Introduction Thinkific Greg Smith
If you are promoting Or thinking about selling 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 provides is It Is written by someone with: Thinkific Greg Smith
- More than 20 years experience in the e-learning industry, with a specific focus on companies that sell schooling (compared to, for example, corporate training departments, that do not have to convince their learners to purchase )
- Extensive experience designing, developing, and implementing online course platforms (I was the founder and CEO of an e-learning platform and path development firm.)
- Over a decade of experience tracking and researching online class platforms and assisting organizations and individuals pick the right platform for selling classes
I’ve been closely Tracking Thinkific and other suppliers which have emerged in the previous several years as a new class of online course platforms. These are programs that LMSes, or are more user-friendly and less expensive than learning management methods. They are a blessing for solo edupreneurs and tiny businesses that are looking to enter the course business. Over time, I believe they also have real potential to interrupt the learning management system market that is traditional.
Thus, having said All that, let us begin.
Building and Branding Your Online Course Web Site
Any classes you Market need to”live” somewhere, and ideally that somewhere supplies an appealing, user friendly to your students and prospective students. Since the introduction of its Site Builder capacities earlier this season, Thinkific is up to the project. Thinkific Greg Smith
Using Site Builder — which is simply a part of the admin board to the stage — you now have the capacity to set up an appealing home page to your course website and create as many custom pages as you desire (e.g., to provide details about you and your other solutions ). While you don’t have total control — you can’t, as an instance, set up your own style sheets (CSS) — you do possess really excellent capabilities for modifying branding components like font and colors styles and you may upload pretty much any kind of images or media you would like to utilize.
Website Builder Comes with three topics to select from, and there are variations for each one of these themes. (The company says more themes are part of their 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 quotes or”as seen on” logos), calls to action, count down timer, and pricing options — essentially, all the critical tools you need for running a successful path or membership website. There is also a blank slate”media & Text” section which can be used to create pretty much anything you desire.
As is the case With just about any content management system, it took a while to figure out how to do some basic things like delete sections (the themes offer a house page pre-populated with segments ) and add custom pages to the website menu. However service has been readily available for these. Thinkific includes a good support website on which you can look 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 site pages Thinkific”). I have yet to not find good support using this method, whether to the Thinkific site or from another user.
Some added Features to note:
- Customized URL (under Settings > Website ) — By default, you are assigned a thinkific.com speech — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. With a paid plan (starting at $49 per month for Fundamental ) you can find a customized URL
- SSL (Under Settings > Site) — With any strategy you have the choice to turn on SSL (secure socket layer), a best practice for virtually any Web site nowadays. (Google smiles on this.)
- White tagging (under Settings > Website )– By leaping up into a Guru Plan ($99 per month) with the Development Add-on ($.10 per busy student/per month) you can quickly remove the”Powered by Thinkific” language on your website and courses.
- Text Dimensions (below Settings > Learning Content and several other areas) — It is possible to change a great deal of the default language which is used in navigation and other areas. For example, Thinkific utilizes”Chapters” as the label for portions of a course. You might like to change this to”Lessons” Thinkific Greg Smith
Thus, you might be asking,”Can I use Thinkific for the primary Web website?”
For edupreneurs Who are only starting off and do not have an Internet presence the answer is an emphatic”yes.” Utilizing Thinkific is a good way to take a huge item from your”to do” list (i.e.,”figure out ways to find a decent Web site setup”) and concentrate on creating and launching your classes. You can be concerned about a more complicated Web site after.
If you already Have an Internet site, though — especially on a fuller-featured content management system like WordPress — I would not suggest relying on Thinkific (or some other route platform) to your primary Internet website. Site Builder is fantastic for what it does — and may create a fantastic course website to match your primary site — but finally it is relatively restricted. A few of the key present constraints include:
- All motifs are single column. So, for example, you can not put email sign-up forms, promotions for course, or other things down the left or right side of your website.
- As mentioned, you can not apply your own CSS (cascading style sheets), largely a limit in the event that you really wish to reflect the branding of an existing Web site.
- There is no control over search engine optimization settings on Web pages — e.g., you can’t define the title tags or meta descriptions. You can, however, do so on track landing pages, which is arguably more significant for the average edupreneur.
- Thinkific lacks the wealth of plug-ins along with the broad network of experienced contractors that are available to support platforms such as WordPress.
Regardless of those Limitations, Site Builder is likely to do the work well for many edupreneurs and is quite a bit better than what most online class platforms supply.
Creating Online Courses with Thinkific
While you Definitely want an attractive, user-friendly site to house your courses, the classes themselves are the main attraction. As you may expect, this is a place where Thinkific really shines.
