How to Create a WordPress LMS Site and Launch Your Course
With WordPress, you can build almost any type of website that you can imagine, including online learning platforms. With the right tools, you can transform the platform into a robust WordPress Learning Management System (WordPress LMS), so that you can offer lessons, hire students and even earn money.
We naturally talk about plug-ins with ‘the right tools’. There are many WordPress LMS plug-ins to choose from, and in our experience most of them are excellent. Which you choose depends on the functions that your online classroom has to offer, and on your individual goals.
In this article, we will talk briefly about how an LMS works. We then discuss how to set up a WordPress LMS in three steps. Class is in session!
An introduction to LMSs
As you may already know, WordPress is a so-called Content Management System (CMS). In other words, it is software designed to help you publish and manage large libraries of content, with a focus on blog posts and articles.
An LMS, on the other hand, is designed to help you create lessons online and manage these and your students. A quality LMS will:
- Provide you with the tools you need to publish lessons that support multiple types of content.
- Engage students to register for specific courses or lessons.
- Allows you to easily follow student progress and perform evaluations.
In other words, an LMS must provide you with the feature set required to fully manage an online classroom. Although there are LMS-specific platforms such as Teachable, you can set up such a system in WordPress relatively quickly, and usually, save a fairly large portion of the money. Let’s see how that works.
How to make a WordPress LMS (in 3 steps)
To build your online classroom, you need to view some WordPress LMS plug-ins. But for that, there are some basic principles that we must cover so that you can use the basis. This starts with determining the purpose of your learning website.
1. Determine the focus of your LMS
If you read this, you probably already know which topics or niches you want to use in your online classroom. However, you still have to answer the question of what the overall purpose of your project will be. Usually, this is one of two things:
- You want to train people for free.
- You want to offer paid online courses.
As you may know, online learning is a lucrative sector so you can earn money by earning income with your lessons (as long as there is an audience for them ). With most of the WordPress LMS plug-ins, we introduce you some options for generating revenue, so that is a route that you can easily explore.
Keep in mind that it is also possible to deal with a mix of both approaches. In fact, it often makes sense to offer certain content on your LMS for free and to keep other courses private. That way, students can get a taste of your lessons and you can make a clear funnel to generate conversions.
2. Plan a structure for your WordPress LMS
Once you decide what will be the focus of your site, it is the time the structure in charting. That means that you decide which pages you want your website to contain and which lessons you want to publish first.
Here is a brief overview of what a simple WordPress LMS website might look like:
- List of courses (maybe including prices)
- Student testimonials
- About us page
- student forums
- Actual course pages
The more complex the structure of your site is, the harder it becomes to implement it. It is, therefore, best to keep it simple first and to include only the sections and information that are absolutely necessary. You have at least a home page, an About us page and a section where students can browse which classes are available:
For now, you can continue and compile the pages that do not require LMS functionality. You can then start making your own lessons.
3. Set up a WordPress LMS plug-in
As we mentioned earlier, there are many options when it comes to WordPress LMS plug-ins. However, we only have three of the best …
First, LearnDash is a plug-in that allows you to design and publish media-rich online lessons:
With LearnDash you get access to many useful functions such as planned content, user rewards, a registration system, private lessons and more. In addition, you can sell your courses with the plug-in and integrate them with WooCommerce if you want more advanced e-commerce functionality. In our opinion, LearnDash is one of the best options, but it’s also pricey (a basic license starts at $ 159 a year ).
If LearnDash does not fit your budget, LearnPress is a free (but still excellent) option:
This plug-in contains a handy drag-and-drop course builder, supports regular lessons and quizzes, and so on. You can also use it to sell online courses and there are many premium add-ons available if you want more advanced functionality.
In our experience, LearnPress is a great option for an online classroom. However, it is only really ‘free’ if you do not have to perform tasks such as assigning homework, offering certificates, processing paid registrations and the like. If you want to have access to all these functions, this plug-in can even be more expensive than LearnDash, because each add-on costs around $ 30-40.
Finally, LifterLMS is a mix of the two plug-ins that we have dealt with so far:
This is a free core version at WordPress.org, but it offers also a wide range of paid add-ons. Depending on the exact functionality you need, it can be quite affordable.
For example, if you only need a basic course and a single payment gateway, you may only have to pay $ 99 for a single add-on.
If you need a lot of functionality, it can be pricey, with the cheapest bundle starting at $ 299 a year.
With LifterLMS and possibly some of its premium add-ons, you get access to a wide range of functions including a customized course builder and support for quizzes, planned content, homework and more. Regarding paid lessons, LifterLMS supports multiple types of payments and subscriptions. It even makes it possible to bundle lessons, so heaven is the limit when it comes to structuring your online school.
Your choice of the WordPress LMS plug-in determines which functions you will have access to, so you’ll consider it carefully. Once you’ve made a decision, it’s time to work on creating and publishing your first lesson!
Online classrooms are becoming increasingly popular as people focus on the internet to learn at their own pace. With WordPress, it is easier than you might think to set up your own LMS and take advantage of that change. In fact, we would say that the most difficult part is not implementing the LMS functionality, but inventing your lessons.
If you want to take on the challenge, you can set up a WordPress LMS in just three steps:
- Determine the focus of your LMS.
- Plan a structure for your website.
- Set up an LMS plug-in that meets your unique needs.
Do you have questions about offering free or paid courses using a WordPress LMS? Let’s talk about it in the comments section below!