Introduction Thinkific Ceo Greg Smith
If You’re currently selling 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 on the market. The main difference this one offers is that it is written by someone with: Thinkific Ceo Greg Smith
- Over 20 years experience in the e-learning industry, with a Particular focus on businesses that sell education (as opposed to, for 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 path development company.)
- More than a decade of experience monitoring and exploring online course platforms and assisting individuals and organizations pick the Ideal platform for selling classes
I have been closely Monitoring Thinkific and other providers that have emerged as a new class of online course platforms. These are programs that are less expensive and much more user friendly or LMSes. They’re companies that want to enter the course business and a true blessing for solo edupreneurs. Over time, I believe they also have potential to disrupt the learning management system market that is traditional.
So, having said All that, let’s begin.
Building and Branding Your Online Course Web Site
Any courses you Sell have to”live” somewhere, and that somewhere supplies an appealing, user friendly for the students and prospective students. Since the introduction of its Site Builder capacities this season, Thinkific is up to the project. Thinkific Ceo Greg Smith
Using Site Builder — that is simply part of the admin board to the platform — you now have the ability to set up 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 services). While you do not have total control — you can’t, for example, set up your own style sheets (CSS) — you do get really good capabilities for changing branding elements like colors and font styles and you may upload pretty much any kind of images or media you would want to utilize.
Website Builder Currently comes with three topics and there are variants for each of those topics. (The company says more topics are part of the upcoming growth plan.) Additionally, there are a selection of pre-fab”segments” you can insert and change on any webpage to provide for matters like social evidence (e.g. customer quotations or”as seen on” logos), calls to action, count down timer, and pricing choices — essentially, all of the critical tools you require for running a successful path or membership website. There is also a blank slate”media & Text” 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 sections (the themes offer a house page pre-populated with sections) and add custom pages to the website menu. But support has been readily available for them. Thinkific includes a solid support website on which you can search for aid, but I often just use a Google search together 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 site or from a different user.
Some additional Features to notice:
- Custom URL (under Settings > Website ) — By default, you’re assigned a thinkific.com speech — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. With a paid program (starting at $49 per month for Basic) you can get a customized URL
- SSL (Under Settings > Website ) — With any strategy you have the option to turn on SSL (secure socket layer), a best practice for virtually any Web site nowadays. (Google smiles on this)
- White tagging (below Settings > Website )– By leaping up to a Guru Plan ($99 a month) with the Growth Add-on ($.10 per active student/per month) you can easily remove the”Powered by Thinkific” language on your site and courses.
- Text Dimensions (below Settings > Learning Content and various other areas) — You can change a lot of the default language that is used in navigation and other areas. For example, Thinkific uses”Chapters” because the label for parts of a course. You might like to change this to”Lessons” Thinkific Ceo Greg Smith
Thus, you may be asking,”Can I use Thinkific for my primary Web site?”
For edupreneurs That are only starting off and do not already have a Web presence the answer is an emphatic”yes.” Utilizing Thinkific is a good way to have a big item off of your”to do” list (i.e.,”figure out how to find a decent Web site setup”) and focus on creating and launch your courses. It is possible to worry about a more sophisticated Web site after.
If you already Have an Internet site, however — especially on a fuller-featured content management system like WordPress — I would not suggest relying on Thinkific (or some other course platform) to your main Web website. Site Builder is fantastic for what it does — and can create a great course site to complement your primary Web site — but finally it’s relatively restricted. A few of the key present constraints include:
- All themes are single column. Therefore, as an instance, you can not put e-mail sign-up types, promotions for course, or other items down the left or right side of your website.
- As mentioned, you can’t use your own CSS (cascading style sheets), mostly a limitation in the event that you truly want to reflect the branding of an present Web website.
- There is absolutely no control on search engine optimization settings on Internet pages — e.g., you can not define the name tags or meta tag descriptions. You , however, do this on course landing pages, which is arguably more significant for the average edupreneur.
- Thinkific lacks the abundance of plug-ins along with the broad network of seasoned contractors that are available to support platforms like WordPress.
Regardless of those Limitations, Website Builder is likely to do the job well for most edupreneurs and is quite a little better than what many online course platforms provide.
Creating Online Courses with Thinkific
While you Definitely need to have an attractive, user-friendly site to house your classes, the classes themselves are the main attraction. As you might expect, this is an area where Thinkific really shines.
To Begin with, the Platform provides a range of pre-configured templates that can be quite useful to track builders searching for assistance with how to organize their content. The templates cover the range of standard scenarios you would be likely to consider for offering an educational product. All these are:
- Blank — Start fresh and construct your own course to match your particular curriculum requirements.
