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.
- 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?
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
- Open Zoom and click “Sign Up Free.”
- Enter your email address or sign up with SSO, Apple, Google, or Facebook.
- Check your email and enter the verification code.
- 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.
You now need to update your Zoom settings so you can host live lessons on Thinkific.
Thinkific requires you to change one setting and recommends you change another.
- 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.
- Select “Settings” from the left-hand menu on Zoom.
- Choose “Schedule Meeting” and toggle off “User Personal Meeting ID (PMI) When Scheduling a Meeting.”
- Choose “Security” and toggle off “Only Authenticated Users Can Join Meetings from Web Client.”
- Open your Thinkific dashboard. Click “Integrations” and then click “Visit App Store.”
- Search for Zoom in the app store.
- Click “Install.”
- Read the permissions and details. Click “Accept and Install.”
- Click “Connect Account.”
- Read the terms of service and policies, and if you agree, check the box and click “Allow.”
You have now connected Thinkific and Zoom.
Step 2 – Create a Thinkific Live Lesson
- Click “Learning Products” and select “Courses.”
- Create a course or open the course to which you want to add the live lesson.
- Choose where you want to add the live lesson and click “+ Add Lesson.”
- Select “Live Lesson.”
- Enter your lesson details. The lesson details are split into sections. These are the following:
- Title – Add the name of your lesson.
- Topic – This is your meeting name and will be visible to students.
- Description – Describe what will happen in your live lesson.
- Instructor Name – Enter the name of the live lesson host.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
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.
- Once you’ve finished editing your settings, click “Save.”
- 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.
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.
You will also need to delete the meeting or webinar on Zoom.
To delete the meeting or webinar, follow these steps:
- Open Zoom and select “Meeting” or “Webinar” (depending on the type of live lesson).
- Hover over the lesson you want to delete and click “Delete.”
- 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.
Option 2: Click “Preview,” then select “Current Lesson.” This will open your Course Player Preview.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
- 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.
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.