Background Thinkific Forum
If You’re selling Or even thinking about 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 that this one provides is that it is written by someone with: Thinkific Forum
- Over 20 years expertise in the e-learning Business, with a Particular focus on companies 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 was the founder and CEO of an e-learning platform and path development company.)
- Over a decade of experience monitoring and exploring online class platforms and helping organizations and individuals pick the right platform for selling courses
I’ve been closely Monitoring Thinkific and other providers which have emerged as a new class of course platforms. These are programs that are more user friendly and less expensive than conventional learning management methods, or LMSes. They are companies that want to get into the online course business and a real blessing for solo edupreneurs. As time passes, I think they also have real potential to interrupt the learning management system marketplace.
Thus, having said All that, let’s begin.
Construction and Branding Your Online Course Web Site
Any courses you Market need to”live” somewhere, and ideally that someplace provides an appealing, user friendly to your students and prospective students. Since the debut of its Website Builder capabilities earlier this year, Thinkific is up to the job. Thinkific Forum
Using Site Builder — which is only part of the admin board for the platform — you now have the ability to set up an appealing home page for your course site and make as many custom pages as you need (e.g., to provide details about you and your other services). Despite the fact that you do not have total control — you can’t, as an example, install your own style sheets (CSS) — you do get really excellent capabilities for modifying branding elements like font and colors styles and you can upload pretty much any kind of pictures or media you’d like to use.
Site Builder Currently comes with three themes to select from, and there are numerous variations for each one of these themes. (The company says more topics are part of the upcoming development program.) There are also a selection of pre-fab”sections” you can add and change on any webpage to provide for matters like social evidence (e.g. customer quotes or”as seen on” logos), calls for action, count down timer, and pricing choices — essentially, all the critical tools you require for conducting a successful path or membership site. There is also a blank slate”media & Text” section which may be utilised to make pretty much whatever you desire.
As is the case With more or less any content management system, it took a while to work out the way to do some basic things like delete segments (the topics provide a house page pre-populated with sections) and add custom pages to the website menu. However service was readily available for these. Thinkific includes a good support website on which you can search for aid, but I tend to just use a Google search along with the word”Thinkific” to discover whatever I need (e.g.,”create custom website pages Thinkific”). I have yet to not find good support using this method, whether to the Thinkific website or from another user.
Some added Features to notice:
- Custom URL (under Settings > Website ) — By default, you’re assigned a thinkific.com address — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. Having a paid plan (starting at $49 a month for Basic) you can get a custom 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 nowadays. (Google smiles on this)
- White labeling (below Settings > Website )– By leaping up into a Pro Plan ($99 per month) with the Development Add-on ($.10 per active student/per month) you can quickly get rid of the”Powered by Thinkific” language on your website and courses.
- Text Dimensions (below Settings > Learning Content and several different areas) — It is possible to change a lot of the default language that is used in navigation and other areas. For example, Thinkific uses”Chapters” as the tag for parts of a course. You might prefer to change this to”Lessons” Thinkific Forum
Thus, you might be asking,”Can I use Thinkific for the main Web site?”
For edupreneurs Who are only starting off and don’t already have a Web presence the answer is an emphatic”yes.” Using Thinkific is a good way to take a big item from your”to do” list (i.e.,”figure out ways to get an adequate Web site setup”) and focus on creating and launching your courses. You can worry about a more sophisticated Web site after.
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 any other course platform) for your primary Web site. Site Builder is fantastic for what it does — and can create a fantastic course site to match your main Web site — but ultimately it is relatively restricted. A few of the key current constraints include:
- All motifs are pillar. So, for example, you can not put e-mail sign-up forms, promotions for course, or other things down the left or right side of your site.
- 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 configurations on Internet pages — e.g., you can not specify the name tags or meta descriptions. You , 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 seasoned contractors who are available to support platforms such as WordPress.
In spite of those Limitations, Site Builder is likely to perform the work well for most edupreneurs and is quite a little better than what many online course platforms supply.
Creating Online Courses with Thinkific
While you Definitely want to have an attractive, user-friendly site to house your courses, the classes themselves are the main attraction. As you might expect, this is a place where Thinkific really shines.
To start with, the Platform provides a variety of pre-configured templates which can be very beneficial to track builders looking for assistance with how to organize their content. The templates cover the assortment of standard scenarios you’d be prone to consider for supplying an educational product. All these are:
- Blank — Start fresh and construct your course to match your particular curriculum needs.
- Mini-course — Use a free or low-cost mini-course to generate prospects for a complete flagship course or assistance.