- Mini-course — Use a free or low-cost mini-course to create leads for a complete flagship course or assistance.
- Flagship Course — Construct a complete online class employing a strong curriculum outline made 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 course.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable files in an online course to generate earnings 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 review your presentation and offer.
All of these can Be modified broadly — you can alter the content in the sections that are supplied, delete segments, or insert new segments to arrive at the strategy that is right for your content. All throughout the procedure, Thinkific provides”smart mentor course construction tips” to help you. (I found these helpful, but they can be easily switched off, should you would like.) Thinkific Ceo Greg Smith
In Case You Have zero Experience working with Web content, there will inevitably be a small learning curve, but my view 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 benefits.
And You’re Already comfortable with other Internet content programs — like, for a different course platform, WordPress or instance — I believe that you will find working in Thinkific for a breeze.
Overall, the logic A class in Thinkific makes sense from my perspective. After choosing”New Course,” picking your path type, naming it (which you can change at any point), and saving it, you include”Chapters” (or change ones in the template) to create the structure of the program. As noted above, if you do not like the expression”Chapters,” you can change it to anything you would like.
You fill the Chapters with content in a way similar to the way I described using Site Builder above. There are 11 choices:
- Video classes — Upload a file. (This has stored in a movie library for re-use in other courses. Videos stored in this library are protected from access by anyone who is not a registered user of your site.)
- Quiz lessons — Create a quiz for the students. (More info on quizzes under )
- Multimedia classes — This is a way to link out to content not hosted on Thinkific and also make it an integrated part of your course. Some of the possibilities include:
- Webinar tools (provide the URL 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 Pro or Enterprise license. More about that below)
- Text classes — Combine text, pictures, videos, etc. into one lesson. This is basically the equivalent to”Text and Media” Site Builder option mentioned previously.
- Survey lessons — Collect by building a poll in Thinkific.
- PDF lessons — Upload a PDF file to be looked at within the program player.
- Disqus classes Disqus discussion boards to your program. (Note: there’s also a discussion option built into Thinkific which you may turn off or on beneath Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio lessons — Upload a sound file.
- Downloads resources available for downloading from inside the course player.
- Presentation lessons — Upload a presentation as a PDF document and record sound for each slide.
- Lessons — Contain a Brillium examination on your program. (A Brillium license is distinct from Thinkific and begins at $49 a month. More on this below.)
The aforementioned options Will find the work completed for all but the edupreneurs. The primary areas they fall short is in
- Supplying for branching scenarios — i.e., allowing learners to move down different paths depending on their performances in the course or data you gather about them and
- Like studying games inserting interactive components.
If those are Choices you genuinely need, you’d be better off using a full-blown course authoring tool like iSpring or even Articulate Storyline (see more about these kinds of tools here). Thinkific Ceo Greg Smith
The use of Articulate and Captivate at Thinkific
Many course Founders will be content with using the resources in Thinkific to make classes, but some may prefer the option of creating their courses with third-party e-learning class creation software like Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate.
Basically, using a Third-party tool is an alternative to seriously think about if you (a) already have a substantial number of classes built out in these tools (in which you probably do not need to have to re-create them using Thinkific course production tools), or (b) you anticipate developing a significant catalog of courses with a comparatively long”shelf life” — in which case you may not wish to have your classes locked into a particular shipping 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 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 is a whole lot to SCORM, but the principal thing for edupreneurs to understand is that it provides criteria for how an internet course can communicate using a learning platform to deliver it data like how long a student has invested in a course, or if particular areas of the course have been completed successfully. Thinkific tracks this type of information using its own methods. (More about SCORM here.)
You cannot Import an Captivate or Articulate route into Thinkific on your own. These classes comprise of over a single file (such as, as an instance, a video file), so to get them into the platform, you need to zip the files up and send them to Thinkific customer service.
The Features and How They Benefit You
An excellent Online course building platform typically offers you. This includes the marketing, the course construction, the promotion, and also the management.
Systems such as Thinkific don’t host classes . Your articles is actually hosted with Thinkific (so that you do not need to venture outside and find your own hosting,) but it gives you total control over what your site looks like.
When compared to Systems such as Udemy, Thinkific certainly provides control 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 is a visual pupil management area, together with pictures of your students, names, contact information, and details for how far they are on your course.
You’ve got the Choice create a conversation with the entire community or to send emails that are customized to every one of those pupils. Thinkific Ceo Greg Smith
Incentives are A part of this learning environment because Thinkific offers conclusion certificates, report cards, and of course, the mails for sending out just about anything you want throughout classes.
