Creating a Course

Ready to get started with creating your first course? Awesome, glad to have you on board! This article is a quick written guide to using the Thinkific course builder to create your first course.

If you'd rather watch a video, check out this one on the homepage of our knowledge base. Or why not sign up for our live weekly webinar

This article will cover:

Getting Started

Course Templates

Adding Your Content

Adding Lessons from Another Course (optional)

Add Your Course Settings

Update Your Landing Page

Final Steps

Getting Started

To get started, head to Courses on your admin dashboard under the Manage Learning Content menu and select hit the New Course button in the top right corner.

Course Templates

We have various course templates to choose from to help you get started! Note that these are just a guideline and once creating the course, it can be completely customized. Chapters and Lessons can be added, deleted, and rearranged as desired!

Blank Course

Exactly what it sounds like, this template lets you upload your content types and start from scratch.


This template is designed to help you build a pre-sell course quickly. A pre-sell course is an unfinished product used to validate interest in a course topic.

Pre-selling is a technique used to achieve market validation for a course topic. This means getting interest in the form of sign-ups or revenue before actually creating content or delivering your already created content. 

You can save time and money by finding proof that your online course has a group of people willing to enroll in it before actually making the course.


This template is designed to help you build a free or low-cost course to help you build an audience. A mini-course can be thought of as a lead magnet or a lead qualifier that helps attract students who might be interested in a larger course down the road.

If you're building an audience or following, a mini-course is a valuable resource that your target audience can get excited about enrolling in. Typically they are low-risk online courses, meaning they don't cost much and require only a small amount of time to learn with. 

Students who enjoy this course and want to learn more are more likely to enroll in another, bigger or more expensive online course.

Flagship Course

This template is designed to help you build your premium online course. A flagship course can be thought of as the product you're known for as a course creator - a valuable and prestigious source of education for your target audience.

A flagship course is best for course creators who want to produce a definitive and often expensive resource for their area of expertise. Flagship courses are typically bundled with bonuses like other courses, extra services like coaching, or with physical products. They can have multiple price points and comprehensive brands all to themselves.

Students for this course have likely seen other, smaller knowledge products (e.g. mini-courses, ebooks, blog posts, podcasts) and are committing to a larger, more intense educational experience because they trust your expertise and are looking for a transformation in their lives.

Webinar Replay

This template is designed to help you build a way for your webinar attendees to watch, or rewatch, a past webinar that you've presented. This is a great way to host and deliver a webinar replay to your audience for free or after proceeding through a secure checkout.

After delivering a webinar, attendees typically hear your pitch and evaluate the offer. Watching a webinar replay helps attendees review the pitch and offer, and delivers the pitch to anyone who missed the live presentation.


Digital Download

This template is designed to help you build a digital download delivery system quickly. A digital download is a file that can be downloaded after the purchaser proceeds through a secure checkout or opts into a mailing list.

This is for anyone who has put together a digital knowledge product like an ebook, podcast, video series, presentation, infographic, etc. and wants to sell it or collect emails with it. 

This isn't an online course, but rather a method of delivering a different kind of knowledge product.

Membership Resource Library

This template is designed to help you build a library of files or other resources to be included in a membership bundle. Typically, along with online courses, a resource library is offered as a bonus or perk as a part of a membership subscription offer.

Membership sites that include access to a resource library use the library as a repository for useful information, tools, or other resources that aid students in learning and practicing what you're teaching

Adding Your Content

**If you already have your course created as videos, audio files, and/or PDFs, head straight to the Bulk Importer tab of the course builder to upload all of your content at once! Find out more. 

To add lessons to your course, from the Curriculum tab of the course builder, get started by adding your first chapter, give it a name and hit Save.

Then hit Add Content to show all the different options for lesson types.

There are 11 different lesson types to choose from!

  1. Video lessons - Upload a video file. More info
  2. Quiz lessons - Create a quiz for your students. More info
  3. Multimedia lessons  - Got some content already hosted elsewhere online? Use a multimedia lesson to add it to your course. More info
  4. Text lessons - Combine text, images, videos, etc. into a single lesson. More info
  5. Survey lessons - Gather information/feedback from your students. More info
  6. PDF lessons - Upload a PDF file to be viewed within the course player. More info
  7. Disqus lessons - Add Disqus discussion boards to your course. More info
  8. Audio lessons - Upload an audio file. More info
  9. Downloads - Include resources to be available for download from within the course player. More info
  10. Presentation lessons - Upload a presentation as a PDF file and record audio for each slide. More info
  11. Exam lessons - Include a Brillium exam in your course. More info

Adding Lessons from Another Course

If you have lessons in another course or the same course that you wish to duplicate or copy, you can do so using the Add Lesson from... A Course button. Click on the ellipses (3 dots) button and you can then select Add Lesson from... A Course. There you can then select a lesson from the same course or a different course on your site. This will then place that new copy of the lesson at the bottom of the chapter.

NOTE: The new lesson will be set to Draft and have 'Copy of' appended to the title. You can change these within the settings for the lesson. If you are using a Drip Schedule then you will need to be sure to set the Drip for this lesson.

Add Your Course Settings

The Settings tab of the Course Builder is where you can go to add basic details regarding your course including:

Basic settings

This is where you can update your course name and URL that will appear on your course card as well as set your instructor. Your course card appears in various places like your All Courses page and checkout.

Course image & description

Your Course image will appear on your course cards and Course description will appear in different areas depending on your theme. The description will appear on your checkout pages, as well as on the featured product of Additional Products section type. The Vogue theme will also show the description on all the course cards.

Course Player

You can customize the look of the Course Player in this specific course. Check out The Thinkific Course Player and Individual Course Player Appearance Customizations.

Page Code

You can include custom code on your course landing page here.

Admin & revenue partners

Assign payees and Course Admins to your course here.


Use SEO to define what your landing pages will look like to search engines and social media.

Update Your Landing Page

From your Course Builder, you can update the landing page of the course by clicking on the Build Landing Page link in the top right corner. More on that HERE.


Final Steps Before Publication

Once you've added some content and carefully crafted your sales landing page, you're just about ready to put your course out there!

Here's a checklist for the final steps before publication:

  • Uncheck Draft on all the chapters and lessons you want to be available - Even if your course is published, the Draft setting will keep content hidden until this setting is removed.
  • Add branding to your site - Head to the Branding page of your admin dashboard to upload your logo, set your site branding colours, etc. More info
  • Set your pricing - Add the pricing for your course from the Pricing tab of the course builder. More info
  • Get ready to get paid - Don't forget to link a Stripe account to your site so your students can pay you. Here's how
  • Take a run through of your course as a student - Preview your course as a student to spot if there's anything you've missed. Here's how.

Other options:

  • Set a drip schedule for your course - Manage when content will be available to your students. More info
  • Add some upsells - Once you have other courses/bundles published, you can include those as upsells on your course landing page or the purchase thank you page.  You can find this section in the Page Builder. 

Got all of this covered? Huzzah, you're ready to publish your course! Go to the Publish section and hit the Publish button.

...and congratulations! You've published your first course. Now, spread the word.

Need a little extra help creating or setting up your course? We have a wonderful team of experienced freelancers available to give you a hand! Check out our Experts Marketplace.

More About Creating a Course

Copy Lessons

Add a Chapter or Lesson to Your Course

Delete a Chapter or Lesson from Your Course

Move Chapters and Lessons within a Course

Thinkific Lesson Types

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