- Flagship Course — Build a complete online course using a robust curriculum outline made using best practices in mind.
- Pre-sell — Create a pre-sell landing page and start building a waitlist to gauge interest in your program.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable documents in an online 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 permit 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 sections, or insert new sections to arrive at the approach that’s right for your content. All throughout the procedure, Thinkific provides”smart mentor course building hints” to help you. (I found these useful, but they may be easily turned off, should you prefer.) Thinkific Forum
If you have zero Experience working with Internet content, there will 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 earning your way up it, and you will reap the benefits.
And, in case you are Comfortable using other Internet content programs — such as, by way of example, WordPress or a different program platform — I think you will find operating in Thinkific to be a breeze.
Overall Of putting together a course at Thinkific makes complete sense. After selecting”New Course,” picking your course type, naming it (which you may change at any stage ), and saving it, you include”Chapters” (or change ones in the template) to produce the structure of the course. 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 how I described using Website Builder over. There are 11 options:
- Video classes — Upload a movie file. (This has saved in a video library for re-use in other courses. Videos stored in this library are protected from access by anyone who isn’t a registered user of your site.)
- Lessons — Create a quiz for your students. (More info on quizzes under )
- Multimedia lessons — This can be a means to link out to content not hosted on Thinkific and also make it an integrated part of your course. A Few of the possibilities include:
- Webinar tools (provide the URL 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 about that below)
- Text lessons — Combine text, images, videos, etc. into one lesson. This is basically the equivalent to”Text & Media” Site Builder alternative discussed previously.
- Survey lessons — Collect information/feedback from your students by building a survey in Thinkific.
- PDF classes — Publish a PDF document to be viewed within the course player.
- Disqus classes — Insert Disqus discussion boards into your program. (Note: there is also a discussion alternative built into Thinkific which you can turn off or on under Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio lessons — Upload a sound file.
- Downloads resources.
- Presentation lessons — Upload a demonstration as a PDF document and record audio for each slide.
- Exam classes — Include a Brillium examination in your program. (A Brillium permit is distinct from Thinkific and starts at $49 per month. More on this below.)
The above Choices Will find the job completed for all but the 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 Adding elements.
If those are Choices you truly want, you’d be better off using a full size course authoring tool like iSpring or even Articulate Storyline (see more about these types of programs here). Thinkific Forum
The use of Articulate and Captivate in Thinkific
Many course Founders will be content with using the resources in Thinkific to make courses, but some may prefer the option of producing their classes with third party e-learning class creation software such as Articulate Storyline or even Adobe Captivate.
Basically, using a Third-party tool is an option to seriously consider if you (a) currently have a substantial number of classes built out in one of these applications (in which you case you probably don’t need to need to re-create them utilizing Thinkific course creation tools), and/or (b) you expect developing a significant catalog of lessons with a relatively long”shelf life” — in which case you may not wish your classes locked to a particular delivery stage.
You can use these Kinds of tools with Thinkific — Articulate Storyline and Captivate are supported — however there are some limitations you should be aware of if you go this route.
First, Thinkific (like the rest of the platforms in its course ) hasn’t implemented SCORM, which stands for the Shareable Content Object Reference Model. There’s a lot to SCORM, but the principal thing for edupreneurs to understand is that it provides criteria for how an online course can communicate using a learning platform to deliver it data like how much time a learner has spent in a course, or whether specific areas of the class have been completed successfully. Thinkific monitors this type of data using its own procedures. (More about SCORM here.)
You Can’t Import an Articulate or Captivate route into Thinkific all on your own. These classes are made up of over one file (such as, as an example, a video file), so to get them into the platform, you need to zip the files up and send them to Thinkific customer support.
The Best Features and How They Benefit You
An excellent Online course building platform typically offers the features you need from begin to finish to you. Including the promotion the training course construction, the selling, and also the management.
Systems like Thinkific don’t host classes on your own site. Your articles is actually hosted with Thinkific (so that you do not need to go out and find your personal hosting,) but it still gives you complete control over what your website looks like.
In comparison to Systems such as Udemy, Thinkific certainly provides control and more liberty. Let’s explore a few of the standout features.
Outstanding Student Management and Communication Modules
During my Thinkific review, I noticed that the smoothness of the pupil communication tools. It is a visual student management area, together with images of your pupils, names, contact information, and details for how far they are on your course.
You’ve got the Option create a conversation with the community or to send customized emails. Thinkific Forum
Incentives are Also a part of this learning environment because Thinkific offers conclusion certificates, report cards, and during courses, the emails for sending out just about anything you want of course.