Along with Unlimited replays of speech controls, course material, students, and cellular optimization working with the Thinkific platform ought to feel right at home.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Section of the Motive Thinkific seems so great in contrast to the competition is that of its class designer. You don’t need to mess with any code if you don’t need to.
In Reality Your content is organized with an easy drag and drop editor, where you stack the class content and move it around vertically.
Speaking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of almost all media forms. From PDFs to audio files, and polls to quizzes, the platform is fantastic for offering up a vast assortment of learning resources for your students.
As we mentioned Before, every one of these documents are hosted on the Thinkific servers. You shouldn’t have to worry much about a file running slowly in your shared servers or being too large.
When you personalize Your course website it offers some editing tools to the novices out there. You can correct items such as colour schemes, banners, and logos, without touching any code.
The further, however Advanced programmers have full control over the HTML and CSS. Consequently, if you would like to make your site unique, the option is there for you.
Promotions on Autopilot
Some online course Platforms fail from the promotions arena. Since there’s no way to begin making money unless people know your path 19, this is unfortunate.
Thinkific does It the way, with promotional and marketing tools built into the program. A lot of this is automatic also. So, if you’d like to trickle content to your students Thinkific has this functionality. Thinkific Ceo Greg Smith
Furthermore, you Have the ability and send emails that are automatic based on a program. Pricing is also done through Thinkific, in addition to the choice to get paid immediately when somebody signs up for your course.
In Terms of becoming People beyond your site to come try it out, Thinkific includes an online affiliate marketing program to reward bloggers and men and women who recommend your course. Coupons are also supplied through Thinkific, giving a opportunity to create ads with specials and convince newcomers that your class is worth investing in to you.
Everything from Coupons to affiliates is monitored right in the dashboard, and you can link Facebook, your Adwords, and other social reports to see where students are coming from.
Managing, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from One of the reasons for utilizing a specialized class platform is that it creates managing and tracking your customers and their information a lot simpler.
Communicating with Learners
In addition to Helping you organize your learners, Thinkific also enables a number of ways for them to give comments and for you to communicate with your students. Thinkific Ceo Greg Smith
As noted, For instance, you can enable discussion for your classes and manage your students contributions under Support Your Students Discussions, where it is possible to sort discussions by course, respond to pupils, and — if desired –“Disapprove” gifts that you don’t want to show up in the program. (Note: Enabling talks is currently an all or nothing option in Thinkific — i.e., either all classes have it or no classes have it. The workaround for this would be to utilize the Disqus alternative on a course-by-course foundation )
You can also Enable your student. You then have the capability to approve these reviews (they are not printed automatically) and utilize them as social proof on your earnings page for the course. Unlike talks, this feature can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
There are A number of notifications that could be enabled or disabled at the Thinkific platform, a few of which can be customized. You can send a customized message when your website is registered for by them to students, register in a particular course, or complete a program. It is also possible to send out weekly reminder messages. (Note: Reminders are site-wide, maybe not course-specific.)
Managing and Organizing Learners
To Begin with, When a user signs up at your site, Thinkific captures all of their key contact information (e.g., first name, last name, e-mail) and utilizing custom sign-up fields (under Preferences > Programs & accounts) you can easily add fields to catch whatever special information you desire from your own users. (Notice that, unlike programs like Udemy, you get full access to the user data you accumulate.)
You can also Organize users into classes. This feature may have a big effect on your business model by making it possible for you to sell courses in bulk to associations — one of the greatest ways for internet course vendors to drive revenue growth that is significant , in my experience.
Using groups, you Can also easily arrange your students by cohort, time, registration, job-type, or business, or other variables, making it possible to track the effectiveness of your own offerings and to refine your marketing. (Note: use of the Groups attribute requires a Guru program license with the Growth Add-on.) Find out more about the Thinkific Groups performance Thinkific Ceo Greg Smith
Tracking and Reporting
A key reason to Have a online course platform — to posting content behind a password on a Web site, instead, for example — is it will track things like course progress and conclusion in addition to quiz and survey information.
Thinkific’s Advancement tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) enables you to pick a specific student and track numerous variables for every class in which the pupil is registered. For every class you may 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 this you If you are adding new lessons to an already completed course can also opt to reset a student’s completion percentage for instance,, at any moment.
Overall, the Course coverage is fairly simple, but I suspect it’ll serve the needs of the majority of course entrepreneurs.
