The Ultimate Guide to Thinkific Live Lessons

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A Thinkific live lesson uses Zoom to host live webinars and meetings within your courses.

Thinkific’s live lessons allow you to connect with your students as well as keep them engaged, entertained, and motivated.

Key Takeaways:

  • Live lessons are available on the Start plan and above
  • You will need a Zoom account to use Thinkific live lessons
  • Thinkific multimedia lessons are an alternative to live lessons

What Is a Thinkific Live Lesson?

What Is a Thinkific Live Lesson?

A Thinkific live lesson is a lesson type that allows you to host live webinars and meetings via Zoom within your course.

You create the live lesson by setting the time, date, and duration directly in your Thinkific course player, and this information is automatically carried over to Zoom.

Students can access the live lesson from the course player. From here, they will be taken directly to the Zoom meeting or webinar in a new tab.

Which Thinkific Plans Are Live Lessons Available on?

You can access live lessons on the Start, Grow, Expand, and Plus plans.

FreeBasicStartGrowExpandPlus
Live Lessons

Why Should I Use a Thinkific Live Lesson in My Course?

Live lessons allow you to connect with your students on a more personal level. 

Hosting a live lesson can make your course more entertaining and engaging for students, keeping them motivated to continue learning. 

You can use live lessons in a variety of ways. These are a few of our favorite ways:

Cohort Courses

Cohort courses are when students work through the course at the same pace. 

You can use live lessons to check in with students, as well as encourage them to discuss the course, get to know each other, and collaborate on projects, as they’re all at the same stage in the course.

The live lessons could be group discussions about topics you’ve just covered, weekly Q&As, or progress check-ins.

Coaching Sessions

Thinkific doesn’t have a coaching feature, but you could use a course with live lessons as a workaround.

You can add a booking tool like Calendly or Appointo to a text lesson for users to book in with you and then a live lesson to host your coaching session. 

Webinars

Share your knowledge by hosting a live webinar for your students. 

Live webinars can keep your students engaged with your course, as well as allow you to check they are on track for success.

How to Create a Thinkific Live Lesson (Step by Step)

Before you create your live lesson, you need to create a Zoom account and connect it with Thinkific. 

If you’ve already done this, you can skip to Step 2. 

Step 1 – Create a Zoom Account and Connect It with Thinkific

In the first step, we’ll show you how to create a Zoom account and connect it with Thinkific.

If you have an existing Zoom account, you can skip to step 5.

  1. Open Zoom and click “Sign Up Free.”
  2. Enter your email address or sign up with SSO, Apple, Google, or Facebook.
Enter your email address or sign up with SSO
  1. Check your email and enter the verification code.
Check your email and enter the verification code.
  1. Enter your name and create a password.
Enter your name and create a password.

You have now created a free Zoom account. You can use the free plan with Thinkific live lessons. However, there are some restrictions, and you may need to upgrade to a paid plan. 

The most common reasons to upgrade are the following:

  • The free plan only allows you to host meetings and not webinars.
    On Zoom, meetings are small and collaborative sessions. In contrast, webinars are larger lesson-style events.
  • The free plan only allows you to host lessons under 40 minutes.

Paid plans start at $15.99 per month. However, if you want to create webinars, you will need both a paid plan and the webinar add-on, which starts at $79 per month.

Paid plans start

You now need to update your Zoom settings so you can host live lessons on Thinkific.

Zoom settings so you can host

Thinkific requires you to change one setting and recommends you change another.

change one setting and recommends

These are:

  • Use Personal Meeting ID (PMI) When Scheduling a Meeting – Disabling this setting is a requirement to connect Zoom and Thinkific. 

If this setting is enabled, it means that all new meetings are always accessible using the same meeting ID and personal link.

  • Only Authenticated Users Can Join Meetings from Web Client – Disabling this setting is a recommendation but not a requirement for Thinkific. 

If this setting is enabled, it will require all of your students to have a Zoom account or create one before they can join the lesson. This can be frustrating for students, which might reduce your attendance rate. 

If you disable this setting, students can access the lesson without a Zoom account. 

For security reasons, students will need a password if they open the meeting directly on Zoom, but they can access it without a password if they open the meeting through their course player.

To update the settings, follow these steps:
  1. Select “Settings” from the left-hand menu on Zoom.
  2. Choose “Schedule Meeting” and toggle off “User Personal Meeting ID (PMI) When Scheduling a Meeting.”
As advised, this is a requirement for Thinkific.
requirement for Thinkific
  1. Choose “Security” and toggle off “Only Authenticated Users Can Join Meetings from Web Client.”
As advised, this is only a recommendation for Thinkific.
Only Authenticated Users Can Join Meetings
  1. Open your Thinkific dashboard. Click “Integrations” and then click “Visit App Store.”
Visit App Store
  1. Search for Zoom in the app store.
  2. Click “Install.”
Search for Zoom in the app store
  1. Read the permissions and details. Click “Accept and Install.”
Accept and Install
  1. Click “Connect Account.”
Click “Connect Account.”
  1. Read the terms of service and policies, and if you agree, check the box and click “Allow.”
Read the terms of service and policies

You have now connected Thinkific and Zoom.

