LearnDash is a fantastic WordPress plugin if you are looking for a way to deliver online courses with all tools and features of an e-learning system. Along with LearnDash add ons you can create your e-learning website and charge for access.
In this modern time, you don’t even have to go to school or college to learn. Many use online courses to educate themselves at their own pace and from the comfort of their home. People are ready to pay for knowledge.
Website owners are starting to see earning potential of online courses. Udemy and Lynda are great examples. However, when you use platforms such as Udemy and want to sell your online courses, you have to play by someone else’s rules.
If you are going to provide the online course, you will probably prefer having full control over course’s earnings, management, and promotion. That is a luxury only afforded to those who self-host their course on their own website.
A good LMS (Learning Management System) comes equipped with all the features and functionalities you need to run online courses. From building the course from the ground up, providing your students with certificates of completion, making polls, surveys, quizzes, managing increasing number of students, and other features.
In the WordPress e-learning space, there are a few plugins which dominate. LearnDash is among the top with WP Courseware and Sensei being good competition.
Unlike Moodle, Blackboard, Canvas, LearnDash is not a standalone LMS. It’s WordPress plugin. LearnDash has a ton of functionality packed into the core. And thanks to many extensions, free and paid, you can add even more features.
For anyone who’s serious about building an LMS with WordPress and monetize his site by providing online courses, LearnDash is an excellent choice.
#1 Course Design – LearnDash allows the creation of multi-tiered, dynamic courses. Course content can be either released altogether or drip-fed to the students.
#2 Course Management – Course management is done from your WordPress website dashboard. Advanced quizzing options with different question and answer can be added to any given test or assignment.
LearnDash also lets you create flexible prerequisites for any given course.
#3 Gamification – Gamification is the addition of bonus points, rewards and other perks that make the course engaging. LearnDash lets you add badges and custom certificates to make learning fun experience.
#4 Communication – Users can track their progress from their accounts. LearnDash has inbuilt email features that let you send autoresponders to students to inform them about course updates or recommend other courses they might like.
#5 Course Analysis – Generate extensive reports for student performance, quiz results and student progress.
#6 Selling Options – LearnDash can be integrated with WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads to sell courses. Payment methods include one-time deposits or monthly subscriptions. Multiple courses can be purchased simultaneously and LearnDash has shopping cart enabled.
LearnDash Add Ons
Here are some useful addons for LearnDash plugin which cant be found on LearnDash plugin website:
In LearnDash default settings only Admin has the rights to add users to a LearnDash Group and link it with various courses. This plugin allows Group Leaders to purchase a course or courses on behalf of students, and then enroll them in it by adding them as group members.
If you’re looking for a way to enroll all your employees for a Corporate Training Course, all you have to do is designate a Group Leader who can then purchase the course and register all the relevant employees to it.
–Easy Digital Downloads integration – Use EDD to create downloads and associate them to LearnDash courses for bulk purchase.
–WooCommerce integration – Use WooCommerce to create products and associate them to LearnDash courses.
–Bulk license purchase – Chosen user can purchase multiple licenses for a single course at once.
–Group creation – A group is automatically created when a bulk license purchase is made. The user which made the purchase is set as the group leader.
–CSV students upload – Group leaders can use the CSV upload option to bulk register students.
–Student unenrollment – The group leader can remove a student from the group, thus unenrolling them from the course.
–Student enrollment – The group leader can add a student to a group, and enroll them in the courses purchased.
–Front-end management – A group leader can manage student enrollment/ unenrollment right from the front-end. No back-end access needed.
–Admin options – The admin has full control of the group, and can add/remove group leaders or students.
The Quiz Reporting Extension for LearnDash exports quiz results. This allows website owners to analyze questionnaire responses at a quiz, as well as quiz taker level.
The Quiz level export option exports responses of all users who have attempted the quiz, and downloads the details as a CSV or Excel file.
When the export option is clicked, the details exported are: The Question, The available response options, The correct answer, The user’s response, The maximum points which can be scored, The points scored by the user, The time taken to answer the question and The question type.
For quiz level reports, the details are grouped on user basis.
The Instructor Role for LearnDash adds a user role “Instructor” to your LearnDash website. An “Instructor” has capabilities to create course content and track student progress.
The instructor can author content from the back-end of your website. He can create courses, lessons, quizzes, etc. and sell them online. He can also view detailed reports of all the user activity connected to his courses, and earn commission on every sale.
Now if you want to assign more than one instructor to a course then on the course page you can see the ‘Share Course‘ option where you can assign multiple instructors to a course.
Even the original/primary instructors of a course can share courses with co-instructors in a similar way.
This will allow instructors to share their expertise in creating quality courses. The secondary instructors can only create course content and dont have other course management responsibilities like the primary instructors has.
The secondary instructors can also not share the course with other instructors, the privilege of which only the admin and the primary instructor of the course has.
It is perfect when you want to redistribute or outsource content creation and publishing. With an additional user role, managing content on your LearnDash site is easy and optimized for your target demographic.
You can have multiple Instructors create courses for your site simultaneously. If you are worried about your private settings and sensitive data, you can limit Instructor access.
Create a course marketplace by letting individuals teach on your website and earn commissions. Large organizations can assign Instructors to a group of learners and create sets with one Admin overseeing the whole process.
The Instructor Role plugin works with the latest version of LearnDash and integrates well with WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads to pay instructors commissions on course purchases.
The instructor can view detailed reports for courses they’ve created. The reports contain a total number of students enrolled for courses created and course completion status.
This plugin creates a ‘Course Author.’ A user with special privileges who can create and manage courses, lessons, topics and quizzes from the front-end.
This means he can set up entire courses without ever having to touch backend. Perfect for when you don’t want others to be meddling with your site’s backend.
A Course Author creates and manages Courses, Lessons, Topics and Quizzes just like an Instructor, but only from the front-end. He/she does not have backend access.
The FCC plugin automatically creates and adds Content Creation pages, such as ‘Create Course,’ ‘Create Lesson’ or ‘Create Topic,’ using which the Course Author can create his own content.
These pages have the same settings you would find in the backend. A Course Author has to be logged in to create course content. For FCC to work, BuddyPress need to be installed. Here’s what a Course Author’s profile page would look like:
Optionally, an Admin can link Content Creation pages from the main menu, to provide direct access to these pages.
Publishing can be done in one of two ways. Admin can choose to auto-publish content created by Course Authors, or save it as a draft for reviewing and publishing manually.
Saving it as a draft provides the admin possibility to review the content, make changes if required and publish it afterward.
Front-end Course Creation addon is simple, useful and gives you control over the ins and outs of your website. No need to worry about unwary users accidentally changing the settings and customizations of your site.
5. WizIQ Virtual Classroom Extension FREE
The one feature that LearnDash lacks is real-time syncing of lessons. It supports all kinds of video tutorials, external video links and offline linking of videos but does not allow for live audio-video communication.
In the light of students desire for more collaborative tools and social interaction on e-learning platforms, lack of live-lessons is a shortcoming in the otherwise excellent learning management system. This is where the WizIQ Virtual Classroom extension comes in.
This integration plugin allows you to schedule WizIQ classes for a LearnDash course from your WordPress website and display the schedule for all your classes right on the Course page.
Bringing the traditional classroom experience online, the WizIQ Virtual Classroom plugin lets you connect to your student audience in real-time with high-quality audio video lessons, interactive chats, grouped discussions and synergistic whiteboards.
The catch? WizIQ cannot be directly integrated with the LearnDash. But you can incorporate the Virtual Classroom feature into LearnDash and sell the course thanks to LearnDash WizIQ Virtual Classroom Integration plugin.
Courses created with LearnDash can be scheduled using the WizIQ account and marketed on WordPress. Class scheduling includes deciding the class date, duration, and type.
Apart from the regular attendance control options in LearnDash, WizIQ lets you track student attendance according to the entry time, exit time and total duration of the live lesson.
It also allows you to set a minimum period to be attended in the lecture for it to be marked as completed.
Creating a separate WizIQ account is not necessary. Plugin automatically generates a new user account when you first log-in to schedule a class on WizIQ. Also, if you have an existing WizIQ account, the plugin simply integrates the two, without the need to create a new account.
6. LearnDash Content Cloner FREE
With Content Cloner extension for LearnDash, duplicating courses becomes incredibly easy. The entire course hierarchy like the course, lesson and topics are duplicated and added to your LearnDash.
Upon installing and activating the Content Cloner extension, you will notice a ‘Clone’ option under every Course in LearnDash admin settings.
Upon clicking this option, the course will be completely cloned along with associated lessons and topics, and you will receive a course successfully cloned notification.
The ACM is a LearnDash extension that adds many new functionalities to the LMS. It aims to ease the process of course creation further.
This is an extension that has added many interactive features and helps you create online courses and topics and quickly, and aims to make them easier for students to use as well.
With the ACM, the course creator can view the entire course in a hierarchical manner. It starts from the top and moves downwards to the subsets.
For example, the course name is at the top, followed by the broad subjects, the topics covered under them, and then the individual lessons. This helps to get a quick and basic overview of the entire course structure.
Not only that, but you can also create topics and add lessons under courses and watch the hierarchy update itself in real time. Being able to view the entire structure makes it easier for the course creator to know whether all the topics and lessons are placed correctly.
ACM offers a Visual Course Builder feature that makes the course creation process faster and easier.
You can build the entire course in its original flow, as opposed to the previous method of creating topics, lessons, quizzes, etc. separately and then adding them individually to the course.
It displays the course hierarchy to the author, who can then avoid going back and forth to add the course content because it is readily visible.
It is very easy to enrol new students into the course with ACM. The course author and admin can easily manage enrolled users with a one-click-management feature. They can add or delete users, restrict or allow course access, delete course progress and perform many more functions.
It is quite common for students to leave off in between an online lesson or topic and resume it at a later time. ACM makes it easier for students to decide where they want to pick up from.
It offers 2 options for continuation of study. The students can either start from the last lesson that they completed or the last page they visited. This way, they can either revise what they had learned or save time going through the lesson’s pages to find the one they read last.
The ACM extension provides a messaging function that lets students communicate easily with the course authors. So if you have designed an online course and wish to keep the lines of communication with students open, then you should use ACM.
This way, you can address student queries and doubts regarding the course, and even encourage their honest feedback to improve upon what you have already created to enhance the learning experience.
ACM comes with a conversations tab feature that keeps a record of all the communication between a teacher and students. This way, you come to know whether the students are having particular difficulty with some part of a lesson and if it should be simplified.
It also helps students check whether their doubts have already been asked by students previously and cleared by the teacher. Keeping a record of conversations is useful in making the learning process simpler for future students as well.
You can enable a two-way communication between students and teachers for selective courses. This option is available on the Course Edit page, where you can select the course that you want to enable it for.
The students can interact directly with the teacher and ask questions or share ideas. ACM provides a complete summary of the course to students at the end. It also shows a congratulatory message on successful completion, which adds to positive reinforcement.
ACM offers the option of course referrals. The purpose of this feature is to encourage students to refer other people for the course. It also has the option of offering special rewards to the students if the referrals sign up.
The Ratings, Reviews, and Feedback Plugin by WisdmLabs adds a 3-in-1 functionality to the e-learning website. It enables the students to mark their feedback and rating on the course page.
The formal review given by students already associated with the course is a key way of obtaining their perceptions, opinions, or experiences about the course, whereas the ratings speak about the satisfaction index.
It has a potential to take the new student one-step closer to enrollment. Apart from students, the course authors are benefited from such reviews and rating system. It gives them a rational idea of course acceptance by its targeted audience and means of self-evaluation.
The plugin is a great way of promoting your e-learning course in a genuine manner while keeping transparency.
1. FOR STUDENTS:
Rate Course – The Ratings, Reviews, and Feedback plugin for LearnDash adds a ‘Write a course review’ button on main Course Page that takes the students to the Rating and Review page where they can rate the course and mark their review about it.
View Course Rating – The main Course Page has another button called ‘See all reviews’ that links to the previously written reviews.
Access to ratings and reviews by ex-students is helpful for the visitors who are interested in associating with your course. It has the strength to streamline the potential visitors into students.
