Are you thinking of creating a course? Or do you want to move to a better course platform? Then this LearnDash review is definitely for you.
Here’s the thing:
Creating a fantastic online course is a work of self-sacrifice and passion. A simple mini-course might require a minimum of five videos, which translates to a week, or two of hard work. Flagship in-depth courses with many lessons and modules can take more than 500 hours of research, course mapping, and content creation.
Next comes the process of putting up the course online to make it accessible to your target audience. Most content creators will be stuck at this level because most learning management systems (LMS) have a steep learning curve.
The lack of proficiency and discomfort in the use of the LMS will dull the final product. However, LearnDash simplifies the process.
LearnDash Review: In a Nutshell
In the past, most online course building platforms only targeted the delivery of academic programs or internal business training. New courses from entrepreneurs would come up and fizzle out, fast.
Since the technology was too complicated, most course builders and instructors would abandon its use over time. Technology can hurt your bottom-line if you are spending too much time or money trying to make it work for you.
This is why LearnDash is such a breath of fresh air. It is a fantastic LearnPress and LifterLMS alternative. LearnDash, however, is a more reliable platform than LearnPress because its top-notch code turns any WordPress site into LMS.
Besides, while both LearnDash and LifterLMS are robust LMS plugins, LearnDash 3.0, revamped front-end makes it very easy for you to set up very professional-looking courses. This platform also has fantastic support. Its course set up process is much easier to manage than that of its alternatives.
This learning management system has tools that will help you scale your business and not stifle its growth as simpler LMS platforms do. Why? This plug-in’s sole focus is to offer the best online learning software out there for WordPress.
It is therefore built atop the content management system meaning that the LearnDash code is easy to customize without the danger of security breaches. It will also easily integrate with most other WordPress plugins.
LearnDash does not have too many bells and whistles that will leave users confused and overwhelmed.
Learndash Features and Benefits
Below are some LearnDash features that make it a standout LMS for WordPress course building
An Easy to Use Visual Course Builder
LearnDash’s visual drag and drop or WYSIWYG editors enable an immediately gratifying, faster and easily manageable course building process. The visual course builder makes it very easy for you to structure your course content or lessons. You will have a clear overview of your course components.
This feature makes course building very intuitive than it is in other WordPress LMS. The platform allows you to create and to publish as many online courses as you want on your site. This ability to create an unlimited number of courses and their variants means that you can also have as many quizzes and lessons as you wish.
The creation of unlimited course content would be drastically difficult without the drag and drop interface. Your course content will be hierarchically structured, beginning with the course, then lessons and topics.
You can also add assignments, certificates, or quizzes to each level and control where each option shows up in the course outline.
Lots of Settings and Controls
Beyond the LMS’s unlimited course creation feature, you can use the platform’s different options to manage your content. Different features will enable you to access your various courses and edit options, such as its prerequisites or its availability. You can, for instance, lockdown some content so that students can only access what they have paid for.
This is one of the essential features of a learning management system. With LearnDash, you can define access to course content and select payment modes. You can set a recurring or one-off subscription or make it free.
Since the access control is set at the course level, you will not have to visit every other item of the course to dictate their specific access parameters too. This feature, therefore, saves you a lot, of course, definition time.
If you have found it difficult to rename your courses with custom labels in the past, the settings and control features of this program will make that a breeze. You can rename your title courses and the changes will appear on the backend as well as the student’s user interface.
Once you have renamed a course, the platform will automatically edit every other piece of content associated with the course downstream.
One of the most significant weaknesses that most LMS have is a very clunky front-end layout. The distractions of the student’s page lead to usability errors and a lack of focus. Low-Quality user experience or an unprofessional feel can distract and give your hard work a cheap feel.
Remember, your students need to have a mentally relaxing environment to maintain their focus. Distractions on your website could cause a snowball effect where students take too much time on one course. Your revenue could be affected and dropout rates might escalate.
LearnDash 3.0 has a focus mode that is applicable in the LMS backend. This feature will hide distracting items such as sidebars, unnecessary lessons, or pages and navigation features to create a simple and clean learning environment.
If you are looking for an LMS with a clean learner, interface, the FocusMode feature will have;
- A sidebar, main navigation and footer free screen to eliminate distractions. This is to ensure that learners stay in place and keep the dedicated study place devoid of any exit points
- A collapsible course navigation to supply the necessary ability to move in and out of different course content. The course navigation in LearnDash is maintained as a new sidebar.
- A FocusMode menu, which can be utilized to return any user back to the main course. This menu ensures that your learners will have a choice in site usage and, therefore, not feel trapped by a lack of main navigation bar.
- A lack of distracting CTA buttons which tend to grab the attention of learners in other LMS platforms. The LearnDash FocusMode screen has two buttons only. One is the “Next Lesson” while the other is the “Complete” button.
- The screen also has a progress bar that works as a subtle form of learning motivation. The bar can additionally work as a feedback mechanism that keeps them informed of their progress.
