Thinkific Review: A Great Online Course Platform
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You’ve finally made up your mind about creating an online school as a course creator?
Nice. It doesn’t have to be a fully-fledged school. A couple of online courses for a start should suffice.
Anyway, whichever approach you’re planning to take, I want to say congratulations on the bold step. It’s a heck of a busy world I have to say. But more importantly, it’s extremely profitable. The growth of the e-learning industry is so tremendous that if it was liquidated in 2025, every single person in the world would get close to $50.
Yes, that’s right. According to Forbes, the global e-learning industry is expected to hit $325 billion by 2025. So, you do the math and find out how much you stand to make if you owned, say 0.001% of it.
That’s slightly over $3 million. Sounds like music, right? Heck, even 0.0001% would certainly be wonderful.
But, here’s the kicker. Teaching talent/instructors and course details aside, it all comes down to the specific learning platform you choose for your online courses.
Although there are many options out there, you’ve probably noticed that the Thinkific app keeps appearing predominantly alongside the likes of Kajabi, Udemy, Podia, and Teachable. We’ve also featured it on our blog a couple of times already.
So, what the big deal about it? Eould it be a suitable online course platform for you?
Well, it turns out we’ve been in your shoes before. And I know how confusing things can get when you’re trying to piece together multiple Thinkific reviews from different sources.
Now, worry no more. Because here’s the ultimate Thinkific review. we’ve tested the course platform for several months so far, and I’ve learned all there is to know about Thinkific.
Consequently, it’s my pleasure to walk you through unbiased reviews of all the important stuff on Thinkific course creation and management solution.
By the end of this comprehensive guide, you’ll have discovered the critical details about how the whole Thinkific platform works, the process of building a course, how to set up an online learning website, marketing your online courses with Thinkific, getting paid on Thinkific, how to engage and manage content learners with Thinkific, plus of course, Thinkific pricing plan options.
Thinkific is the best platform if you are looking to replicate a CLASSROOM experience ONLINE. Of all the options, it’s the most SCALABLE for multiple instructors, admins, and support staff. In short, ideal for building an education empire!
And to start us off, what exactly is Thinkific?
Thinkific Review – Course Creator Overview
Ever heard of LMS platforms?
Well, it just so happens that Thinkific is one of them. More specifically, it’s a cloud-based course platform that serves as a content Learning Management System.
What does this mean?
Basically, Thinkific allows you to build, market, distribute, and manage your courses online. It hosts all your web pages as well as the corresponding course content. Plus, it provides tools for connecting with learners, selling your courses (including upsell), and controlling the distribution process.
So, in a way, Thinkific is pretty much like an e-commerce platform for hosting and managing online stores. The difference is, the only type of “store” you can create is an e-learning school, whose accompanying “products” are actually online courses.
That said, Thinkific was built for online tutors who need a simple system for creating and selling online courses. While there are many LMS plugins out there- some of which even come free of charge- Thinkific is seemingly one of the simplest you can use.
You could say its developers understand that you don’t have time to learn all the boring stuff about coding. And the alternative option of hiring a developer to build an online learning website from the ground up would not only be hectic but also potentially costly.
Thinkific saves you from all that trouble by making it easy for anyone to set up and manage online learning programs. You don’t need advanced tech skills or any experience at all.
Then guess what? The whole e-learning platform is open to not only beginners but also online tutors who’ve already created their own websites.
Beginners can even rely on Thinkific for web hosting. As you create online courses, you’re free to set up an entire website from scratch.
But, if you have one already, Thinkific allows you to link everything seamlessly. Then subsequently, you can consider selling courses to the audience you’ve built on your main site.
Now, to provide the full online tutoring experience (and high-quality student experience), Thinkific supplements hosting with course marketing and selling tools, as well as student management functionalities. There are also multiple methods of getting paid for your work.
And with that, let’s review every single one of these elements in detail:
Thinkific Reviews – Main Features
Drag and Drop Course Editor
All things considered, the drag and drop course editor is the most outstanding feature on Thinkific. It’s the one thing that sets Thinkific apart from its competitors.
The best thing about it is that you don’t need to know Jack about coding. The entire course building process is graphical, and at the center of it is a simple drag and drop editor.
The editor itself is super smooth and you should be able to organize your course elements and the content freely. You can, for instance, rearrange, add, or delete sections of your course pages. The end goal here is customizing each online course according to your specific preferences.
And when it comes to the online course content, Thinkific is as flexible as they come. Apart from the typical text and videos, you could introduce audio files, PDFs, quizzes (including basic and advanced quiz types), type forms, surveys, Google Docs, Download options, etc. Ultimately, your students will have all the resources they need as they progress through the courses.
