When it comes to creating educational courses on WordPress, there are few LMS platforms that are as adept at the art as LearnDash. The course creation and management software is packed with a multitude of features that make course writing a breeze, even for complete greenhorns.
One of the many things that works for LearnDash is the fact that is designed from a user-first point of view. This makes it easy to navigate for people who are unfamiliar with the world of codes and get intimidated hearing things like hooks, and functions, and filters (*cough* like me *cough*). 😉
The plugin offers a bundle of features that can be leveraged to create a beautiful course; the features it doesn’t manage to incorporate in its core list, it provides for with some pretty neat add-ons.
Here we shall discuss the 7 best add-ons for LearnDash (in no particular order) that add a profusion of features to the core plugin and make course creation super easy!
Gamification has become an integral part of e-learning today, proving to be one of the most successful methods of encouraging student attendance and increasing productivity. LearnDash incorporates gamification features into its courses with the help of WPAchievements, a comprehensive plugin that adds a plethora of badges, ranks, certificates, leaderboards, and quests to the course.
The WPAchievements add-on lets you, as the course creator, add a wealth of points and rewards to students based on how much and how well they interact with the course material. For instance, there can be various tiers for earning points as students attempt a quiz, watch a video, hand in assignments, and of course, complete the course.
The add-on also lets you create where ranks can be assigned to students based on their performance in the course for the week. Not only does this generate satisfaction among students, but witnessing their relative performance to the top-ranked students also spurs the lagging ones to do better work. Nothing like healthy rivalry to improve student productivity, right?!
#2 Content Cloner
As a course administrator, you might have to create similar courses over and over. In such cases, drafting the same course content time and again can quickly become tedious. The Content Cloner add-on lets you duplicate the entire course, including lessons, quizzes, tasks, and more with a single click.
The best part is, this functionality can be extended cloning multiple courses at once too, which means you can simply create a skeletal structure of all your course types and keep cloning and modifying them as necessary, over and over!
#3 Visual Customizer
The Visual Customizer add-on is one of the must-haves for LearnDash. Visual Customizer comes equipped with five base design templates, each with its own appeal, that can become the skin for your course. Each of these templates can be further modified, choosing from a color palette of over 20 combinations, that generates a unique feel for every single course!
On a more professional note, Visual Customizer can help you more than just to create comfortable courses; it can help you develop your brand in the online education world. Creating a common thread through all your courses can become your education system’s unique identity, whether it is your color scheme, course layout, text structure, or any other feature. Visual Customizer is a Premium add-on, developed by Snap Orbital and available on the LearnDash website.
#4 Front-End Course Creation
One of your biggest concerns as the website administrator is the safety of your core website. While it is true that you implicitly trust the members you are assigning course creation user roles to, extensive user access is nevertheless a potential threat to security. Besides, what if you were approached by a Guest who wants to create a course on your website? You can hardly open your website back-end to a virtual stranger; the risk is too great.
LearnDash offsets this hassle by providing the Front-End Course Creation add-on.
Like the name suggests, once this add-on is in place, you can add course creators who can access the website only at the front-end, with zero back-end access. This elegant solution lets course creators leverage all the creative tools available for managing the course, while limiting back-end access only to designated users.
#5 LearnDash Notes
The LearnDash Notes add-on takes your LearnDash course to a completely digital level. The add-on is a great help to your students as it lets them take notes on your lectures throughout the course. These notes can be exported to the student’s device for later, offline study, if necessary.
This effectively does away with the pen-and-paper approach and students can focus completely on the lectures, even as they take notes. One could argue that this could be as easily done by using in-built tools like Microsoft Word or OneNote; however, switching between two different interfaces can be really distracting and ultimately affects student retention capacity. The integrated LearnDash Notes approach helps the student stay in the lecture zone, while at the same time making additional notes for individual reference.
Addition of tin-can courses, i.e. courses where there can be two-way student-teacher interaction in real-time, have been known to increase student attention manifold. The GrassBlade add-on lets you add your Tin-Can courses to LearnDash, or even embed specific tin-can packages into your course lessons.
The add-on is available in two different versions, GrassBlade and GrassBlade PRO. The former is free, the latter premium. Integrating tin-can API into your courses can help you measure student responsiveness to the different aspects of your course, the places visited most, the lectures they spent the maximum and the shortest times on, and so forth. It is like an analytical tool for measuring the cognitive investment of your students in the course and hence can be a powerful resource for generating feedback and improving future courses.
#7 Course Grid
The Course Grid add-on is useful from the point of view of the administrator, as well as the end-user. The add-on does exactly what it says, arranges all the courses from your library into a responsive grid, anywhere on your site. Though not strictly a tool for course creation, it does help the registrant get a bird’s eye view of all the courses on your website and filter them by the category they are interested in.
That completes the list of our 7 most useful LearnDash add-ons for course creation. The core LearnDash plugin itself has a plethora of features (some 80 if you see the website), and the rest are provided by such add-ons.
What other add-ons or ideas do you think could be useful in making course creation easy? Share them in the comments section below!