To Begin with, the Platform provides a range of pre-configured templates that can be quite beneficial to course builders looking for assistance with how to arrange their content. The templates cover the range of standard scenarios you’d be prone to consider for offering an educational item. All these are:
- Blank — Start new and construct your own 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 service.
- Flagship Course — Construct a complete online course using a robust curriculum outline created with best practices in your mind.
- Pre-sell — Produce a pre-sell landing page and get started constructing a waitlist to gauge interest in your course.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable documents in an internet course to generate earnings or collect email addresses.
- Membership Resource Library — Host downloadable tools to be included in a membership bundle with this template.
- Webinar Replay — Host your webinar replay video to permit registrants to review your presentation and provide.
All of these can Be modified broadly — you can alter the content from the segments which are supplied, delete sections, or insert new sections to arrive at the strategy that’s ideal for your content. All throughout the process, Thinkific supplies”smart mentor course building tips” to assist you. (I found them useful, but they may be easily turned off, should you prefer.) Thinkific Greg Smith
If you have zero Experience working with Web content, there will inevitably be a bit of a learning curve, but my view is that Thinkific has done a fantastic job making that curve as manageable as possible. Invest in making your way up it, and you’ll reap the rewards.
And You’re Already comfortable using other Internet content systems — like, for a different program platform, WordPress or example — I believe that you will find operating in Thinkific to be a breeze.
The logic, overall A class in Thinkific makes sense. After selecting”New Course,” picking your course type, naming it (which you can change at any stage ), and rescue 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 whatever you prefer.
You fill the Chapters with content in a way. There are 11 options:
- Video lessons — Upload a movie 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 website.)
- Quiz classes — Create a quiz for your students. (More information on quizzes under )
- Multimedia lessons — This can be a means to link out to articles not hosted on Thinkific and also make it an integrated part of your program. A Few of the possibilities include:
- Webinar tools (provide 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 files (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” Site Builder alternative discussed above.
- Survey lessons — Collect by building a survey in Thinkific.
- PDF lessons.
- Disqus lessons — Insert Disqus discussion boards into your course. (Note: there is also a discussion alternative built into Thinkific which you may turn on or off beneath Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio lessons — Upload an audio file.
- Downloads resources to be available for download from inside the course participant.
- Demo lessons — Upload a demonstration as a PDF file and record sound for each slide.
- Exam lessons — Contain a Brillium exam in your program. (A Brillium permit is separate from Thinkific and begins at $49 per month. More on this below.)
The aforementioned Choices Will find the work done for all but the edupreneurs. The primary places they fall short is in
- Supplying for branching scenarios — i.e., allowing learners to go down different paths based on their performances in the course or information you gather about them — and
- Like learning games Adding interactive elements.
If those are Options you truly need, you would be better off with a full size course authoring tool such as iSpring or even Articulate Storyline (see more about these types of tools here). Thinkific Greg Smith
Use of Articulate and Captivate in Thinkific
Many course Founders will be perfectly content with using the resources in Thinkific to make courses, but some may prefer the option of creating their classes with third-party e-learning course creation software such as Articulate Storyline or even Adobe Captivate.
Basically, using a Third party tool is an alternative to seriously think about if you (a) already have a substantial number of courses built out in these tools (in which you probably don’t need to have to re-create them utilizing Thinkific course production tools), or (b) you anticipate developing a substantial catalogue of courses with a relatively long”shelf life” — in which case you may not want to have your classes locked to a particular delivery stage.
You can use these Kinds of tools with Thinkific — Articulate Storyline and Captivate are supported — but there are some limitations you should be aware of if you go this path.
First, Thinkific (like the rest of the platforms in its own course ) has not implemented SCORM, which stands to the Shareable Content Object Reference Model. There is a lot to SCORM, but the principal thing for edupreneurs to know is that it provides criteria for how an online course can communicate with a learning platform to deliver it information like how much time a learner has spent in a program, or if specific areas of the class have been completed successfully. Thinkific monitors this type of information with its own methods. (More about SCORM here.)
Secondly, you cannot Import an Articulate or Captivate route into Thinkific all on your own. These courses are made up of more than one file (such as, for 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
A great Online course construction platform typically offers the features you need from start to finish to you. Including also the management, the promotion, the promotion, and also the training course construction.
Systems such as Thinkific don’t host classes . Your content is actually hosted with Thinkific (so you do not have to venture outside and find your own hosting,) but it gives you total control on what your site looks like.
When compared to Systems such as Udemy, Thinkific surely provides branding control and more liberty. Let us explore a few of the standout features.