Thankfully, each file you upload is hosted by Thinkific. That means you don’t have to stress over file compression and other tricks for saving memory space. All the premium plans here allow you to create an unlimited number of courses (unlimited courses), complete with their corresponding resources.
As we’ve established already, Thinkific is pretty flexible when it comes to web hosting and the site builder.
Advanced tutors, for instance, can set up their domains and websites on third-party hosting platforms and then leverage Thinkific for its online learning management functionalities. It just simply need to integrate your existing site with Thinkific and voila!
If you’re a beginner, however, I’d advise you to consider building your site from the ground up using Thinkific’s editing tools. You could even proceed with a Thinkific subdomain by choosing a URL like yourwebsite.thinkific.com.
Not bad for a start. But then again, nothing beats a custom domain name. So, you might want to register your own domain instead of relying on Thinkific’s subdomain. This would make things much easier, especially for your students.
Now, when you get to the website creation stage, one thing you’ll notice right off the bat is the host of predesigned web themes. Thinkific comes with a decent collection of e-learning-based website theme options to save you from the headache of designing everything from scratch (functioning almost like a site builder).
Some of the default sections on the course creation templates include course review, curriculum, key-learning, instructor, etc. You don’t have to settle for all those extras though. The customization process on Thinkific is pretty straightforward.
Deleting, adding, or arranging the sections, for example, only takes a click. You could also configure the layout, colors, text, media, web pages, etc. Pretty much all the basic changes you might think of.
But, make no mistake about it. Thinkific doesn’t restrict your customization capabilities. The only problem is, you need coding knowledge to proceed past the default options on the editor.
But, in case you can get your hands on a skilled developer, Thinkific grants you access to its HTML and CSS for extensive website customization (this is relatively rare to find full HTML CSS access). But then again, you don’t need all that to build a decent online learning site. Play around with the graphical tweaks and you might end up with a much better site than you had previously imagined.
Course Payment Options
Considering money is the principal reason why most tutors get into the online learning business, I was particularly keen on the online course payment options on Thinkific.
And thankfully, there’s a range of models here. Not just the standard subscription method.
In fact, you could even choose to distribute your courses for free (free plan). And come to think of it, I guess this would be a clever strategy when you’re trying to build momentum for a mega launch.
Then later, you may apply either a one-time payment system or a subscription-based model on the real deal. The former essentially charges single fees to access the online course content, while the latter option involves recurrent payments over a period of time. Essentially the stuff of membership-based online schools (or a membership site).
But, don’t mistake that with “Monthly Payments”, which happens to be another online course payment option on Thinkific. This one is slightly different because course the online course fees are split over several months and subsequently paid in installments.
Now, all these options can be accessed from the “Managing Learning Content” area. And while you’re at it, you could apply a single pricing system on a course, or alternatively, proceed with multiple payment systems.
Then for transaction processing/transaction fee, Thinkific provides several payment gateway integrations. Most people, of course, would consider using Stripe or PayPal because of their extensive coverage. They happen to support all the major credit and debit cards you can think of.
Otherwise, you could also choose Quaderno for its smart EU VAT management capabilities, or Stunning if you want to avoid failed payments with Stripe.
Marketing and Selling Your Thinkific Courses
Thinkific sets itself apart from academic and corporate learning platforms by including tools for marketing and selling courses to your potential student market. So, of course, you can expect to bump into an array of features for promoting and selling courses to your target audience.
The whole platform, as a matter of fact, is like marketing and selling the engine for online courses. You’ll notice that the tools are spread out in different areas for quick access and increased convenience. But, if you have issues with that approach, you can always find the bulk of the functions in the “Market and Sell” area of the dashboard.
Well, you might want to swing into action as you build your website by taking advantage of Thinkific’s Checkout and Sign Up theme pages. The site editor allows you to customize them freely and create a systematic but unique sales funnel (from landing page to checkout).
Speaking of which, it’s always a good idea to organize your courses in a way that seems enticing to prospective learners. Thinkific gives you the option of either displaying each course individually or placing them in categories to sell them collectively in catalogs.
If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, the magic happens in Thinkific’s “Manage Learning Content” section. After identifying related courses, you can go ahead and cluster them accordingly. Then to top it off, consider adding an image for every single category.
Such a course framework could boost your selling chances since site visitors are bound to have an easy time scrolling through the options. And considering Thinkific is open to embedding the course categories onto any of your site pages, you could set up multiple selling funnels.