2. FOR ADMINS:
Sighted from the administrator perspective, he/she has a great hold on back-end activities involved with the plugin.
The administrator can enable or disable Feedback for all courses from ‘Feedback Settings’ tab or an individual course from the ‘Course Edit’ page.
Plugin Features: A quick run through
A complete solution to Rating and Review gathering needs, the Ratings, Reviews, and Feedback extension creates an easy-to-locate and simple-to-use feedback system on the main Course Page.
–Swift Star-based Ratings – A quick glance over the 5-star rating creates the first impression of the quality of the course.
Those, who are unwilling to read the complete review can judge the feedback by viewing stars.
–Master Administrator – The administrator has whole and sole control over the Course Feedback Settings through which he/she can activate or deactivate the review and rating system.
In addition, he/she retains the authority to approve and publish reviews from the dashboard.
–Eliminate Fake Feedback – Enabling rate and review buttons only on successful completion of a particular module, lesson, or course, eliminates the possibility of fake feedbacks.
It also ensures that the student has traversed the right course path and is expected to have assimilated enough knowledge till the specified stage.
–Feedback Delivery into the Author’s Mailbox – The plugin facilitates the delivery of feedback given by the students straight into the course author’s mailbox.
It is convenient for the author to get notifications without logging in to the system.
Furthermore, the email template for feedback notification is customizable to fit course author’s requirements.
–Tailored Templates for Feedback Form – Using numerous shortcodes, you can revise the look and data of feedback forms to gel with your LearnDash theme and incorporate the feedback parameters based on the course type.
If you’re using the Pathshala theme, you are at an advantage; the theme comes integrated with custom templates for the Ratings, Reviews, and Feedback plugin.
–Ease of Integration – After an easy, two-step installation, the plugin runs spotlessly over LearnDash and appears to be an integral part of the system.
The Admin can disable its functioning temporarily without having to uninstall the plugin.
–Affordable Pricing – The bundle of features comes at affordable price. Single-site and 2-site purchase cost is $29 and $39 respectively, whereas the reasonable Lifetime license charges $99 only.
By integrating the Ratings, Reviews, and Feedback Extension for LearnDash, you can:
- Enable honest feedback sharing
- Help in decision making
- Build trust and confidence
- Ensure effective marketing
- Improve keyword ranking in SEO
Ratings, Reviews, and Feedback for LearnDash is a great tool to showcase expertise and reputation of your course to upsurge trustworthiness.
Like any other learning management plugin, LearnDash relies on WordPress themes for the look and feel of the course. What you create on LearnDash is seen through the lens of your theme.
However, from so many available themes for WordPress, selecting a theme that aligns perfectly with all the functions in LearnDash is rather difficult. Below you will find currently best themes that work great with LearnDash to give you a beautifully designed course.
#1 University $59
University theme is developed by Cactus themes especially for colleges, universities, and educational organizations. University has a clean design, and it allows you to leverage all great things in LearnDash while increasing user retention thanks to its easy accessibility.
The main features of the University theme are:
- Nine different Homepage variations
- Includes Revolution Slider and Page Builder
- Integration with WooCommerce, BuddyPress, Facebook and Disqus
- Newsletter creation functionality
- Events can be created along with courses
- Built-in events calendar
- Sell and buy courses
#2 Pathshala $59
While other themes are compatible with LearnDash, Pathshala has been designed exclusively for it. The theme is equipped with drag and drop visual page builder by Unyson for easy creating of pages.
With the breadcrumb navigation and SEO fields, you won’t have trouble making your theme search engine friendly. As a bonus, you have FAQ support to create a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section on your e-Learning website.
Pathshala provides a clean, responsive grid layout to display all your LearnDash courses on a single page. And with LearnDash Course Category support, Pathshala automatically creates course category archive pages.
One of the best features of this theme is that it uses breadcrumb navigation which lets the user know where exactly he/she is in the course or the site. This gives easy accessibility to all parts of the site.
Pathshala works seamlessly with BuddyPress and the LearnDash BuddyPress integration plugin (packaged FREE with Pathshala) which allows you to create student groups and encourage collaboration.
With in-built color options you can choose to style the theme with one of the four available colors to create an elegant, classic or contemporary look. What’s even better is you can easily create your own color scheme if needed.