Contrary to the course Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported to a .CSV document (rather than displayed on screen) and e-mailed to you. The .csv document includes the answers from all students who’ve obtained a questionnaire a quiz email address, together with their title, and if it was taken by them. For quizzes, it also provides percentage and the amount 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 tends to be true for pretty much the platforms of the all . Ideally, over time, it would be possible to access quiz/survey data and course completion through a single Web interface. Even better, it might be great to have the ability to see a student transcript that displays hours associated with a program, any credit earned (not now captured in any way at Thinkific), along with a URL to obtain the certificate related to the course. Thinkific Ceo Greg Smith
What Thinkific is currently Missing
Anyone who has Been working in the e-learning sector for the last few decades (as I have) will understand that Thinkific provides a remarkable range of features at a really affordable price. It was not long ago a system with those capabilities could have easily cost thousands of dollars a year.
With that in mind, It is hard to assert that Thinkific is”missing” much. There are openings which will rule it out for some course vendors — and all of these tend to be gaps which are characteristic of this class of platforms. The main ones I find are:
No support for xAPI/TinCan or SCORM
As mentioned previously, While Thinkific can host and deliver courses created in shared authoring tools such as Articulate and Captivate, it does not really make use of the SCORM (or even xAPI/TInCan) packaging capabilities of these applications. If you’ve got a robust and legitimate reason for using one of the significant e-learning criteria, then Thinkific might not be the way to go.
As I said, these Are areas which aren’t served well by other programs which are in Thinkific’s course. To acquire a platform that supports all three means a beginning price point than Thinkific — and it can go up a lot from there. Be sure these are gaps for you before judgment out Thinkific.
No continuing education credit capacities
While you can Indicate the number of hours for finishing a course in Thinkific, you can’t specify the total amount of education available for a course. While there may be work-arounds, for many course providers that focus on providing continuing education credit, this will be a significant barrier to using Thinkific, Thinkific Ceo Greg Smith
No multi-tenancy alternative
Multi-tenancy Means that you manage and can create a number of instances of a platform under a single umbrella. This can be useful if, as an instance, you’re a training company with many corporate clients and those clients want their own example of this platform for serving and managing their own users. While the Group functionality 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 discover an internet course platform which has many hidden fees, Thinkific advertises that it too has no hidden fees or contracts. That’s good to know, however, nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does provide a plan that is totally free for those who wish to test the stage but not get bogged down by limitations. In theory, it helps you launch your store and begin building a student base. If you would rather give a whirl to one of the more advanced plans there is also a free trial.
The pricing is Broken up into four simple plans:
Starter — $0 for all core Thinkific capabilities. This plan has a top transaction fee, everything you need to create, promote, and sell content hosting courses, course upsells, your classes, basic integrations service, and access to all funds.
Essentials — For $49 a month you receive all core and starter features, together with a 5% transaction fee, promotions and coupons, monthly subscriptions, class bundles, intermediate integrations, fundamental Zapier, drip content, affiliate reporting, a majority student emailer, custom domain, and extra course prices. Thinkific Ceo Greg Smith
Business — For $99 a month you get the attributes from all previous plans, no transaction fees, completion certificates, personal and hidden classes, website white tagging, a host narrative, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, advanced HTML/CSS editing, priority service, teacher payout reporting, an onboarding call, payment plans, along with a direct Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 per month you get all attributes from prior programs, no transaction fees, one sign-on (SSO), three site admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding specialist, onboarding bundle, public API, advanced integrations, and innovative Zapier.
Thinkific has some Advantages to its pricing layout. Not only can you start your course at no cost (something that’s not offered with competitions such as Teachable,) however, the additional 3 programs are broken down into a reasonable manner.
After all Most probably do not need API access until you start becoming advanced with your path selling.
I would not mind Seeing the completion certificates as well as also the HTML editing in the Essentials plan, but $99 per month still is bad.
As you can see, The trade prices are 10% for the program that is free. That is high, but it creates an environment for those with low volume right now or people who do not have the upfront capital to launch a professional online shop. Once you get started making money that transaction fee can be reduce by you.
You can By paying an annual basis, Save money. If you cover it all upfront, so, the Essentials plan goes to $39 per month. The Business plan is $79 a month and the Advanced plan is 219. That makes the pricing plans similar to Teachable.
I’ll end this Thinkific review at which I started: this really is. Hopefully it’s evident by now that it supplies a range of the features that are essential to encourage your average edupreneur in selling courses.
I Believe it is Important to repeat as I wrap up that Thinkific is a company with a lot of momentum. This is not a trivial point: the marketplace for online course platforms like Thinkific is crowded and noisy. You can be sure that a lot of the programs that are here now is going to be gone. I’m confident Thinkific will be around, and the organization is clearly growing and always investing to boost its own platform. Thinkific Ceo Greg Smith