Another feature that would come in handy here is the sales widget. Thinkific is capable of providing an HTML code that you could integrate with your website and subsequently set up a sales widget for directing leads straight to your course landing page (no need for a separate landing page tool). Or alternatively, channel the converted ones to your checkout page.
The widget itself could be configured to appear as a plain button or one accompanied by text and images. The choice is yours.
Premium subscribers can further supplement that with coupon campaigns to promote their online courses on third-party platforms. And for optimal effect, Thinkific allows you to control all the primary coupon parameters, including the applicable discount rates, their expiration dates, the dollar amounts, as well as the number of times you’d want the coupons used.
Then get this. You don’t have to be the one directly promoting the courses. You could assign the heavy lifting to experienced marketers through Thinkific’s affiliate marketing system via other blogs, social media (Facebook), etc…
You just need to introduce your affiliates to the program, enter their details, specify the user roles, and voila! Thinkific will handle the tracking process for you (including all the necessary cookie data). Consequently, all the partners should be able to keep tabs on the respective affiliate sales, the corresponding revenue, as well as the payable commission amounts.
Beyond that, Thinkific offers very limited marketing functionalities. That’s beside the typical search engine features. But, on the bright side, at least it integrates with a wide range of dedicated marketing apps.
These are the tools you turn to when you need to roll out advanced campaigns. You could, for instance, embed a robust marketing tool like GetResponse and launch a full-on email targeting campaign.
Managing Learners on Thinkific
Thinkific is generous enough to grant you unrestricted access to all the data it captures from your students.
By default, Thinkific goes ahead and collects basic contact information like names plus email addresses from your student signups. But, if you need more details, you can come up with your own special fields to apply during the student registration process. Thinkific will certainly deliver the resultant data to help you organize and manage the learners.
Then when it comes to that, you could, for example, place them in groups based on their individual profiles. Such a framework is critical for concurrent distribution of bulk courses to learners from different organizations. You’ll be able to streamline the overall online course access for each group.
However, that’s not to mean that the organization is the only grouping parameter here. Thinkific allows you to also manage your learners based on their job-type, enrollment period, time, cohort, and many other variables.
That gives you the opportunity to target different audiences effectively, as well as refine their respective courses accordingly. In the end, therefore, you can have multiple online schools running simultaneously on one e-learning website.
But, here’s the kicker. Student grouping capabilities only come with the Pro plan and above. So, don’t expect to set up a dynamic and holistic online schooling system with Free Plan or Basic plans (paid plan).
Connecting With Learners on Thinkific
Interactions between tutors and learners on Thinkific goes beyond the standard course content. The platform makes it easy for you to engage your students and give them a chance to provide important feedback without a complicated learning curve.
Online course reviews are particularly handy when you’re trying to perfect your game as an online tutor. Enabling the feature would grant your students the privilege of dropping comments based on their learning experiences.
Don’t sweat it though. If you’re worried about negative reviews, here’s the best thing about this feature- you reserve the right to approve each review. Yes, that’s right, Thinkific doesn’t publish them automatically. That means you can keep the positive ones as online course testimonials and then withhold the negative reviews.
Apart from online course reviews, you can allow general discussions on each course. Students can proceed to make contributions or seek clarifications while you respond to them on your end.
The only problem here is, Thinkific doesn’t give you the option of enabling discussions on a course by course basis. You can only choose to have them on all courses but separately, or instead, disable the discussions altogether.
Another way to engage your students directly is by sending them custom notifications. Thinkific has a flexible notification system that you can configure to display specific messages at selected times.
You might, for example, want to congratulate students immediately after they sign up, enroll for a course, or complete their learning programs. Such seemingly small tokens of appreciation would go a long way towards retaining students over the long haul.
Tracking and Analytics
Admittedly, one of the principal reasons why we bother paying for learning management systems is their course tracking capabilities. While you could easily sell course content on a standard website, monitoring the subsequent learning progress over time would turn out to be a huge challenge- especially when you’re dealing with many students at go.
Well, Thinkific has made a good attempt at simplifying the whole process by providing a centralized tracking and analytics system. It can monitor a wide range of student and course variables to generate accurate figures on the main admin panel.
Some of the details you can access for each student include organization, last sign-in date, online course activation date, course starting date, course completion date, email, name, percentage of course completed, percentage of course viewed, etc.
Not bad, I must admit. But, all in all, these are pretty basic reports. So, don’t expect to find advanced analytics on Thinkific. However, in all fairness, I guess most entrepreneurs would be comfortable with these features.
Otherwise, if you ever need more, you can always rely on third-party integrations like Google Analytics and other plugin data suites. It can accurately track your traffic numbers and help you manage your marketing campaign as well as monitor the subsequent business growth.
