Do you want to create a course in LearnDash? It’s easy and you don’t even need to know how to code. With the easy-to-use interface of LearnDash, you can create a complete course just within an hour or so. You can do it all. In this article, today we are going to learn how to create a course in LearnDash.
The eLearning industry has been growing since the pandemic. Since lockdown was frequently announced, people had to stay indoors. But instead of sitting home idle, people started to learn skills online. They even got certified and were able to secure jobs. Even schools, colleges, and Universities adopted online classes during the pandemic.
If you are skilled in a particular subject, you can now create your own online courses and sell them online. Using WordPress and an LMS plugin like LearnDash, you can accomplish this task. In today’s article, we’ll show you how to create a course in LearnDash.
How good is LearnDash as an LMS plugin?
LearnDash is one of the most popular LMS plugins for WordPress today. It has everything that you need to build a complete eLearning website. It was launched back in 2012 which makes it the first LMS plugin for WordPress. The plugin has been designed through consultation with several industry experts.
Whether you are a gym instructor, a fitness trainer, a cooking teacher, or an expert in any subject, you can use WordPress and LearnDash to create your own eLearning platform. Even better, you can create and sell your courses all by yourself! That’s right, you don’t need any coding knowledge.
The plugin has a built-in setup wizard that helps you configure the plugin. You just have to answer a few questions and the plugin will be configured based on your requirements. LearnDash also has a Bootcamp that has several tutorials for you. You can watch these short videos to understand how the plugin works. LearnDash also has detailed documentation that you can consult any time you are stuck.
Now there are various LMS plugins available in the market but why should you choose LearnDash? Let’s list out a few pros of LearnDash
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- Easy to use tools that help you create and sell online courses
- Large community of active users
- LearnDash is constantly updated to ensure the best eLearning experience
- Gamification of courses
- Advanced quiz system with multiple categories
- Certificate builder
- Instant access to reports and analytics
- Integration with 3rd party extension to increase functionalities
- Detailed documentation and support
- YouTube channel with tutorials
- Open source platform. You can access the code and customize it
- LearnDash Cloud for hosted services
These are just some of the advantages of using LearnDash. One of the great things about this LMS plugin is that it is constantly updated to give you the best eLearning experience. To learn more about LearnDash you can check out our LearnDash review 2022 post.
Before you start creating a course
Now before you start building your course, there are a couple of things that we need to ensure. Firstly, if you have a good domain and hosting plan for your eLearning website. If you’ve selected LearnDash cloud, you’ll have a WordPress site up and running. All you have to do is create and sell your courses, the rest will be handled by the LearnDash team.
Again, if you want to select some other hosting plan such as HostGator, Namecheap, etc. that is also fine. But in this article, we won’t discuss the domain and hosting. You can check out our post on How to create an eLearning website with LearnDash, for more details.
How to create a course in LearnDash
So you have a copy of WordPress installed. I presume that you’ve already purchased LearnDash and installed it on your WordPress website.
Configure LearnDash using the Setup Wizard
Right after you install and activate the LearnDash plugin, it will initiate a setup wizard. This application helps you configure your LearnDash plugin. You can also skip it but I don’t recommend it. Because this will help you set up your eLearning platform. If you want to change some settings, you can do it manually later on. So let’s look at the setup wizard.
The setup wizard greets you with a welcome screen. Click on the ‘Get Started’ button to proceed with the setup. In the next step, you’ll be asked to put in your email and license code. If you don’t have your license code, then contact LearnDash support.
After adding your email and license code, click on the ‘Validate’ button and the program will validate your license code. Once this is activated, your LearnDash plugin will be updated as soon as a new version is released. After successful validation, click on the ‘Next’ button to proceed to the next step.
In the next step, the setup wizard will ask you what kind, of course, you are looking to build. The first option asks you how many courses you want to build. If you want to create just one course, then select ‘Just One’ and if you want to create multiple courses, then select ‘Multiple’.
Next, there are 4 choices here, you can pick one or all 4 of those if you want. This depends on what kind, of course, you are looking to build. Just choose the category you want and click on the ‘Next’ button to proceed.
The next step is the payment process. If you want to create and sell courses online then you need a payment system. If you want to create free courses, you can select the ‘No’ option on top. But we are assuming that you want to sell courses online. There are 2 options for the payment system, Stripe or WooCommerce. Simply select the eCommerce plugin you want and click on ‘Next’.
In the final step, you’ll see the summary of your eLearning website. You’ll also see some add-ons such as the Certificate Builder, Course Grid, WooCommerce, etc. These add-ons are selected because of your choices. If everything looks ok, click on ‘Save & Continue’ button to finalize the setup
Choose an LMS theme
Now that you have your LearnDash configured, there’s just one more thing before we start building our course. We need to select an LMS theme for eLearning website. Now we won’t go into much detail about LMS themes, but you can choose any theme suggested by LearnDash.
Astra and Kadence has many LMS themes avaialble. These themes are also suggested by LearnDash. You can also check out our list of best themes for LearnDash.
Create a new course with the Course Builder
Now that your LearnDash has been configured and your theme is all ready to go, now we can create courses.
Before you start, it will be helpful if you can create your course plan. For example, create course lessons and write down what topics will be discussed in those lessons. So during the course creation process, you can just create lessons and topics easily.
From your WordPress dashboard, click on ‘Courses’. This will bring you to the courses page. Since this is a new LMS website, there won’t be any courses. But if you’ve imported the demo, there might be a few dummy courses. You can remove these courses if you want and replace those with your own. For now, these dummy courses will contribute to the overall design of the website.
Click on the ‘Add New’ button to open the Course Builder. The Course Builder has 3 pages for creating a course. The first page is the course details page.
On the course details page, you can give a course description, featured image, etc. This is the first page that your users will see when they select a course. Basically, it acts as a course introduction.
Here you can do the following:
- Give a name to your course
- Provide a course description
- Set a featured image for the course
- Select course categories, tags, etc.
So give your course a name, and description and set a featured image. After you’re done, click on the ‘Builder’ to get to open the builder.
The builder helps you create course lessons and topics. You can also add quizzes to your lessons if you have quizzes. We will create quizzes, later on, first, let’s populate our course with lessons and topics.
You can also drag and drop your lessons and topics as well. Now we have created lessons and topics, but there’s no content in those. To edit a lesson, hover your mouse over it and click on ‘Edit’ on the left beside the arrow.
To edit a topic first click on the arrow on the left side of each lesson to unfold it. Then hover your mouse over a topic and click on ‘Edit’ to edit that particular topic.
For lesson editing, you can simply describe what will be included in that lesson. You can also upload a video to discuss the lesson contents. You can use the Gutenberg editor to customize the lesson.
For editing topics, you can include texts and videos the same way you did for lessons. Later on, we will learn how to add quizzes. But for now, if you have content prepared for your topics, simply upload videos or texts to complete your course.
Following the same process, you can keep editing your topics and complete your entire course. Depending on the size of your online course, this might take some time. But if you have already created your lessons and topics plan, this won’t take very long.
After you’re done with that, click on the settings tab on the Course Builder. Now we need to tweak a few settings options for your course. First, select the access mode of your course. You can select Free, Buy Now, Open, etc. Depending on what option you select, the interface might change. For example, if you select the Buy Now option, a section will pop up asking you to set a course price and enrollment URL.
The other options such as the Course Prerequisites, Course Points, and Course Access Expiration are optional. For now, we don’t need these options.
Next, you can tweak the course display options. Here you can add course materials. This will show the materials that you will be provided in the course. You can also add a course certificate from here, a challenge exam show, etc. We will come back to this option later on.
The next important decision is the course navigation system. There are 2 choices here, Linear and Free form. The Linear option lets the user progress the course sequentially one topic after another. While the Free from option allows the user to move through the course freely. The user doesn’t have to complete one lesson or topic in order to move on to the next one.
Generally, the Linear option is the best course navigation option for most courses. But you can select Free Form if you want.
Course Create Wizard
While on the topic of course creation, it is essential to talk about the course create wizard. This is a unique feature of LearnDash. Using this feature, you can include a YouTube playlist, Vimeo showcase, or a Wista Project on your online course website.
To use this feature go to LearnDash > Courses and click on the ‘Create from Video Playlist’ button.
This will take you to another page where you’ll find an input box. Now go to your YouTube, Vimeo, or Wista course playlist and copy it. Then paste the URL in the input box and click on ‘Load the playlist data’ button.
That’s it! You have now created an entire course from your video playlist. But do keep in mind, that you have to paste the URL of the playlist and not the URL of the individual video. Otherwise, this won’t work.
The course creates wizard automatically creates the lessons corresponding to your playlist. You will then be given the course access settings. If you already have a course on YouTube, Vimeo, or Wista, you can use this feature to quickly create an online course.
So that is how you can create a course in LearnDash. But we still have no quizzes and certificates for our course. Let’s do that!
Creating quizzes for your course
Now that we have our course lessons and topics all set up, we need to add some quizzes to our course. From the WordPress dashboard go to Quizzes and select ‘Add New’ to add some quizzes. This will open up the Quiz Builder. It is similar to the Course Builder. First, there is the quiz introduction, next the builder, then the settings option.
So give your quiz a name (for example: WordPress Quiz 1). Then you can add some quiz descriptions if you want. Next click on the builder to create your quiz.
Just like you built the lessons and topics, it’s a bit similar to that. First, select your quiz category. It can be either single choice, multiple choice, Open-ended essay, etc. Then give your quiz a heading (for example: Question 1). Then write the quiz and depending on what category you choose, the interface will accommodate you.
