Background Think Courses
If you are selling Or even considering selling classes, you don’t need to do much hunting to think of a Thinkific review. There are loads of Thinkific reviews on the market. The main difference this one provides is It Is written by someone with: Think Courses
- Over 20 years expertise in the e-learning Business, with a specific focus on businesses that sell schooling (as opposed to, for example, corporate training departments, That Don’t have to convince their students to buy)
- Extensive experience designing, developing, and implementing online course platforms (I had been the founder and CEO of an e-learning platform and path development firm.)
- More than a decade of experience tracking and exploring online course platforms and assisting individuals and organizations pick the Ideal platform for selling courses
I have been Tracking Thinkific and other suppliers that have emerged within the past decades as a new class of course platforms. These are programs that LMSes, or are less costly and much more user-friendly than learning management systems. They are companies that are looking to get into the course enterprise and a blessing for solo edupreneurs. Over time, I believe they have potential to disrupt the traditional learning management system marketplace.
Thus, having said All that, let’s begin.
Building and Presence Your Online Course Web Site
Any courses you Market need to”live” somewhere, and ideally that somewhere provides an attractive, user friendly for your students and prospective students. Since the debut of its Website Builder capabilities Thinkific is up to the job. Think Courses
Using Site Builder — that is only a part of the admin panel to the platform — you have the ability to set up an appealing home page to your course site and create as many custom pages as you desire (e.g., to give details about you and your other solutions ). Despite the fact that you do not have total control — you can not, for instance, install your own style sheets (CSS) — you can get really excellent capabilities for changing branding components like colors and font styles and you can upload pretty much any type of images or media you would want to use.
Site Builder Comes with three topics to choose from, and there are numerous variations for each one of these themes. (The company says more topics are a part of their future development program.) There are also a selection of pre-fab”segments” that 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 for action, count down timer, and pricing options — basically, all the essential tools you need for conducting a successful course or membership website. There is also a blank slate”Text & media” section that may be utilised to create pretty much anything you desire.
As is the case With just about any content management system, it took me a while to figure out how to do some basic things like delete sections (the topics provide a home page pre-populated with segments ) and include custom pages to the site menu. However support was readily available for these. Thinkific includes a solid support site on which you can look for help, 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 using this method, whether on the Thinkific site or from a different user.
Some additional Features to notice:
- Custom URL (under Settings > Site) — By default, you are assigned a thinkific.com address — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. Having a paid program (starting at $49 per month for Fundamental ) you can find a custom URL
- SSL (Under Settings > Site) — 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 > Website )– By leaping up to a Guru Plan ($99 a month) using the Development Add-on ($.10 per active student/per month) you can easily get rid of the”Powered by Thinkific” language on your website and courses.
- Text Changes (below Settings > Learning Content and several different areas) — It is possible to change a lot of the default language which is used in navigation and other areas. For instance, Thinkific utilizes”Chapters” because the tag for parts of a course. You may prefer to change this to”Lessons” Think Courses
Thus, you might be asking,”Can I use Thinkific for my primary Web site?”
For edupreneurs Who are only starting off and don’t already have a Web presence the answer is an emphatic”yes.” Utilizing 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 set up”) and focus on creating and launching your classes. You can worry about a more sophisticated Web site later.
If you already Have a Web site, however — especially on a fuller-featured content management system such as WordPress — I wouldn’t recommend relying on Thinkific (or any other course platform) for your primary Web website. Website Builder is great for what it does — and can create a great course website to complement your primary site — but ultimately it’s relatively limited. A few of the key current limitations include:
- All motifs are column. So, for example, you can’t put e-mail sign-up types, promotions for course, or other items down the left or right side of your website.
- As noted, you can not use your own CSS (cascading style sheets), mostly a limitation in the event that you really wish to reflect the branding of an existing Web site.
- There’s absolutely no control on search engine optimization configurations on Web pages — e.g., you can not specify the name tags or meta descriptions. You can, however, do so on track landing pages, which is arguably more important for the average edupreneur.
- Thinkific lacks the abundance of plug-ins and the broad network of experienced contractors who are available to encourage platforms such as 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 class platforms supply.
Creating Online Courses with Thinkific
While you Definitely need an attractive, user-friendly site to house your classes, the classes themselves are the primary attraction. As you might expect, this is a place where Thinkific really shines.
To Begin with, the Platform provides a range of pre-configured templates which may be very beneficial to track builders searching for assistance with how to organize their content. The templates cover the range of standard scenarios you would be prone to consider for offering an educational product. These are:
- Blank — Start fresh and build your course to meet your particular program needs.
