Thinkific Review: Features, Pricing, Pros&Cons

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Thinkific is cloud based software that gives you all the features you'll ever need to create your own online courses. It gives you easy to follow templates, high production value, and a great customer support team.  

But is it really the best solution for your business?  

Keep reading this Thinkific review to find out more.

If you've already decided to try Thinkific, just click the button below to get it for free.

What is Thinkific?

Thinkific is a marketplace for digital online courses.

It allows e-learning institutions and individual online course creators to create online courses on a variety of subjects.

Thinkific review

Thinkific also allows instructors to sell online courses, manage their courses, provide customer support, interact with customers and sell not only digital courses, but also physical courses (such as a DVD course or a hard-copy book).

With Thinkific's instructional design software, instructional designers can put courses on the Thinkific platform.

Thinkific has two membership levels - free and paid. At the free level, instructors can upload a single course and choose whether or not to make it publicly or privately visible on the Thinkific marketplace. Instructors can also make the course available on multiple e-learning platforms.

The paid membership level allows for unlimited course uploads.

Thinkific's marketplace allows instructors to sell courses at any price. 

Who is it for?

Thinkific is for anyone who wants to become an online instructor. The most obvious choice is that instructors will use Thinkific for their own courses, but users can also use Thinkific to sell hybrid courses, both online and physical.

Who is Thinkific for

Thinkific may also appeal to a wide variety of instructors, from those who sell physical products, such as a book or DVD, to those who sell e-learning courses and course materials.

Personal trainers, doctors, nutritionists, piano instructors, yoga instructors - think of any profession that involves a lot of content production. The software is ideal for professionals who want to offer a complete online training experience to their customers and clients.

If you're a solo professional or work in education (think professors), think about the time you could save if you didn't have to wait for your students to email drafts back and forth. 

Thinkific features

Thinkific is an online video course creation software designed to make it easier for teachers to create and share their courses. It offers many features that can help any teacher, regardless of experience level, host high quality courses. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on its key features.

User interface

If you are looking for a more structured learning environment with clear goals then Thinkific is perfect for you. However, if you want to learn on your own with just the articles and videos, Thinkific may start to feel a little bit boring.

Thinkific features - user interface

This educational platform is very intuitive with a clean and user-friendly interface that allows for navigation through courses, videos, quizzes or content smoothly and easily. I like how there isn't a large learning curve with Thinkific. You can take the course you are interested in and start it right away. The courses I've seen so far are well-organized and the information is easily accessible, which is of great value for busy people.

Course creation tool

I found that creating a course on Thinkific is quick and easy. In just a few steps you will be able to create your course in their course builder:

First, you must click on the "My Courses" tab at the top of the page and then click on the green "Create Course" button.

Next, you have to fill out some fields, which include offering a title to your course, setting up what type of learners your course is for (do they have any special requirements or learning styles?), and what sort of investment you will be making into them (i.e., how much time will they spend with your course?).

There are basically seven categories of templates for you to choose from. These cover all the basic kinds of educational products you could sell on your website. Let’s take a quick look at each of them:

Blank - if you’re a lot like me, and you want to get your creative juices flowing as much as possible, you will have the ability to create any kind of curriculum from scratch. It’s a great starting point if you don’t want to be influenced by any guides and just want to do your thing.

Mini-course - if you want to build a free or inexpensive mini-course to use as a lead magnet for your business, this is the perfect template to use. Think of it as content you can use to set up your flagship course or services.

Flagship course - This is where you’ll be able to build a full online course for your students. The template features a robust outline for your curriculum that is created with professionals keeping in mind the best practices when it comes to online courses.

Pre-sell - This template gives you the ability to create a landing page to gather interest and capture leads for the course you are pre-selling. This means it hasn’t launched yet, but you are already advertising it to generate interest.

Digital downloads - Downloadable files within your courses is a great way to generate additional revenue and capture leads. This is where you can insert valuable content that your students can learn from at their own pace. It includes workbooks and other resources.

Membership resources - If you want to run a membership product, you can host your content here for your members. All uploads will be included in the bundle, It’s a great option if you want to generate recurring revenue.

Webinar replay - If you want to give your participants the ability to review your courses at their own speed or after the fact, this is the template you should use. You can host your webinars on the platform and have them readily available to anyone you deem fit.

I like how you have great customizability with all these templates. You can make it your own entirely, which is always a good thing for anyone who wants to set themselves apart from their competitors.