Step 2 – Create a Thinkific Live Lesson

  1. Click “Learning Products” and select “Courses.”
  2. Create a course or open the course to which you want to add the live lesson.
Step 2 - Create a Thinkific Live Lesson
  1. Choose where you want to add the live lesson and click “+ Add Lesson.”
Choose where you want to add the live lesson
  1. Select “Live Lesson.”
Select “Live Lesson.”
  1. Enter your lesson details. The lesson details are split into sections. These are the following:
Title:
  • Title – Add the name of your lesson.
Zoom Setup:
  • Topic – This is your meeting name and will be visible to students.
  • Description – Describe what will happen in your live lesson.
The description could include the meeting schedule or agenda, information about the host, or anything else to help students understand what the live lesson will contain.
  • Instructor Name – Enter the name of the live lesson host.
Instructor Name
  • Type of Meeting – You can select either a meeting or a webinar. 
    • Meeting – On Zoom, meetings are more collaborative between the audience and host. Participants can share their screens, turn on video and audio, and see who else is in the meeting. 
    • Webinar – Webinars are designed for presenting. The host has more control over who can share their video, audio, and screen. 
  • Scheduling – Add the date, time, and time zone for the live lesson. 
Scheduling
  • Recurring Live Lesson – Create a series of pre-scheduled meetings in one go. 

This option is great if you want to create regularly scheduled live lessons. E.g., you might want to host a weekly Q&A for your course.

If you select to have a recurring live lesson, you will need to choose the frequency and end date.

Recurring Live Lesson
  • Meeting Password – The password will be preset by Thinkific and is required to prevent uninvited participants from joining. Students who access the live lesson from the course player won’t need the password. It will be automatically applied. 
Meeting Password

Meeting Options

  • Record the Meeting Automatically – Check this box if you want your entire live lesson to be recorded. If you record your live lesson, you can access it from your Zoom account. We recommend recording the live lesson, as you can share it with anyone who can’t attend.
    • Enable Join Before Host – Check this box if you want to allow your students to join the meeting without you.
    • Enable Waiting Room – Check this box if you want to use Zoom’s waiting room feature. The waiting room allows you to choose how you let students into the live lesson. You can choose to add them one by one, in groups, or all at one time. The waiting room is also customizable. You can change the title and description and add a logo.

All the information you enter in this section will be carried over to your Zoom account. 

You’ll be able to see the details under “Upcoming Meetings” or “Webinars.”

Meeting Options

Lesson Settings:

These are the same settings as you have with all of your other Thinkific lessons.

  • Make This a Free Preview Lesson – Decide whether students can preview the lesson for free.
  • Make This a Prerequisite – Make this lesson mandatory for students to attend before they can move on to the next lesson.
  • Enable Discussion for This Lesson – Allow students to add posts to your lesson. 
  • Lesson Icon and Label – Choose an icon and name for your lesson. These will appear in the course player sidebar and your course curriculum. 
Lesson Settings
  1. Once you’ve finished editing your settings, click “Save.”
  2. You will also need to publish the lesson. To do this, scroll to the top of the lesson and untick the “Draft” box. Click “Save” to publish your lesson.
Once you’ve finished editing

How to Delete a Thinkific Live Lesson

You can delete your live lesson by opening the live lesson and scrolling to the bottom of the page. 

Here, you can select “Delete Lesson” or “Delete All Live Lessons in Series” if you are deleting a recurring lesson.

This will only delete the lesson on Thinkific. 

How to Delete a Thinkific Live Lesson

You will also need to delete the meeting or webinar on Zoom.

To delete the meeting or webinar, follow these steps:

  1. Open Zoom and select “Meeting” or “Webinar” (depending on the type of live lesson). 
  2. Hover over the lesson you want to delete and click “Delete.” 
delete the meeting or webinar on Zoom
  1. Confirm that you want to delete the lesson.
Confirm that you want to delete the lesson.

How to Host a Thinkific Live Lesson

On Thinkific, there are two ways to start your live lesson. 

Both options require you to open the course and the live lesson.

Option 1: Click “Start Meeting” at the top of the live lesson.

How to Host a Thinkific Live Lesson

Option 2: Click “Preview,” then select “Current Lesson.” This will open your Course Player Preview.

