Thinkific Review: Pros, Cons & Pricing for Online Course Creators

By Jeff Cobb.  Last Updated on November 29, 2023

Thinkific is a popular e-learning platform with over 50,000 course creators and over 25 million students served. It offers a wide range of features to help you create and sell online courses, including course creation tools, marketing and sales integrations, and customer support. In this in-depth Thinkific review, we’ll take a look at its pros & cons, pricing, features, and customer support, to help you make an informed decision.

Here’s a high-level look at Thinkific’s standout features and why it’s consistently ranked as our top overall pick from Learning Revolution founder, Jeff Cobb:

Learning Revolution YouTube screenshot of Jeff Cobb video "Thinkific Review 2023: Why It's A Top Pick To Power Your Online Course Business"

Thinkific Overview:

Thinkific is helpful for creators looking to create both courses and communities on a single platform.

The best part? It’s user-friendly (no Ph.D. in tech required!).

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Thinkific course builder interface

Here’s a quick overview of Thinkfic features:

  • Course creation tools: Thinkific provides a drag-and-drop builder and a variety of pre-designed themes to help you create a visually appealing and engaging course. You can also add content to your courses, such as text, images, videos, and quizzes.
  • Community building tools: Thinkific allows you to build communities around your courses. You can create posts, comments, live lessons, and notifications to keep your students engaged.
  • Memberships: Thinkific allows you to offer memberships with exclusive access to courses and communities for paying subscribers.
  • Bundles, cross-sells, and upsells: Thinkific allows you to bundle, cross-sell, and upsell your courses and communities to increase your revenue.
  • Branding and design: Thinkific allows you to customize the look and feel of your courses and communities to match your brand.
  • Custom domain: Thinkific allows you to set up a custom domain for your courses and communities.
  • Integrations: Thinkific integrates with a variety of tools for email marketing, analytics, payment processing, and more.
  • Analytics and reporting: Thinkific provides comprehensive analytics and reporting features to help you monitor your student’s progress and engagement. This means you can easily track how well your courses are performing and make data-driven decisions to improve their learning experience.

One of the best features of Thinkific is its mobile app, allowing users to access your content anytime, anywhere.

Next up, we’ll take a closer look at Thinkific’s features individually, including how to create courses, the ins and outs of community building, and its powerful marketing tools.

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In-Depth Reviews Of Each Key Feature

When you search for the “best online course platforms,” Thinkific is frequently recommended. But is it worth the hype?

Let’s find out in this in-depth review of its key features.

1. Course Creation Tools

Thinkific’s user-friendly course builder helps you create and organize your course content using a simple drag-and-drop interface.

You can choose from different course templates that suit your needs and goals, including:

  • Blank course: Start your course from scratch.
  • Pre-sell course: This allows you to validate the demand for a course before creating the content.
  • Mini-course:  Offer a low-cost mini-course that can help you generate leads for a full flagship course.
  • Flagship course: Build a high-ticket resource for your community that is often bundled with other offers, like a physical product or service.
  • Webinar replay: This technically isn’t a course, but it provides you with a platform for hosting webinars that can be watched and rewatched.
  • Membership resource library: Here you can host downloadable resources for your membership bundle.

2. Community Creation Tools

Thinkific comes with a community builder that lets you create, customize, and monetize your learning community. You can run a community along with your course or even use Thinkific as a standalone community creation platform.

It’s an online space where your students can interact with you and each other through posts, comments, discussion forums, and live events. The community will be under your brand’s name – free of third-party ads or distractions.

Here’s everything you can do with a Thinkific community:

  • Create community spaces for specific courses and topics within a subject.
  • Schedule, organize, and manage live events to host webinars and Q&As.
  • Download your event calendar file and set a custom event duration.
  • RSVP for live events and get notifications for upcoming events.
  • Assign moderator roles and permissions to manage your community.
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It’s up to you how you want to offer your community. You can either add value to your courses by offering a community for free or you can charge for access as an add-on, a higher-tiered offering, or a standalone product.

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A learning community helps to increase student engagement and retention, build brand awareness and authority, and could help to generate additional recurring revenue.

3. Course Pricing Options 

Thinkific allows course creators to offer different payment options to their students, providing flexibility and convenience.