In addition to Replays of course content, language controls, and cellular optimization working together with the Thinkific platform should feel.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Part of the Reason Thinkific seems so great in contrast to this rivalry is that of its class designer. If you don’t want to, you do not have to mess with any code.
In fact, all of Your content is coordinated using a simple drag and drop editor, where you pile the course content and move it around vertically.
Speaking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of media types. From PDFs to audio files, and surveys to quizzes, the stage is great for offering up a wide assortment of learning tools for your students.
As we mentioned All these documents are hosted on the Thinkific servers. For this reason, you shouldn’t have to worry being too large or running slowly on your shared servers.
When you personalize Your course website it features some handy editing tools to the novices out there. You can correct items like logos, colour schemes, and banners, without touching any code.
However, the further Advanced developers have full control over the HTML and CSS. So, if you would like to make your website unique, the option is there for you.
Promotions on Autopilot
Some online course Platforms fail from the promotions arena. As there’s no way to begin making money unless people know that your path 19, this is unfortunate.
Thinkific does It the way, with promotional and marketing instruments built into the program. A lot of this is automatic also. Consequently, if you’d like to trickle articles to your students Thinkific has this operation. Thinkific Forum
Furthermore, you Have the ability to target the ideal people and send out automatic emails based on a program. Pricing can be done through Thinkific, in addition to the option to become paid instantly when somebody signs up for your program.
In Terms of getting It is tried by people outside of your website to come out, Thinkific comes with an online affiliate marketing program to reward men and women who advocate your program and bloggers. Coupons can also be supplied through Thinkific, giving you a opportunity to create ads and convince newcomers your course is worth investing in.
Everything from Coupons to affiliates is tracked in the dashboard, and you can join your Adwords, Facebook, and other social reports where students are coming out of to determine.
Handling, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from Enabling you to deliver your classes, one of the key reasons for using a technical online course platform is that it creates tracking and handling your customers and their data a lot more easy.
Communication with Learners
Along with Helping you organize your learners, Thinkific also enables a number of ways for them to provide comments and for you and your students to communicate. Thinkific Forum
As noted, For instance, you can enable discussion to your classes and then manage your pupils contributions under Support Your Students Discussions, where you can sort discussions by course, respond to pupils, and — if desired –“Disapprove” gifts which you don’t wish 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 use the Disqus option on a course-by-course basis.)
You can also Enable your student. You then have the capability to approve these reviews (they are not published automatically) and use them as social evidence on your earnings page for the program. Unlike talks, this attribute can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
There are Numerous notifications which could be enabled or disabled at the Thinkific platform, some of which can be personalized. You can, for instance, send pupils a customized message if they enroll for your site, enroll in a particular course, or finish a course. You can also send out reminder messages. (Note: Reminders are site-wide, not course-specific.)
Managing and Organizing Learners
To start with, When an individual signs up in your website, Thinkific captures all of their key contact data (e.g., first name, last name, e-mail) and using custom sign-up fields (under Preferences > Orders & accounts) you can easily add areas to catch whatever special information you desire from the own users. (Note that, unlike programs such as Udemy, you get complete access to the user information you accumulate.)
You can also Organize users into groups. This seemingly simple feature can have a big impact on your business model by making it possible for you to sell classes in bulk to organizations — among the greatest ways for course sellers to drive revenue growth that is major , in my experience.
You, using classes Can easily organize your learners by cohort, time, registration, job-type, or organization, or other factors, making it possible to track the effectiveness of your own offerings and to enhance your marketing moving ahead. (Note: Use of the Groups attribute requires a Pro program license with the Growth Add-on.) Discover More about the Thinkific Groups functionality Thinkific Forum
Tracking and Reporting
A reason to Have a online course platform — as opposed to just posting articles supporting a password on a Web site — is it is going to monitor 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 particular student and track a number of variables for each 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 in (date)
I like this you If you’re adding new classes to an already completed class May also choose to reset a student’s completion percentage at any time.
Overall, the Course reporting is fairly simple, but I suspect it’ll serve the needs of the majority of course entrepreneurs.
Unlike the Program Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported into a .CSV document (rather than displayed on display ) and emailed to you. The .csv file includes the answers from all students who’ve taken a survey a quiz together with their title, email address, and when they took it. For quizzes, in addition, it provides percent and the amount of questions the student got right.