Either way, you’ll be able to get as creative as you want on the course builder and you’ve got a solid set of tools to help you succeed.

Lesson content

When it comes to creating online courses, you need to leverage adding dynamic content. After all, you can’t expect to hold your audience’s attention or get the point across effectively if you only stick to static text and basic graphics.

Thinkific Lesson content

This can lead to information fatigue which isn’t productive for anyone involved. So I quite like how you can add several content blocks to your courses. It works in a similar fashion to the site builder. And truth be told, if you have some experience with editors like WordPress or Wix, you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly.

Let’s take a look at the most promising lesson content blocks:

Videos - In addition to text and graphics, you can also add videos to your courses. This is great if you want to add an animated graphic or instructions for your students. The file will get saved to your video library as well so you can reuse it anytime you need.

Quizzes - Adding quizzes is a simple and straightforward process. For the most part, it helps keep your participants awake when positioned strategically in your curriculum. The tool has basic functionalities, but it's a great quick fix.

Multimedia lessons - Like I said before, not everything can be found on Thinkific. That said, you can link out some of your resources so you can create a more dynamic curriculum. Of course, this isn’t as convenient as it should be, but it’s a solution nonetheless. You’ll be able to link to Zoom sessions, surveys, booking appointments, Google documents, and even presentations.

Text and Media - This is likely the most basic lesson type you’ll come across. It’s the usual words and pictures course that you’d come across in regular settings. It’s not as dynamic as your other options. But it gets your point across in the most basic way possible.

Surveys - One of the most effective ways to gauge your course efficiency is to ask your students for their opinion. Of course, this can also be used for educational scenarios. That only proves how versatile it is and how much you can get done with the tool.

PDF compatibility - If you have content prepared in PDF format, you can upload it to the course player for your students. It’s not necessarily something I use all the time, but it’s good to have the option nonetheless.

Audio lessons - Adding audio files is a great way to engage your audience. But it’s also a good way for you to add voiceovers to your courses. The platform accepts all audio formats, so if you want to do this make sure you have good quality audio.

Downloads - It’s always a good idea to add downloadable resources to your courses. You can do this by uploading files directly to your curriculum which your students can download at any time.

Presentations - I quite like how you can upload slides as a PDF and record voiceovers for all the slides separately. This can help you space out your content and talk as freely as you please.

Exams - This feature is partnered with Brillium. However, you will need to subscribe to the platform separately. It’s a great tool for adding exams for your students. However, I’m not a big fan of how you have to pay for it separately.

Assignments - This is where your students will be able to upload and homework you’ve assigned to them. You’ll be able to review the files and give them feedback right inside your course. It’s definitely a handy feature.

While you do get a lot of functionality within the software, it’s all mostly basic. So if you want to create more complex courses with several failsafes in place or complicated access points (think funnel-style) you won’t be able to do much with it. There is also a lack of interactive learning tools.

So the best you can do to make sure your students are still paying attention is to add a pop quiz here and there. However, that’s not as effective in lifting their spirits and encouraging learning as a quick game would.

Create video courses

This is already an awesome feature, but another popular feature of Thinkific is that it makes recording a video course much easier. You input your information on your screen as you would normally do in PowerPoint, Camtasia, Screenflow, etc., but instead of taking up all of that storage space, you can upload the video to Thinkific for free. I love how simple this process is and how inexpensive it is for future students to view the videos at any time.

Oh, you can also host a webinar on the platform. There are a lot of great possibilities here which I think you’ll really enjoy as an educator.

Drag and drop builder

The drag and drop builder is the star of the show. You'll be able to create entire courses and curriculums without experience. The drag and drop templates are fantastic. Simply drag your content into one of the many template choices and begin editing.

All of the formatting you need to give your students is available on the left-hand side within this builder. Just click on any part of a lesson, click edit, and start adding text, links, images, videos, etc. When you're done, save it and continue to create more lessons.

You can choose what sort of course you would like to make; such as a lesson (one question or multiple choice), tutorial (many steps with explanations), notes & answers (self-explanatory), or notes (college style PowerPoint).

I like how you’re able to just upload your content and move around different elements to make sure it’s exactly the way you want it to look. It’s academic-grade, so you don’t have to worry about using it for your school presentations even though it’s fairly simple to use.

The site builder

If you don’t already have one, then you’re ignoring one of the most important aspects of selling online courses. So what you need at this point is a website that your products can essentially live in. What I mean to say is that you need a website.

