As a course creator or edupreneur, do you ever feel stretched too thin? From researching your topic and developing online training, to marketing and selling your courses, you’re required to wear many hats. So wouldn’t it be nice to access each “hat” under the same roof? Or leverage a fully-decked course creation powerhouse that does the heavy lifting for you?
The e-learning industry is fraught with online learning platforms that claim to do all of the above. In this article, we’ll save you from wasted time and headaches by introducing a new beta release called New Zenler – a comprehensive online learning platform that’s gaining a lot of momentum fast.
At first glance, an all-in-one powerhouse might seem too good to be true. In many cases, the more you “soup up” a product, the more you “dilute” the quality of each feature and function. Not to mention, these bloated products also tend to have bloated prices.
That said, without exception, between creating and selling online courses, you’ll need a host of various tools to:
- Author your course;
- Engage and interact with learners;
- Host and deliver your online training;
- Track learner progress;
- Sell your courses (e.g., website, landing pages, sales funnels, etc.);
- Market your courses (e.g., email campaigns, webinars, freebies, etc.); and
- Conduct sales analytics.
Let’s head into this New Zenler review and take a closer look at how the platform implements these features.
New Zenler Courses
Before we begin, it’s worth noting how extremely minimalist and easy-on-the-eyes New Zenler’s interface is. Once you sign up, you’ll be given three options – Create Course, Generate Leads, and Send Broadcast. Note how New Zenler has handily placed them left to right, in logical sequence.
Once you click “Create Course”, you’ll be taken to a dashboard that is extremely intuitive. If you use WordPress, you might’ve noticed how closely it resembles WordPress’ dashboard layout.
It’s easiest to complete the course creation process by focusing on the top-horizontal menu and tackling each item from left to right. As with the dashboard, the menu items are laid out in logical sequence to softly nudge you in the right direction. For example, the first thing you’ll want to do is create your course, but for business continuity purposes, the next logical step would be focusing on your leads and “Marketing Funnels”, the next menu option.
If you have yet to develop your course, no problem! You can build it in New Zenler. If you’ve taken care of this already using an external authoring tool, then you’re also in luck! Not only does New Zenler support a wide range of course formats, it also enables Bulk Uploads to speed up this tedious process.
Once you click Create Course, simply enter the details into the empty fields, such as your course name, subtitle, and summary. Note that the summary only shows once. That said, if you plan to add a summary later, then simply write it out and wait until we get to the sales-page part of the process, which provides another opportunity to add/update your summary.
Then, click Create Course near the bottom right to progress from “Course Details” to “Curriculum”.
Here’s where you create the bulk of your course. As mentioned, New Zenler has a really clean and minimalist interface. Its Curriculum Builder, enables you to create a Hierarchical Learning Path. That is, each section functions as a module which can house a number of lessons. Simply click on the section (or lesson) you’d like to create, and to the right of it, enter its name and respective details, then click save before moving onto the next section.
Speaking of bulk, bulk uploads are super handy. As intuitive as it might sound from the get-go, surprisingly and unfortunately, not a lot of platforms enable this feature or have this capacity. You can bulk import from many sources, including OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Or, simply select multiple files from your computer to upload them simultaneously!
You also have other options while configuring lessons, such as Enable Free Preview of the entire course, Set as Draft so only course authors can view it, as well as making it compulsory, which acts as Forced Navigation. In this case, students must complete the course or lesson before gaining access to any upcoming courses. This is great if you’re working with credits, or if you’re doing compliance training where audits that require proof of completion hang in the balance.
That said, forced navigation is one of those contentious topics among the instructional design communities. But the general gist is that forced nav lowers completion rates. So don’t go overboard – anything “mandatory” can be psychologically off-putting.
But the best part of the Curriculum Builder is its ease of use. It functions as a drag-and-drop tool; so to rearrange modules or sections, drag-and-drop each section (or lesson) into your desired arrangement. Just ensure that your cursor’s hovering over the 3 vertical dots to enable it. Building a learning path has never been easier, even for the most dexterity-challenged among us.
Moreover, New Zenler supports a wide variety of lesson types. This ability to create courses in a vast range of multimedia formats not only engages the vast array of learning styles that are endemic to any audience, but it allows for high interactivity, where learners can actually complete Quizzes, Assignments, Surveys, Download Documents, and much more!
