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LearnDash WordPress Plugin: 12 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Purchase

Picture of Dr. Sara Baker

Dr. Sara Baker

Hi there! I'm Sara, your go-to for all things eLearning and EdTech. For over a decade, I've dedicated myself to making online education engaging and effective for learners of all ages. Leading the charge at VBI Education, my goal is to help you and your organization achieve educational success with innovative, tailor-made solutions. When I'm not geeking out over the latest in learning tech and instructional design, you'll find me soaking up quality time with my family and friends, probably somewhere beautiful in Texas. Let's make learning unforgettable together!

Are you exploring your options to create an online course and wondering if LearnDash is the right tool for you? Look no further! In this article, we’ll provide detailed answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about using LearnDash so that you can make an informed decision. From creating online courses to offering support for user engagement, LearnDash has something for everyone. So let’s dive in and see what this powerful learning platform can do for you!

LearnDash WordPress Plugin: 12 Questions to Ask Before You Purchase

LearnDash is a WordPress plugin (plugin = software) that offers an easy-to-use Learning Management System (LMS) for your website. It is currently the top-rated LMS WordPress plugin, yet it still has a steep learning curve. Even competent WordPress developers may experience a bit of overwhelm because of the uniqueness of how LearnDash functions.

LearnDash is most frequently used by educators, course creators, and businesses who need to offer courses or interactive training programs. It has many great features to create an online learning environment. However, it can be challenging to figure out how to interconnect all of the different pieces needed to design your website, create your courses, set up a payment system and make sure your customers gain easy access to their purchased courses.

Below, we’ll walk through 12 common questions and answers about LearnDash and help you better understand what this platform can do for your online course or business.

What type of content can I create with LearnDash?

LearnDash provides the tools you need to create and deliver a wide variety of online courses, including quizzes, videos, audio files, documents, and more. You can also use LearnDash’s advanced features to group related courses into trackable learning paths for your students.

Most online courses include a combination of text, videos and interactive components like quizzes or assignments. You can also add gamification elements to your courses to increase learner engagement.

What features does LearnDash include?

LearnDash includes various features to help you create, manage and deliver online courses. This includes tools for creating courses, quizzes, and other content; managing user course enrollments; assigning grades or certificates of completion; setting up pricing plans; automating communication with your students; tracking progress reports; and more.

To optimize your LearnDash website, you will likely need to add additional software plugins, some free and some paid. LearnDash has shared that they are working on adding more features, but you will likely still need to install additional plugins to get all the features you need.

Does LearnDash integrate with other WordPress plugins and tools?

Yes, LearnDash easily integrates with other WordPress plugins like WooCommerce for payment processing, Gravity Forms for forms and surveys, WPML for language translation, BuddyBoss for social learning experiences and more. One of the greatest benefits of using LearnDash on a WordPress website is the flexibility and the available integrations.

Depending on your business needs, you can create a unique solution that leverages some powerful paid premium plugins like the Uncanny Groups for LearnDash if you want to sell group licenses to your courses to other businesses or Uncanny Owl Toolkit Pro for emailing course certificates, redirecting users after login and other powerful features.. Or you can use Uncanny Automator to help you connect LearnDash to a Google Sheet and automatically export course completion data for users. Many powerful supportive plugins exist that can help you customize your LearnDash website to better meet your business’s needs.

Can I host live webinars and virtual classrooms with LearnDash?

Yes, with… you guessed it, a third-party plugin 🙂

You can use LearnDash to host live webinars and offer interactive learning experiences in a virtual classroom setting. By adding third-party plugins or software integrations, you can use LearnDash to provide audio and video conferencing capabilities and also offer interactive whiteboard collaboration tools. The third-party Zoom integration allows you to create meetings on your WordPress backend and it automatically syncs these new meetings with your Zoom schedule (and vice versa).

How do I get paid for my courses on LearnDash?

Although LearnDash does have native payment integrations for PayPal and Stripe, they are very limited in functionality and I recommend you use a dedicated payment gateway like WooCommerce (free) or MemberPress (paid). With these plugins, you can easily set up payment plans for courses, recurring subscriptions, and memberships.

Whatever payment option you use, you will need to connect it to your Stripe or other payment processors so that the funds will be transferred to your account when purchases are made on your website.

You can also use LearnDash to offer free courses with no payments involved. This is a great way to introduce users to your content and give them an idea of what they can expect when they purchase or enroll in one of your paid courses.

Is there a way to track user engagement and progress?

Sort of. LearnDash provides a limited ability to track user progress and engagement. You can easily export course completion data by each user or quiz completion data. Still, you will have to add additional plugins or pay a developer to create custom code to compile more detailed user progress data.

LearnDash offers an API to extract learner data and integrate it into other applications or databases. This helps you get a more detailed view of user progress, course completion data and quiz results.

Is there a way to automate awarding certificates for course completions or passing quizzes?

Yes, you can use LearnDash to award certificates and badges for course completion automatically. You can create custom certificates or use a third-party plugin to generate customized digital badges. Additionally, you can set up automated email notifications when users complete courses or pass quizzes.

Does LearnDash offer learner support options like discussion forums and private messaging?

No, LearnDash out-of-the-box does not offer learner support options like discussion forums and private messaging. You can use the native WordPress “comments” ability to show comments on your lesson or course pages and provide a space for your learners to communicate about the content. However, this feature is limited.

You can add discussion forums and private messaging (among other engagement approaches) to your site through third-party plugins. BuddyBoss is a premium (paid) theme/platform that provides many learner engagement options, such as community forums, messaging, and a social media-style newsfeed. The LearnDash Private Messages add-on (paid) also provides private messaging capabilities between instructors and enrolled learners.

Can I customize the look and feel of my online course with LearnDash?

Yes and no. You will be able to customize the majority of your WordPress site as much as you’d like, however the LearnDash course, lesson, topic and quiz pages are controlled by LearnDash and are limited unless you use custom code to modify the LearnDash template files OR you use a page-builder integration like Elementor Pro (paid) that allows you to create templates for those pages. With a combination of custom fields and Elementor templates, you can create a unique LearnDash design that aligns with your brand and engages your learners.

Do I need a developer to use LearnDash?

No, maybe, or yes. Tech-savvy DIYers can build a WordPress and LearnDash website.

There is, however, a pretty steep learning curve with LearnDash setup and use sometimes, so whether you choose to hire a developer to build your website depends on how much time you want to devote to your project. This was actually how I became a LearnDash expert. By the time I learned everything I wanted to set up my online course website, I was a LearnDash expert and ready to put all the puzzle pieces together to create fabulous solutions for clients.

So, if you are techy, love puzzles, and thrive on that euphoric feeling you get when you figure out something new, then I would recommend you take a stab at setting up your own site.

If you want to customize the look and feel of your course pages or add custom functionality, then you may need a skilled developer familiar with WordPress and LearnDash to help implement those changes. Additionally, a developer can help set up integrations with third-party plugins and services.

I generally create websites for my clients using user-friendly tools (user-friendly for the standard DIY user) so that they can make changes to their course content and sales pages as needed. Some LearnDash site owners choose to hire a virtual assistant to complete fundamental changes to their sites or courses and hire a developer when they need new integrations set up or if something isn’t working as expected.

The answer to this question is unique to your personal preferences, your skill set and your budget (time and money).

What is the cost of using LearnDash?

The cost of using LearnDash depends on a few factors. The basic cost per year for a single site is $199.

In addition to the cost of LearnDash, you will also need to factor in the cost of a domain name, hosting fees and any additional third-party plugins or services you may need. Depending on your setup, these costs can vary significantly.

You can find more information here about LearnDash Pricing.

How can I get started with LearnDash?

If you’re ready to jump in, the best place to start is with a self-hosted WordPress site. You’ll need to purchase hosting and a domain name before installing LearnDash.

You should also consider whether or not you need additional engagement and marketing tools like membership plugins, page-builders, email services, payment gateways, etc. to supplement the functionality of LearnDash.

Once you have your site set up with WordPress and any additional plugins/services, you can purchase a LearnDash license and install the plugin on your site. You will also need to add any integrations that you will be using.

Once everything is installed, you can start creating courses, lessons, topics and quizzes! If you want even more control over the design of your LearnDash course pages, you can use a page-builder integration like Elementor Pro or Beaver Builder to create custom course templates.

Feeling a Little Overwhelmed?

If you’re looking for professional help to plan out your LearnDash website project or want an expert to take care of the build for you, I’m here to help. With years of experience in WordPress and LearnDash design and development, I can ensure your project runs smoothly and is delivered on time. My portfolio showcases a few of the projects I have completed for my clients, so you can feel confident that your website will be in good hands. Contact me today, and let’s discuss how I can help you get the most out of LearnDash!

FAQ

What is LearnDash and what can I do with it?

LearnDash is a powerful WordPress plugin designed to help you create, manage, and sell online courses. With LearnDash, you can easily set up course pages, add lessons and quizzes, manage student progress, customize the look and feel of your course pages, and even set up e-commerce integrations to handle payments.

What is the cost of using LearnDash?

The basic cost per year for a single site is $199. In addition to the cost of LearnDash, you will also need to factor in the cost of a domain name, hosting fees and any additional third-party plugins or services you may need. Depending on your setup, these costs can vary significantly.

How can I get started with LearnDash?

To get started with LearnDash, you’ll need to purchase hosting and a domain name before installing the plugin. You should also consider whether or not you need additional engagement and marketing tools like membership plugins, page-builders, email services, payment gateways, etc. to supplement the functionality of LearnDash. Once everything is installed, you can create courses, lessons, topics and quizzes!

Do I need a developer to use LearnDash?

Not necessarily. While you may need a developer for more complex integrations or customizations, LearnDash is designed to be accessible and easy-to-use without technical knowledge. If you do find yourself in need of a developer, I am available to help with your project and ensure it runs smoothly.

Is there a trial period for LearnDash?

No, LearnDash does not offer a free trial period. However, you can purchase a single-site license and receive a 30-day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the product.

How do I get support for LearnDash?

The LearnDash support team is available to answer any questions you may have through their online ticketing system. You can also find a wealth of knowledge in their documentation and community forums. Additionally, I am available to help with your project and ensure it runs smoothly. Contact me today, and let’s discuss how I can help you get the most out of LearnDash!

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