Overall, reporting For quizzes/surveys and courses is among the chief regions where the Thinkific system could be more powerful. In fairness, this tends to be true for pretty much the platforms of the all in this class of platforms. Ideally, over time, it would be possible to access course completion and quiz/survey data . Better still, it would be great to have the ability to view a student transcript that shows hours associated with a program, any credit earned (not now captured at all in Thinkific), and a link to download the certificate associated with the program. Thinkific Forum
What Thinkific is Missing
Anyone who has Been operating in the e-learning industry for the past few decades (as I have) will realize that Thinkific provides a remarkable selection of features at a really affordable price. It was not that long ago that a system with these capacities may have easily cost thousands of dollars a year.
With that in mind, It’s really hard to argue that Thinkific is”missing” much. Still, there are gaps which will rule out it for some course vendors — and these all tend to be. The main ones I see are:
No support for SCORM or xAPI/TinCan
As noted above, While Thinkific may host and deliver courses created in common authoring tools such as Articulate and Captivate, it doesn’t actually take advantage of the SCORM (or even xAPI/TInCan) packaging capabilities of these applications. In case you’ve got a strong and legitimate reason for using one of the significant e-learning standards, Thinkific might not be the way to go.
Like I said, these Are areas that aren’t served well by other platforms which are in Thinkific’s course. To acquire a platform which supports all three means a starting price point three to four times higher than Thinkific — and it could go far from there . Be sure that these are gaps for you before ruling out Thinkific.
No continuing education credit capacities
While you can Indicate the estimated number of hours for completing a course in Thinkific, you cannot define the amount of continuing education. While there may be work-arounds, for many course suppliers that focus on providing continuing education credit, this will be a significant barrier to utilizing Thinkific, Thinkific Forum
No multi-tenancy alternative
Multi-tenancy Means that you can make and manage a number of instances of a stage under one umbrella. This can be really useful if you are a training company that has many clients and those customers want their very own example of this platform for managing and serving their own users. While the Group performance in Thinkific gets you a part of the way there, it is not the same thing as multi-tenancy.
Although I’ve yet To discover an internet course platform that has many hidden fees, Thinkific advertises that it also has no hidden fees or contracts. That is good to know, however, nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does provide a free program for those who want to test out the platform but not get bogged down from constraints. In theory, it makes it possible to start your store and start building a pupil base without having to pay a dime. If you’d rather give a whirl to one of those plans there is also a free trial.
The pricing is Broken up into four easy strategies:
Starter — $0 for many core Thinkific features. This plan has a top transaction fee, all you want to create, market, and market unlimited courses, your courses, class upsells, content hosting, fundamental integrations support, and instant access to all funds.
Basics — For $49 per month you get all core and starter features, together with a 5 percent transaction fee, promotions and coupons, monthly subscriptions, course bundles, intermediate integrations, fundamental Zapier, trickle articles, affiliate coverage, a majority student emailer, customized domainname, and additional course rates. Thinkific Forum
Business — For $99 a month you receive the features from all prior programs, no transaction fees, completion certificates, personal and concealed courses, site white tagging, a host narrative, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, innovative HTML/CSS editing, priority service, teacher payout coverage, an onboarding call, payment strategies, along with an immediate Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 per month you receive all features from previous programs, no transaction fees, a single sign-on (SSO), three website admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding specialist, onboarding package, public API, innovative integrations, and advanced Zapier.
Thinkific has some Benefits to its pricing design. Not only are you able to begin your course at no cost (something that’s not offered with competitors like Teachable,) however, the extra 3 plans are broken down into a reasonable manner.
After all Most likely do not need API access until you start getting advanced with your course selling.
I would not mind Seeing also the HTML editing and the completion certificates at the Essentials plan, however $99 a month still is bad.
As you can see, The transaction fees are 10% for the program. That is large, however, it creates an environment for people who don’t have the upfront funds or those who have low quantity right now. As soon as you start making money that transaction fee can be cut down by you.
Finally, you can By paying on an annual basis also save money. So, the snowball strategy goes down to $39 per month if you pay it all upfront. The company plan is $79 a month and also the Advanced program is 219. That makes the pricing plans much like Teachable.
I will end this Thinkific review at which I started: this is. Hopefully it is evident by now that it supplies your ordinary edupreneur to be supported by a range of the vital characteristics in selling online classes.
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 point: the market for online class platforms such as Thinkific is now crowded and noisy. You can be certain that a lot is going to undoubtedly be gone tomorrow. I’m confident Thinkific will be about, and the organization is obviously growing and continually investing to improve its platform. Thinkific Forum