Thinkific site builder

I know, websites are usually tedious and take a long time to build so you might be thinking: How do I do this when I don’t have any experience? Luckily, Thinkific released their site builder feature to help you create a beautiful and functional website.

The builder can be described with a drag and drop interface that’s designed for anyone who is new to creating any kind of website. You won’t need any kind of coding experience at all, which is an amazing bonus if you ask me. Although I have to be honest that I like to dabble every once in a while.

That said, it’s great if you want to launch something quickly and with very little thought. I like how you’re able to create multiple pages on it. So let’s say you want to have multiple product pages, add a custom page as an “about me” section or something else, you can just as easily do it.

It’s quite similar to the way other website builders work. However, the only drawback is that you won’t be able to add custom codes when you need them. It’s a minor drawback to be honest, and it’s not that important unless you want to be really precise with the kind of website you’re building.

Thinkific themes

Theme options

Depending on how many options you want to have, you may or may not like the fact that there are only three main themes to choose from. Each of these themes comes in up to 4 styles, however, so that’s around twelve choices when it comes to the look of your website.

On one hand, you’ll be able to create a website much faster because your options are a bit more limited so you don’t have to spend much time thinking about it. On the other hand, you have to think about how limited your options are.

When you have so few choices, you run the risk of creating a website that looks similar or very closely identical to other sites built on the platform. I guess it’s a good thing that you have plenty of choices when it comes to changing branded content like colors and text.

That said, make sure you’ve chosen a theme that you’re really happy with before you get into editing your content. If you decide halfway that you want to switch from one theme to another, you will lose all your content. So think wisely. That said, if you decide you want a different style, your content will remain as is.

Sections

Perhaps you’re more familiar with this feature as blocks. In any drag and drop interface, you’re able to add content blocks to your page. And it’s the same with Thinkific. There are a lot of different sections to choose from. So you can add video blocks, a checklist, countdown timers, social follow prompts and more.

Customer support

One of the most commendable hallmarks of the platform is the fact that their support team is readily available nearly 24/7. I found that all my queries were tended to in time and that was quite convenient most of the time.

Like anyone who comes across new software, you have to really think about navigation and how everything works for a bit no matter how user-friendly it is. Some of the buttons aren’t clearly labeled so I needed a bit of help figuring out how to do some things.

I like how the knowledge base was ready with this information. It’s also quite convenient that approved links to their knowledge base show up when you do a quick Google search.

Custom links

So let’s say you want to build a more professional-looking site. That’s entirely possible with the platform, Of course, there are quite a few things you need to consider like paying for the premium subscription before you can do this. But it’s great that you’ll be able to set your own domain regardless.

Thinkific features

If you decide to stick to the free plan, you’ll get assigned a Thinkific subdomain. It’s not too bad, but if you want your website to look more professional, you should definitely look into getting a premium plan.

SSL

If you want to improve your website’s relationship with Google, you should definitely turn on your site’s secure socket layer. Unfortunately, it’s only available with a paid plan. That said, turning on your SSL isn’t the only way to rank on search engines. But it is a main factor.

While labels

You’ll see “Powered by Thinkific” branding all over your website unless you’re on the Pro plan with the growth add-on. This removes the text from your courses and your website for a cleaner and more professional look.

But if you ask me, it doesn’t really make that much of a difference. It is a nice add-on regardless.

Text and label changes

I like how labels for certain parts of your courses can be changed. For example, the word chapters can be replaced with anything you want. This creates a better-tailored experience for your readers and students.

It’s also a great option for keeping everything on-brand. So let’s say you have a few brand-specific words you like to use for your audience.

Or maybe you’ve created a completely different approach to learning that you want to share. It’s great that you’ll be able to do so without much limitations on the platform.

Piracy protection

There are a lot of course stealers nowadays. I know you’ve encountered some of them or at least heard of them somewhere. They take lessons and sell them for a much cheaper price. I normally don’t like to think twice about these kinds of scenarios, but it’s a reality for most of us.

If you’re worried about your content getting copied and used elsewhere without your consent, you can disable the copy and paste feature for your course.

Your students are also unable to download PDF files by default which helps you protect yourself even more. However, if you choose to upload downloadable resources, there isn’t anything preventing anyone who wants to share them with others.