Excellent Student Management and Communication Modules
During my Thinkific review, I noticed that the smoothness of the student communication tools. It is a visual pupil 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 emails that are customized or create a conversation. Thinkific Greg Smith
Incentives are Also a part of this learning environment because Thinkific offers report cards, conclusion certificates, and of course, the emails for sending out just about anything you want during courses.
In addition to Replays of course material, language controllers, and optimisation, students working with the Thinkific platform ought to feel right at home.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Section of this Reason Thinkific looks so great compared to this competition is that of its class designer. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to mess with any code.
In fact Your content is coordinated using a drag and drop editor, where you stack the class content and move it about .
Talking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of media forms. From PDFs to sound files, and surveys to quizzes, the stage is great for offering up a wide range of learning tools for your students.
As we mentioned Before, every one these documents are hosted on the Thinkific servers. For this reason, you shouldn’t have to worry much about a file running slowly on your own servers or being too big.
When you personalize Your course website it features some handy editing tools for the novices on the market. You can correct items such as banners, colour schemes, and logos without touching any code.
However, the more Developers have complete control over the HTML and CSS. So, if you want to make your site unique, the alternative is there for you.
Promotions on Autopilot
Some online course Platforms fail in the promotions arena. This is unfortunate as there’s no way unless people understand that your path exists to start making money.
Thinkific does The app was built into by it the way, with promotional and marketing instruments. Much of this is automatic. Consequently, if you want to drip content to your students–where certain courses would be published over the years –Thinkific has this functionality. Thinkific Greg Smith
Furthermore, you Have the ability and send emails that are automated based on a program. Pricing is done through Thinkific, along with the option to become paid immediately when somebody signs up for your program.
As for becoming It is tried by people outside of your website to come out, Thinkific includes an affiliate marketing program to reward bloggers and people who advocate your course. Coupons are also supplied through Thinkific, giving you a opportunity to create advertisements and convince newcomers that your course is well worth investing in.
Everything from Coupons to affiliates is tracked in the dashboard, and you could link your Adwords, Facebook, and other social accounts to see where students are coming out of.
Handling, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from Enabling you to deliver your classes, one of the reasons for using a technical online class platform is that it creates monitoring and handling your users and their information a lot more easy.
Communicating with Learners
Along with Assisting you to arrange your students, Thinkific also enables a number of ways for them to give comments and that you communicate with your students. Thinkific Greg Smith
As previously noted, By way of example, you can enable discussion for your courses and then manage your students gifts under Support Your Students > Discussions, where it is possible to sort discussions by course, respond to pupils, and — if needed –“Disapprove” gifts that you don’t wish to show up in the course. (Note: Enabling talks is currently an all or nothing option in Thinkific — i.e., either all classes have it or no courses have it. The workaround for this is to utilize the Disqus alternative on a course-by-course basis.)
You can also Enable your student. Then you have the capability to approve these reviews (they aren’t printed automatically) and utilize them as social evidence on your sales page for the program. Unlike discussions, this feature can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
There are Numerous notifications which can be enabled or disabled at the Thinkific platform, a few of which can be customized. You can, for example, send a customized message if your website is registered for by them to pupils, enroll in a specific course, or finish a program. You can also send reminder messages. (Note: Reminders are site-wide, not course-specific.)
Managing and Organizing Learners
To Begin with, When an individual signs up in your site, Thinkific captures all their key contact data (e.g., first name, last name, email ) and utilizing custom sign-up fields (under Preferences > Orders & accounts) you can easily add fields to catch whatever specific information you want from the users. (Note that, unlike programs such as Udemy, you receive complete access to the user data you accumulate.)
You can also Organize users into classes. This simple feature may have a big impact on your business model by making it possible for you to market courses in bulk one of the best ways for course vendors to drive revenue growth.
Using groups May also easily arrange your students by other variables, or organization, or cohort, time, registration, job-type, making it feasible to track the effectiveness of your offerings and to refine your marketing going forward. (Note: Use of the Groups feature requires a Guru program license with the Growth Add-on.) Find out more about the Thinkific Groups performance Thinkific Greg Smith
Tracking and Reporting
A Vital motive to Have a online class platform — to posting articles behind a password on a Web site, as opposed, by way of example — is that it will monitor quiz and survey data as well as things like path progress and conclusion.
Thinkific’s Progress tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) enables you to pick a particular student and track a number of variables for every course in which the student is enrolled. For every class you will see:
- Percentage of Course of Viewed
- Percentage of Course Completed
- Student Name
- Student Email
- Course Completed in (date)
- Course Launched at (date)
- Course Activated at (date)
- Last sign (date)
I like this you May also choose to reset a student’s completion percentage at any moment, for example if you are adding new classes.
