The online education market is exploding.
By 2025, the worldwide eLearning industry is projected to reach a total value of up to $325 billion.
And when it comes to online course systems, Thinkific is a name that immediately comes to mind.
Take my word for it, but also read the reviews from across the globe. Over 75 million individuals have enrolled in a Thinkific course.
That is all the incentive you will be needing to begin your career as an instructor. We’ll go through all of Thinkific’s features and find out why it’s one of the greatest course development platforms for educators, entrepreneurs, and coaches.
What is Thinkific?
Thinkific’s slogan, “Power Your Education Empire,” succinctly summarizes the platform’s mission.
Thinkific is a platform for online courses aimed at business coaches, educators, and entrepreneurs.
The platform enables you to construct online courses utilizing a variety of material types, including quizzes, text, videos, PDF, and a variety of other content types.
However, what distinguishes Thinkific is its integration of all the tools necessary for educators to offer online courses.
It includes a drag-and-drop website builder. You do not need to know how to code or how to use HTML in order to develop the right website for your online tutoring company.
Thinkific enables course authors to easily market their businesses. Thinkific integrates seamlessly with a variety of third-party applications and platforms.
Finally, it has powerful student management capabilities that enable instructors to monitor students’ progress via automatic reminders and emails.
How Many People Use Thinkific?
As I said before, you are not required to take my word for it when I claim Thinkific is one of the top platforms for course makers. This is why:
- Thinkific has been used to complete over 75 million courses.
- Thinkific is a platform for creators with a 50,000+ strong community of members.
- Thinkific is used by people in 190 countries.
- Through Thinkific, educators worldwide have managed to sell online courses valued more than $650 million.
Since its beginning, Thinkific has only gotten stronger. With the global increase of online learners, the platform is all geared up to improve even further.
Who Can Use Thinkific?
Thinkific is a platform for creating courses, which implies that anybody interested in starting an online coaching company may utilize it.
Among the most frequent users of Thinkific are the following:
- Academic institutions
- Business coaches
- Digital marketing platforms
- Online educators
And let me dispel one of the most widespread misconceptions about online courses: you do not need technological abilities to establish an online course on Thinkific.
Thinkific enables you to create courses without any technological skills, promote them using strong marketing tools, and includes an integrated progress monitoring system.
Now that I’ve covered the fundamentals, allow me to lead you through the real evaluation without wasting any more time.
Let’s get started!
Thinkific Review: Website Building, Course Creation, and Marketing & Sales
Website Building & Branding with Thinkific
Any courses you offer must have a “home,” and that home should ideally include an appealing, user-friendly website for your current and future students. Since the launch of its Site Builder features earlier this year, Thinkific has shown to be more than capable.
Using Site Builder – which is integrated into the platform’s admin panel – you can design a beautiful home page and as many custom pages as you require for your course website. For example, you may want to provide information on the different services you offer, or your own credentials. While you do not have complete control – you cannot, for instance, use custom CSS (cascading style sheet) – you do have excellent possibilities for customizing branding components like as colors and font styles, as well as the ability to upload almost any form of picture or video.
Site Builder presently has three themes, each of which has many modifications. (According to the firm, more themes are planned for future development.) Additionally, there are a variety of pre-built “sections” that you can add to any page on your website and modify the sections. You may want to include social proof such as a countdown timer, ‘as seen on’ logos, customer reviews, calls to action, and even course pricing. In short, all of the critical tools necessary for running a successful membership site or a course site are all present with Thinkific. Additionally, there is a blank slate – the “Text & media” part that may be utilized for creating pretty much anything.
Just like almost every content management system (CMS), it might take you a while to understand how to perform some simple tasks such as deleting parts (for instance, the themes have a pre-populated sections for the home page that you might not want) and adding custom pages to the site navigation. However, assistance was easily accessible for them. Thinkific has an excellent support site where you can look for assistance, but I usually simply use Google and the phrase “Thinkific” to get what I’m looking for (e.g., “build custom web pages Thinkific”). I have yet to encounter a situation where I did not get enough help, either from other users or directly from Thinkific’s website.
Some additional features to note
Custom URL (find it under Settings >> Site) – By default, a thinkific.com address is provided to you — for example, yourbusinessname.thinkific.com. With a subscription plan (basic starts at $49 per month), you may get a personalized URL – for example, courses.yourbusinessname.com.
