Thinkific is a great platform for creating an online course that allows you to share your expertise in a specific field. Anyone who has ever studied in any capacity will know that there are some tried and tested ways to make the process of learning significantly easier.
One of the most common and effective ways to make learning a topic or a subject easier for the student is to provide a community that is built around the course content. Thinkific is a course management platform that offers you the opportunity to build just that.
What Is Thinkific Community?
Thinkific community is a feature of courses made through the Thinkific platform. It has been designed to be a means of communication between students that have enrolled in a specific course.
The appearance and functionality of the platform are similar to that of general online forums or Facebook groups.
The community is moderated by an administrator who is employed by Thinkific and is in charge of ensuring that the community is being used appropriately and continues to remain a safe space for students to interact with each other and discuss ideas relating to the topic that they are studying.
The main aim of the community is to allow students to connect with other people who share the same interests and different insights.
This provides them with the perfect opportunity to share their ideas, and cement the knowledge that they have obtained through your course.
Allowing students on a course to interact with each other and share thoughts and questions on the topics that they have been learning can really help them to strengthen their understanding of the course materials.
Creating a supportive learning environment can help to boost the success of a course and adds an extra layer for the students to interact with. It also provides extra value for money for those who are signing up for the course.
Which Tiers Have Access To Thinkific Community?
If you are unfamiliar with how Thinkific works, there are four possible tiers to choose from when you are building your course. There is the free plan, which provides you with the basic tools and features that you need in order to build your course.
There is also the basic plan which provides you with extra tools to help make your course more engaging for your students. Above that tier, there is the start plan. This tier gives you access to even more tools and features such as live events, live sessions, and live lessons to elevate your course.
Finally, there is the growth tier which gives you access to all of the features and tools that are available on Thinkific.
All of the tiers that are available on the Thinkific platform, including the free version, have access to the Thinkific community. However, it is important to know that not all of the tiers receive the same amount of support and benefits for the community.
For example, the lower-tier Thinkific account has access to a single administrator who helps to keep the community running smoothly. The higher tiers of accounts have access to two administrators.
With the increased number of administrators come larger communities. With the highest and most expensive tier, it is possible to make up to three communities. You can also have more places in your community with the higher tiers.
One of the main selling points of the higher tiers is the increased opportunities for creating communities for the students that enroll in the courses that you create.
How Do Community Spaces Work With Thinkific?
The different tiers that are available from Thinkific have different sizes of communities that are available to make.
The free plan allows 2 Spaces per community, the basic plan allows 5 Spaces per community, the start plan allows 10 Spaces per community, and the grow plan allows 20 Spaces per community.
While there is no limit to the number of students that you can have in a community, that doesn’t mean that there is free range to do what you like. Within the community, Thinkific offers the ability to create different spaces.
As we mentioned above, the Thinkific community is like one giant forum or Facebook group. However, there are a few things that make the Thinkific community different from these other chat and social sites.
With the Thinkific community, there is currently no way of organizing the posts in the forum. This means that you have to view all of the posts in order of the most recent post that has been created.
This can make it difficult to find certain posts about certain topics in a community. This also becomes a much larger problem when you have vast quantities of students enrolled in a particular course.
Because of this lack of organizational tools, the spaces that can be created in the communities come in handy. With the number of spaces that you have available on your chosen tier plan, you can organize your community into different categories.
For example, if you have opted for the free Thinkific plan, you can create two spaces in your community.
To keep things as organized and easy as possible, you can create a space that is dedicated to more casual chat which allows your students to get to know each other and become a more supportive entity.
You can then create a second space that is reserved for questions and discussions about the course material.
This can make it easier for your students to scroll through the posts to find a specific question or topic. When you separate the casual discussions from the list, it will take significantly less time to find relevant information in the other space.
As you move up the tiers, you can create as many as 10 spaces for the community that you create. With this option, it is incredibly easy to keep all of the forum-like chat rooms separate to allow your students to navigate through past posts more easily.