You can sell your courses through:

  • One-time payments: The simplest way to charge your students for your courses and products. You can set a fixed price for your course or product, and your students will pay it once to access it. You can also offer coupons and discounts to your students to reduce the price. One-time payments are a good option for courses and products that are not updated frequently. For example, if you are selling a course on a specific topic, such as how to code, one-time payments may be the best option.
  • Payment plans: You can set up a payment plan for your course or product. With a payment plan, students can pay for your course or product in monthly installments instead of paying the full price upfront. This can make your course or product more affordable for students, and it can also help you to generate more revenue over time.
  • Recurring subscriptions: Charge students on a recurring basis. You can set a monthly or annual price to gain access. Offer free trials or previews to r prospective students to let them try your course or product before subscribing.

To offer payment plans to your students on Thinkific, you’ll need T-Commerce or Stripe connected to your Thinkific site as your payment processor. You can also use Thinkific’s own payment gateway that offers multiple payment options with digital wallets like PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.

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4. Course Site and Customization Options

With Thinkific’s branding and white-labeling options, you can fully customize your course, community, course site, and course landing page to match your brand.

This includes adding your logo and branding elements to the online course platform and removing any references to Thinkific, making it appear as if you built it entirely in-house.

You can customize your course’s name, image, description, colors, and fonts to the entire site theme. However, Thinkific doesn’t allow you to customize the colors and fonts of your site pages individually.

Inside the community builder, Thinkific offers a range of customization options to help you create a community that fits your brand and your student’s needs. There are options to customize the colors, fonts, images, and community features you want to offer, including private messaging, discussion forums, and chat rooms.

Thinkific also lets you build and customize a course site to display, market, and promote your course and community.

You’ll get access to three pre-designed themes with a free plan. Paid plans allow you to upload your own custom theme. Both provide the ability to customize the theme appearance.

Screenshot of Thinkigic Theme Library with Explore Themes and 3 themes Empire - Vogue - Vision shown

Once you pick the theme you like, you can customize the site layout by adding as many sections as needed.

Sections can help you display:

  • Pricing options
  • Specific products
  • Product categories
  • Bonus material
  • Call to action
  • Checklist
  • Course/community overview
  • Countdown timer
  • FAQs
  • Videos
  • Upsells
  • Social proof (logos, reviews, testimonials)
  • Lead capture form (ideal for pre-launch)
  • Icons and text (highlighting key points)

If you have coding knowledge and skills, you can add custom CSS or JavaScript code to further change the look and feel of the site and your course player. For example, if you want to add an image slider or video course player to your site, you can do that with custom CSS or JavaScript code.

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Site-wide CSS customizations

If you need to help to customize your site, check out Thinkific’s support articles or contact their support team.

5. Marketing and Sales Tools

Thinkific offers a variety of marketing and sales tools.

Contact forms are available to insert on landing pages, allowing you to collect the emails of prospective students. This information allows you to create email lists for targeted marketing, allowing you to touch base with those who have not yet signed up for your course.

While Thinkific doesn’t have built-in email marketing features, it integrates with prominent email marketing tools like Mailchimp, ConvertKit, and Constant Contact. When used in tandem with opt-in forms, you can build email lists, send newsletters, and run targeted campaigns to promote your courses.

 Images, videos, testimonials, and can be used to highlight the benefits of your course.

As was previously mentioned, it’s easy to offer free trials to potential students, giving them a chance to sample your courses before making a purchase.

Thinkific also lets you create membership sites. For the uninitiated, member sites help you with recurring revenue streams by offering access to your courses, content, and community for a monthly or annual fee.

With your membership site, you’ll have the option to create:

  • Custom pages for your paying members
  • Organize private communities visible to only paying members
  • Link to your social media communities
  • Create a drip schedule (schedule course content for automated delivery over time)
  • Multi-level subscription tiers

Then you have customized coupons and promotions to incentivize students to enroll in your courses.

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Thinkific provides a range of coupon options, including:

  • Percentage or dollar discounts
  • Limited time offers
  • Free trials
  • Specific duration

However, note that many promotional features, like membership sites and coupons, are only available with paid plans.

Other promotional features include:

  • Affiliate Marketing: Thinkific’s built-in affiliate marketing feature lets you run commission-based partnerships with other course creators or influencers who can promote your courses to their audience. This will help you reach new audiences and generate more sales.
  • Bundles: You can bundle multiple courses and offer them at a discounted price to increase your sales and revenue.
  • Upsells: You can offer additional courses or products to your students after they purchase or complete a course, including coaching sessions, ebooks, or merchandise.
  • Sales Widgets: These are small, customizable buttons or product cards you can place on another website or blog, allowing your audience to buy your product from anywhere.
  • Share Revenue: Share revenue with course contributors for your courses and bundles.

6. Reporting and Analytics

Thinkific provides detailed metrics on student engagement, course completion rates, enrolments, orders, and revenue, allowing course creators to track their progress and identify areas for improvement.

