Guide To Better Video Courses With Sensei and VideoPress

Updated on October 27, 2022

Every course creator wants to make the best video courses possible. After all, your courses are a reflection of you and your brand. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to make better video courses with Sensei and VideoPress. By following these tips, you can be sure that your courses are the most engaging learning experience they can be!

We assume you have a WordPress website to get the most out of this guide. Need a site? Check out our preferred hosting options here.

We will also highlight the two plugins that you will need.

Sensei Pro is our course builder and LMS plugin for WordPress.

VideoPress is the most powerful video hosting service for WordPress and is created by Automattic, the same company behind Sensei Pro.

Choosing A Video Host

While you can usually upload shorter videos to a WordPress site, most hosts don’t handle video well. If you can get the file to upload (it might be too large), playback will likely be slow, and it won’t be the best user experience.

Many video course creators turn to YouTube or Vimeo for hosting course videos. YouTube is the economical solution, as you can upload unlisted videos for free and embed them in your course. However, you won’t be able to hide any ads, and the YouTube player isn’t a professional experience for someone selling courses.

Vimeo has many great features, but pricing can get unaffordable quickly, and it requires you to log in to Vimeo, upload the video, and then embed it in your course. It can be quite a few steps.

VideoPress is built for WordPress sites; you upload the videos directly to your site or lesson content exactly where you want them to appear. This can save you time and headaches.

The video player is lightweight, works great on mobile, and adapts to your content’s colors.

There is built-in support for customizing the thumbnail image, chapters, transcripts, playback speed, and more.

You can use the VideoPress service in three ways:

  1. Host your site on — VideoPress is included!
  2. Download the free VideoPress plugin — your first video upload is free, and the paid plan starts at $5.95 USD per month.
  3. Or, get the Jetpack Complete plan for VideoPress and a whole lot more.

Keeping Videos Private

One of the top concerns of many video course creators is that they want to ensure that only paying students in the course have access to the course videos.

Video Privacy settings are accessible in the Video Block settings panel.

With VideoPress, there is a setting that will restrict access to the video to logged-in and approved users. There won’t be a share link available for private videos, and you can rest easy knowing your video isn’t being downloaded to be copied or shared by someone else.

Learn more about VideoPress’ private video support here.

Displaying Videos In A Course

If you have a video for every lesson, there are two templates available in Sensei’s Learning Mode, which can be helpful.

These layouts let you highlight the video at the top of the lesson and then place additional content, resources, and links below it.

The Video template

The lesson videos are shown as a playlist on the website, with students able to navigate between them and track their progress.

The Large Video template

The second template displays the lesson video as a full-featured hero at the top of the page.

Making Videos Interactive

Sensei Pro includes an Interactive Video block that lets you pause videos and add content — before the video plays, in the middle of the video, or at the end.

In courses, you can add quiz questions, additional text to highlight a concept, images, and more.

By breaking up a video this way, you can help learners pause and reset mentally, improving engagement and retention, especially if your videos tend to be on the long side.

Video Progression Settings

A popular feature of Sensei Pro is the video progression options available – which let you require videos to be watched to complete a lesson.ion

This is ideal for certification or compliance training that may have requirements for how long a student spends with the course.

When editing a course page, you will see these Video settings in the right sidebar:

Screenshot of the Video settings in a course - for Autocomplete lesson, Autopause, and marking a video as Required.

Autocomplete lesson will mark a lesson as complete whenever a video in a lesson is watched to the end.

Autopause will attempt to stop playback of the video whenever another browser tab or a window is over the video being played.

Required will not allow the lesson to be marked as complete until the video is watched to the end.

Video progression features work with VideoPress, YouTube, and Vimeo.

Subtitles, Chapters, and Captions

VideoPress supports adding subtitles, chapters, and captions using a .vtt file.

After uploading the video, click on the ‘Text Tracks’ icon when you’ve clicked on the video. Then upload the file and configure the settings.

Here is a tutorial on writing a VTT file.

Creating Quality Videos

The truth is, creating high-quality videos for courses is the most time-consuming part. Tools like Sensei and VideoPress are easy in comparison.

One thing that the success of services like TikTok and Instagram Reels has shown us is that “lower quality” videos shot on a phone can be engaging. You don’t need an expensive or professional camera and recording setup to get started.

If you are looking to increase the production value of your videos, we put together this guide to creating videos.

Getting Started

Upload the Sensei and VideoPress plugins to your WordPress site today!

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