WordPress is arguably the most utilized software platform for creating blogs, websites, e-commerce portals, and other interactive software programs. Due to its flexibility, robustness and high degree of user experience, WordPress is increasingly becoming the number one choice for programmers, the world over.
Over the last few years, taking a significant leap, WordPress has emphatically established itself as a cogent platform for creating learning management systems (LMS) or eLearning courses. Today, with an exponential increase in internet penetration, learning and education have comfortably shifted to the digital space. This has made students, professionals and researchers constantly look out for online courses in order to learn anytime anywhere.
As compared to traditional learning software systems, LMSs can be used to create online courses and training programs with a greater level of functionality to manage them. This is where WordPress plays a critical role, which utilizes various useful plugins and features that provide much-needed functionality to LMSs. Various organizations and companies are now replacing complex and less productive systems with LMSs with the help of WordPress.
Why should you use WordPress to create an LMS?
The most compelling reason for using WordPress is that it is the easiest CMS platform. At the same time, it is simple and has huge customization possibilities. Since it is free, reliable and easy to extend with numerous plugins, you can create an online course with a lot lesser cost. With this amazing line of features, it will be relatively for you to create an LMS course from scratch. Which is why many businesses are using WordPress for creating online courses and generating revenue out of them.
Development of online courses is not a one-time effort; you also need to maintain them. This means incurring of maintenance costs. But if you are using WordPress LMS plugins, the required time and costs will come down considerably because the maintenance work is done by these extensions automatically.
Moreover, WordPress powers one-fourths of the internet today and the tools that it utilizes makes LMS creation much more intuitive and user-friendly. It is currently the most effective platform so much so that customers will start availing your online course within a few days of conceiving of this very idea. As a matter of fact, the wide range of themes and plugins that WordPress offers will broaden the look and functionality of your online learning management system.
Which WordPress plugins are most widely used?
A good learning management plugin needs to have features that will create the better user experience and smooth functioning or be running of the course. So after installing WordPress on your system, it’s time to choose the plugins that best suit your needs. Here are some of the best WordPress plugins for LMS:
Sensei is a powerful plugin designed by the same professionals who created WooCommerce, the topmost e-commerce plugin. It provides an extensive coursework solution due to which it becomes quite easier for you to create and publish courses, lessons, and quizzes. It has many features including quick user registration, testing, quiz grading, and course analytics. It offers different designs for different courses, and since having been provided by WooThemes, it can be easily integrated with WooCommerce. This is extremely helpful for selling online courses with an ease.
Probably the only WP plugin that is almost free, LearnPress has a large range of functionalities that provide you a complete freedom in creating your own learning management system. It is also the only WordPress LMS plugin that has more than 10,000 active users. With the help of LearnPress plugin, you can easily create Udemy and Coursera clone. Furthermore, it offers you an excellent user interface in order to create a course with all the options that you need. Whether making a full curriculum layout or editing and maintaining it, LearnPress proves to be an excellent tool. It also allows you to export course and import to other websites.
LearnDash is yet another all-in-one LMS plugin for WP that also has an impressive range of features. Being a feature-rich plugin, LearDash is perfectly suitable for a wide variety of educational needs. It seamlessly integrates any types of themes because it uses Custom Post Types to display content. The different Custom Type Post are Courses, Lessons, Quizzes, and Certificates. The extensive lists of integrations that it offers are all free, which include Payment Gateways, Event Espresso Integration, Course Grid, Visual Customizer, e-commerce to membership plugins, badge features, and other developer tools. Some of the key features of LearnDash that are helpful in managing your LMS are: Course Enrollment, Manage Learner Progress, Create User Groups, and Communicate Clearly.
WP Courseware is one of the most powerful and popular WP plugins that are highly feature-rich. It allows you to design an engaging course with a vast collection of learning components for users. It offers you an interactive learning environment with a freedom to create a course of your own choice. WP Courseware has multiple modules, units, and quizzes; supports course pre-requisites and provides content drip features. It fully supports instructor profiles, instructor & student grade books, custom e-mails and many other features that provide a better user experience. Since WP Courseware doesn’t accept payments to sell courses, you, therefore, need to integrate it with a WordPress membership or e-commerce plugin to sell your courses.
A highly potent plugin for creating learning management system, LifterLMS is an extremely handy tool for developers. It’s a great option for powering your courses and easy to set up even on existing WP sites. The working of this plugin is very simple – students can register or purchase a course, upgrade their membership level, and can access the relevant content. As far as payment is concerned, it accepts it through PayPal, Stripe or manually via check. The various features of LifterLMS plugin are: custom sidebars show how far someone has advanced in a course, creating membership levels and managing programs on the dashboard, analytics for tracking from refunds to membership orders, creating coupons to promote courses, and Quizzing & grading among others.
Getting Started With WordPress For Creating An LMS
If you want to create courses and manage classes in WordPress, we will first add an LMS using one of the above-discussed plugins for illustration. Here, we will use LearnPress since it is a free tool. So, before you start the process of training and learning, you need to sign up for a reliable WordPress hosting account, which will essentially be your website’s home on the internet.
Next, you will need a domain name and then install WordPress on your website. Now, once you have installed WordPress, you will be ready to choose an LMS plugin for your website (here LearnPress). After activating the LearnPress plugin, we will touch upon following different sections.
Create a Course
In order to create a course in LearnPress, you need to take the following steps:
- Give a title to your course (Here, How to create LMS).
- Give a course description.
- Create the course curriculum.
- Course settings: In this sub-section, you can insert and adjust settings of your course.
- Course assessment: The plugin supports two types of assessments: No Final Quiz and Using Final Quiz. You can click the one that want to opt.
- Course payment settings: You can select the proper option as per you want to make it free or make it chargeable.
Create a Lesson
Using LearnPress, you can create course content of its lessons as text, videos or audios. Then you have to configure the lessons with two configuration options. The first one is Lesson Duration, and in the second one, students can preview the lesson.
Create a Quiz
Quiz is obviously used to test students’ understanding of the course. In LearnPress there are two ways to create a quiz:
- Go to Quizzes => add new
- Create a quiz by “Quick add quiz”.
Create a Question
To create a question in LearnPress, you have three options:
- True or False
- Multiple choice
- Choose one
It is for the administrators who have control of all the information regarding courses. It has various fields: order number, student names, course name, time, the value of order and status of courses.
It is an important feature meant for instructors or administrators to view the course details. So, after filling the appropriate fields, they can get the required graph for further analysis.
The add-ons extend the capacity of LearnPress by adding useful features to the plugin.
As we discussed in the article how WordPress is extremely handy for programmers to create a learning management system. Its customizability, flexibility, easy maintenance and a huge range of features are some of the reasons why developers choose this platform over others. We also discussed some of the most widely used WordPress plugins and their special features. These plugins make WordPress a power tool to reckon with. Finally, we attempted to create a demo LMS using LearnPress, one of the WP plugin, for beginners.