- Voice-over PowerPoint presentation tool
- Secure cloud hosting and daily backups
- 99.99% uptime and 24/7 monitoring
- SSL certificate
- 1 site administrator
- Accept PayPal payments
- Enroll an unlimited number of students
- Detailed reporting & analytics
- Automated student purchase and enrollment process
- Multiple Instructor Profiles
- Student progress tracking
- Student knowledge assessments
- Branded course catalog
- Customizable course landing page options
- Custom-branded website
- Multiple payment methods and currencies
- Search engine optimization
- Order tracking, conversion tracking, and retargeting
- Student surveys
- Student discussions
- Student course reviews
- Embed third-party tools and sites
- Full video and content hosting
Thinkific Basic – $39 per month billed annually, or $49 per month billed monthly.
- All the Free plan features
- Manual student enrollment and updates
- Export your data
- Scheduled classes (cohort based-set start dates
- Custom domains
- Drip (scheduled) content
- Coupons and promotions
- Affiliate reporting
- Marketing analytics integrations
- MailChimp integration
- Aweber integration
- Convertkit integration
- Unlimited courses
Thinkific Pro (growth package) – $79 per month billed annually, or $99 per month billed monthly.
- All the Basic plan features
- Priority customer support and customer service
- Create hidden courses
- Create private courses
- Share revenue with up to 5 partners
- Up to 5-course administrator accounts
- Up to 2 Site administrator accounts
- Course Completion certificate options
- Advanced CSS/HTML editing
- Bundles and memberships
- Offer payment plans
- Additional course prices
- Require video completion
- Prerequisite lessons
- Randomized quiz question bank
Thinkific Premier Plan – $399 per month billed annually, or $499 per month billed monthly. NOTE: this is equivalent to “Udemy for Business” as a comparison.
Thinkific Plus – Advanced plan with custom features and pricing plan for enterprise users.
Thinkific Growth Package – Add on features package for scaling the Pro plan. The pricing is based on the number of students.
FAQ | Frequently Asked Questions About Thinkific
Is Thinkific an LMS?
Yes, strictly speaking, Thinkific is an LMS. It’s also a whole lot more, including a marketing suite, hosting platform, and analytics platform for online courses.
Is Thinkific SCORM Compliant?
No, Thinkific does not support SCORM reporting.
Is Thinkific better than Teachable?
This is subjective, but Thinkific does have more expandability to sell online towards large course businesses and enterprise scalability for course customization specifically. Teachable has more robust marketing tools built-in.
Conclusion – Thinkific Pros and Cons
- It’s one of the few LMS platforms that offer a permanently free package. One that’s sufficiently ideal for sampling the features available the premium plans.
- There are multiple course payment options for various types of students and schools.
- There are numerous types of resources you could embed onto your online courses.
- Thinkific is an all-in-one e-learning platform with hosting features, as well as course marketing, course management, student engagement, and payment handling capabilities.
- The premium packages give you the privilege of building an unlimited number of online courses and hosting an unlimited number of students.
- Thinkific doesn’t charge transaction fees on the payments made by learners to access course content.
- You can easily customize your website and course pages based on your desired outlook. And the process doesn’t require any coding skills.
- However, if you’re great at coding, Thinkific allows you to dive deep into the underlying theme HTML and CSS for complex tweaks.
- You can leverage Thinkific as an online course host and then link it to your own custom domain.
- Thinkific has a neat voice tool that helps you supplement PowerPoint presentations with voice-overs.
- You won’t get a course marketplace for promoting and selling your courses to a ready audience. Marketing your online courses is entirely up to you.
- Although Thinkific comes with various third-party email integrations, it doesn’t provide its own default email marketing tool.
- Thinkific mostly prioritizes email customer support. There are no quick options like live chat for customer support (priority support).
- Thinkific can be costly for beginners to create courses initially.
And there you have it. The whole truth about Thinkific.
I don’t know about you, but from our detailed Thinkific reviews, it’s evident that this is a solid LMS for all types of online courses. You even get a free package (not just a free trial) in case you’d like to try out the features beforehand.
So, all in all, it’s a green light from us for you to create and sell courses online.
Meanwhile, we’d love to hear your thoughts about the Thinkific course creation platform in your comments section… Here are some other related articles on online course platform options that you may be interested in:
How does Thinkific compare to the competition (Thinkific Alternatives)? Check out our comparison to Kajabi here, Thinkific vs Podia here (both platforms are rapidly growing), and Thinkific vs Udemy vs Teachable here.
Additional online course platform reviews: