Coassemble Review & Tutorial – AppSumo Limited Time Offer 2019
Leveraging on digital tools for training and onboarding employees seems to make perfect sense today. It can be a challenge bringing in new talents, or teaching employees new skills. Coassemble, a tool to create online courses fast, wants to fill these needs in organizations.
It now has a lifetime deal in Appsumo that lasts for a limited time.
Coassemble, to me, is meant to be a training tool. But to let you check if this tool is good enough for you as a learning management system, this Coassemble review will help you.
Coassemble lets you:
- Create courses quickly using its simple interface, so you and your organization can realize courses easily.
- Add a number of users, including learners and trainers, so that they can gain access and have some control on the site.
- Generate analytics reports to know what needs to improve in your courses.
AppSumo’s Coassemble Lifetime Deal
Coassemble’s lifetime offer showcases its Core Plan. The Core Plan is actually part of their regular pricing packages so users now have the chance to get it for life for $79. Stacking is allowed where, for two codes, you can get more monthly active users plus a few other features.
It’s kind of a positive sign for Coassemble to offer one of their basic packages for this lifetime deal. That means all the features and updates that come with this typical Coassemble plan will be available for lifetime deal owners. Sometimes, companies would offer a special AppSumo plan which might not include additional features in the future.
So for this Appsumo deal, some relevant features are:
- Unlimited content creation and storage – allows an unlimited number of courses.
- Third-party apps’ integration using Zapier – gets apps to do tasks beyond Coassemble’s functions.
- Mobile optimization – enables interfaces that are compatible with mobile devices.
- Personalized Workspace URL – generates a personalized subdomain for your company, like “yourcompany.coassemble.com”.
- Granular reporting – creates analytics reports about the different site or LMS (learning management system) activities.
The differences between the plans:
- $79 plan – allows up to 100 Monthly Active users who can log in to your account. You see, inside the account, you can add “users” who will then be able to do activities like taking courses.
- $158 plan – allows up to 500 Monthly Active users. You’re also supposed to avail the features for Advanced Branding Users, Drag and Drop Templates, Interactive Challenge Templates.
Comparing the Lifetime versus the Regular Plans (If You’re Curious)
Just to compare, the $158 lifetime plan, or the “double stacking” is most likely not similar with Coassemble’s Pro Plan. I think you can expect the $158 one to still function like the Core Plan but with added features as mentioned above.
Take a look at Coassemble’s recurring offers as taken from their website:
The $158 lifetime plan allows up to 500 monthly active users, whereas the Pro Plan allows up to 250 monthly active users. Still the Pro Plan costs $599 if paid on a monthly basis and with a longer checklist of features than the Core Plan if you check their website.
Note that if you got the lifetime deal and you’re thinking of stacking your way to the Pro Plan, there are no options for that. You still need to upgrade to the $599/month plan (or $499/month if you pay annually).
For me, the $79 deal is quite sufficient for a company, where you can already give access to 100 users. If you already have more than a hundred employees, probably you should also consider building an in-house software.
Entice the Audience with Your Course Overview
The course overview is the trainer’s opportunity to pique the right audience’s interest. It shows students what they can possibly get from the course as a whole.
Coassemble’s course overview page displays the cover photo or video, the general description, and the course objectives.
To start, hit the plus button as shown in Coassemble’s interface.
It takes you to the following template in making a course overview:
With that, you can choose to create either a course image or a course video. This will serve as your large cover visual located at the top of your course overview.
Uploading a Cover Photo
The cover image can serve to attract your audience regarding your course’s presence. It can even be a branding point where your audience can easily remember your course. Also, often, a photo is more convenient to get than a video.
The following are things to know about when it comes to putting an image in this part of the site.
You can select from your own files, but you can also sync up to Google Drive if you like.
Meanwhile, one thing I found is that from the version I was using, I can’t drag and drop an image. Drag-and-drop is one feature I observe to see how intuitive an interface is. But you can judge the platform’s quality (for your purposes) as you move on with this review.
What I could do is hit the “upload image” button as usual.
It got a bit clunky when it comes to setting the proportions of the image.