- Mini-course — Utilize a low-cost or free mini-course to create prospects for a complete flagship program or service.
- Flagship Course — Construct a complete online class using a strong curriculum outline made with best practices in mind.
- Pre-sell — Create a pre-sell landing page and get started constructing a waitlist to gauge interest on your course.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable files in an internet course to generate 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 review your presentation and offer.
All these can Be modified extensively — you can alter the content from the sections that are provided, delete segments, or insert new sections to reach the approach that’s right for your content. All throughout the process, Thinkific provides”smart mentor course building hints” to assist you. (I found these helpful, but they may be easily turned off, if you prefer.) Think Courses
If you have zero Experience working with Internet content, there’ll inevitably be a small learning curve, but my view is that Thinkific has done a fantastic job making that curve as manageable as possible. Invest in making your it up, and you will reap the rewards.
And You’re Comfortable using other Web content systems — like, for another course platform, WordPress or instance — I believe that you will find operating in Thinkific to be a breeze.
Overall, the logic A class in Thinkific makes complete sense in my perspective. After choosing”New Course,” picking your path type, naming it (which you can change at any stage ), and saving it, you add”Chapters” (or modify ones already in the template) to create the structure of this program. As noted above, if you do not like the term”Chapters,” you can change it to anything you would like.
You fill the Chapters with content in a way. There are 11 options:
- Video lessons — Upload a file. (This has saved in a video library for re-use in other 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 the students. (More information on quizzes under )
- Multimedia lessons — This is a way to link out to articles not hosted on Thinkific and also make it an integrated part of your course. Some of the possibilities include:
- Webinar tools (supply the URL to a 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 Pro or Enterprise license. More about that below)
- Text classes — Combine text, images, videos, etc. into a single lesson. This is basically the equivalent to”Text and Media” Site Builder alternative mentioned above.
- Survey lessons — Gather by building a short survey in Thinkific.
- PDF classes.
- Disqus classes Disqus discussion boards to your course. (Note: there’s also a discussion alternative built into Thinkific which you may turn on or off beneath Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio lessons — Upload a sound file.
- Downloads — Contain resources.
- Demo classes — synchronize a presentation as record audio and a PDF file for each slide.
- Classes — Contain a Brillium exam on your course. (A Brillium permit is separate from Thinkific and begins at $49 a month. More about that below.)
The above options Will find the job completed for all but the most sophisticated edupreneurs. The primary areas they fall short is in
- Providing for branching scenarios — i.e., allowing learners to go down different paths depending on their performances in the course or information you collect about them — and
- Like studying games inserting interactive components.
If those are Options you truly want, you’d be better off using a full-blown course authoring tool such as iSpring or even Articulate Storyline (see more about these types of tools here). Think Courses
The use of Articulate and Captivate in Thinkific
Many course Creators will be content with using the resources in Thinkific to create courses, but some might prefer the option of producing 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) already have a significant number of classes built out in these applications (in which you probably don’t want to have to re-create them using Thinkific course production tools), or (b) you expect developing a substantial catalog of lessons with a comparatively long”shelf life” — in which case you may not want to have your courses locked to a specific shipping platform.
You can use these Kinds of tools with Thinkific — Articulate Storyline and Captivate are supported — but there are a few limitations you should be aware of if you go this path.
First, Thinkific (like all other platforms in its own course ) hasn’t implemented SCORM, which stands to the Shareable Content Object Reference Model. There is a lot to SCORM, but the main thing for edupreneurs to know is that it provides standards for how an online course can communicate with a learning platform to deliver it information like how much time a student has invested in a course, or if particular parts of the class have been completed successfully. Thinkific tracks this kind of information with its own methods. (More about SCORM here.)
You cannot Import an Articulate or Captivate route into Thinkific on your own. These classes are made up of more than one file (like, as an example, a video file), and to get them inside the platform, you need to zip up the files and send them into Thinkific customer support.
The Features and How They Benefit You
An excellent Course building platform typically offers the features you want from start to finish to you. Including the marketing, the course construction, the promotion, and the teacher/student management.
Systems like Thinkific don’t host courses on your own website. Your articles is actually hosted with Thinkific (so that you do not need to go outside and find your personal hosting,) but it still gives you total control on what your website looks like.
When compared to Systems such as Udemy, Thinkific certainly provides management that is branding and more liberty. Let us explore a few of the other standout features.
Excellent Student Management and Communication Modules
Within my Thinkific review, I noticed that the smoothness of the student communication tools. It’s a visual student management area, with images of your students, titles, contact information, and information for how far they are in your course.