SSL (find it under Settings >> Site) – With any plan, you may use an SSL (secure socket layer) certificate, a great practice for every web site in the modern day. It is one of the many ranking factors that Google considers.
White labeling (find it under Settings >> Site) – By upgrading to the Pro Plan ($99 per month) and adding the Growth Add-on (Growth Add-on is available as a bundle for now and the Pro + Growth costs same as the Pro plan, but the pricing will change depending on the usage), you can quickly remove the “Powered by Thinkific” text from your website and courses.
Text Changes (find it under Settings >> Learning Content and several other areas) – You may customize a significant portion of the default language used in navigation and other sections. For instance, Thinkific refers to sections of a course as “Chapters.” You may like to rename this to “Lessons.”
Now, here is the million-dollar question – “Can you use Thinkific for your main website?”
The answer is emphatically “yes” for edupreneurs and entrepreneurs who are just getting started and do not yet have a Web presence. Utilizing Thinkific allows you to cross a large item off your “to-do” list (that is, building a powerful and quality website from scratch) and concentrate only on designing and releasing your courses. Later, you may worry about developing a more complicated website.
If you already have a website – preferably one built on a more robust content management system such as WordPress – I would not advocate using Thinkific (or any similar platform as such) as your primary website. While Site Builder is excellent for what it offers – and can be used to construct an excellent course website to supplement your main website – it is ultimately somewhat limiting. Several significant present constraints include the following:
- Each theme has a single column. Thus, you cannot include email sign-up forms, promotions, or other stuff on the right or the left side of your website.
- As previously stated, you cannot use your own CSS, which is mostly a constraint if you need to replicate the branding of an existing website.
- You will have no control over the search engine optimization settings for webpages – for example, meta descriptions and title tags are not customizable. However, you may do so on course landing pages, which is perhaps more significant for the ordinary edupreneur.
- Thinkific lacks the abundance of plug-ins and a massive network of seasoned programmers available for systems such as WordPress.
Despite these restrictions, Site Builder is likely to meet the needs of the majority of edupreneurs and is far superior to the offerings of the majority of online course platforms.
Online Course Creation with Thinkific
While an appealing, user-friendly website is a must for hosting your courses, the courses are the ones that are the primary draw. As could be expected, this is an aspect in which Thinkific excels.
To begin, the platform has a variety of pre-made templates that may be quite beneficial for course creators who are unsure how to arrange their material. The templates cover the majority of common circumstances for selling an educational product. These include the following:
- Blank – Begin from scratch and design your own course to meet your individual curriculum requirements.
- Digital Download – To make cash or to acquire email addresses, host downloadable materials as a part of your online course.
- Flagship Course – Create a comprehensive online course by using a solid curriculum plan that adheres to industry best practices.
- Membership Resource Library – With this template, you may host downloadable content that will be included in a membership package.
- Mini-course – Create leads for a complete premiere course or service by offering a free or cheap mini-course.
- Pre-sell – Create a pre-sale landing page and begin developing a waitlist for your course to measure interest.
- Webinar Replay – Allow registrants to examine your material and offer by hosting a webinar replay video.
All of them are very customizable – you may alter the information in the available parts, eliminate sections, or add new segments to reach at the approach that is most appropriate for your topic. Thinkific assists you throughout the process by providing “smart coach course building tips.” I found these useful, but they can easily be disabled if desired.)
If you’ve never worked with Web material before, there will undoubtedly be a learning curve, but Thinkific has done an excellent job of making it as easy as possible. Invest in climbing it, and you will receive the benefits.
And, if you’re already familiar with other Web content management systems – such as WordPress or any course platform – I believe you’ll find working with Thinkific a snap.
In general, the rationale behind creating a course on Thinkific makes perfect sense to me. After clicking “New Course,” choosing your course type, giving it a name (which you may alter at any time), and finally saving it, you will get the option for adding “Chapters” (or edit existing ones in the pre-made template) to build the course’s structure. As previously stated, if you dislike the name “Chapters,” you may substitute another phrase.
You populate the Chapters with material similarly to how I discussed above with Site Builder. There are eleven possibilities:
- Assignments – Assignments are exactly what you understand: they enable students to post assignments – such as a project document – for you to assess and provide comments on.
- Audio lessons – Include an audio file.
- Downloads – Include materials that may be downloaded directly from the course player.
- Exam lessons – Incorporate a Brillium examination into your course. A Brillium license is purchased independently of Thinkific and begins at $49 per month. I will talk about this later.
