Students, professionals, and even researchers look for online courses to learn anywhere, anytime (SitePoint Premium is a perfect example!). However, if your WordPress website was already live and you want to create an online course using it, would you want to pay more to a developer to have that done? Definitely not! Being a freelancer or solopreneur, you want to create a secure and efficient platform with less (or no) cost. Do not worry, with WordPress you can easily create an online course system, using a learning management system plugin!
The term “Learning Management System” (LMS) is often used when discussing online courses. An LMS is a system used to create courses and training programs and typically also provides functionality to manage them. There are many LMS available online, such as Moodle, Canvas, etc. But if you have a WordPress website, then why not integrate your LMS into the same website? You can easily create secure and efficient online courses and then sell access to them to begin building your E-Learning business.
Why WordPress for Creating an Online Course?
Since WordPress is free, reliable, and easy to extend with plugins, you can create an online course with WordPress at a lesser cost. WordPress plugins for LMS have amazing features, so it is easy to use them to create a course from scratch.
After development of courses, you will need to maintain them. This can lead to maintenance costs; but the required time and costs can be less when using a WordPress LMS plugin. You may find yourself needing less maintenance for your course and lessons, since these plugins have extensions to do some maintenance work automatically.
Once you’ve planned the basics of your course – the title, the content, the membership or access plan – then you should begin considering which LMS plugin you’d like to use.
Learning Management System Plugins for Course Development
LifterLMS is a powerful LMS plugin that will help you easily create, and publish an engaging online course. It comes with a student dashboard, wherein learners can check their profile, course progress, profile, certificates, etc. It also has a personalized certificate system. Both online and offline payment is available for the learners who want to enroll in your course.
Courseware is a learning management plugin that comes with a system providing a dynamic progress page, question tagging, etc. Your course attendees can also download the quiz results using this plugin.
Within the Courseware plugin is a tool called “report cards” that has been integrated to create surveys and export grade books.
StudyPress will help you in creating multimedia learning content easily. They provide distraction free, full-screen mode features, so that it is easy for learners to access lessons. It also has an awesome drag and drop interface to create a course and lessons.
The teachPress plugin supports localization. Your course can be created in more than two languages resulting in a wider reach. You can import the publications in BibTeX format. RSS feeds for publications are also provided.
The plugin also has shortcodes, so you can provide course overview on any WordPress post or page.
Sensei is an LMS plugin that offers different designs for different courses. Provided by WooThemes, this plugin can be easily integrated with WooCommerce to sell courses online with ease.
Note: WooCommerce is considered one of the best platforms for creating E-Commerce websites. Its integration with LMS works like a charm for course creators as well as learners.
The Educator plugin provides shortcodes, making it easier for you to integrate on your WordPress page or posts. Multiple payment methods are supported by Educator, such as PayPal, bank transfer, check, etc.
Select the perfect plugin for course development. You definitely want to look at this one. Many LMS plugins have similar features to each other, but the unique features of each are what you have to make a decision based on. I have used more than a few, and consider WP-Courseware and LifterLMS the most useful for my own projects.
Now, you will see how to use an LMS plugin to start on a demo course from scratch.
Developing a course on your WordPress website
For the demo, I will be using the plugin LifterLMS, which is a powerful learning management system. Here, you will see what can be done to create a valuable course for our audience, which can be engineers, professionals, researchers, etc.
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