Advertising your courses

Unlike other course creation tools, Thinkific does a pretty good job of helping you market and sell your educational digital products. I like how there are several features that help you maximize this aspect of the software.

Let’s take a quick look at the features I love most:

Free trials - Offering a trial period is nothing new. And it truly is one of the best ways to bait your leads into buying your products. What I appreciate about the tool is that you’re able to specify on the content creation tool whether the file you’re uploading will be a part of a free trial or not. So anyone who wants to try out the course first will be prompted with a checkout notification once they reach the end of their trial.

Completion pages - If you watch YouTube, then you’re most likely familiar with the outro cards inserted when your video reaches its end. Most vloggers and influencers do this to promote other content and to keep you hooked into their channel. You can do the same thing on Thinkific. Every course can have a customized completion page which is ideal if you have related content that you want to recommend once they complete your curriculum. Think of it as a way to upsell your products.

Course bundles - Speaking of upselling, another way you can offer related courses more efficiently is by selling them as a bundle. Anyone who sells digital products knows exactly how powerful this feature is. So it’s really nice that you can offer bundled courses to your students or anyone shopping around for a helpful online curriculum to tackle. Take note that this feature is only available with the paid plans.

Revenue splitting - Let’s say you’re selling a course with other instructors and you’d like to have the earnings split specifically. Thinkific provides you with the exact computation so you can easily make the transfers using third-party payment tools like Paypal or wire it directly to their bank account. I quite like how helpful this feature is especially when you’re working with other course creators. Not only will you maximize the possibility of reaching a larger audience, but you’ll also be able to split the profits any which way you want without much of a hassle.

Course payment options

When you go to the Managing Learning Content tab, you’ll be able to set the pricing options for each of your courses. I quite like how you have a lot of options to choose from and it’s not just a single upfront payment for your students.

Thinkific Course payment options

Aside from the free and one-time payment options, you’ll also be able to charge two other ways. Let’s take a look at your options below:

Membership - If you’d like to offer a recurring billing cycle for exclusive content to your subscribers, you can set this up on the app. You will need to use bundles with this payment option, and your students will be able to access specified courses and content. Either way, it’s convenient if you want to generate recurring revenue.

Installments - For high-ticket offers, you can choose to charge over the course of several months. It’s possible to set up interest rates for installment plans so your student will be more inclined to keep up with your content for a more manageable price each month.

Furthermore, you’re also able to set more pricing options on your courses. For example, if you’d like to set up multiple payment options, you can do that. You’ll be able to give your students more of a choice in the matter on how they want to pay for your courses. 

Thinkific pricing plans

The platform offers you three plan options with two optional add-ons for any of the paid plans. You’ll also be covered by a 30-day satisfaction guarantee where you’ll be able to request a refund if you aren’t satisfied with the software. If you want to be safe, you can also give the Core/Free plan a try first to get a feel for the app.

Thinkific pricing plans

As for payment, you can choose between an annual or monthly billing cycle. Yearly payments will save you 20% from the total price which is a great deal if you feel like you’ll be using the platform for a long time. Here’s a quick breakdown of the monthly prices:

The Basic plan costs $49 a month. It comes with all the most basic features you need to launch a successful online course and is ideal for anyone who is just starting out.

On the other hand, the PRO plan costs $99 a month and comes with a complete tool suite for building your online courses.

And finally, Premiere costs $499 a month and it comes with the growth package. It’s designed for entrepreneurs who are working towards building a course empire.

Thinkific pros and cons

Pros

  • Easy to use builder
  • Great functionalities for building online courses
  • Is packed with marketing and selling tools to help you succeed
  • Comes with a free plan
  • Has options for hosting webinar replays

Cons

  • The design options are mostly basic
  • There’s not much you can do to create complex courses and highly dynamic sites

Thinkific review: is it worth it?

All in all, I think it’s a decent platform. When used correctly, you can certainly turn it into a good revenue source. My main qualms with it however, are the prices and how basic it is. You can just as easily build more dynamic courses for less on other platforms.

The main difference would be that it’s got some of the best marketing and selling tools I’ve encountered. Think of it as Etsy or Amazon for online courses. That said, I would recommend that you proceed with caution.

Take the free plan for a whirl before you commit to anything. And if you end up not liking it, you can always just request a refund. Either way, it’s a great place to start selling online courses as a beginner. You’ll even be able to create high ticket offers.

Interested in a comparison? See my Thinkific vs Teachable article.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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