You can access FocusMode from the Settings panel, while students only need to hover over their profile image to access the FocusMode menu.
Content Drip-feeding Features
Just like the FocusMode option, the content drip feature is designed to ensure the wellbeing of your student. The CEO of LearnDash Justin Ferriman says that this feature is the platform’s version of “scheduled lesson delivery.”
It eliminates the ability of students to game the content learning system, whereby they skip lessons in a mad rush to get to the final course quiz.
Such actions are very detrimental to the learning process. They can also increase the course’s refund requests. Drip-feeding ensures that all course content is delivered on specific dates or intervals. The feature is handy for long duration courses.
On LearnDash, you need to set up delivery dates only once and the platform will see to the uniform delivery content to all users that sign up. One other benefit of the feature is that large masses of material can be delivered in manageable chunks.
Your students will not feel overwhelmed by massive instructional material. It is a handy option for online courses that cover broad subjects such as languages. You will also have a more engaged audience who will keep coming back to your website for new content.
Reusable Course Content
The WordPress LMS sector has had particular challenges for years. One of these exasperating issues has been the inability to reuse content created in a different course. To do so, you would have to clone or copy the content then paste it as a new course.
LearnDash makes it very easy to reuse quizzes or lessons in other courses and eliminates the need to make clones and other setup processes. Your content will, therefore, have less clutter and duplicated content.
LearnDash Quiz Builder
You can use the Gutenberg-like drag and drop builder to build different types of quiz types fast on the learning management system. This feature gives you access to various quiz models, a timer feature and a progress blocking option too for students that fail a quiz.
On LearnDash, you will have access to quiz choices such as single, free, multiple, sorting, or matrix sorting choice questions. You can also use surveys, fill in the blank, or essay models. The feature also has a quiz retake tool that can set the maximum number of retakes allowed.
It is one thing building a robust LMS platform that makes the course building a breeze for publishers. It is another thing, however, to ensure that the software is advanced enough to cater to all relevant course building and marketing needs.
LearnDash developers enabled the use of advanced LMS features that can scale your teaching business to any level. The LMS integrates seamlessly with other useful platforms such as;
- WooCommerce that can sell all LearnDash courses on its robust shopping cart. You can use the e-commerce platform to create course bundles, subscriptions, and use different payment gateways.
- The ConvertKit integration brings simple yet powerful email and automation prowess to the LearnDash environment. You can use this integration to add your learners to various segmented email lists. You will also have access to use subscription forms and course list segmentation tools.
- The Zapier platform’s 300 plus applications that range from the addition of new users to email lists, tracking failed quiz attempts, help desk generation to invoicing generation.
- MailChimp diehards can use its integration to LearnDash to actualize their email marketing strategies. MailChimp has fantastic automation, subscription, and segmentation tools.
Other LearnDash Integrations include;
- BuddyPress makes it easy for you to build a community around your course building business. You can use it to add user groups, online profiles and it has a useful private message feature. The free plugin makes real-time group interaction and discussion seamless.
- Visual Customizer will help you to add some pop of color to LearnDash templates. This third-party add-on has over 20 color pickers and works on any theme.
- Course Grid is an add-on that makes it easy to build responsive course layouts. You can also use it to add short course descriptions, images, status listing, video support, and dynamic price listing.
- Use Easy Digital Downloads if you want to integrate a shopping cart feature to your WordPress site. With a shopping cart feature on, you can proceed to sell, map, associate courses, and auto user enroll students in your classes. The add-on works with all payment gateways supported by Easy Digital Downloads
- LearnDash Notes is a perfect add-on for the LearnDash environment. It makes it easy for learners to take course notes that can be printed or exported as necessary. The add-on has an easy to use dynamic notes pop-out function and a WYSIWYG editor for intuitive text formatting.
Other LearnDash Add-ons include;
While LearnDash has a fantastic theme, it doesn’t hurt to jazz up your course’s appearances should you like to. There are different compliant code themes out there designed with the LearnDash layout in mind.
Themes such as BuddyBoss, will not only give you customization options but user retention features as well. Therefore, if you want a unique course site, here are the 12 most fabulous LearnDash themes for 2021.
Other Fantastic Learndash Features
- Student user profile pages where they can access personal information such as courses or course progress
- Stripe and PayPal payments without the use of plugin or apps
- Integrates with WooCommerce
- Public and private student forums
- Custom badges and certificates
- Bonus points feature for course completion
- Automatic email triggers
- Manual grading, quiz and assignments grade book synchronizing
Things You Might Not Like About LearnDash
- The Stripe and PayPal payments function could be sufficient for some users, but if you have more requirements, you will need more integration. Since LearnDash is not an all in one-course building solution, you will need to integrate it with platforms that have a membership plugin or shopping cart.
- The learning management system also does not have sales features, such as product bundles or coupons. Integrating it, however, with WooCommerce, will solve this issue.
- It has many useful course building features, which could be an overkill for simple projects. Learning how to use all these features could also be too broad a scope for simple courses.