- Multimedia lessons – This is a method to connect to information that is not housed on Thinkific and include it into your course. Several options include the following:
- Appointment booking tools (for instance, Calendly)
- Articulate Storyline files and Adobe Captivate files (You will need Thinkific Pro or Thinkific Enterprise license)
- Google Docs
- Presentations (for instance, Prezi)
- Surveys (for instance, Typeform)
- Webinar tools (for instance, add a link to a live Zoom session)
- PDF lessons – Upload a PDF file to the course player for viewing.
- Presentation lessons – Upload a PDF file of a presentation and audio content for each slide.
- Quiz lessons – For your pupils, create a quiz.
- Survey lessons – Create a quick survey in Thinkific to get information and/or feedback from the students enrolled in your courses.
- Text lessons – Incorporate text, graphics, and videos into a single lesson. This is much the same as the Site Builder feature of “Text & Media” explained above.
- Video lessons – Include a video file in your upload. This is then archived in a video library for reuse in subsequent courses. The videos in this library are password-protected, making them inaccessible to anybody who has not registered as a member on your site.
For everyone save the most advanced edupreneurs, the aforementioned solutions will suffice. The primary areas where they fall short are in:
- Implementing branching scenarios – allowing learners to take alternative pathways based on how they perform through the course or based on the data you collect about them.
- Incorporating interactive features such as learning games.
If you absolutely want such features, you are better off utilizing a full-featured course creation platform such as Articulate Storyline or iSpring.
I especially enjoy the idea that Thinkific Course Player’s logo may be customized on a per-course basis. To paraphrase Thinkific,
“…you can have a differently customized student experience for the different courses that you offer. For example, if you want to have different branding like fonts, colors, and logos across your different courses, it’s easy to do that with the updated course player.”
Additionally, if you’re worried about the security of your material, you may block copying-pasting text from the courses you create. PDF content downloads are disabled by default. In case you want to enable downloads, you are free to do so.
Creating Quizzes for Your Students
Quizzing as a method of self-assessment is an excellent concept in the majority of adult online learning. Apart from allowing students to verify their knowledge, it offers a minimum degree of interaction to aid in the promotion of engagement with the topic.
Thinkific’s quizzing skills are more than enough for basic, multiple-choice examinations. You may choose whether each question in a quiz has a single right answer or several valid responses. Additionally, you may include a description for why an answer is right or erroneous and (if desired) direct the student on how to get the proper answer. This explanation appears when the student submits her response option.
Notably, Thinkific has a straightforward framework for inputting quiz questions, complete with answer options and explanations. The template is quite simple to use, and I strongly suggest it for generating quiz questions. This will ensure that you have a local copy of them and will make it simpler to import them into another system in the future, if necessary.
Finally, you may define whether or not a passing grade is required for the quiz. If, for example, you’re using it as a self-check – which is typically a good practice – you may wish to exclude the need for a passing grade.
If you have a Pro or Enterprise subscription, quizzes, along with all other learning material, may be made a condition for progressing to the next chapter or lesson in a course – that is, you must pass the quiz in order to continue. Additionally, using these plans, you may randomize the questions displayed to each student by drawing from a question bank you’ve prepared.
If you need more than what I have stated above in terms of quizzing and testing, you probably represent an advanced learning firm and should consider Thinkific’s Enterprise plan. This allows you to use Thinkific’s current interaction with Brillium in order to provide more advanced evaluations.
Brillium provides a far greater variety of question types – such as fill in the blanks and matching – the ability to branch, that is, choose the next question a student will get depending on the response to the previous question), and more powerful reporting. While most course makers would not need such advanced stuff, it is an excellent alternative if you are doing rigorous testing – for example, for a certification.
Thinkific integrates with Accredible to enable the issue of certifications. For those unfamiliar with Accredible, it is a web-based platform for establishing and maintaining various forms of credentials. The integration demonstrates Thinkific’s prudent decision to use best-of-breed software in a single area – credentialing – instead of attempting to create these features internally.
You must have a Pro or Enterprise package in order to issue certificates for your courses. While some course authors may object to paying an additional fee for this service, I believe the Accredible connection makes it worthwhile. And, really, if you are serious enough about your subject to produce a certificate, the Pro license price is justified.
