program was built into by it the right way, with promotional and marketing instruments. A lot of this is automatic. So, if you’d like to drip articles to your students Thinkific has this functionality. Selling Training Programs
Furthermore, you Have the ability and send emails based on a schedule. Pricing can be done through Thinkific, in addition to the choice to become paid immediately when somebody signs up for your program.
In Terms of getting People beyond your site to come try it out, Thinkific includes an online affiliate marketing program to reward bloggers. Coupons can also be provided through Thinkific, giving you a opportunity convince newcomers your class is worth investing in and to create advertisements.
Everything from Coupons to affiliates is tracked in the dashboard, and you can link your Adwords, Facebook, and other social accounts to see where students are coming from.
Managing, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from Allowing you to produce your courses, one of the important reasons for utilizing a online class platform is that it creates monitoring and handling your users and their information much easier.
Communication with Learners
In addition to Assisting you to organize your students, Thinkific also enables a number of ways for them to give comments on the program and for you to communicate with your learners. Selling Training Programs
As noted, By way of instance, you can empower discussion to your classes and then manage your pupils gifts under Service Your Students Discussions, where it is possible to sort discussions by course, respond to pupils, and — if needed –“Disapprove” contributions that you don’t want to appear in the program. (Note: Enabling talks is currently a nothing option in Thinkific — i.e., possibly all courses have no or it courses have it. The workaround for this would be to use the Disqus option 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 evidence on your sales page to your course. Unlike discussions, this feature can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
There are Numerous notifications that can be disabled or enabled in the Thinkific platform, a few of which can be personalized. You can send a message when they enroll for your website to pupils, register in a particular course, or finish a course. You can also send reminder messages. (Note: Reminders are site-wide, not course-specific.)
Managing and Organizing Learners
To start with, When a user signs up in your website, Thinkific captures all of their key contact information (e.g., first name, last name, e-mail) and using custom log-in fields (under Settings > Orders & accounts) you can easily add areas to catch whatever specific information you desire from your own users. (Notice that, unlike platforms such as Udemy, you get complete access to the user information you accumulate.)
You can also Organize users into groups. This feature can have a big impact on your business model by making it feasible for you to market courses in bulk among the best ways for course vendors to induce revenue growth that is major .
Using groups Can easily organize your students by other factors, or business, or cohort, time, enrollment, job-type, which makes it feasible to track the effectiveness of your offerings with every group and also to refine your marketing. (Note: use of the Groups feature requires a Pro program license with the Development Add-on.) Find out more about the Thinkific Groups performance Selling Training Programs
Tracking and Reporting
A Vital motive to Have a specialized class platform — to simply posting articles behind a password on a Web site, instead, by way of example — is it will monitor quiz and survey information as well as things like course progress and completion.
Thinkific’s Progress tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) allows you to select a particular student and monitor numerous variables for every course in which the pupil is enrolled. For each class you may see:
- Percentage of Course of Viewed
- Percentage of Course Completed
- Student Name
- Student Email
- Course Completed at (date)
- Course Launched at (date)
- Course Activated at (date)
- Last sign (date)
I enjoy this you If you’re adding new lessons May opt to reset a student’s completion percentage for example, at any moment.
Overall, the Course coverage is rather simple, but I guess it’ll serve the demands of the majority of course entrepreneurs.
Contrary to the course Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported to a .CSV file (rather than displayed on screen) and e-mailed to you. The .csv document includes the answers from all students who’ve obtained a survey a quiz along with their name and when they took it. For quizzes, in addition, it provides the amount and percentage .
Overall, reporting For courses and quizzes/surveys is among the main regions in which the Thinkific system could be more powerful. In fairness, this has a tendency to be true for much the platforms of the all within this category of platforms. Over time, it might be possible to get quiz/survey data and course conclusion through a single Web interface. Even better, it would be good to have the ability to see a student transcript that displays hours related to a course, any credit earned (not currently captured in any way at Thinkific), and a link to obtain the certificate related to the course. Selling Training Programs
What Thinkific is currently Missing
Anyone who has Been working in the e-learning sector for the last few decades (as I have) will realize that Thinkific provides a remarkable range of features at a really reasonable price. It wasn’t that long ago a system with these capabilities could have cost tens of thousands of dollars.
With that in mind, It is hard to assert that Thinkific is”missing” much. Nonetheless, there are gaps that will rule out it to a few class sellers — and these all tend to be gaps that are characteristic of this category of platforms. The main ones that I see are:
No support for xAPI/TinCan or SCORM
As mentioned previously, While Thinkific may host and deliver classes created in shared authoring tools such as Articulate and Captivate, it does not 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 way to go.
Like I said, these Are areas that aren’t served by programs that are in Thinkific’s course. To acquire a platform which supports all three means a starting price point a few times higher than Thinkific — and it could go a lot from that point . So, be sure that these are openings for you before judgment out Thinkific.
No continuing education credit capacities
While you can Indicate the variety of hours for finishing a course in Thinkific, you can’t specify 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, Selling Training Programs
No multi-tenancy option
Multi-tenancy Means that you manage and can create a number of instances of a stage under one umbrella. This can be useful if you are a training company that has corporate clients and those customers want their own branded instance of this platform for serving and managing their customers. While the Group performance in Thinkific gets you a part of the way there, it is not the exact same thing as multi-tenancy.
Although I have yet To find an internet course platform that has hidden fees, Thinkific advertises it too has no hidden fees or contracts. That’s good to know, however, nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does offer a totally free plan for people who wish to try out the stage but not get bogged down from limitations. In theory, it helps you launch your shop and start building a pupil base without needing to pay a dime. If you give one of those plans a whirl there is also a free trial.
The pricing is Divided into four simple strategies:
Starter — $0 for all core Thinkific features. This plan has a top 10% transaction fee, everything you want to create, promote, and market content hosting courses, class upsells, your classes, basic integrations service, and access to all funds.
Basics — For $49 per month you get all center and newcomer features, together with a 5% transaction fee, coupons and promotions, monthly subscriptions, course packages, intermediate integrations, basic Zapier, trickle articles, affiliate reporting, a bulk student emailer, custom domainname, and extra course prices. Selling Training Programs
Business — For $99 a month you get 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 support, instructor payout coverage, an onboarding call, payment plans, along with a direct Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 a month you get all features from previous programs, no transaction fees, one sign-on (SSO), three site admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding professional, onboarding bundle, public API, advanced integrations, and innovative Zapier.
Thinkific has some Benefits to its pricing layout. Not only are you able to start your course for free (something that is not offered with competitors like Teachable,) however, the additional three plans are broken down into a reasonable manner.
After all, you Most probably don’t need API access until you start getting advanced with your path promoting.
I would not 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 free program. That’s high, but it creates an superb environment for anyone with low volume now or people who don’t have the funds. As soon as you start earning money you can cut that transaction fee down.
You can By paying on an annual basis, Save money. If you pay it all upfront, so, the Essentials plan goes down to $39 per month. The company plan is $79 a month and the Advanced plan is $219. This makes the pricing programs similar to Teachable.
I will finish this Thinkific review where I started: this really is a platform I recommend. Hopefully it’s evident by now that it supplies a full range of the vital features to support your edupreneur in selling classes that are online.
I think it is also Important to replicate as I wrap up that Thinkific is a business with a great deal of momentum. This is certainly not a trivial point: the marketplace for online course platforms like Thinkific is now noisy and crowded. You can be certain that a lot will be gone. I feel convinced that Thinkific will be about, and the organization is clearly growing and always investing to improve its own platform. Selling Training Programs