I wanted to prevent the resulting image from stretching by locking the aspect ratio. (Assuming the image would stretch if I unchecked the “lock aspect ratio” box might have been inaccurate, so feel free to point that out in the comments section.) I also toggled the zoom in and out slider as I attempted to crop or resize the image as needed.
The first picture (with my face) in the screenshot above shows the editing template. The second one is the preview image that displays the changes upon doing the edits.
I’ve encountered many different ways to resize and crop images, and compared to those, the current editing interface just felt peculiar to me.
A good way to properly go about this is to set the right aspect ratio for an image beforehand. I already have my standard image proportions for my cover photos but if I use Coassemble later, then I’d need to follow the expected aspect ratio here.
Putting a Video
With a cover video, you can put out brief explainers on what your course is all about. A video tends to be more engaging than a photo if you have time to properly create one. It could come in various forms (a personal speech, an animation, and others).
You have a good number of options when it comes to uploading the video. You can:
- Insert a video link, as Coassemble supports many video services like VooPlayer.
- Use the search tabs of Vimeo or Youtube from the Coassemble platform.
Basically, you can insert almost any video link that Coassemble can play. Meanwhile, if you want to use the search capabilities of Vimeo or Youtube, you can do that too.
I own a VooPlayer account, so I tried inserting a link from it, and was successful in doing so.
Back to the Course Overview Page
After uploading the video and upon typing my course description, I also noticed the fit and finish issues on that page. I couldn’t scroll further down that page and the box was cut off unless I put more text.
These are little signals that might show the level of maturity of an interface, so hopefully the developers take notice of this.
Add “Modules” to Construct Your Lessons
In Coassemble, each module is one small step towards completing a course. Supposedly, the idea behind using modules is to create an interactive learning experience in doing the course activities.
The types of modules you can create include any of the following:
- External Link
You also have the options to: duplicate, add, remove, edit or preview an existing module.
Next to the module’s name are the few buttons you can use as shown below:
You can remove an existing module by clicking the “-” sign, or edit it by clicking the pencil sign. You can also preview the course by clicking the eye sign. Upon previewing a course, another tab should open.
First, you will see your course overview:
If you click the “start course” button, you will also be able to view the contents of your course so far:
A Document Module
A document is just one form of a module allowed in a course.
Usually, the document would contain a lesson’s main content (if it’s not in a video). The document could be a pdf or a Powerpoint. That is what a student will consume before proceeding to other activities like taking a quiz or checking out other resources.
Upon uploading one, the interface will look like below:
As you can see, you have the options to view the document as either inline or download. When setting it at as inline, you’ll be able to see the text of the document as part of the course’s presentation interface, rather than as a separate section. The viewer will still have the ability to download the document within that module.
When setting it as download, a module’s page will mainly showcase a downloadable document.
A Video Module
A course trainer could also consider using videos to present the course’s main or supplementary content. Many times, a video happens to be an effective medium for teaching.
Putting a video as a module is pretty much the same as adding one in the course overview. You can insert a video’s link from your preferred platform as Coassemble is compatible with many platforms including Youtube and Vimeo.
An External Link Module
You can also add a link or url as a part of your lessons. That will let you include website links that you find beneficial for your course (for example, as additional resources).
As you can see below, there is also an option to check the box for “open in new window” there.
The url you inserted will look like the following as it aligns among your other course modules:
However, as you can observe, there is no option here to put a description of the link in the form of a subtext.
Of course, alternatives could be that I make a good link description, or that I create a PDF where I can just state both the link and my description.
But then again, not being able to add a subtext description is a bit of a turn off as I would want to do less work by using this tool. I’d also want my students to know what to expect for that (rather unfamiliar) url.
A Quiz Module
One important feature of course creation tools is the ability to implement tests or quizzes. This way, you can identify the level of learning that your students have so far or simply make the lessons interactive.
To start this, you can click the “Add new question” button. That then lets you choose among the Quiz Question Templates. These include:
- Multiple choice
- Input text
- Drag ticks
- True/false (multiple)
- Match corresponding
- Match sequence
- Multiple image choice
Here’s a part of the site where drag and drop is possible. You can do so as you organize your questions.