Before diving into the detailed metrics, you can get a quick overview of your revenue, new accounts, and enrollments by scrolling down your dashboard. These metrics can be filtered by a specific date and viewed in both graphical and list formats.

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Moving on to the advanced reporting options – accessible from the left-hand side of your dashboard.

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Have questions about how to do something on Thinkific?

Firstly, you have the “Revenue” reports showing your revenue over time and the sources, products, and payment methods that generate your income.

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Total Revenue: 686
Transactions: 4
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Secondly, you have “Orders” reports to show you the details of each order placed on your site, such as the date, amount, product, customer, and payment method. You can also see the status of each order, such as paid, refunded, or canceled.

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Next, “Enrollments” reports give you a glimpse into the number of enrollments in your courses over time and the sources, products, and customers that drive your enrollments. You can also see the completion rates and progress of your students.

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Finally, Thinkific’s student engagement reports help you understand how your students interact with your courses and content. You can see metrics such as visits, time spent, lessons completed, and quiz scores. You can also see the engagement data for each student and each course and compare different courses or cohorts of students.

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Average Days to 100% Completion: 0
Average Percentage Completed: 6%

You can also filter and export your data sets to get more specific answers or share them with your team or stakeholders.

The way they present all the analytics using visually appealing, color-coded graphs is ideal for people who shy away from numbers.

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7. Student Recognition and Engagement Tools

Thinkific offers a variety of student recognition and engagement features to create a community-like atmosphere and give learners that extra push to crush their learning goals.

Completion certificates are a great way to give your students a tangible reward for completing their courses. You can create these certificates from one of seven different templates.

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You can further customize them with your course name, logo, colors, and other information.

Thinkific allows you to automatically issue certificates each time a student completes a course.

Other features include:

  • Quizzes & Exams: Thinkific lets you create multiple-choice questions with more than one correct answer and add embedded images, videos, or audio files to make quizzes more engaging.
  • Assignments: You can accept and give feedback on student submissions and control student progress.
  • Drip Schedule Content: Thinkific’s drip content feature allows you to create a series of lessons that will be released over time. This helps students stay motivated, engaged, and inspired while they are working through your course.

8. Integrations with Third-Party Apps – The App Store

Thinkific provides native integration with multiple third-party apps to help you streamline your course creation and management process. You can integrate with tools like Mailchimp, ConvertKit, Zapier, and many more to automate email marketing, lead generation, and other tasks.

It also lets you integrate with payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe to accept payments from your students.

Integrating these apps with your dashboard is quick, thanks to Thinkific’s built-in app store, where you can find and install apps with a few clicks. You can browse apps by categories, such as email & marketing, selling & conversion, learning experience, and site design.

Thinkific also offers an API that helps you to build custom integrations with your own tools and applications.

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Thinkific Pricing Plans

Thinkific offers a range of pricing plans to align with the needs of different course creators.

It has five pricing plans, each with different features and benefits. Here’s a quick summary of all the pricing plans:

  • Free Plan: This plan costs $0 per month and has no transaction fees.

Thinkific’s free plan allows you to create one course and one community with up to two spaces. You can have unlimited students and one administrator. You also get access to some core features, such as the drag-and-drop course builder, integrated e-commerce, course quizzes, and surveys.

  • Basic Plan: This plan costs $49 per month or $36 per month when paid annually.

The Basic Plan has no transaction fees. It allows you to create unlimited courses and one community with up to five spaces. You can have unlimited students and one administrator. You also get access to some additional features, such as custom domains, coupons and discounts, and affiliate selling.

  • Start Plan: This plan costs $99 per month or $74 per month when paid annually.

The Start Plan also has no transaction fees. It allows you to create unlimited courses and one community with up to 10 spaces. You can have unlimited students and one administrator. You also get access to some more features, such as assignments, bundles and add-on packages, memberships, payment plans, and live lessons.

  • Grow Plan: This plan costs $199 per month or $149 per month when paid annually.

Again, no transaction fees. Plus, the Grow plan lets you create unlimited courses and three communities with up to 20 spaces. You can have unlimited students and two administrators. You also get access to advanced features, such as removing Thinkific branding, bulk student emailer, bulk enrollments, and API access.

  • Plus Plan: This is a custom plan that requires you to contact Thinkific for a quote.

The Plus plan is for large enterprises that need more scalability and security. It includes all the features from the Expand plan plus some exclusive features, such as a 99.9% service level agreement (SLA), 3+ separate Thinkific sites, and multiple instructors per course.

