Thinkific Courses Review – is it a right fit for your online course business?

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Thinkific has a course creator base of 50,000+ who have generated sales of $650+ mil. Like other online course platforms, it aims to provide a one-stop solution for those who wish to sell courses online.

This article will conduct a Thinkific review and determine if it is the right solution to create and sell online courses. Before we proceed, I will first state that I do not use Thinkific for my own online learning solutions. Due to my own specific requirements, my work focuses on the LMS WordPress plugin LearnDash.  However, I do recognise that it does cater to a segment of course creators, and hence, this article was written to help one understand if it fits their needs. The comparison and insights are based on my research of their features provided on their free trial plan and user feedback found on review sites.

Reviewing the key features

Like most online course platforms, you begin with creating your school on Thinkific. What impressed me about Thinkific is the walkthrough that you are presented with after you create your account (and this is just a free account!). It gives you an introduction about what Thinkific is about and guides you through on how to launch your learning content.

Thinkific Review - Guided Tour

Course player customisation

Students access your courses through the course player. Thinkific allows you to customise the style of the player, add your logo as well as language displayed.
 

Manage your learning content 

The learning content management features allow one to:

  • create courses
  • sell courses in bundles or create a membership site
  • manage course instructors and create a revenue sharing program with your course contributors
Sell online courses with Thinkific's course builder

Course Builder

Thinkific’s course builder has a ton of useful features.

The course builder allows you to determine the layout of your course, add content, quizzes, surveys and discussions. As part of setting out the curriculum, you create different chapters. After creating your chapters, you add lessons. The lessons can be in the following formats:

Video Lessons

Upload videos for your course, add text and downloads to accompany them. Under the Pro plan, you can make it a lesson a pre-requisite and add lesson icons and labels.

Quiz

Add multiple-choice questions. Pro plan allows you to make it a prerequisite,  create randomised question banks

Other lesson formats

Thinkific also allows the adding of text, pdf, audio, download files and externally hosted content (for example, google docs).

You can also upload content created from online learning authoring tools like Articulate Storyline, iSpring and Adobe Captivate.

Lesson Surveys

Incorporate surveys into your lessons and get the following forms of feedback: one answer, multiple answers, rating, scale or free text.

Create Assignments with the Pro Plan
Set up assignments for your students and get them to submit their work online. They can submit photos. spreadsheets, pdfs and your instructors can review, provide feedback through messages, approve or reject the submission.
 
Drip-feed content
Paid plans allow you to drip feed your learning content by scheduling its release at a specific date.
 
Customise after-purchase experience

If you are on the pro plan, you can set up-sell pages as well as thank you pages.

Publish options

Thinkific allows 2 options: Pre-order and Published. By setting a course status to pre-order, you can enable students to pre-order and enrol in the course. They will not be able to access it but will see a “coming soon” message. 

Site Builder

Thinkific Review - easy to use sitebuilder

Besides having a course builder, Thinkific also provides a site builder to develop your website and integrate it with your course products.

The Thinkific site builder lets you customise and style default pages like the sign in, sign up, check out, student dashboard and certificate pages. You can also create custom pages. 

Thinkific offers a set of theme styles, colours and typography options for site design. The options are limited but sufficient for one to create a standard website. 

Marketing and sales tools to sell courses online

To assist in selling courses, Thinkific provides the ability to create sales coupons and sales widgets you can place anywhere on your site to encourage purchasing.

Payment Processing

Connect to a Stripe, Paypal, or Shopify account to receive and manage course payments and receive funds.

Third-party Integrations

Connect to email marketing tools like mailchimp, Constant Contact, Convertkit, Aweber

Set up your affiliate program

 

Advanced Reporting

Thinkific has a set of reports which are currently in beta status. To unlock these reports, you need at least a Pro plan + Growth package. Here are some examples:
Revenue reports that help you track your sales and orders.

Enrollment and Student Engagement reports
– track course enrollments and course completion rate.
Thinkific Enrollment Reports
Thinkific Student Engagement Reports
 
The reports are well presented. However, the data is still pretty basic and doesn’t cover any insights into the interactions with your courses and quizzes.
 
Note that Thinkific does not support SCORM, Tin Can (xAPI) or AICC reporting. You will not be able to generate such reports on lesson content associated created using Articulate Storyline, iSpring or Captivate. 

Thinkific Pricing Plans

Thinkific bills monthly and annually and offers the following plans. There is a free plan but honestly, this plan is only suitable as a trial service. If you are seriously trying to develop your online course business, you will need at least a basic plan. We list out the key differences between the plans below. Note that for the Pro plan there is a Growth add on option. If you choose it, you will be charged an additional $0.10 per month for each active student.

Note: Prices are in USD

Free

$ 0
  • Limited number of courses
  • Unlimited students
  • Quizzes and surveys
  • Instant fund access

Basic

$49
$ 39 Monthly (billed annually)
  • Features in addition to Free
  • Unlimited Courses
  • Email students one at a time
  • Drip content
  • Custom domain
  • Manual student enrolment

Pro

$99
$ 79 Monthly (billed annually)
  • Features in addition to Basic and Pro
  • 2 site admin accounts
  • 5 course admins/authors
  • Additional pricing options
  • Create memberships and course bundles
  • Certificates
  • Assignments
  • Create and manage 1 community
  • Integrate lessons with Zoom

Pro + Growth Add on

$99
$ 79 Monthly (billed annually)
  • $0.10 per month per active student
  • Sell courses to different groups
  • Student segmentation to allow for targeted marketing
  • Integration with additional CRM tools
  • Remove Thinkific branding
  • Build unlimited communities
  • Import students via CSV or Excel
  • Bulk emails and enrolment

Premier

$499
$ 399 Monthly (billed annually)
  • Features in addition to Basic and Pro
  • 5 Site admin accounts
  • 50 course admins/authors
  • Onboarding help

Other costs

There are no transaction fees. As you are using your own Paypal or Stripe accounts for payment processing, Thinkific does not charge any processing fees.

Research of reviews online

I couldn’t find many Thinkific reviews online. So, I am not going to make any additional comments in this section.

Is Thinkific the right solution for me to sell online courses?

I found using Thinkific to be easy and straight forward.  Not only it is simple to use, it is rich in features.  If I didn’t have specific requirements such as the need for XAPI reporting, Thinkific is something I would definitely consider.

What do I like about Thinkific? It has a rich knowledge base. Its user experience is focused on helping you structure your curriculum. You get a guided walkthrough and the layout of the course builder help you structure your curriculum.

If you are looking to also engage with your students and build a community or a membership base, Thinkific provides these options.

In summary, Thinkific is good for you if you are seeking:

  • a course builder that is easy to use and guides you to structuring your curriculum
  • additional student engagement options that allow you to build a community or a membership base
  • use a variety of media or formats for your course lessons
  • a solution that allows you to build and customise a standard website and easily integrate your courses

Thinkific may not suit your needs if you require:

  • SCORM, XAPI support
  • gamification features like points, leaderboards and badges for students
  • a website that allows you to add new features and functionality

 

 

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