For adding a certificate to any course, just go to the “Completion certificates” section of the course’s settings and pick “Thinkific” from the “Certificate template” drop-down menu. In case you don’t see the option appearing, just type “Thinkific.” Additionally, you can simply specify the duration of the certificate’s validity. Save, and you’re done — each student who completes your course will get a customized certificate.
Naturally, there is a potential you may be dissatisfied with the default Thinkific template – this is where the integration with Accredible comes in for rescue. You’ll see that you can also click “Manage your Accredible integration” just under the section of Settings where you choose whether to add a completion certificate. This will bring you to the page for Integrations, where you can locate your Accredible login credentials. You may then click “Go To Accredible.com.”
Once on Accredible, go to “Certificate Designs” and then click to alter the Thinkific certificate. This will take you to a WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) editor where you may adjust the certificate’s text and branding. Additionally, it allows you to add or delete “dynamic” components – that is, those that are automatically entered depending on data it draws from Thinkific – such as the learner’s name, the name of the course, and expiry date.
Learners may access and download any certificates earned as a result of successfully completing a course in the Certificates section of their “My Account” page.
Overall, the Accredible integration enables extremely robust certification capabilities in the Thinkific platform – and you may issue multiple certificates via Thinkific without incurring Accredible’s standard annual charge of $960. Note that certificates issued directly via Accredible will attract fees.
Articulate Storyline & Adobe Captivate
While many course developers will be completely pleased with the tools included in Thinkific, others may want to use third-party e-learning course building programs such as Adobe Captivate or Articulate Storyline.
Why, you inquire?
Essentially, using a third-party tool is something to be considered seriously if you have as significant stash of e-learning courses built using those third-party tools, and you do not want to start recreating those courses using Thinkific’s platform; and / or you plan on creating a sizable catalog of e-learning courses that have a longer shelf-life, in which case you may not want to keep all of your courses stashed only on a single platform.
While these sorts of tools are compatible with Thinkific — Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline are both supported – there are certain limits to be aware of.
To begin, Thinkific, like its main rivals, does not support SCORM, an acronym for Shareable Content Object Reference Model. There is a lot to SCORM, but what edupreneurs need to know is that it establishes standards for how an online course communicates with an e-learning platform so that it can send vital data about things like the about of time a pupil spends on the course, or whether the pupil successfully completed specific sections of the course. Thinkific has its own techniques for tracking this kind of data.
Second, you will not have the ability of importing a course created in Adobe Captivate or Articulate Storyline directly into Thinkific. Because some courses are composed of many files, you must bundle the contents together and email them to Thinkific customer service. Good news is that Thinkific gives timely help. However, some edupreneurs may object to this additional step – especially if you’ve previously utilized a system with SCORM package importing capabilities.
Marketing & Selling Options of Thinkific
Marketing & Selling Your Courses
In contrast to academic and corporate LMSes, platforms such as Thinkific are dedicated to advertising and sales online education. As one would assume, Thinkific has a variety of capabilities to do this.
Many of them are located in the administration panel’s “Market and Sell” area, but some of the most essential tools for advertising and sales are located in other sections. Essentially, promoting and selling e-learning are built into the Thinkific’s DNA.
For instance, the “Design Your Site” section has all of the basic Sign Up as well as Checkout pages. As discussed before, you may modify the pages. Additionally, this same section has the “All Courses” tab, which serves as your course catalog. Any courses you develop here will be shown either in categories or individually – resulting in a beautiful catalog and marketing function under the “Manage Learning Content” section.
Specifically, this part allows you to define different categories for the various courses you prepare. If you offer many courses, this is an excellent method to arrange relevant courses together so that existing and potential students are aware of their alternatives. You may create whatever category name you like, or feel is relevant and also include a picture for each. The categories will then show up in your site’s “All Courses” area. If you wish, you can add a “Categories” section to any webpage on your site.
Several other advertising and selling aspects to include in the “Manage Learning Content” section include the following:
- You may decide whether each item of material you add to a specific course will be included in the course’s free trial. If a course you are offering has free trial material, this is mentioned on the course’s sales page. Students may register for free but must pay to view any material that has not been identified as free. This is a really effective selling point!
- You may design each course’s completion page and use it to market related courses. This is a good practice, and you must consider implementing it.
- You can simply construct course bundles and sell them as a single product using any of Thinkific’s premium plans. This, too, is a very highly effective method.