There are so many options for categorizing your community into ten spaces and the method that you decide upon will be dependent on the topic and area that you are teaching.
With so many potential spaces available, you could even add a space that is designed specifically for networking within your industry or niche. This can add extra monetary value to your course from your student’s point of view.
Why Is It Important To Have A Community?
We briefly mentioned above why it can be so important to establish a community alongside your online course. One of the main things that people struggle with when completing online courses is the natural remote environment that they present.
With the majority of online courses, the students are going to be spending most of their time working on their own and even at their own pace.
This can be an isolating experience and makes it much harder to extract the full potential from the course materials. No matter how well-designed your course is, nothing can make up for the things that you can learn from other students learning the same things as you.
Other students will approach the exact same course materials with different perspectives and from different backgrounds. Being able to communicate this to one another and have open discussions about it helps to boost the effectiveness of the course.
Of course, having a community on Thinkific isn’t just about how your students can interact with each other. Another important aspect of providing a community space is to allow your students to interact with you in a more efficient way than via email.
Presenting a forum where your students can ask you questions for clarification or help benefits everyone on the course. This gives the students a chance to interact with the expert that they are learning from in a less formal way than email.
It can also save you from having to answer the same question multiple times because multiple students have emailed it to you. The questions asked and answers provided are available for everyone on the course to see.
Ultimately, adding the available communities to your Thinkific course will inevitably increase the value of your course from a student perspective. It also helps to create a much more interactive and social environment for students.
This has been proven to make the material more effective and accessible to more people. With peer support, more people are likely to succeed or even excel when they take on your Thinkific course.
How Does Thinkific Community Work?
Each Thinkific community is a page that is dedicated to your course. Each page can be split into spaces where students can create their own, new posts.
They can also comment on and view existing posts. Students are able to ask questions or start discussions through their posts.
Each community that you make is individually named and can be customized using fonts, colors, your logo, or another community image. This helps to ensure that your community is easily identifiable with your course.
When you create more than one community, you can use fonts, colors, and branding to make the experience universal for all of your students.
Any post that is made on your community page can feature a file link, video, or photo. Because the Thinkific community features this, it makes it a lot easier for your students to share knowledge and ask specific questions to help them understand a topic or lesson.
Benefits Of Having A Thinkific Community
If it wasn’t already clear, there are many benefits that can come from taking the time to set up your community with Thinkific. Below are some examples of how a Thinkific community can help you to ensure that your course succeeds.
Create A Branded Community
One of the most important benefits of a Thinkific community from a business perspective is that you can control the branding of your community. You are in complete control of how your community looks and how it operates.
This allows you to grow your business and to create a space that is not only dedicated to the course that you are teaching, but also helps to keep your course and its associated pages looking professional. (Check out ‘How To Make Money On Thinkific?‘
Creating and offering a branded and affiliated community page to the students on your course is a great way to interact with your students too. With the Thinkific community, you can pop onto the page and answer any questions that students may have.
If students are left to create their own Facebook group or another forum, you will not be able to interact with them.
Freedom To Generate Different Income
Creating a Thinkific community also provides you with an alternative way to make or boost income from your course. The presence of a private and dedicated network of people on your course can be a great tool for marketing and driving engagement for your course.
You can simply use the interactive and social nature of the community to increase enrollment in your course.
Alternatively, you can offer paid community memberships, bundle community memberships with courses, and even upsell to allow certain students to access exclusive additional content via the community.
Control How Communities Work For You
When Thinkific originally offered communities for people making courses through the platform, all they could be used for was to offer interaction and a social element to online study.
However, the framework of Thinkific communities has since changed to be able to generate additional income from your course. This gives you extra control over how you make the communities feature work for you.
For some people, the draw of adding communities to their courses is to allow their students to connect, interact, and really get the most out of the course material by being able to discuss topics with other members.
For other people, while these are all still positive things, it can be a great way to earn some extra income from their course. This is a good option for people who only have a couple of courses to offer on their niche subject.