Some important notes:
For this to be a complete New Zenler review, it’s important to call out potential “gotchas.”
- Note that there’s a 1 gb size limit for any videos you upload. But there’s many free tools online that’ll allow you to compress them without a noticeable loss in quality. You can also embed videos created from other hosting platforms.
- If you upload a PDF but don’t specify it under “Downloads”, then users won’t be able to download them. Put otherwise, anything that’s not a download is only “readable” online.
- SCORM/HTML enables you to upload high-interactivity courses from powerful authoring tools like Captivate, Storyline, iSpring Suite, etc. However, SCORM tracking is not supported (e.g., quiz results, objectives completion, etc.), so you lose some key analytics features with this particular course format. That said, New Zenler’s vast selection of marketing and incentivization tools will keep your leads hot and coming back for more!
Now let’s get back to setting up your course.
To the left of Curriculum, where it says “Course Details”, you’ll see the course name and summary you entered previously, plus a few more options.
For example, you get to configure your:
- Course URL, through which learners gain access to your course;
- Course Card, which contains an image or thumbnail of the course that students see when trying to sign up or browse;
- Course Categories to organize your course by subject or topic, which is great for SEO and marketing purposes; and
- Certificates, which you can create or code your own for ultimate flexibility. Learners are most motivated when progressing towards a clear end goal/reward/accreditation.
Finally, before setting product pricing, you might want to customize the Course Player or “skin”. Though this feature is somewhat limited, it has all the basic bells and whistles. For example, you can add company branding, such as your logo, color scheme, favicon, and fonts. To access this feature, simply navigate to Site à Branding à Curriculum Player, then save and refresh.
Note that the course player is for your entire site; you can’t change it per course. However, to get around this limitation, you get 3 or 10 different sites, depending on whether you subscribe to New Zenler’s Pro or Premium plan. As such, you can alter your course offerings and branding on separate sites.
Creating Course Pages
Now that the content’s been uploaded, it’s time to determine the look and feel of the pages that you plan to host them on. Within your course, in the same menu as Curriculum, click Pages.
There are four main types of course pages you can create in New Zenler:
- Sales page
- Checkout page
- Thank you page
- Course access page
But don’t worry, for each page “type”, you can create as many pages as you’d like. They’re all Mobile Responsive – that is, they look great on either mobile, tablet, or desktop! So, you won’t have to worry about whether your learners tend to be on-the-go or stationary.
Regardless of whether you’re setting up a sales or thank you page, the process and features are the same across the board. Each page functions with dynamic blocks that can be added, removed, modified, and repositioned via drag and drop. There are absolutely no tech skills required. That said, if you are a techie and would like some custom input, New Zenler lets you add code to “custom blocks” – but this feature is only enabled in the full (vs beta) version. In any case, you can virtually change anything on the page.
Once you click the blue plus sign to “Add New Block”, you’re given a lot of options and Block Templates to create professional looking pages, hassle-free.
After selecting your block, double click within the fields to add text, images, etc. If you added any custom fonts to your site settings, then they should show up in the text editor. Moreover, you can change the background color of text, add background images, and change the spacing/padding. And unlike many other online course platforms, New Zenler even lets you alter each setting per device.
New Zenler’s site builder packs a lot of punch. In no time, you’ll be ready for the prime part of the process – profiting.
Charging for New Zenler Courses
New Zenler offers a colorful platter of pricing options, namely Free, One-Time Purchase, Subscription, and Payment Plans.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a platform that actually enables Split Payments, thereby widening your reach to those who need financial flexibility.
Keep in mind that you must select a pricing plan for your course to be active or open for enrollment. Even if you’re offering it up as a freebie, you’ll need to make that clear on the pricing page. To access this feature, from the course page, click Pricing.
There are even options to create Tiered Pricing Plans. For example, you can set up your pricing tiers to be Gold, Silver, and Bronze, wherein Gold offers the most features and Bronze, the least.
You can even select open and close dates for enrolment to create a sense of urgency, and get users signing up straight away. These dates are also essential when creating your courses. For example, you can Drip courses on specific dates, or – depending on if you specified open and close dates – you can drip it based on “n” number of days post-enrolment.
And if you’ve created memberships or communities, you can select which courses they have access to, and/or whether they get exclusive offers (e.g., VIP discounts).