- With Thinkific’s Pro plan or Enterprise plan, you may split income for courses and course packages on a percentage basis with teachers. Therefore, if you offer courses with several teachers, you select how much income each instructor receives. Nota bene: while Thinkific keeps track of the split, real payments are done outside of Thinkific using platforms such as PayPal.
Setting Prices for Your Courses
Finally, under the “Managing Learning Content” section, you may establish course-by-course pricing. You have many excellent possibilities here:
- Free: For grabbing new leads or as an incentive, provide your subscribers with free stuff.
- Monthly Payments: Divide the total cost of the course into monthly installments.
- One-time payment: Assess a one-time price to students for access to the material. Additionally, you may provide an Enrollment Duration to restrict learners’ access to your material.
- Subscription / Membership: Charge students a monthly subscription charge for accessibility to all material. This is an excellent choice for membership-based websites. It requires the usage of bundles – for which a subscription plan is required.
Additionally, you can utilize the “Additional price” option to specify several pricing options for a course.
Further Marketing Options
You have a variety of choices under “Market and Sell,” including the following:
- Affiliates: If you’re interested in recruiting people to advertise the courses you build against a commission earning, Thinkific offers that feature, too. Simply create a user for the affiliate and choose “Affiliate” under “User Roles” throughout the process. You may also elevate existing users to affiliate status quickly. Thinkific will monitor the bundles or courses an affiliate marketer sells and the income generated, but similar to teacher revenue sharing, real payments will be made outside the system.
- Coupons: With any premium subscription, you may create vouchers or discount coupons for promoting courses or packages. You may specify the coupon’s monetary or percentage value (e.g., $15 off or 15% off), optionally set its expiry date, and optionally set the maximum number of times a coupon can be utilized.
- Sales Widgets: You may use the sales widget to produce HTML code that you can include on your current website to direct people to a course landing page on Thinkific platform, or directly to checkout. The widget may be shown as a button, or you can enhance it as a button along with product image and any accompanying text. It’s a really simple function you can use to effortlessly sell courses from your existing website.
Naturally, Thinkific also has an “Orders” tab that allows you to monitor all of the sales once the techniques mentioned above begin to work.
Thinkific Review: The Myriads of Integrations
When you enter the realm of online course platforms, you will often hear the term “integration.” If the phrase “integration” is unfamiliar, it simply implies that one piece of software may “speak” to another by transferring data to it via some specific code. This is referred to as one-way integration. If the other program is capable of sending data back, that is, “talking back,” a two-way integration is possible.
Integration is critical for e-learning platforms, and also for the majority of web platforms, since their creators recognize that they cannot be outstanding at everything. Thus, it makes sense to link to other programs that can do tasks that their own program cannot.
Thinkific has concentrated its integration efforts on six critical areas:
- Automation tools
- Email marketing
- Student success
- Growth tools
Your degree of integration access is determined by your Thinkific plan level. The following list summarizes which Thinkific plans offer which integrations. underneath the list, you’ll find further information regarding the various integration areas.
Integrations Available with Thinkific
Free Plan Offers the Following:
- Facebook Pixels
- Google Analytics
- Social sign-in
- Stripe & PayPal
Basic and Pro Plans Offers the Following:
- Everything available in the Free plan
- Outgoing Zapier Triggers
Pro With Growth Plan Offers the Following:
- Everything available with Basic/Pro
- Active Campaign
- Incoming Zapier Actions
- Public API
Enterprise Plan Offers the Following
- Everything available with Pro
- Enterprise Zapier Features
- Public API
- SSO or Single Sign On
Okay, now that you know the integrations that you get for different plans, it is time to look into some information about various areas of integration.
Different Areas of Integration
To accept credit card orders for your online courses, you may quickly link your Thinkific account to PayPal or Stripe account that you hold. Additionally, you may link to Stunning, a service that assists in preventing rejected Stripe payments, and Quaderno, a tax management program that assists in handling taxes (even EU VAT).
Though you will not see them under Integrations (you can find them in Settings >> Orders & accounts), there are additional social sign-in features that allow your clients to register on your Thinkific site using Google Plus, LinkedIn, and Facebook identities. Whichever account your customers use, you will get to capture the email they use for their social profile.
You may link Thinkific to Zapier and Infusionsoft using the appropriate premium plan level. Zapier was created with the express purpose of connecting or integrating other services. Thus, you may theoretically utilize Zapier to combine Thinkific with a broad variety of third-party services in excess of those provided by the administration panel.