#3 Fernando $79.95
Fernando is responsive theme by Web Savvy Marketing for authors and speakers. The theme includes features for promoting eBooks, speaking engagements, online training programs and selling or buying digital goods.
The website template comes with fantastic options for promoting books, highlighting speaking engagements, creating an online training program, selling memberships, and building an email list.
Fernando is pre-styled for multiple call to actions which provides lots of flexibility to highlight coaching, speaking, or eBooks. You can also use the iThemes Exchange store to sell physical goods, digital downloads, affiliate products, online courses, or memberships.
#4 Invent $59
Invent is a highly flexible theme, designed to work for multiple platforms like commercial websites, creative agencies and design portfolios in addition to the regular educational applications.
The theme has over eight customs post types that give your website a unique feel every time. Optimized for LearnDash, Invent has a multitude of features that make designing your course extremely easy.
Invent has been tested to ensure that it works seamlessly with LearnDash, the popular Learning Management System (LMS) for WordPress. The theme incorporates custom styling for LearnDash components. It also provides custom sidebars, a page template for display of LearnDash elements or custom posts.
Along with educational institutions, Invent is flexible and feature rich enough to also cater to the needs of design agencies, corporate websites, and small businesses.
#5 Social Learner
The Social Learner theme built by BuddyBoss is build to integrate LearnDash with BuddyPress. The theme has great social interaction options which give a boost to marketing your courses online.
Social Learner doesn’t just help you deliver courses. Social Learner brings engagement thanks to robust social features and integrated Gamification.
The ability to interact with others makes learning much more fun. Let your learners collaborate, make friends and spread the joy of learning. The theme also integrates with WooCommerce so you can easily sell your online courses.
The visual customizer allows you to customize your theme and control the color of every aspect. The only drawback is that theme is not cheap. It is priced at $179 per site with support and updates for a year.
Apart from the theme cost, add-ons cost another $49. However, if the aggressive market promotion is a priority for your LearnDash course, the Social Learner theme is worth the price.
The theme offers a unique layout for LearnDash addpns, includes custom course-specific widgets, contains collapsible side-bars, it is search-engine optimized, and integrates a review feedback module.
You get drag and drop page builder, gamification options, one-click demo import, multilingual support, course video integration, multiple color schemes, customizable fonts, logo upload option, etc.
eLumine also integrates with WooCommerce, BuddyPress. bbPress, Gravity Forms, Contact Form 7, WPML, Advanced Course Manager, etc. With eLumine, not only will you get a quiz module, but your quiz module also possesses unique look and feel.
Sensei vs. LearnDash
If you’re are already used to WooThemes ecosystem and use WooCommerce and their themes, it probably makes a lot of sense to go with Sensei.
The Sensei demo site by WooThemes looks great, so if your needs are basic, picking up the Hub theme along with Sensei is likely a good choice.
Import the dummy data, customize as needed and you’re ready to start your learning management online site. For other sites, like with Uncanny Owl’s Sensei demo site, expect a bit more work.
If you typically spend time on the admin side of WordPress, have notifications enabled and have a relatively small group of learners, then it might be easier to stay connected with their activities using Sensei.
LearnDash does offer a Pro Panel for additional insight, but it’s quite limited. LearnDash is likely a better choice for everyone else, especially when you factor in cost and support.
LearnDash Add Ons and Themes Final Words
Online learning is a great way to study because it allows students to complete courses at their convenience. WordPress offers a number of Learning Management Systems that allow e-Learning course providers to develop courses of different kinds and subjects.
LearnDash is one very popular WordPress LMS that’s used extensively across different learning institutions, including universities. The advantage of LearnDash is that it is a simple, convenient and extensive LMS that makes online course creation and management very seamless.
It offers many extensions that perform various functions. This feature rich plugin has many functionalities like drip feeding content, varied question types, flexible course requisites and much more.
Additionally, LearnDash has integrations with other WordPress plugins like WooCommerce, BuddyPress, bbPress, BadgeOS, Gravity Forms and more. What about you? What E-learning plugin have you used to convert your website into a powerful E-learning management system?
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