It is also possible to set your collaborators who you might want to contribute on the quiz.
You also have the option to edit the quiz settings for the preferred groups of test takers, number of attempts allowed in a quiz (and other quiz attempt settings), as well as quiz grading and results settings.
After everything’s set, then you can click the Publish button.
To mention a concern that I also discussed in the video, one criticism on Coassemble is that you can only attach one document per “lesson”, otherwise considered as a “module”.
Well, I get what Coassemble is going for, where there’s supposed to be a module that contains a lesson’s main contents, either in a pdf document or a Powerpoint. The next modules could then be quizzes, helpful links or whatnot.
After that, the course creator can proceed to the next lesson by adding another module that contains lesson number two’s main contents. Then more modules like quizzes can follow until the course ends.
However, it would be nice if there was some nesting involved. I’d prefer to have modules that contained several lessons. For example, my module could be about transcribing a video, while the lessons within it could be creating closed captions and using a transcription tool.
I think only having a series of lessons and no real way to nest them kind of pulls this tool down when compared to something like Teachable or LearnDash. LearnDash has about three tiers for arranging course lessons, which are called courses, lessons, and topics.
Allow Users in Your Coassemble Platform
As mentioned earlier, you can add a number of users according to your Coassemble Plan. These include both trainers and learners.
To start, click the icon on the left side of the site as shown below. This will then take you to the Users page.
It is here where you can add the people who can use the site or take your courses.
Add a Learner
Adding the students in a Coassemble platform not only lets them access the course, but also lets the admin observe their activities using the other tools in the site.
You just need to find the Learners tab in the Users section for that.
Upon clicking the “create new learner” button, a pop up box will appear, which first asks for the user’s email address.
Next, it will show you the list of course options you may like to enroll that user. At this point, this is optional as you can choose to add the user later in any course.
The student by then should be able to receive an email about being added in Coassemble. Upon clicking the sign up link in that email, the receiver will then be taken to Coassemble’s sign up page.
Back to the Users page (as a course creator), you will also be able to see how many are active, pending, and deactivated users so far for all your courses.
You will also be able to view the list of all your learners and arrange them according to the alphabetical orders of names, emails, courses, or status.
Add a Trainer
Aside from adding Learners (or students), you can also add Trainers.
The trainers can use your account to also create courses. This can be handy for your organization as the trainers belonging to it can use your Coassemble platform.
You can also view the list of your trainers and sort them alphabetically according to their names, emails, roles in the Coassemble account, and status.
Consult the Reports Page About Your Productivity
The reports section lets you obtain the analytics information regarding the activities happening within your account. The analytics tool uses statistical and other data mining techniques to operate.
(As you might have seen in my review video, I encountered some difficulties in accessing the reports page.
But then again I forgot that I was currently logging in from a learner’s account as I carried on with my software test.
Still, that was a bit of a glitch as the platform could’ve signified that I was automatically logged out from my admin account. Hopefully the developers can fix that minor issue.)
Moving forward, you can view the reports based on either the LMS (learning management system and its different dimensions)…
…or the url’s (links of the courses and other materials).
If you click the upper right side of the page in the LMS section, you’d see that the dropdown menu that shows dedicated tabs for the:
- Usage Report – shows the reports about the different aspects of the site’s usage by the admin, students and trainers.
- Course Reports – presents the data related to the productivity of the courses.
- Learner Reports – displays the trends related to the students’ activities.
As you explore these sections, you’d observe how each may be related or compared to one another.
For example, from the Course Reports section, you might be able to see a page like the one below regarding a specific course (the Onboarding course). The page enumerates the students along with some of their activities for the course.
Then from the Learners Reports section, you will be able to spot some related data as shown below. Here, the page displays the activities that an individual student has for the Onboarding course.
The analytics reporting is perhaps one of the stronger features of Coassemble.
Whether you want a general or more detailed approach of analyzing information, there are relevant insights you can gather here.