In our example, we create a single-choice quiz. See the screenshot below for a better understanding.
In the same way, you can create multiple quizzes for this one quiz series. You can also create more quizzes with different categories or for different courses. Now after creating quizzes, click on the ‘Settings’ tab for some extra options.
From this section, you can add this quiz that you created to your course or lesson. If you add it to a course, then users have to answer this quiz at the end of the course. If you add it to a lesson, then users have to answer the quiz at the end of a lesson.
There are other options for the quiz that you can tweak such as Quiz Release Schedule, Quiz Prerequisite, Allowed users, Passing score, Time limit, Restrict quiz retakes, etc. You can look around the quiz settings and choose the option you want for your quiz.
There’s another way of adding your quiz to your topics and lessons. To do this, head back to your course builder and click on the ‘Builder’ tab. Now, from the left side, you can drag and drop your quizzes to your topics.
That is how you can add quizzes to your topics and lessons using the Course Builder.
Create and add a certificate to your course
Now that you have some quizzes on your course, it’s only logical to add a course certificate. Having a course certificate adds value to your course. Also, when students receive a certificate at the end of the course, it gives them extra confidence.
But you have to install the Certificate Builder addon in order to use it. To do that, go to LearnDash > Add-ons from your WordPress dashboard and find the Certificate Builder. Then click on the ‘Install Now’ button to install the addon.
After it’s installed and activated, you can use the LearnDash Certificate Builder. To access it, go to LearnDash > Certificates and click on the ‘Use Certificate Builder’ button to launch the builder.
This opens up a new interface and gives you Gutenberg block editor to design your certificate. But before you do anything, you must first create a background for your certificate. To design the background, you can use the following:
- Envato Elements
- Creative Market
You can use either of the above mentioned websites to design a background for your certificates. When designing keep the following things in mind:
- The image must be in .jpg format
- If you’re using an 11″ x 8.5″ US Letter size in landscape orientation, your image should match these dimensions. If you want your certificates to look great when printed, please also use 300 dpi.
- Image size should be less than 1MB. It’s not a requirement but it will load faster if your image is less than 1MB.
After your design is complete, simply upload the image by clicking on the ‘Upload’ button.
You can also change the alignment of the certificate if it’s not perfectly aligned. To do this, select the background block, then from the settings option, you can change the field viewport and other viewing options.
The next part is easy. Simply use the Gutenberg blocks to include your Certificate elements. Generally, the following elements are necessary:
- Title of the certificate (For example: Certificate of Completion)
- Student’s Name
- Course Title
- Date of Completion
You can use the paragraph block to insert details like Course title, Title of Certificate, etc. But if you want to insert Student’s Name, which should be acquired dynamically, you have to use the LearnDash user meta block. This block will fetch the name of the user from the student ID.
Similarly, for the course completion date, you need to use the LearnDash course info block. This block will acquire the actual date when the user completed the course. After you’re done, click on the ‘Publish’ button to save your certificate.
That’s all you have to do to create a course certificate. Now if you want to see how your certificate looks, click on the ‘Preview Button’ and select the ‘Preview in a tab’. You can also download the certificate as a PDF too.
Adding Certificate to a course
To add the Certificate to your course, simply go back to your course builder and select the settings tab. Scroll down to ‘Display and Content Options’ and find the Course Certificate field. From the drop-down, select the certificate that you just created.
That is how you can add a certificate to your course. So for more courses, you can use the certificate builder to create more certificates. Then add those certificates to your courses. Once you are done, you can go to the front and see how your course looks.
Enabling the Focus Mode
To make your course look more engaging you can enable the focus mode. This eliminates the header and footer and gives your user a chance to focus on the lessons. To enable the focus mode, go to LearnDash > Settings from your WordPress dashboard. From the general tab, find the Focus Mode option and enable it.
Once you enable the Focus Mode, 2 other options will pop out. This lets you customize your focus mode content width and where the sidebar should be placed. For now, let’s keep the default options. Now let’s take a look at how our course looks with the Focus Mode enabled.
Now your users can focus on their lessons with all the distractions eliminated.
So that is how you can create a course in LearnDash. LearnDash is an amazing LMS plugin there’s no doubt. But setting up your online course could be tough especially if you have no experience. We created this step-by-step article so that it will be at least a bit easier for you to start your eLearning website.
LearnDash is a plugin with so many features and options. We have only used some of these features and settings to make things simple. There are so many other features and add-ons to explore. Feel free to explore the plugin and find the best way to optimize your courses. Some features like Assignments, Challenge exams, Email Notifications, Login and Registration, etc. are some features that you should explore.
And that brings our article to a conclusion. If you are having any difficulties, you have LearnDash documentation and support to help you out. You can also leave a message in our comments section and we’ll try our best to help you out. Good luck with your online course website!
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