How to Create an Online Course with WordPress using LearnDash (Review)
Do you want to create an online course in WordPress? Selling online courses allows you to make money from your blog by teaching others how to do what you’re good at. In this article, we will show you how to create and sell an online course in WordPress using LearnDash.
What Do You Need to Create / Sell an Online Course?
You will need the following things to start selling courses online with WordPress.
- A domain name. This will be your website’s address (Example, wpbeginner.com).
- A WordPress hosting account. This is where your website’s files are stored.
- A learning management addon to create and manage courses.
You can create your online course with WordPress in less than an hour, and we’ll walk you through every step of the process.
Let’s get started.
Step 1. Setting up Your WordPress Website
There are plenty of website builders that you can use to build your website. However, we always recommend WordPress because it offers you the flexibility and freedom to take your website in any direction you want.
There are two types of WordPress, and often beginners end up confusing the two. First there is WordPress.com which is a hosting service, and then you have the original WordPress.org also known as self-hosted WordPress. See our guide on the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.
We recommend using WordPress.org because it gives you access to all the WordPress features that you will need.
To start a self hosted WordPress.org website, you will need a domain name ($14.99 / year), WordPress hosting ($7.99 / month), and SSL certificate to accept online payments ($69.99 / year).
This is quite a lot of start up money.
Luckily, Bluehost, an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider, has agreed to offer our users a free domain name, free SSL certificate, and a discount on web hosting.
Basically, you can get all of the above for $2.75 per month.
After purchasing hosting, head over to our guide on how to create a WordPress website for step by step set up instructions.
Step 2. Install and Setup LearnDash LMS Plugin
LearnDash is the best LMS plugin for WordPress. It is an all-in-one solution with complete course management, lesson plans, quizzes, assignments, course progression, and more.
Disclaimer: At WPBeginner, we believe in transparency. If you sign up with LearnDash using our referral link, then we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. We would get this referral fee for recommending just about any other solution, but we only recommend products that we personally use and believe will add value to our readers. And no, we were not paid to write this review.
Now that we’re on the same page, let’s get started with the course setup process.
First, you will need to install and activate the LearnDash plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
Upon activation, you need to visit LearnDash LMS » Settings page and click on the LMS License tab to enter your email address and the license key. Once you have entered the information, click on the ‘Update License’ button to store your settings.
Next, you need to switch to the ‘PayPal Settings’ tab. This is where you will enter your PayPal information to receive online payments from your users.
Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save’ button to store your settings.
LearnDash also has Stripe and 2Checkout payment gateways available as Addons. You can install those if you don’t want to use PayPal.
Once you have configured the payment settings, your LearnDash LMS plugin is ready to go, and you can start creating courses.
Step 3. Creating Your First Course
LearnDash makes it super easy to create and manage online courses.
First, you need to visit LearnDash LMS » Courses page and then click on the ‘Add New’ button.
This will bring you to the ‘Add New Course’ screen. You will need to start by providing a title for your course and then adding a detailed description. You can also add course categories / tags, and a featured image also known as course thumbnail.
Below the course description, you will see the course options box. This is where you can set different options for the course including course price and what type of course it is: open, free, closed, buy now, or recurring.
Once you are satisfied with your course options, you can click on the save or publish button to make your course publicly available.
You can click on the preview button to see your course in action.
Note: You will not see the ‘Take This Course’ button if you are viewing the course page while logged in as an administrator in WordPress. We recommend opening an incognito browser window or log out to preview the course page.
Step 4. Adding Lessons to Your Course
Now that you have created your first course. It’s time to add lessons to the course. LearnDash allows you to create highly interactive lessons and then add them to your online course.
You can add a lesson by visiting LearnDash LMS » Lessons page and then click on the ‘Add New’ button at the top.
First you need to provide a title for your lesson and then start adding lesson content. You can add text, images, embed videos, and more.
Below the lesson editor box, you will find lesson options. Here you can add the lesson to a course by selecting the course you created earlier from ‘Associated Course’ drop down box.
You can also choose whether this lesson requires submission of assignments, lesson timer, lesson progression, and more.
Once you are satisfied with the lesson, you can click on the publish button to save your lesson.
Your lesson will now automatically appear on the course page below the course details. You can repeat the process to add more lessons to your course.
You can also break down an individual lesson into topics. Simply go to LearnDash LMS » Topics page and click on the ‘Add New’ button to add a topic.
Creating a topic is similar to creating a lesson. Instead of associating it to a course, you will just need to associate it to a lesson.
Step 5. Adding Quizzes and Assignments to Your Online Course
LearnDash comes fully equipped with dynamic quizzes and assignments. This allows you to make your online course a dynamic and engaging experience for your students.
You can make the quizzes and assignments required for your users before they can progress to the next lesson or course. You can also review assignments and give feedback to students.
Creating Quizzes in LearnDash
To add a quiz, you need to visit LearnDash » Quizzes page and click on the Add New button.
First you will need to provide a title and description for your quiz. After that you need to scroll down to ‘Quiz’ box and associate your quiz to a course, lesson, or topic.
The default quiz settings would work for most cases, but you can customize the settings as needed from the advanced quiz settings area.
Once you are done, click on the save or publish button to save your quiz. You will now notice the new option to add questions to your quiz.
You need to switch to the ‘Questions’ tab and then click on ‘Add Question’ button.
This will bring you to the ‘Add new question’ screen. LearnDash allows you to create different type of questions (multiple choice, true or false, fill in the blank, essay, free choice, etc).
You can add multiple answers for your question, add the correct answer, choose message to display for correct or incorrect answers, and more.
Don’t forget to click on the save button before you move onto the next section.
Depending on your settings, your quiz would appear on your lesson, topic, or the course page.
Enable Assignments in LearnDash
You can easily add assignments by editing a lesson and going to the lesson options area. You need to check the box next to upload assignment option.
After that, you can provide the assignment instructions in your lesson. At the end of the lesson, users will see an option to upload their assignment.
Once users have uploaded their assignments, you can view them by visiting LearnDash LMS » Assignments page.
Here you can edit assignments, approve, or give comments on submitted assignments.
Step 6. Giving Certificates on Course Completion
LearnDash allows you to automatically give certificates upon completion of a course. However, creating a certificate in LearnDash requires some basic knowledge of HTML.
First, you will need a certificate image file. This is basically the background image you want to use for your certificates.
Next, you need to visit LearnDash LMS » Certificates page and click on the ‘Add New’ button.
On the add new certificate screen, you need to set the certificate background image as featured image and click on the save button to reload the page.
You will now see your certificate template in the background of the visual editor. You can start adding text you want to be displayed on the certificate.
To insert user’s name in the certificate, click on the LearnDash icon in the editor to insert the username shortcode.
Once you are satisfied with the certificate, you need to publish it.
Next, you need to edit the quiz you added to your course lesson. In the Quiz options box, you need to associate your certificate to the completion of the quiz.
You can now save your quiz settings.
Users who complete the course and pass the quiz will see the option to print their certificate.
Taking Your Online Courses To Next Level
Now that you have learned how to easily create an online course in WordPress, you are ready to launch your online learning course website.
LearnDash seamlessly integrates with numerous providers including WordPress eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce, and it can run alongside your existing online store.
It also works with MemberPress, the best WordPress membership plugin in the market. This allows you to not just sell your courses, but you can also run a membership website with powerful subscription models.
We hope this LearnDash review helped you learn how to create an online course with WordPress. You may also want to see our ultimate step by step WordPress SEO guide for beginners.