The Thinkific pricing plan you opt for will depend on your specific business needs.

It’s worth noting that most course-creating platforms like Thinkific charge transaction fees when you use third-party payment gateways. In Thinkific’s case, you’ll have to pay a fee of 2.9% plus 30 cents for every successful credit card transaction if you’re based out of the US and Canada.

Is Thinkific Easy To Use?

User Interface and Navigation

Yes, Thinkific is easy to use for both the instructor and students.

The interface is intuitive, sleek, and user-friendly, making it easy for students to navigate through their courses. For instructors, it’s simple to manage assignments and track student progress.

When you sign in to Thinkific, you are greeted by a checklist that guides you through the course creation process step by step – a helpful feature for novices.

Create your first course: 33%
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This makes it easy for beginners to navigate the platform and ensures that you don’t miss any important steps in the course creation process.

Aside from this checklist, you can easily find what you’re looking for using the navigation menu on the left-hand side.

For the course creation or community creation process, Thinkific has pre-built themes and a drag-and-drop builder that allows you to easily create your course content and structure. No coding is required! You can also reorder, duplicate, or delete your lessons with a few clicks.

Thinkific User Testimonial:

As Simon Bacher, Co-Founder of the Ling App, says,

I love the easy-to-use, intuitive user interface and powerful features with customizable themes. This course building doesn’t need coding skills because templates are available, enabling drag-and-drop editing. There’s no limit to the number of lessons or chapters you can include in a Thinkific course. The only limitation is you can’t create or add multiple video lessons unless you upload them.

Simon Bacher

Customer Support

Thinkific provides various customer support options to help you with any issues you may encounter. The platform offers a searchable knowledge base that contains articles, tutorials, and frequently asked questions on various topics related to course creation, marketing, and management.

If you need more immediate help, you can use the Live chat option – available on paid plans from 6 am – 5 pm PT, Monday to Friday.

For creators with the Grow plan or higher, you can even book a call directly with their Support Team. This option is available Mon to Fri 6 am – 5 pm PT.

Thinkific User Testimonial:

Lisa Richards, CEO and Creator of the Candida Diet, who has used Thinkific to create a few of their Candida courses, shares her experience with Thinkific’s customer support,

When it comes to customer support, Thinkific is quite robust, offering comprehensive self-service options like a knowledge base, a help center, and user forums. We’ve also found the customer support representatives highly knowledgeable, empathetic, and helpful.

However, there have been times when the response time for our support requests has been slow, causing a lot of frustration on our end. There are also countable times when we’ve received generic responses from the support staff that didn’t quite address our concerns. With that being said, we’d still give Thinkific a 7/10 for providing satisfactory customer support.

Lisa Richards

Pros and Cons

When it comes to choosing an online course platform, there are a lot of factors to consider. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons to help you determine if Thinkific is right for you.

Advantages of using Thinkific

  • There’s a free plan that allows you to create one course and one community with unlimited students and no transaction fees.
  • The course builder is user-friendly and intuitive and lets you create your course content and structure with drag-and-drop features.
  • It has a fully integrated e-commerce system that lets you accept payments in over 100 currencies and offers different payment options like credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, or Google Pay.
  • It has an app store where you can find and install apps that can extend your Thinkific experience, including Google Analytics, Accredible, Motrain, Invirtu, etc.
  • It has API access that lets you access and manipulate data from Thinkific to create custom integrations or features.
  • Thinkific’s Zapier integration lets you connect it with thousands of other apps without any coding.

Potential drawbacks and limitations of using Thinkific

  • Thinkific doesn’t offer gamification elements like badges, leaderboards, levels, challenges, etc. You have to use external apps or creative solutions to add gamification features.
  • No built-in feature to reward your students with points for completing activities, lessons, or courses either. You have to use external apps or creative solutions to create a reward point system.
  • It does not have email marketing tools and only offers native integrations with a few third-party services, such as Mailchimp, Keap, ConvertKit, Constant Contact, Aweber, and ActiveCampaign.

Thinkific Alternatives

Thinkific is packed with features and is a great option for both beginners and professionals alike.

However, if you’re still exploring other platforms, here are some of the best Thinkific alternatives you can consider:

Teachable

Teachable vs. Thinkific is usually a hot topic for course creators or edupreneurs looking for a cloud-based LMS.

Just like Thinkific, Teachable helps you create, market, and sell your online courses. It also offers a range of marketing features and the ability to host live webinars, providing instructors with advanced marketing and engagement options.

Some of its standout features include 1:1 coaching, built-in digital downloads, and tax handling.