Infusionsoft is a widely used platform for small businesses to automate all parts of their marketing and sales. The Pro plan will allow 500 posts a month, while the Enterprise plan will throw in 10,000 posts a month.
While you can simply integrate your Google Analytics tracking code as well as your site verification code with Thinkific, the platform also offers several more beneficial connectors. Facebook is one such platform. You may include Facebook pixel code to monitor referrals from the massive social networking site. Additionally, Mixpanel is an alternative for sophisticated analytics. Finally, Thinkific also interfaces with Segment, which acts as an integrating bridge to almost any marketing and sales tool you can imagine.
This is a significant issue for online course vendors. All successful marketers agree to this singular point – nothing else is more successful than email for selling e-learning courses. Thinkific, fortunately, integrates with four big email marketing platforms: Active Campaign, AWeber, MailChimp, and ConvertKit. There is no formal Constant Contact connection — for whatever reason – but this could theoretically be accomplished using Zapier.
Accredible, (certification platform) outlined above, is one of the technologies included in this list. Another is Disqus, a well-known platform for discussion forums. Connect your Disqus account and you’ll be able to effortlessly include a Disqus conversation in any e-learning course you design. Lastly, in case you hold a Thinkific Enterprise account, you will find the Brillium evaluation platform featured here, as described above.
Thinkific has an official connection with Sumo, a company that provides a range of tools for growing your email list, increasing social network followers, and more.
Along with the integrations described in the Thinkific admin panel’s Integrations section, there are certain critical choices accessible under Settings >> Code & analytics. These include the following:
- Site footer code: A place where you may include Google Analytics code so that you can measure user activity on the site you build using Thinkific, and tracking pixels from third-party websites such as Facebook.
- Order tracking code: Allows you to enter code to monitor conversions via different advertising networks such as affiliate programs, Google Ads, or pretty much anything else where conversion tracking is a necessity.
- Sign-up tracking code: Using this feature allows you to determine the source of each visitor that registers on your site.
Finally, for more sophisticated users, Thinkific supports access to a public API, the construction of Webhooks, and a single sign-on interface. These options are far too complex to discuss in detail in this review, but the core idea is that when combined with the other options discussed here, they empower you to address virtually any integration need you can possibly think of (that of course, comes with the assumption that you have necessary coding skills, or at least you have someone with such skills).
In general, Thinkific is quite adaptable in terms of integration. The significant advantage of this agility is that, regardless of where you begin, it is extremely probable that you can easily expand Thinkific to suit future demands.
Thinkific Review: Student Management & Support
Apart from facilitating the delivery of your courses, one of the primary benefits of using a dedicated e-learning course platform is that it simplifies the process of monitoring users and tracking them and their data.
Managing Learners and Organizing Them
To begin, when a person registers on your site, Thinkific collects all of their critical contact information (such as first and last name, e-mail, etc.) Also by the use of bespoke sign-up fields in Settings >> Orders & Accounts, you may quickly add fields to collect whatever data you want your users to hand over to you. Notably, unlike services such as Udemy, you retain complete control over the user data you acquire.
Additionally, you may group people. This apparently little feature may have a significant influence on business model you use by enabling you to offer courses in bulk to various organizations. This is an effective method for online course providers to achieve significant revenue growth.
Additionally, you can simply categorize your pupils using groups according to job type, enrollment, cohort, time, or organization, or other criteria, allowing you to analyze the efficacy of your offers and adjust your marketing moving ahead. Nota bene: the Groups feature is only available with a Pro plan license that includes the Growth Add-on.
Communicating with Learners and Interacting with Them
Along from assisting you in organizing your students, Thinkific allows you to contact with them and allows your students to offer comments on the course.
You may allow discussion in your courses and go on to manage student contributions using the path Support Your Students >> Conversations, where you can comment to students, arrange discussions by course, and – if necessary – “Disapprove” student contributions in case you do not want those contributions to appear in the course. Discussions may be included on a lesson-by-lesson or course-by-course basis.
Along with conversation capabilities, Thinkific also throws in a “Communities” feature at the Pro level and above, and recently launched the Spaces tool, which enables you to establish specific places for office hours, cohort-based courses, and topic-focused discussions, among other things.
All of this enables you to create your own on-branded communities without having to direct learners to third-party social platforms. You may automatically enroll users in your communities on a site-wide, course-by-course, or bundle-by-bundle basis, and even establish memberships based on Thinkific Groups, or tiered memberships. Learners may access your communities directly or through their dashboard, which displays all of the courses and communities to which they have access.