You have the Choice to send customized emails or create a dialogue with the whole community. Think Courses
Incentives are Also part of the learning environment because Thinkific offers completion certificates, report cards, and needless to say, the emails for sending out just about whatever you want throughout classes.
In addition to Infinite replays of language controllers, course content, and mobile optimisation working together with the Thinkific platform ought to feel right at home.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Section of this Motive Thinkific looks so great compared to this competition is that of its course designer. In case you don’t want to, you don’t have to mess with any code.
In fact, all of Your content is organized with an easy drag and drop editor, in which you move it around and pile the course content.
Speaking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of virtually all media forms. By PDFs to audio files, and polls to quizzes, the platform is fantastic for offering up a wide assortment of learning tools for the students.
As we mentioned All these files are hosted on the Thinkific servers. Therefore, you shouldn’t have to worry much about a file running slowly on your own servers or being too large.
When you customize Your course website it features some editing tools to the novices out there. You can correct items such as colour schemes banners, and logos, all without touching any code.
However, the more Advanced developers have full control over the HTML and CSS. Consequently, if you want to make your website unique, the option 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 that your course exists to start earning money.
Thinkific does The program was built into by it the way, with promotional and marketing instruments. Much of this is automatic also. Consequently, if you’d like to trickle content to your students–where particular courses would be published over time–Thinkific has this functionality. Think Courses
Furthermore, you Have the ability to target the ideal people and send out automated emails based on a schedule. Pricing can be also done through Thinkific, in addition to the choice to become paid immediately when someone signs up on your program.
As for getting People beyond your website to come try it out, Thinkific includes an affiliate marketing program to reward other men and women who advocate your program and bloggers. Coupons are supplied through Thinkific, giving you a opportunity to create advertisements with specials and convince novices your class is worth investing in.
Everything from Vouchers to affiliates is tracked in the dashboard, and you can link your Adwords, Facebook, and other social accounts where students are coming out of to see.
Handling, 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 tracking and managing your customers and their data much easier.
Communicating with Learners
Along with Helping you organize your students, Thinkific also enables a number of ways also for them to provide comments on the program and for you to communicate with your learners. Think Courses
As noted, For instance, you can empower discussion for your classes and manage your pupils gifts under Support Your Students > Discussions, where you can sort talks by course, react to students, and — if needed –“Disapprove” gifts that you don’t wish to show up in the course. (Note: Enabling discussions is now an all or nothing option in Thinkific — i.e., either all courses 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 Enable your student. You then have the ability to approve these reviews (they are not printed automatically) and use them as social proof on your sales page to the program. Unlike discussions, this attribute can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
Finally, there are A number of notifications which can be enabled or disabled in the Thinkific platform, a few of which can be personalized. You can send a message when your site is registered for by them to students, register in a course, or finish a program. It is also possible to send reminder messages. (Note: Reminders are site-wide, maybe not course-specific.)
Managing and Organizing Learners
To Begin with, When an individual signs up in your site, Thinkific captures all their key contact information (e.g., first name, last name, email ) and using custom sign-up fields (under Preferences > 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 receive full access to the user data you accumulate.)
You can also Organize users into groups. This feature can have a big effect on your business model by making it possible for you to sell courses in bulk among the best ways for course sellers to drive revenue growth that is significant .
You, groups Can also easily organize your students by organization, or cohort, time, enrollment, job-type, or other variables, making it feasible to monitor the efficacy of your offerings with every group and also to refine your marketing going forward. (Note: Use of the Groups feature requires a Guru plan license with the Development Add-on.) Find out more about the Thinkific Groups functionality Think Courses
Tracking and Reporting
A reason to Have a specialized online course platform — to just posting articles behind a password on a Web site as opposed, by way of instance — is that it is going to track quiz and survey data in addition to things like course progress and completion.
Thinkific’s Advancement tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) enables you to select a particular student and track numerous factors for each class in which the pupil is registered. For each class you will 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 in (date)
I enjoy that you May choose to reset a student’s completion percentage at any time if you’re adding new lessons to an already completed class.
Overall, the Course reporting is rather simple, but I guess it’ll serve the needs of the huge majority of course entrepreneurs.
Contrary to the course Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported to a .CSV file (rather than displayed on display ) and e-mailed to you. The .csv document contains the answers from all students who’ve obtained a survey a quiz together with their name and when they shot it. For quizzes, it also provides the number and percentage of questions the student got right.
