If you’re looking to create online learning courses then you’re going to need a powerful learning management system – like LearnDash – to help you manage everything from designing the course to promoting it and quizzing your students to providing discussion platforms.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the key features LearnDash offers and how you can use it to successfully build and launch your online course. We will also go through some resources that will help you create, market, and sell an online course directly through your WordPress website using LearnDash.
What Is a Learning Management System (LMS)
Generally speaking, a learning management system (LMS) is a software application that lets you document, track, report, and deliver educational courses in addition to managing the administrative side of offering a course.
LearnDash is a WordPress LMS plugin created by Justin Ferriman that lets you build, administer, deliver, and track your course to students in an online learning environment.
Who Needs an LMS?
The demand for online learning courses, training classes, and off-campus schooling is on the rise. Part of this has to do with the increase in the need for knowledge acquisition and the convenience online courses offer.
This is where LMSs’ come in.
They facilitate course creators in a number of ways by helping them meet their needs and goals in all kinds of different teaching scenarios. Most LMSs are scalable which means that they can be used by both individuals and organizations:
- Online (virtual) universities that offer classes and courses.
- Individuals that offer courses, classes, and training sessions online.
- Organizations that need to train employees or on-board new clients.
Types of LMS
There are a large number of LMS solutions in the market that can be categorized in several different ways:
- Deployment options. Some LMS solutions are available through cloud-based platforms while others (like LearnDash) are self-hosted options.
- Pricing models. Self-hosted LMS solutions usually have a free option that you can try out with limited functionality and the option to upgrade to a premium version. Cloud-based LMS solutions generally follow a monthly (or yearly) subscription module. And for some LMS solutions – especially plugins – you can pay a one-time licensing fee and yearly renewals.
Popular WordPress LMS
Although there are many different LMS plugins available for WordPress, here are a few of the most popular offerings:
5 Essential Features of an LMS
Before you can decide on an LMS, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate which features you need based on what type of course you’re thinking of offering and the logistics behind it. That said, there are a few key features that your LMS should have at the bare minimum.
Here are five essential features that you should be on the lookout for in an LMS solution:
Assessment is one of the most important aspects of launching and delivering a successful online course. It allows you to gauge how effective your course was for your students and understand what steps you can take to improve it. Are your students scoring well on quizzes? Were they able to understand the course material? Is the course too difficult for students to grasp?
After you have structured, created, and launched your course, you will need a way to automate the learning process. This allows you to improve the overall learning experience for your students and saves you time in delivering lectures. The key benefit here is that enrolled students will be able to learn at their own pace and you’ll effectively free up some of your time to focus on how you can improve and grow your course.
#3: Reporting and Metrics
As an online course instructor, it’s important that you constantly track and monitor how well your students are performing and how well the course itself is doing. Is the course able to meet the students’ desired goals? Are your students happy with what you’re delivering? What can you do to improve your course?
#4: Responsive Design
Mobile and tablet usage is on the rise which makes it all the more important to pick an LMS solution that is fully responsive. Keep in mind that some of your students might be consuming your course material from their smartphones on their daily commutes. For this reason, you should pick an LMS solution that makes your courses and easily accessible to all users regardless of the device they’re using.
Regardless of whether you’re technically inclined or not, at some point you might need support with your LMS. This could be for integrating add-ons or simply general maintenance and upkeep.
Getting Started With LearnDash
LearnDash is one of the most popular LMS plugins for WordPress that’s primarily used for facilitating online learning and creating online courses, classes, and training classes. One of the best things about this LMS is that the developers behind this plugin constantly add new features to it that are proven to improve the learning experience.
Here are some of the key features LearnDash offers:
- Advanced quizzing.
- Personalized messages.
- Deliver lessons by drip-feeding.
- Email notifications.
- Different pricing options on courses.
- Easy grading system.
- Social sharing options.
- Certificates and badges.
- Group management functionality.
- Tracking and reporting modules.
LearnDash is a complete LMS solution that comes with features to create, sell, and manage your course. Let’s take a closer look at each of these main features.
#1: Creating Courses
LearnDash allows you to create multi-layer courses using its intuitive, drag and drop course builder. You can create lessons and topics, assign categories to them, and create assignments and quizzes you’re your lessons, as well. It also lets you add supplementary audio and video material to your course.
#2: Selling Courses
Once you’ve created your course, the next step is to start selling. With LearnDash, you can select the price of each course, choose a payment schedule, and sell your courses directly from your WordPress website. You also have the flexibility to sell your course for a flat, one-time fee or on a subscription basis.
What’s more is that you can add a shopping cart to your site, choose to offer multiple payment gateways, and create complete membership plans. Finally, you’re able to offer courses individually or in bundles.
#3: Managing Admin
LearnDash helps you manage your LMS’s admin with very little effort. You can allow your students to create user profiles and track their own performance. It lets you send automatic email notifications to your students, put students in groups, and create user roles (like facilitator or assistants) to manage them.
Plugins You Can Use With LearnDash
Almost all WordPress themes are compatible with LearnDash and it offers seamless integrations with many plugins including:
- Gravity Forms
- Exchange WP
Some Helpful Resources
There are numerous online resources (including tutorials, guides, documentation, blogs, videos, etc…) that will help you get started with the LearnDash LMS on WordPress.
Tutorials for Creating Your First LearnDash Site
- How to Setup a Learning Management System with LearnDash by Wisdm Labs
- LearnDash for WordPress: How to Create Your First Online Learning Course by WPExplorer
- Create a LearnDash Site in 1 Hour by Uncanny Owl
- How to Create an Online Course with WordPress using LearnDash (Review) by WPBeginner
- LearnDash Tutorial for Creating Courses and Selling Them with Easy Digital Downloads by DigiSavvy
Videos on LearnDash
- Official LearnDash resource videos created by LearnDash.
- Uncanny Owl publishes many videos that can help you create and customize your own WordPress website with LearnDash.
Blogs to Follow
- LearnDash Blog: A blog that provides useful information, updates, and insights straight from the LearnDash team.
- WP-Tonic Blog: A blog that regularly published helpful articles and tutorials on WordPress LMS solutions and e-learning.
- Uncanny Owl Blog: A digital agency that specializes in LearnDash websites and provides useful information about using LearnDash.
- Elearning Industry: For information, news, and updates related to eLearning industry and LMSs.
- Designing Digitally: A blog that provides a lot of resources related to eLearning industry.
LearnDash is a popular LMS in the WordPress space which is why it’s no surprise that it has a very active user community on its Official Facebook Group. There you will find lots of useful tips and tricks that can help you get started with LearnDash shared by developers and users.
LearnDash is a powerful learning management system for WordPress that comes with features to help you launch and manage your online courses. In addition to this, the plugin has a large user base which makes it incredibly easy to reach out for support.
What features do you look for in a LMS plugin? We’d love to hear from you so let us know by commenting below!