Additionally, from a marketing standpoint, you may allow students to provide evaluations for your courses. You then have the option to accept these reviews and utilize them as social proof on your specific course’s sales page. In contrast to discussions, this functionality may be activated course-by-course.
Finally, the Thinkific platform allows for the activation or deactivation of a variety of alerts, some of which may be personalized. You may give students personalized messages when they register on your site, enroll in a certain course, or finish a course. Additionally, you may send weekly reminder texts. Nota bene: Reminders apply to the whole site, not just to individual courses.
Reporting & Tracking Features of Thinkific
A significant advantage of using a dedicated online course platform as opposed to just publishing information on a website and protecting it with a password is that it will monitor course progress and course completion alongside survey and quiz data.
The progress tracking feature in Thinkific (you can find this feature using the path Support Your Students >> Progress) allows you to pick a single student and track a variety of characteristics for each course that the student has enrolled in. You will see the following for each course:
- Course Activated on (date)
- Course Completed on (date)
- Course Started on (date)
- Last sign in (date)
- Percentage of Course Completed
- Percentage of Course Viewed
- Student Email
- Student Name
Additionally, you may reset a pupil’s completion % at any moment. This becomes handy if you add new chapters to a course that has already been completed by the pupil.
Overall, the course reporting is rather straightforward, but I believe it will satisfy the great majority of edupreneurs.
Unlike course data, survey and quiz results are sent to you in CSV file format. The.csv file includes the replies of all students who completed a survey or quiz, as well as their email address, name, and the date on which they completed it. Additionally, during quizzes, it displays the number of questions and percentage of questions correctly answered by the student.
Reporting for courses and quizzes & surveys is one of the core areas where the Thinkific can vastly improve. To be really candid, this is true for the vast majority of e-learning platforms. The ideal way to approach reporting would be to provide course, quiz, and survey data in a singular web platform. Even better, it would be amazing if the edupreneur was able to read a student transcript that contains the amount of time spent on a course, any credit earned, and a link for obtaining certificate for the course.
Thinkific Review – Support for Other Languages
Thinkific is multilingual.
Thinkific currently supports 30+ languages, including the ones mentioned below. The language in which your site will be presented is selectable via the path Settings >> Learning content. Additionally, you may indicate that students may choose the language in which the site is shown. If you want to do so, students will notice this choice under My Account visible on the profile page.
Do not forget that any text you enter on the site will not be immediately altered when a different language is chosen. Only text that is included in Thinkific’s standard labels, headings, and navigation is modified. (And, interestingly, regardless of the language chosen, the menu item “All Courses” stays in English.) If you want all of your site’s material including the content of your courses to be shown in languages other than English, you must create the content in other language.
This is not a limitation of Thinkific; it is the default behavior of any database-driven program in the absence of an auto-translation feature. Do not forget, auto-translation can lead to other headaches. In general, the ease with which Thinkific’s fundamental parts may be translated into another language is likely to represent a considerable time savings for course authors working with languages other than English. The following languages are supported by Thinkific:
- Spanish (Mexican)
- Spanish (European)
- Portuguese (Brazilian)
- Mandarin (Traditional)
- Mandarin (Simplified)
Note that Thinkific requests that you contact them if your language is not included, implying that they would consider adding it.
Thinkific Review – The Shortcomings
There is no denying – Thinkific is feature-rich at a reasonable price. However, that doesn’t mean that Thinkific has no shortcomings. There are several shortcomings that can actually deter many edupreneurs from using this platform. Here is what I found are missing:
Multi-tenancy option absent:
Multi-tenancy refers to the ability to build and administer many instances of a platform from a centralized location. This is especially useful if you are a training organization with a large number of corporate customers that want their respective branded instance of the platform to serve and manage their user base. While Thinkific’s Group feature gets you close, it is not exactly multi-tenancy.
Continuing education credit capabilities absent:
While Thinkific allows you to select the expected number of hours required to complete a course, it does not allow you to specify the quantity of continuing education available for a given course. It is possible to implement some hacks, this will be a substantial barrier to adopting Thinkific for the majority of course providers that specialize in giving continuing education credit.
SCORM or xAPI/TinCan support absent:
As previously stated, although Thinkific can host and distribute courses built using popular authoring tools such as Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline, it fails to use these products’ SCORM or xAPI/TInCan packaging features. If you have a compelling and legitimate reason to use one of the main e-learning standards, Thinkific is not the best option.
