Do you know something you can teach others? have you considered creating and selling courses through your WordPress site? If the answer to either is yes, then you need an LMS plugin!
The online course industry is constantly growing. In fact, it’s expected to reach an impressive USD 25.33 billion by 2025. What this means is that this is a great time to package your knowledge into a great online course!
The easiest way to build and sell courses on WordPress is by using a dedicated LMS (Learning Management System) plugin. The LMS solution you choose will sit at the heart of your online course business, so you should expect to use it for everything from creating your lessons and curriculum to engaging with your students and evaluating their performance.
In this article, we will introduce you to Sensei LMS and show you why it’s the best WordPress LMS solution you can use to create, launch, and sell online courses.
Using WordPress Vs. Using a Hosted eLearning Platform
An LMS lets you create, manage, and sell your online courses. Independent instructors, learning institutions like schools and universities, and businesses of all sizes use learning management systems to distribute their courses and online training.
You have a couple of options when it comes to choosing the best LMS for selling online courses. The first (and probably easiest) is to upload your content to a hosted course Platform like Teachable or Udemy. The second is to create your own eLearning site using WordPress.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each online learning platform, so let’s go through them in a little more detail so you can understand which one fits your eLearning business better.
Option 1: Using a hosted platform
When you upload your course to a hosted course platform, you typically have to pay a fee and gain access to a builder you can use to build the lessons. Two of the most popular hosted LMS platforms are Teachable and Udemy.
- Teachable: Teachable is used by 100,000+ creators and gives you access to unlimited students. It includes various integrations with platforms like MailChimp and Zapier and has many tools that can help you create engaging courses.
- Udemy: Udemy is a massive hub of online courses, with over 204k specializations currently available and 54 million learners. It offers some personalization; you can, for example, add a personalized logo to your lessons and set up different learning paths.
Using a hosted platform is considerably more expensive than creating your own course using a CMS like WordPress. The main advantage if you choose a hosted option is that everything is already set up for you, and you just need to add your content. You can also access some form of distribution/marketing for your course and a pool of potential students.
However, you will have to pay regular fees to use a hosted platform. These can include monthly payments for hosting and, in some cases, a cut on each sale. You will also be limited in terms of the templates you can choose from to customize your course.
One last thing you need to keep in mind when you pick this alternative is that you don’t necessarily own your content when you use a hosted platform. So, if you want to use services like Teachable and Udemy, ensure they allow you to make your courses proprietary.
Option 2: Using WordPress
Setting up an eLearning site with WordPress takes a little more time than using a hosted platform. You will need to find a host, choose an LMS plugin that can help you set up courses, build your site, and then add your lessons. However, this path offers numerous advantages.
Some of the big upsides to using WordPress for your online courses include:
- You control your course content: With WordPress, you have full ownership of your courses. And as a result, you can control pricing. You get to keep all the revenue you make from your classes (minus fees you might have to pay Stripe for accepting payments and hosting fees to pay your WordPress host). If you run your courses on a third-party platform, you definitely won’t have this level of control (over pricing or over content).
- You control your site’s look and feel: WordPress allows you to choose precisely how your website looks, what functionality you want to add, and how you want your visitors to access your courses.
- It’s cheaper in the long run: Running and maintaining your WordPress site typically gets significantly cheaper after the initial setup. There are a few factors in play here; for example, the cost will depend on how expensive your host is (there are a few different options available) and how many plugins you intend to use. However, these are relatively minor costs if you can manage to get a decent stream of customers.
If we had to pick just one advantage over the others, it would be that WordPress lets you decide how everything works and looks. This, however, can feel a little daunting. The process gets much easier if you know what tools to use, so we’re here to help.
When looking for a great WordPress host, consider using Pressable. Pressable will provide you with reliable and secure hosting and offers seamless integration with WooCommerce and Jetpack, two essential tools for running your course.
For an LMS plugin, consider Sensei LMS. This is why it can make a difference:
- You get an easy-to-use native WordPress experience. This means that you can create courses directly in the Gutenberg block editor, and you don’t need to learn a new interface. Sensei offers lots of tools for creating courses and for delivering a great experience to students.
- Sensei LMS integrates with WooCommerce, which is a huge plus. WooCommerce is a mature eCommerce platform with every functionality and extension you need to sell your courses. Integrating Sensei with WooCommerce also gives you the ability to:
- Connect courses with products.
- Bundle courses and create lesson collections.
- Customize your sales checkout.
- Access detailed reports about your course sales.
- Sensei LMS offers many features that other LMS plugins don’t. For example, Sensei integrates with VideoPress, so you can add videos to your lessons easily using Sensei’s Interactive Videos Block.
- If you want to sell courses on your website, Sensei Pro is definitely the way to go.
As you can see, WordPress lets you create an all-in-one platform for eLearning and offers numerous advantages for course creators – particularly if you’re someone who likes to have control over the content, the design, and the pricing!
Next, we’ll talk about what you need to create and deliver excellent course material on WordPress – and how Sensei can help you achieve this. To make things even easier, we will also show you what you need to sell your courses using Sensei and WooCommerce.