Pricing plans start from $39 per month (when paid annually). There’s also a free version that allows one published product of each type (course, coaching, downloads).

Read our detailed Teachable review to explore its extensive features and benefits.

Kajabi

Kajabi is an all-in-one platform that helps users create and sell online courses, memberships, coaching programs, and digital products.

Aside from courses, websites, and communities, Kajabi has built-in tools to help you create sales pipelines and emails. Kajabi also offers features like automation, integrations, and analytics that come in handy to make your courses reach the target audience.

Kajabi’s broader scope and focus on creating a complete online business ecosystem differentiate it from Thinkific and many other online course platforms.

However, it also comes with a higher price point. Kajabi’s pricing starts from $119 per month (when billed annually). There’s no freemium plan either – only a 14-day free trial.

Read our detailed Kajabi review to learn more.

LearnWorlds

LearnWorlds is another powerful LMS that comes with a suite of features to help you create, market, and sell courses. It also helps you create and sell communities and digital downloads.

LearnWorlds also offers features like interactive videos along with interactive video captions, social learning, integrations, and analytics.

What makes the platform different than Thinkific is the strong focus on learner engagement, gamification, interactivity, along with SCORM compliance.

Pricing plans start at $24 per month (when billed annually). There’s also a 30-day free trial but no freemium plan.

Read our detailed LearnWorlds review to learn more.

Podia

Podia is an LMS platform that allows you to sell and host online courses, digital downloads, webinars, one-on-one coaching sessions, and membership subscriptions.

It offers a simple and intuitive interface and includes features like drip content, built-in email marketing, and affiliate program management.

Overall, it’s pretty similar to Thinkific. That said, while Thinkific’s site builder is more robust, Podia has an edge when it comes to built-in marketing features and the ability to offer 1:1 coaching sessions.

Podia’s pricing starts at $33 monthly (when billed annually). There’s also a freemium plan that lets you draft your course. You’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan to be able to sell the course, though.

Read our detailed Podia review to learn more.

LearnDash – Thinkific Alternative for WordPress

If you’re already using WordPress, you might consider using a plugin like LearnDash. It will help you transform your WordPress site into a learning management system, allowing you to create and sell courses directly on your website.

And if you don’t have a WordPress site, don’t worry. LearnDash has a “LearnDash Cloud” plan that lets you design a ready-to-go website that aligns with your branding.

For LearnDash Cloud, plans start at $24 monthly (when paid annually).

Read our detailed LearnDash review to know more. These are just a few alternatives to Thinkific to help you with the process of selling courses. Each of them brings their unique features and strengths to the table, catering to different types of creators and entrepreneurs.

Thinkific Review – Final Verdict

Thinkific is a robust and user-friendly platform for creating and selling online courses. Its drag-and-drop course builder, built-in marketing tools, and easy-to-use analytics make it a great choice for both novice and experienced course creators.

Thinkific’s integrations with third-party apps and ability to offer flexible payment plans further enhance its appeal.

However, its limited student engagement and recognition features and the lack of a built-in email marketing tool may be a drawback for some users. If email marketing and more advanced marketing features are non-negotiable, you might want to go for Thinkific’s competitor Kajabi.

Despite these minor limitations, Thinkific is often a top choice for those looking to create and sell online courses.

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ABOUT YOUR HOST

Learning Revolution founder Jeff Cobb is an expert in online education and the business of adult lifelong learning. Over the past 20+ years, he has built a thriving career based on that expertise – as an entrepreneur, consultant, author, and speaker. Learning Revolution is a place where Jeff curates tips, insights, and resources to help you build a thriving expertise-based business.

10 thoughts on “Thinkific Review: Pros, Cons & Pricing for Online Course Creators”

  1. Hi Jeff. Thanks for all this. I wanted to share that I joined Thinkific earlier this year, primarily attracted to their community feature. What I didn’t realize at the time is that their community feature is extremely lacking in even the most basic functions, which makes community engagement very difficult to create. For examples, members of the community aren’t notified when a post is made, leaving many posts going unresponded to. There’s no simple like button for people to show agreement or to simply acknowledge a post. If a person makes a mistake in their post, not only can they not edit it, they also cannot delete it. Post notifications, like buttons, and the ability to edit or delete a post are all VERY basic functions. Though the support staff is very friendly and responsive, there seems to be too little interest in making the community feature a valuable, usable feature. Had I known this, I would have chosen a different platform. So I thought others might like to know.

