Most WordPress LMS plugins prefer sticking to the standard WordPress editor when it comes to creating content. And that’s because it’s usually sufficient. WordPress lets you publish both text and rich media content like images, audio and video via its editor, and that is pretty much all most people look to add in an online course.
Of course, WordPress has tons of page builder plugins at its disposal with tons of creative elements to publish online. Visual Composer by WP Bakery is perhaps the most recognizable name amongst page builder plugins. LearnDash and WP Courseware and Sensei are all compatible with Visual Composer, although you may have to install an additional integration plugin for WP Courseware.
Another way to add a designer component to your content is to use you LMS in tandem with different themes. While not all LMS may take inherit design elements from your choice of theme, oneslike Divi, Enfold and University are compatible with LearnDash and WP Courseware. LifterLMS has been know to work like a charm with most of the popular themes on WordPress, with little to no tweaking.
If you’re looking to set up an online course marketplace, front end course creation should be on the top of your checklist. To let individuals create content on your website without having to deal with the backend is a gem of a feature, especially in scenarios involving multiple instructors and a single admin.
Unfortunately, LMS plugins are yet to recognize the importance of such a functionality, with LearnDash being the only one that has an extension to take care of such a requirement.
Statistics show that a 3-tiered online course works best for most target audiences and it’s no surprise, because that is what best simulates classroom courses in real life. First, you have a Course that is further divided into Modules/Lessons, each containing multiple Units or Topics.
Alternatively, a two-level content hierarchy is likely to keep things simple for your learners and course creators, and is better suited if your target audience is on the younger side. Or if your courses are not strictly academic in nature.
LearnDash, WP Courseware and Sensei follow a 3-level hierarchy while LifterLMS opts for a 2 tiered course system.
Course Pre-Requisites come into play when you have courses that can be taken up only after a learner completes another course on your site. As an example, say you have two courses on your website Guitar for Beginners and An Advanced Course in Playing a Guitar. Logically, a learner must attempt the beginner course before he proceeds to the advanced level.
LearnDash, WP Courseware, Sensei and LifterLMS all four have the provision to set pre-requisites for a course and so does the e-learning theme WPLMS.
One of the most important factors while picking out an LMS plugin/theme is whether it let’s you drip content as specified.
But what is content dripping?
Content Dripping means making your content available to your users in parts and at regular intervals, as compared to making all the contents of the course available at the same time. Content dripping is important because content dripping protects your contents from leeches, and lets you provide contents to your active members in a progressive manner. It also ensures a steady traffic; learners visiting your site regularly to access fresh content.
LearnDash, WP Courseware and LifterLMS support content dripping right out of the box. You can easily schedule the lessons you create for a particular date, or a set number of days after a user is enrolled to the course. Sensei, meanwhile, will let you drop your content with the help of a content dripping extension available for purchase on the official website.
Just like Course Pre Requisites, you may also require your learners to progress through the course in an orderly fashion. Lesson Progression, as a feature, is when you have the option to ensure that your learners progresses through the course lessons in a fixed order. That is, a user will only be able to view the 3rd lesson only after he’s done with lessons 1 and 2, in that order. Randomization of lesson access will be strictly forbidden.
LearnDash let’s you enable/disable this feature within the Course settings. While the same may not be the case for WP Courseware, it does let you implement an order for the ‘Course Units’ (lessons) via setting an associated quiz to be blocking/non blocking in nature. LifterLMS does this well too, and straight out calls the feature as Lesson Prerequisite.
Lesson Timers are crucial when you want to ensure that learners spends at least a specified amount of time on the lesson page before being able to mark it as complete. It’s a great way to improve retention in your users and also make sure that your content and is not falling on blind eyes.
More suited for a younger target audience or when you have videos that you absolutely need a learner to watch, this feature is inherently provided for in LearnDash and can be added to Sensei in the form of an add on.
If your website is more of a learning portal with a large number of multidisciplinary courses, you would probably want to sort them into categories for easy user discovery. Getting lost in a myriad of elearning content and not being able to identify your choice of course can be very off putting for users and visitors, and can certainly affect your site traffic in adverse ways.
Pick an LMS that lets you add the taxonomies of categories and tags while you create courses. The option to have multiple tags and sub categories act as an added advantage and will certainly improve the accessibility of your courses by leaps and bounds.
It so happens often that visitors on an elearning site want a preview of the course that they’re are interested in taking up, just to be extra sure that it’s worth their time and/or money. Sample Courses are a great way to let visitors get a glimpse of what they’ll be signing up for when they join or purchase a course.
In an LMS, this feature makes available all of the contents of a Sample lesson to the general public, while blocking access to the rest of the course. Users can simply log onto the course and check out the sample lessons, and proceed to enroll themselves for the full course should they like what they see.
Course Templates: When you decide on a particular layout that all your courses should follow, it would only make sense to be able to save it as a template for a quick and hassle free setup.
|Front End Management|
|Page Builder Support|
|2 Tier Course Hierarchy|
|3 Tier Course Hierarchy|
|Course Tags & Categories|