How to Create Great Courses with Your LMS
Ideally, you want an LMS that has an intuitive and easy-to-use editor with a zero learning curve. Worry not. Sensei works with WordPress’ Gutenberg block editor natively, so online course creation is very similar to creating a blog post or any other kind of page on your site. If you know how to use WordPress, the interface will be extremely familiar.
Another helpful tool Sensei offers is the outlining feature, which automatically creates drafts for all the lessons included in the outline.
Here’s how it works: If you want to create your course outline, just insert Sensei’s “Course Outline” block into your page. This block lets you add both modules and lessons to your course. For example, if you choose the “Create a lesson” option and name your lesson “Lesson 1,” and then add a second lesson, “Lesson 2,” Sensei will automatically create two placeholder drafts for them inside your editor.
Any great LMS should give you all the tools you need to add engaging media to your lessons.
This is why the plugin developers have created special blocks with advanced and immersive functionality: Sensei Blocks. These blocks will give you all the tools you need to build beautiful, interactive lessons and add some gamification elements too. Let’s go through each of them and how you can use them to truly make your course stand out.
Sensei’s Image Hotspots feature allows course creators to infuse their images with additional content. For example, you can pick certain areas of the image and display dialogs when the student clicks them or moves over them. The content of these hotspots is entirely customizable.
Sensei’s Interactive Videos feature lets you add videos directly from VideoPress, YouTube, and Vimeo, and show any content from your course (such as quizzes, WooCommerce products, or lead generation forms) on them. These interactive videos work perfectly with Sensei LMS’s progression features. For example, you can require students to pass pause points before moving on with or completing a lesson.
Sensei’s Tasklists feature allows you to create clickable checklists for your readers and students. These can be an ideal tool for all types of courses and tutorials, but also for recipe blogs and documentation sites. For lessons, you can use these tasklists as benchmarks for course completion. You’ll give a clear guide of what students need to do and keep them engaged in the process.
Watch the video on the Franz Kafka monument
Answer the question embedded in the video
Sensei’s Quizzes feature is perfect for creating multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions and adding them to any of your WordPress pages, posts, and courses. The plugin includes all these variations plus the ability to re-arrange answers (ordering questions).
You can also show personalized feedback based on whether someone’s answer was correct or incorrect. The Quiz Block is the best way for you to set assessments for your students.
With Sensei’s Flashcards feature, you can add videos, text, images, embeds, and other elements (any WordPress block, for example) on both sides of a card. Then, all the students need to do is click on the “Flip Card” button to see the other side. Flashcards are ideal for highlighting, practicing, and repeating important information.
Who do you think is on the other side?
It’s Franz Kafka!
Sensei’s attachments feature lets you attach media files to your lessons and courses. When you edit one, you will be able to see a panel called “Course Media / Lesson Media.” You can use it to upload files which will then appear on your lesson page. Sensei supports all file types (plus, their maximum upload size is determined only by the limits set by your server).
How to Deliver Your Course Material and Create a Good Student Experience
If you’re a course creator, you will want to give your students a great learning experience. Naturally, of the first things you should do is make sure your lessons are easy to navigate. Sensei has a clean and intuitive course portal and a super-slick distraction-free mode. You can actually use the demo to see and try these features yourself.
Another important consideration when looking for the best LMS for selling online courses is the fact that a lot of times, you won’t want to allow students to unlock an entire course immediately after they sign up. Instead, perhaps you prefer to deliver your course lesson by lesson; for example, you want to post a class each Wednesday or on specific pre-defined dates.
With Sensei’s Schedule & Drip Content features, you can choose when lessons become available to learners (the most common options tend to be as soon as the course starts, on a specific date, or at a particular interval after the start date).
Another helpful tool that Sensei offers is its Lesson Prerequisites feature, which is perfect for those times when you don’t want to unlock a specific lesson until a student completes a previous important one. Lesson prerequisites allow you to connect different content and alert students if they are trying to access blocked pages.
But that’s not all! Sensei also includes a course expiration feature that automatically reverts access to courses after a specific period is set (for example, after a year has passed since they enrolled). You can choose to send learners notifications through email when the expiration time is coming; this is all done automatically by the plugin.
What You Need to Sell Your Courses
Being able to sell your courses is a critical component of any educational business endeavor. To do this more effectively, you need to ensure you can support multiple payment gateways and methods so that your students can use their preferred ones to access the lessons.
If you are setting up an eLearning site, you should be able to collect payments. Transparent fees, multi-currency support, and insights into disputes or refunds are also important.
Wrapping it up…
Choosing the right WordPress LMS solution is central to the success of your eCourse business. As we explained in this article, lesson creation, payment processing, student experience, and admin tools are some of the most important considerations when it comes to choosing a learning management system.
To create engaging, beautiful, and high-quality courses on WordPress, consider getting Sensei’s Pro plan. This comprehensive plugin option will give you access to all Sensei Blocks, WooCommerce integrations, drip content, quizzes, access periods, and all the robust features we covered in this article.
With all these tools at your disposal, you’ll have a more powerful and flexible learning management system than you would with a hosted platform such as Udemy and Teachable. Sensei LMS is the best LMS plugin for selling online courses and all you need to set up lessons through your WordPress website. Over 10,000 creators agree, entrusting us with their best lessons and courses.