Moodle is a front-runner in learning management systems. It has got all the features you need to set up your e-learning website. But when it comes to selling your courses online, Moodle has limited options. PayPal is available as a default payment gateway, but it’s always better to provide your customers additional options. And how can you do that?
Première Solution: Custom Payment Gateway for Moodle
The advantage of using Moodle is that it can be extended using plugins. Similarly a Moodle plugin can be built for a payment gateway like Stripe or PayU or any payment gateway you would need. Seems like an obvious approach. But since Moodle plugins are not abundantly available, my guess is you’ll have to track down a Moodle developer and have them build you a reliable solution. Addition of a payment gateway could be a pricey task.
However, there is an alternate. But an alternative is better only if it has more advantages than the initial approach. But that’s not for me to decide. So here’s what. I’ll give you a few reasons why I feel this particular alternative approach is better. And then it’s up to you to you to decide which path you should choose. So let’s get straight to it.
Deuxième Solution: WooCommerce + Moodle
So, the alternate approach I would choose, would be to use…. *dramatic pause*….. an e-Commerce platform like WooCommerce! (Okay so the title gave it away 😀 ) But the idea is not far-fetched. A while ago, I read this in one of the threads in the Moodle Forum. To begin with WooCommerce is free. You can setup WordPress and WooCommerce by yourself, and install additional plugins if needed. You do not need to involve a developer. But apart from this, I’ve listed below the additional advantages WooCommerce provides you as opposed to Moodle-with-an-additional-payment-gateway:
Payment Gateways Readily Available
So you’re on a quest to find a new payment gateway for your Moodle LMS. If you use WooCommerce you’ll have several payment gateways right out of the box. And since WooCommerce is hugely popular, there are readily available plugins which can save you development effort and expense.
Sell Physical Goods
Another advantage of using an e-Commerce plugin, is that you can sell physical goods such as Books, Course Reference Material (like PDFs or Docs), DVDs, and so on, along with your Moodle Courses. Kind of expected this- Didn’t you?! But yes. If you see yourself growing into a full fledged learning resource, then this can really help you.
Add Discounts and Coupons
WooCommerce gives you the flexibility to add discounts or send across coupons. Which can be a great motivator for students to purchase e-courses. You could even sell courses in a package at a reduced amount. With WooCommerce you can also cross-sell products (for example, using ‘Related Products’), to improve conversions.
Sell Membership or Subscription
For students or teachers, you could offer membership. Membership can also be divided into levels. And could be billed at different rates, on a timely basis. This provides you the flexibility to restrict access to particular courses and information in your Moodle website.
Want to promote your website using Affiliates but can’t track conversions in Moodle? WooCommerce makes it simple. You can use an available readily built affiliate plugin, to track purchases made using affiliate references.
A complaint most Moodle site owners have is the sketchy SEO it offers. So here’s where WordPress and the SEO plugins available help. (Well you do not need several plugins but just one).
How to Integrate Moodle and WordPress?
But….. one question still remains… WooCommerce is on WordPress which is a completely different platform. So how will Moodle and WooCommerce work together? Well, this is where WordPress and LMS developer – WisdmLabs comes into picture. We at WisdmLabs have built an integration plugin, a WordPress plugin, which integrates Moodle and WordPress and WooCommerce. This plugin- Edwiser Bridge along with its WooCommerce Integration extension allows for the following:
- Automatically Import Courses: This plugin can basically help you automatically import your Moodle courses into WooCommerce, and sell them as products from your WooCommerce store. You can then set a price for the product, or offer them on a subscription basis. And did I mention. Course categories are imported as well. So the courses are automatically categorized under your Moodle specified categories. You can, ofcourse, add additional tags for easy search.
- Auto-Enroll Students: The Moodle auto-enroll functionality is maintained. Using this plugin, students are auto-enrolled for purchased courses. Which is great! This saves student time and usability is not lost.
- Student Accounts are Created: For students who register on your WordPress website, accounts are automatically created in Moodle, and student profile details are imported. These details are always kept in sync incase any changes are made.
- Course Data is Synced: Course data, i.e., course and course category data is always synchronized from Moodle to WooCommerce in case any changes are made in Moodle.
- Single Sign-on: Using the Single Sign on extension, when a student (logged into WordPress) purchases a course, he/she will automatically be logged into Moodle.
The Edwiser Bridge plugin solves your basic problem of integrating Moodle and WordPress. However the advantages offered, due the WooCommerce Integration extension are far more than just adding a supplementary payment gateway to Moodle. But hey! That’s for you to decide, and let our readers know as well. So do let me know, is WooCommerce a better payment gateway or rather purchase a gateway for your Moodle courses?