  2. Hi Jeff and all,
    You guys are very experienced. I am just starting to offer on-line courses after many years of onsite teaching, and have been researching on the best tool. I am kind of between Teachable and Thinkific (leaning toward Thinkific) now. Thanks to Jeff’s reviews I have learned a great deal about both, but after reading people’s comments and their experiecnes –sincere thanks for sharing them!–I am more confused on which one to choose, or a different one. Assuming there is no issue with emailing students at Pro/Growth level of thinkific, I would like to choose Thinkfic.
    I am not sure though if I should start with Free, Basic, and Pro/Growth (I did read their features).
    Your experience and suggestions?
    Thanks!
    Kathy

  3. Thinkific is good at some things, but really rips you off for money with their growth plan.

    You pay for the Pro plan and learn that:

    You can’t see how many people are enrolled in a course.
    You can’t see a list of people in the course.
    You can’t message people in the course.

    Unless you pay extra for their growth ad on. What a rip off. Ruzuku lets you do all these things on their basic plan.

    Other problems: There reviews feature sucks. It only shows a limited number of reviews that you have to select. Very cumbersome interface. On top of that you can edit the reviews and even get rid of ones you don’t like. Whats the point?

    I am kind of stuck with Thinkific but I keep finding they try to get every dime from you.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience, Eric. I had to reach out to Thinkific on some of your points as I am on the Growth plan, so couldn’t really double check what you say about the Pro plan. Here’s what a Thinkific representative says:

      With the Pro Plan, tenants definitely can see a list of users and how many students are in their courses by viewing and exporting progress reports. It sounds like they might be talking about using Filters on the Users page, which is available on Pro + Growth. They can also message users individually and send out automated email notifications, but to do bulk emails to students they will need Pro + Growth. Also worth noting that Growth is free for your first 100 students though, and after that it’s just 10 cents per active student each month.

      From my perspective – which, admittedly is influenced by years of working with much higher-priced systems than Thinkific – the level of functionality Thinkific provides is a bargain even at the Growth plan and higher levels. – Jeff

  4. Thanks Jeff! I found the information about Zapier on their support page called Integrate with Zapier, where it states, “Level 1 – Triggers (Basic plan & above)
    As part of any paid plan, you can use Triggers to send information out of Thinkific and into another app. This works well for automating tasks to happen as a result of events on your Thinkific site. Level 2 – Triggers and Actions (Growth plan & above)
    Our Level 2 Zapier integration has both Triggers and Actions for Thinkific, allowing you to send information in as well as out.” The only plan presently above their Growth plan is their Premier plan. This information can also be somewhat surmised by clicking on the Growth plan pricing page on their website where they discuss what features they add to the Pro plan for their optional fee. Truthfully, I think this information is a little too hidden, as it’s not even fully clear on their Growth plan features page, and is not spelled out in their Full Feature Comparison page.

    Thank you for planning to deliver my comment to Thinkific. I’ve seen comments made by a representative of Thinkific that they made this change as it costs a lot to them to maintain students, which is why they changed their focus of receiving money from transactions to active student numbers, and that in the future they will be adding more new services to the Growth plan. They stated that people in plans from Basic up were interested in these additional full features which is why they decided to place them all in an optional Growth plan. I wonder if their very popular Business plan they had wasn’t inspiring others to move to a higher-featured plan, and due to more integrations with Active Campaign among others that they’ve started was costing them more than they were recovering from course creators.

    I do not want to completely discourage anyone from using Thinkific. They do seem to have a stronger feature model than even Teachable, with better reported support, and a much stronger community. But I do think this makes one pause to consider implementing an LMS solution located on one’s website instead of the cloud.

    1. Thanks again, Sherri. I’ve verified on the Thinkific site and have updated the table to reflect your comments. These terms definitely changed since I did the review (which wasn’t all that long ago). I agree they could be clearer about all of this – particularly with people who were already on the Pro plan. That said, I don’t find the Growth plan unreasonable, particularly since it is based on active (which, in most cases, would be paying users). I may be somewhat biased because I come from a world where e-learning platforms carry much higher price tags than even Thinkific’s most expensive plan. Still, I think it is a very good value for the money. – Jeff

  5. Hi Jeff, This is a great article and is helping me a lot to make a decision on where I want to sell online courses! Really nice research! One thing I noticed that may be incorrect: You listed under Pro that Zapier ingoing actions and Active Campaign is included; I think only outgoing zaps are included for Pro. Ingoing zap actions and Active Campaign direct integration are included if you purchase the optional Growth package. The Growth package needs to be purchased also if you want to white-label the product completely.