It is also possible to sell memberships to communities separately from courses. This means that someone can pay for membership to a specific community that is built around a subject that they are interested in or knowledgeable about.
This can boost income from the Thinkific platform by encouraging people to become a member of the community without having to purchase a course that they may not need or be interested in.
Assign Community Memberships
Finally, a great thing about the Thinkific communities is the memberships and the control that creators have over how they work. When you create a community, you are in charge of how it is run and what it is used for. This also extends to the memberships that people have.
If you have a Thinkific account that allows you to have multiple communities with multiple spaces, you can choose whether you want to allow all of your students access to a community or only some students.
The Thinkific platform allows you to assign access to learning communities based on courses, bundles, or even specific groups of students.
You can also keep a couple of site-wide communities that are open to all of your students that can act as more of a casual chat forum rather than specific to a topic or course.
How To Create A Thinkific Community
Creating a community through the Thinkific platform is really easy and something that can really benefit your online course and your students. Best of all, you can set up a community at any time with just a few clicks (see some Thinkific examples for inspiration).
The first step in creating a community for your students is to click on manage learning products. You should then select communities, and click +new community.
The platform will then prompt you to name your community. The name you choose doesn’t matter much at this point as it can be changed at any time.
Once you have named your community, you will be redirected to the community homepage. It is from here that you can begin to customize and brand your community.
You will be able to change things such as the font that is used, the color scheme of the community pages, and even add your own logo.
You can leave your community like this, as a single page, if you like. However, it is possible to add a number of spaces depending on the type of account that you have. These spaces can be used to organize your community page from the outset.
Things To Consider
There are a few things that should be considered when you are looking to set up a community on the Thinkific platform. These things will help to dictate the type of community you set up, and they can influence the type of account that you need.
Is A Community Necessary For Your Course?
When you build a course with the Thinkific platform, it isn’t necessary for you to create a community page to accompany your course. There are plenty of courses available through the platform that do not have an online community for students to interact with.
If you don’t believe that the course materials you are teaching require communal input, you can skip making a community.
However, even if a community page isn’t necessary for your students to succeed with the course, it can be a nice touch that can make your course more stimulating for students. There are many people who learn better when they have access to peers with whom they can share ideas.
Thankfully, if you are unsure of whether or not you want or need a community page, all tiers of Thinkific accounts have access to at least one community page.
Because there is no limit to the number of students that you can have in a community, you may not even need to upgrade your account to create a stimulating community.
It is possible to make a community page at any stage of your course-building process. This means that you can make a course that doesn’t have a community page, but if and when students ask for one, you can quickly set one up for them.
How Complex Is Your Niche Or Course Topic?
Another important thing to consider when looking at making a community with Thinkific is the complexity of your niche or course topic.
The more complicated a topic is, the more likely your students are to benefit from being able to talk to each other and discuss questions and lessons together.
However, because of the rudimentary nature of the Thinkific community pages, it can be inconvenient to have to scroll through a seemingly endless stream of posts in order to find a topic that was of interest days or weeks ago.
Therefore, organizing your community page into relevant spaces is paramount.
The highest-tier Thinkific account allows you to have up to 10 spaces in a single community. This means that you can create designated spaces for different aspects of your course. The more complex the subject matter, the more space you will need to make them as useful as possible.
This will impact the type of account plan that is best for your course.
Frequently Asked Question
Should Course Designers Be Active In Their Community?
The real answer to this question depends on how involved you want to be in your student’s progress. While it isn’t necessary for the course creator to be actively involved in discussions that happen on the community page and in different spaces, it can be a good thing.
It is never necessary for the course creator to be super active in the community. You don’t need to be starting discussions and conversations every day.
However, it can be beneficial to the value of your course if you make yourself approachable and available within your community. This will allow students to ask questions directly through the community.
The community options that are available on Thinkific are a brilliant feature that allows you to create an open and safe environment for your students to discuss your course and the subject matter at large.
Adding a community to your course can significantly improve the value of what you are offering on Thinkific.