- The software’s robust reporting features are absent from its entry-level plan.
LearnDash has three packages:
- Basic package with one site license at $159
- Plus package with ten site licenses at $189
- Pro package with twenty-five site licenses at $329
It’s Plus and Pro packages have ProPanel, a reporting, essay management, quick assignments and emailing feature tool.
Who’s Using LearnDash?
On its website, LearnDash makes a bold claim that they are the top choice LMS system for Fortune 500 businesses globally. They have a right to boast. The software is a favorite of many enterprises and significant educational institutions and instructors as well. Some of the platforms most influential users include;
How to Create Online Courses With LearnDash Plugin
Excited about LearnDash 3.0? Good! Here are a few pointers on how best you can weld this useful course creation tool from the platform’s backend. If you need more information, install the plugin, activate it, and then visit the platform’s mini boot camp.
The boot camp has a lot of useful video tutorials that cover the major features of the LMS. There is also a YouTube channel and a Facebook group user community.
Creating a New Course
Since the platform has very intuitive custom post types, you will find it easy to navigate to the LMS’s user interface. Head over to the Courses tab, then click “Add new.” Fill out all the required data, such as the URL, categories, course title and descriptions.
The LearnDash Add New interface closely resembles that of the WordPress editor. Scroll down to access the added course meta box to configure other functionalities. There are Question mark icons that explain the workings of each setting.
The Course Builder will help you to organize and add new content to your new course. All you need to do is to drag and drop your topics lessons or quizzes from the left tab to the right. Add new content as you go and edit them as necessary.
Go to the course-specific settings and optimize them. You can choose to leave the course access settings as free or open.
Alternatively, you can use these settings to make the course purchase a one-off cost, with the Buy Now option, or make it a recurring cost. Alternatively, use the Close setting to deny buyers access to the course.
You will also need to set course prerequisites for your subsequent courses using the drop-down menu provided. One other setting that you will need to make is between the Linear and Free from navigation for the pages.
Setting Up Course Lessons
LearnDash uses a hierarchical system to build a course. At the top is the Course, followed by Lesson, then the Topic. The visual builder will help you add new lessons and topics. You can also use the sidebar’s menu to add these items.
You will need to click on the added lessons and configure details such as assignment uploads or video progression.
You should edit the drip-feeding option. For topics, configure their associations with lessons and courses. The platform will automatically synchronize all changes as you go.
Creating Quizzes and Assignments
The learning management system has many features to help you structure your student’s assignments and quizzes. To ensure that the creation of this course content is as easy as possible, LearnDash has a feature that saves settings as templates.
You can use these templates to build new quizzes quickly. There is a Question tab whereby you can add question text, format and calculate its points.
Assignments, on the other hand, are added in the Topics or Lessons interface. You will manage your student’s submissions in the Assignments tab.
Setup Certificates on Course Completion
Go to the LMS and click Certificates, then Add New. You can then build a certificate on the screen that opens. Here you can add details such as the certificate’s title, a metric that will only be viewed from the backend.
This title will nevertheless appear on the drop-down menus when you need to apply it to a quiz or course. Next, add details such as Featured image by clicking on “Set featured image.”
Add other content on the dynamic fields’ titles and check for sufficient vertical and horizontal spacing. Simply drag and drop content up or down the certificate using the line-height function. Optimize your font, font sizes, font family and color options.
LearnDash Payment Settings
How to Set Up a Paypal Account
- Navigate to PayPal and register your new account. Go to LearnDash Settings and click on the PayPal tab. Add details such as your email, currency code of your country, country code, cancel, return and notify URLs.
- Navigate to Courses, click on course settings, then go to Course Access Settings.
- Set your Access Mode value and enter your price. The currency symbol will automatically appear and your course will be purchase ready.
How to Set Up a Stripe Account
- Navigate to Stripe and register your new account. Go to LearnDash Settings and click on Add-Ons.
- Install the Stripe Add on and activate it.
- Choose between the Stripe test mode and live mode. The live mode should be on when your course website is live. You will input the key to your preferred mode.
- Choose your integration type then add a Stripe Webhook.
- Insert your Endpoint Secret, locate your Stripe Keys and insert them on the LearnDash LMS Settings tab
- Add details such as the currency code of your country and return URLs
- Navigate to Courses, click on course settings, then go to Course Access Settings. Set your Access Mode value and enter your price. The currency symbol will automatically appear and your course will be purchase ready.
LearnDash Review: in Conclusion
LearnDash is one of the most popular learning management systems because it prioritizes fantastic user experience. One of the most exceptional features this platform has, as highlighted in this LearnDash review, is its FocusMode feature.
None of its competitors in its price range has such a fantastic learner experience feature.
Its other standout features such include features such as;
- Content drip-feeding
- Visual drag and drop editor
- LearnDash quiz builder
- Easy course building features
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so go out, have a LearnDash experience and tell us all about it.
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