Overall, the Course reporting is fairly 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 document (rather than displayed on display ) and e-mailed to you. The .csv file includes the responses from all students who’ve taken a survey a quiz e-mail address, along with their title, and if it was taken by them. For quizzes, in addition, it supplies percentage and the amount of questions the student got right.
Overall, reporting For both quizzes/surveys and courses is one of the main regions in which the Thinkific system could be stronger. In fairness, this tends to be true for pretty much the platforms of the all in this category of platforms. Ideally, over time, it might be possible to access course completion and quiz/survey data via a single Web interface. Better still, it would be great to be able to see a student transcript that shows hours associated with a program, any credit earned (not now captured at all at Thinkific), and a URL to download the certificate associated with the program. Thinkific Greg Smith
What Thinkific is currently Missing
Anyone who has Been operating in the e-learning industry for the past couple of decades (as I have) will realize that Thinkific provides a remarkable range of features at a very reasonable price. It wasn’t long ago a system with those capabilities could have cost thousands of dollars.
With that in mind, It’s hard to assert that Thinkific is”missing” much. Nonetheless, there are openings which will rule out it and these 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 like Articulate and Captivate, it doesn’t really make use of the SCORM (or even xAPI/TInCan) packaging capacities of these programs. If you have a strong and legitimate reason for using one of the major criteria, then Thinkific would not be the thing to do.
As I said, these Are areas which aren’t served well by additional platforms which are in Thinkific’s course. To acquire a platform that supports all three generally means a starting price point three to four times higher than Thinkific — and it can go a lot from there . Be sure these are openings for you before ruling out Thinkific.
No continuing education credit capabilities
While you can Indicate the number of hours for finishing a class in Thinkific, you cannot specify the amount of education. While There Might Be work-arounds, for many course suppliers that focus on providing continuing education credit, this will be a Substantial barrier to utilizing Thinkific, Thinkific Greg Smith
No multi-tenancy option
Multi-tenancy Means that you can make and handle a number of instances of a platform under one umbrella. This can be very useful if you are a training company that has many clients and those clients want their 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 isn’t the same thing as multi-tenancy.
Although I To find an internet course platform that has hidden charges, Thinkific advertises it too has no hidden fees or contracts. That’s good to know, but nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does provide a plan that is free for those who wish to test the stage but not get bogged down by constraints. In theory, it helps you start building a student base without needing to pay a dime and launch your store. If you give one of those plans a whirl there’s also a free trial.
The pricing is Divided into four easy strategies:
Starter — $0 to all core Thinkific features. This strategy has a high transaction fee, all you want to make, market, and sell your classes, unlimited courses, course upsells, content hosting integrations service, and access to all funds.
Basics — For $49 a month you receive all core and starter features, together with a 5% transaction fee, promotions and coupons, monthly subscriptions, course packages, intermediate integrations, fundamental Zapier, trickle articles, affiliate coverage, a majority student emailer, custom domain, and extra course prices. Thinkific Greg Smith
Business — For $99 per month you receive the attributes from all prior plans, no transaction fees, completion certificates, personal and hidden courses, site white labeling, a host narrative, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, innovative HTML/CSS editing, priority service, teacher payout reporting, an onboarding telephone, payment strategies, and an immediate Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 a month you get all features from previous plans, no transaction fees, one sign-on (SSO), three site admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding professional, onboarding bundle, people API, advanced integrations, and advanced Zapier.
Thinkific has some Benefits to its pricing design. Not only are you able to begin your course for free (something that is not offered with competitors like Teachable,) but the additional three plans are broken down in a logical fashion.
After all, you Most probably do not need API accessibility until you start becoming advanced with your course promoting.
I would not mind Seeing the completion certificates as well as also the HTML editing in the Essentials plan, but $99 a month isn’t that bad.
As you can see, The transaction prices are 10% for the program that is free. That is large, but it creates an excellent environment for those who have low volume or individuals who do not have the upfront capital. Once you start making money you’ll be able to cut down that transaction fee.
You can By paying on an annual basis save money. If you cover it all upfront, so, the snowball strategy goes to $39 per month. The Business plan is $79 per month and also the Advanced plan is 219. That makes the pricing plans much like Teachable.
I’ll end this Thinkific review where I began: this really is. Hopefully it’s clear by now that it supplies a full range of the features that are most vital to support your edupreneur in selling online classes.
I Believe it is also Important to replicate as I wrap up that Thinkific is a business with a great deal of momentum. This is not a point: the market for online course platforms such as Thinkific is now noisy and crowded. You can be sure that a lot of the platforms which are here today is going to be gone tomorrow. I’m convinced Thinkific will be about, and the company is clearly growing and always investing to boost its own platform. Thinkific Greg Smith