Is one student struggling? Maybe he or she is not putting enough time and completing the lessons. Is one course difficult to complete for many? Maybe there are some parts of it that become roadblocks and not let people progress further.
These and more aspects you can check to create effective courses.
Search for Your Materials in the Resources Page
The Resources page shows the tabs for the Quizzes and the Documents from all created courses.
So if you want to search or share some quizzes or documents without having to go through the courses, you can also access them from the Resources Library.
Share the Links of Your Course Materials
The Share page lets you get an overview of your current assets including courses and quizzes and be able to share them. It is possible for a course to get public viewing and without needing to sign up for Coassemble by enabling the share link feature.
To share a material, you can toggle on its switch for link sharing. You can also choose between public or private link sharing.
It is also optional for you to share its embed code if you want the material to be displayed on another website.
Your course will then be accessible by others by using the link that you shared.
Set Only the Relevant Course Notifications
In the Course Notifications section, you can establish general settings of your courses when it comes to sending notifications to facilitators or learners. Doing so will help users minimize or avoid unnecessary notifications.
Meanwhile, it is still possible to edit the settings that apply to individual courses, which means overriding the general settings.
You can also choose to include the group facilitators, course facilitators, and workspace facilitators.
The activities one can get notifications for are as shown in the screenshot below. Examples are, for a student, when an assignment is being graded, or for a teacher, when someone starts a course.
Use Integrations to Take Advantage of Other Apps
Integrations help you extend the functionalities of your site, depending on your purpose.
So far, these are possible to implement in the Integrations page:
- eCommerce – sell your courses via Shopify.
- Course certification – produce course certificates using any of these integrations – Accredible Certificates, Web Merge, and Gmail & Google Slides.
- Automatic Enrollment – batch enroll via Google Sheets, as well as let students self-enroll via Paperform.
- Mailing Lists & Webinars – have learners register for webinars via GoToWebinar, as well as add Coassemble enrollments to your Mailchimp lists.
An important thing you should remember is that depending on your Coassemble Plan, you’re limited to only a number of users per month. For example, with the Core Plan, you’re limited to 100 users per month.
If, say, you sold a thousand copies of a course, and 101 people happen to be active users that month, the platform might prevent the additional person from using the site (not too sure what really happens as I’m still testing this software).
This is one factor that shows that the Coassemble platform might still not be the ideal platform for bigger budget, ecommerce purposes.
Another thing to note is that all these integrations go through Zapier, a software that integrates web applications. Coassemble does not have a direct integration with Zapier, so you need to sign up for a Zapier account.
Tweak Your Platform’s Look with the Customize Tab
For some customization options in terms of your site’s appearance, you can go to this page.
The Customize Page currently lets you edit the following:
- Workspace name – the workspace name which will appear in the Coassemble system.
- Hostname – the hostname that will go with the domain name “coassemble.com” (and this domain name can’t be changed). The combination of the two will then result to a subdomain name that the admin’s account can own. For example, my company could have “clientamp.coassemble.com”.
- Logo – a company logo can be uploaded and cropped as needed.
- Top menu color – the background color, particularly at the top portion of the site near the logo.
Coassemble Final Thoughts & Rating
There are probably going to be critics now thinking: why don’t you just use WordPress, then install an LMS? Well, currently I use platforms like LearnDash and Lifter LMS on a daily basis. What you should know is that they’re relatively hard to use.
Coassemble, on the other hand is fairly simple. If you want a tool to quickly create courses, then Coassemble is a viable option.
Along with that, if you want courses that are only meant to train your employees, then Coassemble delivers.
However, it’s certainly not going to be the platform I’d use to create, say, a course worth millions that I’m going to sell with a hundred thousand copies.
Also, as you would’ve observed in my review video, the platform seemed to be slowing down as I continued using it. We’re going to give it the benefit of the doubt that, aside from the tendency of LMS sites to do this, there were many new apps and customers bombarding their system that time. I hope Coassemble’s speed will generally get better in the long term.
Rating: A fair 7.1 score.
It’s a simple and snappy course creation tool with some drawbacks as detailed on this review. It’d be cool to see where this company is in a year when it comes to improving the site and adding new features.