    In addition, I saw from their closed Facebook Studio group that many class creators are upset as the new Growth package price per user includes all those who are active students, and only excludes those who are completing a free trial or who have expired from their courses. This is concerning to me as someone who would like my product white-labeled, integrated with Active Campaign including incoming zap actions, and give lifetime access to those I sell my class to. With this model, you will easily pay the $499 a month upper limit for the growth package, as all those who purchased the class in previous months are also included in the active student numbers.

    The basic plan or the Pro plan does look like a good way to start though for those who are interested. Thinkific does offer a lot of tools and help to create an online class with their how-tos, forums and tight-knit community. I see many, however who are concerned. They have grandfathered those who were in the Business plan by Oct 2018 to stay with the same previous features and price for at least two years, but have said there are no ongoing guarantees of anything further. I understand needing to increase their price over time, but I think it would be much easier to sell extras that used to be in their Business Plan that are now in their Growth package, if people paid via additional cost per transaction vs. total active users.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to leave such thoughtful comments on the review, Sherri. I’ll double check on Zapier. I was pretty careful about what was or wasn’t included when I wrote this, but I may have made a mistake or it may have changed in the meantime. I’ll also make sure Thinkific is aware of the perspective you have shared here. – Jeff

  6. Jeff, I read your book years ago, when I was considering making the leap into the e-learning field. Since then, I’ve been a CANVAS user because I teach hybrid classes at a local college as an adjunct. Now that I’m committing to ramping up my business, your reviews are the BEST I’ve come across. Your attention to detail and counsel are greatly valued. Your insight has convinced me to follow my gut on THINKIFIC and go with their platform. All my best, Dan

    1. Hey Dan – Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and say so. If there are any specifics about Thinkific you are still wondering about, just let me know. If I don’t have the answer, I can most likely connect you with someone who does. That said, I don’t think you will go wrong with them, and I am fan of following your gut and getting to it! – Jeff

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10 thoughts on “Thinkific Review: Pros, Cons & Pricing for Online Course Creators”

  1. Hi Jeff. Thanks for all this. I wanted to share that I joined Thinkific earlier this year, primarily attracted to their community feature. What I didn’t realize at the time is that their community feature is extremely lacking in even the most basic functions, which makes community engagement very difficult to create. For examples, members of the community aren’t notified when a post is made, leaving many posts going unresponded to. There’s no simple like button for people to show agreement or to simply acknowledge a post. If a person makes a mistake in their post, not only can they not edit it, they also cannot delete it. Post notifications, like buttons, and the ability to edit or delete a post are all VERY basic functions. Though the support staff is very friendly and responsive, there seems to be too little interest in making the community feature a valuable, usable feature. Had I known this, I would have chosen a different platform. So I thought others might like to know.

  2. Hi Jeff and all,
    You guys are very experienced. I am just starting to offer on-line courses after many years of onsite teaching, and have been researching on the best tool. I am kind of between Teachable and Thinkific (leaning toward Thinkific) now. Thanks to Jeff’s reviews I have learned a great deal about both, but after reading people’s comments and their experiecnes –sincere thanks for sharing them!–I am more confused on which one to choose, or a different one. Assuming there is no issue with emailing students at Pro/Growth level of thinkific, I would like to choose Thinkfic.
    I am not sure though if I should start with Free, Basic, and Pro/Growth (I did read their features).
    Your experience and suggestions?
    Thanks!
    Kathy

  3. Thinkific is good at some things, but really rips you off for money with their growth plan.

    You pay for the Pro plan and learn that:

    You can’t see how many people are enrolled in a course.
    You can’t see a list of people in the course.
    You can’t message people in the course.

    Unless you pay extra for their growth ad on. What a rip off. Ruzuku lets you do all these things on their basic plan.

    Other problems: There reviews feature sucks. It only shows a limited number of reviews that you have to select. Very cumbersome interface. On top of that you can edit the reviews and even get rid of ones you don’t like. Whats the point?

    I am kind of stuck with Thinkific but I keep finding they try to get every dime from you.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience, Eric. I had to reach out to Thinkific on some of your points as I am on the Growth plan, so couldn’t really double check what you say about the Pro plan. Here’s what a Thinkific representative says:

      With the Pro Plan, tenants definitely can see a list of users and how many students are in their courses by viewing and exporting progress reports. It sounds like they might be talking about using Filters on the Users page, which is available on Pro + Growth. They can also message users individually and send out automated email notifications, but to do bulk emails to students they will need Pro + Growth. Also worth noting that Growth is free for your first 100 students though, and after that it’s just 10 cents per active student each month.