Evidently, New Zenler’s pricing is superior in terms of its flexibility. It stands as testimony to how well-thought-out the platform is, down to the finest details.
Speaking of marketing funnels, there are some key automations and animations that they pair well with. For example, you can animate a “get free access” link to draw the user’s attention to the button, such as a simple tilt or toggle. But that barely scratches the surface.
First, we mentioned drip content to stagger how often course content is released, rather than releasing it all at once upon enrolment. To create your drip schedule, on your course page, click Drip near the top.
Simply set the number of days to release each module or section of your course, based on the number of days since a user’s enrolled in it. It’s super easy! You can also trigger automated emails to notify learners about the new release. Note that New Zenler doesn’t provide email templates, just filler text. So you’ll have to draft the email notifications yourself, but only once!
In addition to drip content, other email sequences include enrolment and course completion notifications. Effortlessly configure your automation rules, such as send email after “n” days from user enrollment.
Setting Up Your Site
Now that we’ve covered the all-important course creation part of this New Zenler review, let’s take a look at the platform’s website capabilities.
As mentioned, each aspect of New Zenler is designed with user-friendliness in mind. First, navigate to the top menu, then go to Site and input your site details, such as your site name and URL.
In both paid plans, you get a free “.newzenler.com” subdomain and SSL certificate. Or, if you have a Custom Domain (paid plan required), then input it and any additional details, as needed.
For example, if you market to EU clients, you can use the Enable GDPR setting, which will allow EU site visitors to give data-sharing consent. Moreover, you can add code to further customize the header of all your site pages or course player.
Once you’ve configured all of your site settings, in the left margin, you can move on down to branding. Here, you’ll have the option to upload your logo and site favicon, and choose from a wide array of custom fonts.
Now it’s time to set up your site landing pages, such as your home page. Simply click “Pages” in the left margin, and then “Add Page”. This process is extremely intuitive. Everything on the page prompts you what to do, such as adding your page title, URL, and template.
Currently, New Zenler provides 3 page templates to choose from. While this might not allow for ample customization, the editor makes up for it! You can also set page visibility at the click of a button (i.e., all users vs logged in users).
Only click the checkbox next to “Publish this page”once you’ve made all your edits. Since you’re newly adding it, leave it unchecked and press add. You’ll be taken back to the Pages page, where you can see your new page and any others you’ve added. Click the edit button (i.e., the pencil icon) to the left of the page you’d like to edit, to enter New Zenler’s editor. As mentioned, this is where you can truly make your site your own.
Since you’ve already set up your course pages, this part is extremely straightforward. In the editor, hover over the various page components to add text, images, or click the plus sign to add a new block and choose from the same large list of block templates we saw during course page creation. You can drag and drop any dynamic box to shift elements around to your liking.
The rest of this process is practically analogous to setting up your course pages, so you’re good to go from here. Just click Save and add in any SEO options – this will determine how your site looks and ranks on Google.
This includes your meta title, description, and tags. You can even upload a Social Image that’s displayed when a user shares your page on social media. Finally, of course, ensure that next to Show in search results, that the button is toggled to “ON”. Click “Done” and preview the page before publishing!
Here’s an example of a completely white-labeled Learning Revolution site page made with New Zenler. Looking at it from the front end, you’d never guess how breezy the page creation process was!
Note that, once you’ve set up your various site pages, in the left margin, you can also click Home Page to choose which page acts as your home page for both logged out and logged in users.
Marketing and Sales Tools
While we covered course creation, that only gets you so far if you don’t have good tools for marketing and selling – those features are a critical part of any good New Zenler review.
To access these features, navigate to the top menu and go to Marketing Funnels, then Leads in the left margin.
As mentioned, you should start collecting leads while building your course to keep your business on a forward trajectory and maintain continuity. To add a lead, click Add User/Import User. The “Role” field will automatically fill in the “Lead” role, but note that there are many roles including Instructor, Admin, Affiliate, Support, etc. So adding Leads is the exact same process as adding any type of user who will be interacting with the front or back end of your course.
Once you’ve compiled a substantial lead list, you can sort them out using Advanced Filters.
One way you can leverage New Zenler to attract leads is through its marketing funnels.
New Zenler’s Marketing Funnels help you convert leads by providing them with a smooth customer journey and attractive offers, namely “freebies”.