As I previously said, these are sectors that are largely underserved by Thinkific and other e-Learning platforms belonging to its league. If you want a platform where you will find support for all three, the beginning price point is often 3-4 times that of Thinkific – and it may go much higher from there. Therefore, make a clear assessment on whether you really need these features or not before putting Thinkific in the bin.
What is Thinkific Plus?
If you are a big business with big business volume, and big growth, Thinkific Plus is for you. In essence, Thinkific Plus is the same as Thinkific, but comes with a few additional features and an extra & hefty price tag.
Here are some of the additional features you will enjoy with Thinkific Plus:
- 1-to-1 kickoff call
- 99.5% uptime SLA or Service Level Agreement
- Advanced CSS customization
- Advanced password complexity
- Bulk content import
- Bulk student import
- Course specific branding
- Custom migration planning
- Dedicated Account Manager
- Dedicated sandbox site
- Direct email support
- Direct phone support
- Isolated / dedicated server hosting
- Launch Preparedness Review call
- Master Services Agreement (MSA)
- Ongoing account services – includes things like bulk content upload, bulk student upload, content duplication, etc.
- Unlimited Course Administrators
- Unlimited Group Analysts
- Unlimited Revenue Partners
- Unlimited Site Administrators
- Up to 3 separate Thinkific sites
Thinkific Review: Advantages & Disadvantages
Pros of Thinkific
- Custom domain: Thinkific offers custom domains as part of its Basic package for individuals who like to utilize their own domain.
- Free basic plan: Thinkific is one of the few e-Learning course creation platforms that offers a free basic plan with course building capabilities. You may upgrade as needed, but there are no upfront costs.
- Instant fund access for all plans: Whichever plan you choose, Thinkific provides fast access to your money. This is a capability that even Udemy and Teachable lack.
- Nil transaction charges: Thinkific does not impose extra transaction fees, which is a plus for the majority of instructors.
- Phone support: Thinkific is one of the few systems that provides telephone assistance. Additionally, the email assistance provided by Thinkific is pretty responsive.
- Robust third-party integrations: Though Thinkific lacks integrated email functionality and a strong marketing module, it compensates for these shortcomings via third-party connections. The majority of prominent analytics platforms, email marketing systems, and two of the most often used payment methods are all available.
- White-labeling solutionIf you’re a business coach or owner of a small company, Thinkific.com provides white labeling for the Growth Add-on package. You may permanently remove the Thinkific branding.
Cons of Thinkific
- Tricky navigation: Thinkific rates well on the majority of metrics, however navigation is not one of them. Although the platform has improved its navigation and aesthetic look, it falls behind its competitors in terms of sleekness.
- Two-step checkout process: Thinkific’s two-step checkout procedure may increase educators’ card abandonment rate. Before buying a course, consumers must establish an account on the site. When prompted to register a new account, up to 22% of users leave their cart. Thinkific’s checkout procedure might be improved.
- No course marketplace: Thinkific does not have a marketplace for courses, which might be a significant disadvantage for the platform’s free users. Course designers will struggle to advertise their courses without marketing plugins or email integrations on the free plan.
Thinkific has six pricing plans. They are:
- The Free Plan: It doesn’t cost anything.
- The Basic Plan: It costs $39 per month for yearly billing. For monthly billing, the price is $49 a month.
- The Pro Plan: It costs $79 per month for yearly billing. For monthly billing, the price is $99 a month.
- The Pro+Growth Plan: It is the Pro Plan with the Growth Add-on. It costs the same as the Pro plan, but depending on the usage, additional pricing can scale.
- The Premier Plan: It is $399 per month for yearly billing. For monthly billing, the price is $499 a month.
- Thinkific Plus: This comes with bespoke pricing.
Thinkific Review Conclusion
Thinkific is one of the most powerful course development platforms available. Thinkific’s straightforward design, extensive feature set, and affordable price position it as the market leader.
The most critical aspect of your business plan as a course producer is to identify the characteristics you demand from a platform. Once you’ve established a strategy and selected the features that best meet your needs, you’re ready to launch your e-Learning education business.
Thinkific is a feature-rich platform that provides all of the required tools for earning money online by selling very lucrative online courses.
While we recommend Thinkific, there are also Thinkific alternatives you can check out.