      From my perspective – which, admittedly is influenced by years of working with much higher-priced systems than Thinkific – the level of functionality Thinkific provides is a bargain even at the Growth plan and higher levels. – Jeff

  4. Thanks Jeff! I found the information about Zapier on their support page called Integrate with Zapier, where it states, “Level 1 – Triggers (Basic plan & above)
    As part of any paid plan, you can use Triggers to send information out of Thinkific and into another app. This works well for automating tasks to happen as a result of events on your Thinkific site. Level 2 – Triggers and Actions (Growth plan & above)
    Our Level 2 Zapier integration has both Triggers and Actions for Thinkific, allowing you to send information in as well as out.” The only plan presently above their Growth plan is their Premier plan. This information can also be somewhat surmised by clicking on the Growth plan pricing page on their website where they discuss what features they add to the Pro plan for their optional fee. Truthfully, I think this information is a little too hidden, as it’s not even fully clear on their Growth plan features page, and is not spelled out in their Full Feature Comparison page.

    Thank you for planning to deliver my comment to Thinkific. I’ve seen comments made by a representative of Thinkific that they made this change as it costs a lot to them to maintain students, which is why they changed their focus of receiving money from transactions to active student numbers, and that in the future they will be adding more new services to the Growth plan. They stated that people in plans from Basic up were interested in these additional full features which is why they decided to place them all in an optional Growth plan. I wonder if their very popular Business plan they had wasn’t inspiring others to move to a higher-featured plan, and due to more integrations with Active Campaign among others that they’ve started was costing them more than they were recovering from course creators.

    I do not want to completely discourage anyone from using Thinkific. They do seem to have a stronger feature model than even Teachable, with better reported support, and a much stronger community. But I do think this makes one pause to consider implementing an LMS solution located on one’s website instead of the cloud.

    1. Thanks again, Sherri. I’ve verified on the Thinkific site and have updated the table to reflect your comments. These terms definitely changed since I did the review (which wasn’t all that long ago). I agree they could be clearer about all of this – particularly with people who were already on the Pro plan. That said, I don’t find the Growth plan unreasonable, particularly since it is based on active (which, in most cases, would be paying users). I may be somewhat biased because I come from a world where e-learning platforms carry much higher price tags than even Thinkific’s most expensive plan. Still, I think it is a very good value for the money. – Jeff

  5. Hi Jeff, This is a great article and is helping me a lot to make a decision on where I want to sell online courses! Really nice research! One thing I noticed that may be incorrect: You listed under Pro that Zapier ingoing actions and Active Campaign is included; I think only outgoing zaps are included for Pro. Ingoing zap actions and Active Campaign direct integration are included if you purchase the optional Growth package. The Growth package needs to be purchased also if you want to white-label the product completely.

    In addition, I saw from their closed Facebook Studio group that many class creators are upset as the new Growth package price per user includes all those who are active students, and only excludes those who are completing a free trial or who have expired from their courses. This is concerning to me as someone who would like my product white-labeled, integrated with Active Campaign including incoming zap actions, and give lifetime access to those I sell my class to. With this model, you will easily pay the $499 a month upper limit for the growth package, as all those who purchased the class in previous months are also included in the active student numbers.

    The basic plan or the Pro plan does look like a good way to start though for those who are interested. Thinkific does offer a lot of tools and help to create an online class with their how-tos, forums and tight-knit community. I see many, however who are concerned. They have grandfathered those who were in the Business plan by Oct 2018 to stay with the same previous features and price for at least two years, but have said there are no ongoing guarantees of anything further. I understand needing to increase their price over time, but I think it would be much easier to sell extras that used to be in their Business Plan that are now in their Growth package, if people paid via additional cost per transaction vs. total active users.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to leave such thoughtful comments on the review, Sherri. I’ll double check on Zapier. I was pretty careful about what was or wasn’t included when I wrote this, but I may have made a mistake or it may have changed in the meantime. I’ll also make sure Thinkific is aware of the perspective you have shared here. – Jeff

  6. Jeff, I read your book years ago, when I was considering making the leap into the e-learning field. Since then, I’ve been a CANVAS user because I teach hybrid classes at a local college as an adjunct. Now that I’m committing to ramping up my business, your reviews are the BEST I’ve come across. Your attention to detail and counsel are greatly valued. Your insight has convinced me to follow my gut on THINKIFIC and go with their platform. All my best, Dan

    1. Hey Dan – Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and say so. If there are any specifics about Thinkific you are still wondering about, just let me know. If I don’t have the answer, I can most likely connect you with someone who does. That said, I don’t think you will go wrong with them, and I am fan of following your gut and getting to it! – Jeff

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