Choose from one of two types of funnels:
- Lead magnet funnel, wherein you hook users with a special, free offer. This funnel might contain a sales page with a free offer, an opt-in page where users provide their names and/or emails, and a thank you page. (More on lead magnets here.)
- Video Series funnel, which lets you take prospects through a series of videos to build anticipation, trust, and loyalty (e.g., video 1 on day 1, video 2 on day 2, etc.).
Instead of adding the freebie in the Opt-In page, remove it, since New Zenler – by default – adds another link on the final Thank You page of the lead-magnet funnel. This is way more effective than offering the freebie earlier.
Not only would it be redundant to have the freebie on both pages, but by the thank you page, users have not only invested a lot of time to get their “reward”, but they feel entitled to it. As such, they’re less apt to input a fake email address in the Thank You page – as is common in opt-in pages – just to see what’s next.
On a similar note to converting customers, no marketing strategy is complete without a large toolbox of incentives. In addition to bundling, exclusive membership or community offers, and upsells, New Zenler offers a comprehensive coupon feature.
Let’s say you wanted to create a 50% off coupon, then New Zenler will auto-conjure a coupon code (or you could make your own). All you need is a coupon description and to specify the discounted percentage or fixed amount. You can also restrict the coupon to specific products or determine whether it applies to your site globally.
Another convenient coupon feature is, if you’re testing out a beta course and would like to set a limit on the number of users within a group who can use the coupon (i.e., a first come first serve basis), then New Zenler’s your best bet. This platform offers a lot more coupon options than simply applying a percentage discount to a course. You get full control over who gets these incentives, how widely you’d like to apply it across your products, and adjust your sales strategy accordingly.
Live Classes and Webinars
Speaking of broadcasting software, whether you’re creating a fully self-paced or blending learning program, New Zenler’s got you covered. You can set up live classes for a particular course by clicking “Live” in the topmost menu.
The difference between live classes and webinars is that for live classes, students need a school username and password to gain access. But with a webinar, anyone with the Zoom link can join. Aside from that, pretty much everything you do with the Live Class feature, you can do with Webinars.
You can even restrict these live classes to a predefined community or membership group, or even to users who are tied to a specific pricing plan (e.g., recurring payments only) or course.
And if you’d like to conduct a Live Stream, New Zenler also integrates with popular social networks like Facebook and YouTube, among many other popular live-streaming platforms.
Setting Up a Community
New Zenler enables users to build online communities, which simultaneously act as memberships. As such, they not only enable the students to communicate both with the course creator/instructor and among themselves. Whether you’d like an overarching, site-wide community, or a sub-community based on a specific course or membership, you’re afforded many options and much control.
Simply fill in the details, like an icon or image for the community, the community’s name and description, and ensure that the course(s) that you’d like to connect to the community have pricing plans attached to them, otherwise you won’t be able to connect them.
You can also add people to the community based on the pricing plans attached to their accounts. The sky’s the limit!
One of the most valuable aspects of this feature, from an instructional design perspective, is that it enables Social Learning, which is highly instrumental in creating and retaining learner engagement. Before we formalized learning, we learned via social interactions and viewing others’ progress in a “monkey see, monkey do” sort of way.
Furthermore, the community feature automatically adds lesson comments located under each course player, to the general communities discussion tab for all to see and engage. And unlike other platforms that offer communities, learners can add multimedia to their comments, including images, video, emoticons, and even file uploads! This makes it easier for learners to freely express themselves when engaging with instructors and fellow students.
Posters within the community can receive custom email/push notifications when another member or instructor replies directly to them or within the same thread to stay in the loop! And of course, the larger your community grows, the more you’re going to need to moderate it. Fortunately, New Zenler lets you moderate community comments by deleting inappropriate or disparaging posts, or turning off commenting altogether!
New Zenler’s community feature puts it ahead of the race within the sea of competitors.
New Zenler Integratons
And like any platform worth its salt, if New Zenler’s missed anything, it’s got you covered with its wide selection of 3rd-party integrations.
The scroll bar pictured above shows that there are countless options, from team collaboration software and email marketing tools, to live broadcasting integrations like Zoom or GoToWebinar.