Overall, reporting For both quizzes/surveys and courses is among the chief areas in which the Thinkific system might be stronger. In fairness, this tends to be true for much of most of the platforms within this class of platforms. Over time, it might be possible to get quiz/survey data and course conclusion through a single Web interface. Even better, it might be good to have the ability to view a student transcript that displays hours related to a program, any credit earned (not now captured at all in Thinkific), and a link to obtain the certificate related to the program. Think Courses
What Thinkific is currently Missing
Anyone who has Been operating in the e-learning sector for the past few years (as I have) will understand that Thinkific provides a remarkable selection of features at a very reasonable price. It was not that long ago that a system with those capabilities could have easily cost tens of thousands of dollars per year.
With that in mind, It’s really hard to argue that Thinkific is”missing” much. There are openings which can rule out it to some course vendors — and these all tend to be gaps which are characteristic of the class 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 common authoring tools like Articulate and Captivate, it does not really make use of the SCORM (or even xAPI/TInCan) packaging capacities of these applications. If you have a strong and legitimate reason for using one of the major criteria, then Thinkific would not be the way to go.
Like I said, these Are areas that, for the most part, aren’t served by additional programs that are in Thinkific’s course. To get a platform that supports all three means a price point three to four times greater than Thinkific — and it could go far from there up. Thus, be sure these are gaps for you before ruling out Thinkific.
No continuing education credit capabilities
While you can Indicate the variety of hours for finishing a class in Thinkific, you cannot define the total amount of education accessible for a course. While There Might Be work-arounds, for most course providers that focus on providing continuing education credit, this will be a Substantial barrier to using Thinkific, Think Courses
No multi-tenancy alternative
Multi-tenancy Means that you handle and can create multiple instances of a stage. This can be really handy if you’re a training company with many clients and those customers want their very own instance of the platform for handling and serving their own users. While the Group performance in Thinkific makes you a part of the way there, it isn’t the exact same thing as multi-tenancy.
Although I have yet To find an online course platform that has many hidden charges, Thinkific advertises that it also has no hidden charges or contracts. That is good to know, but nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does provide a plan for those who wish to try the platform out but not get bogged down from constraints. In theory, it helps you begin building a pupil base without needing to pay a dime and start your store. If you give a whirl to one of the plans there is also a free trial.
The pricing is Divided into four simple strategies:
Starter — $0 for many core Thinkific features. This strategy has a 10% transaction fee, all you need to make, promote, and market your courses, courses that are unlimited, course upsells, content hosting, basic integrations service, and immediate access to all capital.
Basics — For $49 a month you receive all center and newcomer features, along with a 5 percent transaction fee, promotions and coupons, monthly subscriptions, class packages, intermediate integrations, fundamental Zapier, drip content, affiliate coverage, a bulk student emailer, custom domain, along with extra course rates. Think Courses
Business — For $99 per month you receive the features from all prior plans, no transaction fees, completion certificates, private and concealed courses, website white tagging, a host storyline, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, innovative HTML/CSS editing, priority support, instructor payout reporting, an onboarding call, payment plans, along with a direct Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 a month you receive all attributes from prior plans, no transaction fees, one sign-on (SSO), three website admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding professional, onboarding bundle, people API, advanced integrations, and advanced Zapier.
Thinkific has some Great benefits to its pricing design. Not only can you begin your course at no cost (something that is not offered with competitions such as Teachable,) however, the extra three plans are broken down in a reasonable fashion.
After all, you Most probably don’t need API accessibility until you start becoming advanced with your course selling.
I wouldn’t mind Seeing the completion certificates and also the HTML editing in the Essentials plan, however $99 per month still is not that bad.
As you can see, The trade fees are 10% to the free plan. That is high, but it creates an environment for anyone with low volume or individuals who don’t have the upfront funds to start a professional online store. Once you get started making money you can cut that transaction fee down.
You can By paying on an annual basis, save money. If you cover it all upfront, so, the Essentials plan goes down to $39 per month. The company plan is $79 per month and the Advanced plan is 219. That makes the pricing plans rather similar to Teachable.
I will finish this Thinkific review at which I started: this is. Hopefully it is evident by now that it supplies a complete range of the features to encourage your average edupreneur in selling classes that are online.
I Believe it is also Important to replicate as I wrap up that Thinkific is a company with a great deal of momentum. This is not a trivial point: the market for online class platforms such as Thinkific is currently crowded and noisy. You can be certain that a lot is going to undoubtedly be gone tomorrow. I feel confident Thinkific will be about, and the company is clearly growing and always investing to boost its own platform. Think Courses