Current Lesson

From here, click “Start Meeting in Zoom.”

From here, click “Start Meeting in Zoom.”

Both of these options will take you to the Zoom app, where you can start your meeting.

Student Experience with Thinkific Live Lessons

Live lessons make it easy for students to join your Zoom meetings and webinars. 

Students can open the course player and locate the live lesson. Here, they will see a “Join Meeting” button.

Student Experience with Thinkific Live Lessons

When they click here, the Zoom app will open.

However, if the students enter the meeting using a Zoom link or any other way outside of the Thinkific live lesson, they will be required to enter a password. You can find the password in your live lesson settings and share it with your students.

meeting using a Zoom link

The two meeting options chosen during setup will determine what happens when students join the meeting. These were:

  • Enable Join Before Host
  • Enable Waiting Room

If you uncheck the “Enable Join Before Host” option during setup and the student tries to access the meeting before the host, they will receive a pop-up that tells them the meeting has not started. They will be sent back to the live lesson in the course player. 

Enable Waiting Room

If you have enabled the students to join before you, they will enter the live lesson.

If you’ve selected to enable the waiting room, the students will arrive in the waiting room, and you will need to let them into the live lesson.

Alternatives to Thinkific Live Lessons with Zoom

If you want to host a live lesson using another software or have a free or Basic plan, you can use Thinkific multimedia lessons instead of live lessons.

Alternatively, you can install a third-party app, like Howdy or Invirtu, to Thinkific.

Multimedia Lessons

Multimedia Lessons

Multimedia lessons allow you to embed externally hosted content using a URL. 

You can set up your meeting or webinar on a platform like YouTube Live or Zoom and add the URL to the Thinkific multimedia lesson. Students can then access the meeting or webinar through the lesson.

The multimedia lessons use iframe to embed the content into your course. So, you need to use a webinar tool that is iframe compatible, like YouTube Live, Live Stream, Zoom, etc.

Third-Party Apps

Thinkific directly integrates with several other video conferencing tools. You can find them on the Thinkific app store and add them to your account.

Some of the most popular third-party apps for live webinars and meetings are the following:

  • Howdy – Howdy aims to make your online courses more engaging and social. It uses video conferencing technology, along with interactive features like video chat, file sharing, gamification, and more.
Howdy

  • Invirtu Live Lessons – Add quizzes, polls, interactions, chats, votes, and much more to live video conferences. Students can access the live videos through your Thinkific course player, so they don’t need to switch between platforms.
Invirtu Live Lessons

Frequently Asked Questions

Zoom is the only option for live lessons. However, Thinkific also has a multimedia lesson that allows you to host live meetings and webinars on other platforms or streaming services.

Thinkific doesn’t host the lesson, but you can connect Thinkific with Zoom and create the live lesson on Thinkific.

Students can join from the Thinkific lesson.

Live lessons are included in Start plans and above.

Yes, you can use the free Zoom account for Thinkific. However, if you want to host a lesson that’s longer than 40 minutes or create a webinar, you’ll need a paid membership.

Live lessons are shown as a lesson type under “Advanced Reporting.” From here, you can see who completes the lesson and their progress.

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  • Samuel Fletcher

    Samuel Fletcher is a entrepreneur with over 15 years in online course development. With an in-depth understanding of online course platforms, including Kajabi, Thinkific, LearnWorlds, and more, he has not only created courses on these platforms but has also assisted others in their course creation journeys. Beyond his hands-on experience, Sam is a passionate blogger, online business mentor, and a proactive contributor to community initiatives. His commitment to excellence and belief in dedication, perseverance, and unwavering commitment drives his success. Recognizing the gap in unbiased, quality information about online course platforms, he co-founded SupplyGem. In addition to his leadership role, Samuel serves as a Technical Writer at SupplyGem, sharing his expertise with a broader audience. Moreover, he's an active member of professional associations such as the Association for Talent Development (ATD), The Learning Guild, and others, underlining his dedication to continuous learning and industry advancement.

  • Dr. Angelia Cline, Ed.D.

    Dr. Angelia Cline, Ed.D., has over 20 years of extensive editing expertise and a commendable academic foundation from William Carey University. Besides her position as a Chief Editor for SupplyGem, she is also an Instructional Designer. Dr. Cline manages the Learning Management System (LMS) for a large team, skillfully converting SME knowledge into engaging courses. With over 12 years of teaching experience, she has demonstrated her aptitude across various subjects and educational settings. At William Carey University, Dr. Cline achieved an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, a Master’s in Teaching of the Gifted and Talented, and another in English Language and Literature. She also secured her BA in English from The University of Southern Mississippi. Her proficiencies range from research and differentiated instruction to educational leadership.

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