Courses provide a wonderful way for you to grow your business as well as your email list by providing value to your audience in a way that’s instructive and easy to follow. No matter why you want to create a course, LearnPress can help you build it in WordPress.
LearnPress is a free learning management system (LMS) plugin offered by ThimPress. It essentially allows you to turn your website, or at least part of your website, into an online school similar to Africanontreprenuer, Udemy, Teachable, Skillshare and similar platforms. We’re going to take a look at this plugin and go over the basics of using it. Go ahead and install the plugin and set it up, so we can begin with creating a Course
Step 1: Creating a Course
The first thing you’ll notice is how similar, or practically identical, the LearnPress course editor is to the WordPress editor. This gives the tool an edge over platforms like Teachable and Udemy because it uses a UI you’re already familiar with.
We will start by giving your course a title and description just as you would if you were writing a blog post.
A few additional items that are similar to the way blog posts work are the Save as Draft/Publish features, which you can use to control the blog’s status, and the taxonomies. You can build a structure in your school by assigning your courses to categories and assigning tags to courses. Here’s a screenshot of how my course page looks using the Edubin theme:
Step 2: Creating Your First Lesson
You can break your course down into sections and split those sections up into lessons. Start by creating your first section, such as an introduction that welcomes students to the course and explains how to use the course software.
Be sure to give your section a description (the gray text in the screenshot above). One or two brief sentences will suffice. After that, you can start adding lessons to your section, which are the modules that have a blue book icon associated with them. You can make a lesson hidden, edit it or remove it entirely. Here’s what the Edit screen for lessons looks like since this is where you’ll be spending the majority of your time adding content to the course.
The preview function is an interesting feature. It allows users to view a lesson without needing to purchase or opt-in to a course. This is a sales technique used by many online instructors as it allows users to gain access to a free lesson, or “free sample” if you will, which may further encourage them to buy. It’s great seeing such a feature offered in a free LMS tool.
Or maybe, you can use the clock icon to add a quiz to your section, the Edit page of which has a number of different settings for you to configure. Elements include the typical WordPress editor you can use to add a description to your quiz, a module that allows you to add questions in True/False, Multiple Choice or Single Choice formats, and several settings that affect the way your student will interact with the quiz.
What Do Students See?
Again, I’m using the Edubin theme for these examples, so your course pages will look a little different. I’ve already shown you how the course sales page looks with this plugin, so let’s change things up and look at the Courses page instead.
You can add a featured image to your course just as you can to a blog post. When you do, that image will be used to represent that particular course on your Courses page, which you can clearly see in the screenshot above. You’ll also notice there’s a search element visitors can use to find courses on specific topics easily. Lastly, you can see this page displays elements for your course’s price, instructor and buy button, the latter of which, unfortunately, I did not see a setting that allows you to change.
Here’s what your student will see after they’ve enrolled. Again, your course will look different depending on the theme you use, the content you’ve added and the settings you’ve configured.
Your students can mark lessons complete when they’re ready to move on to the next section or post comments (if you have them enabled) in case they have questions. It may be more productive to create a forum, however, and fortunately, ThimPress offers a bbPress integration free of charge.