Other integrations include:
- Email sending and tracking tools like Zenler Mail, TrueMail, and Benchmark Email;
- Sales and marketing for advertisements and lead generation, such as ActiveCampaign and ClickFunnels;
- Analytics tools to monitor your site and sales activity, such as Google Analytics and Zoho Analytics;
- Live video and webinar tools, including LiveWebinar and Zoom;
- Team collaboration/project management tools like Slack, Trello, and Asana; and
- Payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal.
This list barely scratches the surface. View all New Zenler integrations on the provided link by scrolling down to view its full suite of options. Or simply search the site for your favorite apps.
Note: New Zenler uses Integrately for most integrations. Depending on your integrations and your volume of users, this may eventually mean you need a paid plan, which start at $15 per month.
Reporting and Analytics
Unfortunately, as mentioned, if you’re uploading a high-interactivity SCORM course created with a powerful authoring tool, you won’t be able to track user engagement with the interactions. That notwithstanding, we also mentioned their vast integrations which are indispensable from both a user and sales analytics perspective.
New Zenler integrates with Google Analytics to see how users are interacting with your site, bounce rates, surf time, etc. Moreover, for email tracking, you can use Zenler Mail or custom solutions like Mandrill, as well as well-known email providers like MailChimp, ConvertKit [TA link], and ActiveCampaign [TA Link]. Regardless, these are avenues of insight into your performance, site strengths, and weaknesses.
These integrations are also particularly useful if you capitalize on New Zenler’s Affiliate Marketing feature, which grants incredible flexibility when paying out commissions. You can track sales from affiliates and hone craft according to what’s working best.
That notwithstanding, New Zenler comes with a built-in reporting and analytics feature that’s divided into 4 categories: Sales, Affiliates, Course Progress, and Quiz & Survey.
New Zenler Pricing Plans
Of course, now New Zenler review is complete without a discussion of pricing.
New Zenler pricing is quite easy to wrap your head around because there are only 2 paid plans – Pro and Premium. Furthermore, there is tremendous overlap between both tiers.
To begin with, though, it is possible to used New Zenler for free. Because it is relatively new, the platform is currently still in “beta” and you’ll need to request an invitation to get access. Beta access allows you to use all of New Zenler’s features, but – as you might expect – the are limitations:
- 10% fee for every course sale
- E-mails limited to 1,000
- Leads limited to 5,000
- Fewer integrations available
- No ability to add blogs
- No white labeling
- No custom domain
- No live classes
To get rid of these limitations, you will need to jump up to one of the paid plans – Pro or Premium – which are being offered at deep discounts to beta users (and will be locked in going forward for these users).
The Pro plan costs $447/year and the Premium plan costs $1167/year. While New Zenler only offers annual plans on its website, if you email their support team and request to go monthly, they’ll hook you up. Their Basic plan is currently only $47/month – quite a steal.
New Zenler pricing can be considered a “feature” on its own, given how low it is for the quality and extent of its offerings. The price – in combination with everything else covered here – accounts for why the New Zenler is getting so much buzz.
Both New Zenler plans are fully-decked with the same features; the main difference is the degree to which you can use these features. For example, both plans offer unlimited fees, courses, and zero transaction fees – this is a nice change of pace from popular platforms like Teachable, which take 5% off every sale.
Moreover, they both enable Live classes, live webinars, and live streaming. However, certain features vary by degree. For example, the Pro plan will give you 3 school sites, 20 course authors, and 100 marketing funnels. But Premium gives you 10 sites, unlimited marketing funnels, and 100 course authors. So really, when it comes down to choosing between both platforms, it’s just a matter of “how much” of each feature that you need.
Consider the current size of your business. Perhaps start small and, as you scale it, you can always upgrade later.
New Zenler Review: Major Takeaways
New Zenler is still in its beta version, but the buzz surrounding it right now is unrivaled. Every edupreneur dreams of a platform that enables them to create, market, and sell their courses all under one roof. Because its backend is highly intuitive and similar to WordPress, there’s minimal-to-no learning curve or tech skills required.
That said, there are some limitations, such as its inability to perform SCORM tracking, or the fact that any branding you make to a given site becomes global – that is, it can’t be altered per course page. But that’s a small cost to pay considering Zenler offers 3 or 10 sites depending on your plan, alongside a robust, in-built reporting system.
Because New Zenler’s power-packed with top-notch features at such an unbeatable price, you’ll regret passing it up!
By Sydney Mansaray for Learning Revolution