Getting Started with Sensei LMS

Ready to publish your first course with Sensei LMS? This document will help you get started.

How do I install Sensei LMS?

  1. Log into your WordPress admin panel and go to Plugins > Add New.
  2. Enter Sensei LMS into the search field.
  3. Once you’ve located the plugin, click Install Now.
  4. Click Activate.
  5. If you like, you can sign up for the Sensei LMS mailing list via the pop-up that appears.
  6. Click Install Sensei LMS Pages to complete the installation. This will create two new pages on your site – Courses and My Courses:
  7. If you’re interested in helping us make meaningful improvements to Sensei LMS, click Enable Usage Tracking:
  8. Configure the settings by going to Sensei LMS > Settings.

Congratulations on installing Sensei LMS! You will now see new Sensei LMS, Courses, Lessons and Questions menus in the WP Admin sidebar.

I completed the setup process, now what?

You may wish to explore the settings pages to see how Sensei LMS can be tweaked to meet your particular needs.

Otherwise, if you’re ready to jump right in, you can go ahead and get started creating your first course!

I need more help! What should I do?

If you’re having trouble with Sensei LMS, there are a few steps you can take to try and diagnose the problem:

Protecting Downloadable Files and Video

Sensei is unable to protect video content or files in the WordPress Media Library by default.

Protecting Downloadable Files

If you provide course materials via download links in your lessons, learners can potentially share them, making it possible for anyone with the links to access those files. If you’d like to ensure that downloads are only accessible to learners, a separate plugin is required.

One such plugin is WordPress Download Manager. After installing and activating it, you can upload files via the Downloads > Add New menu, and restrict the download to certain user roles. So long as you don’t select All Visitors, the download will only be available to users who are logged into your site.

You can then include a download link to the file in any course/lesson using their provided shortcode. Anyone who tries to access the file without being logged into your site will see a login screen.

For help using Download Manager, please visit the plugin’s support forum.

Protecting Video Content

For video protection, you’ll need to use a third-party video streaming service to ensure that video content can only be viewed after purchasing a course. We recommend Vimeo PRO for this purpose. Their domain-level privacy feature means you can set your videos to stream only on your own website.

(Note: We had previously recommended Vimeo Plus, but were informed that it cannot be used for any commercial video content.)

Sensei in Your Language

Sensei LMS and WooCommerce Paid Courses can be translated into any language. The plugins ship with a set of community-submitted official translations, which will be used automatically when you change your site language in Settings > General.

Submitting Translations

If your chosen language is not already available, or you want to improve the available translations, the best solution is to submit your own translations to the official translation repositories. This way, any translations you submit can be used by other Sensei LMS sites as well.

Strings for most Sensei LMS functionality should be submitted to the Sensei LMS translation repository. Strings related to selling courses are part of the WooCommerce Paid Courses extension and should be submitted to its translation repository.

Sensei with WooCommerce Paid Courses will, by default, pull its translation files from the above two locations using the default WordPress update page. It’s important to note that translation files will not be built and served from (for Sensei LMS translations) unless the translation file is at least 95% complete. You can export the .po and .mo files and add them to your site manually for translations that do not meet this minimum threshold.

Managing Translations with Loco Translate

Some specialized setup is required in order to manage translations with Loco Translate:

  • First, open the plugin within Loco Translate and go to the Advanced tab:

  • Use the Add Set button at the bottom to add two more sets to the configuration. In the end, you should have the following three sets:

Sensei with WooCommerce Paid Courses

Sensei LMS

WooCommerce Paid Courses

You should now be able to manage all of the translations for Sensei with WooCommerce Paid Courses within Loco Translate.

Multilingual sites with Sensei LMS + WPML

If you want to create a Sensei site offering courses in multiple languages, we recommend using WPML. You can find documentation for setting up a multilingual Sensei site here:

Building Multilingual Educational Websites Using Sensei and WPML

Note: If you encounter any issues setting up your multilingual site, please open a support ticket with WPML. They will investigate the issue and then get in touch with our developers if any updates are necessary.

Verifying the Identity of your Learners

For online courses, security can be an important issue. You may need to have measures in place to ensure (to the best of your ability) that the people taking a course are who they say they are.

When the learners are not present to verify their identity with photo ID, it can be too easy for someone else to take the course.

Fortunately, there are WordPress plugins that can help verify a user’s identity with Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).

2FA adds an extra layer of security to your website by requiring users to verify their identity using a mobile phone or security code, in addition to entering their password when logging in.

A popular 2FA plugin is Duo Two-Factor Authentication. For information and setup instructions, see:

There are other 2FA plugins available. Ensure that the plugin you choose has the ability to force 2FA for all users of your site.


General WordPress Settings

To enable site visitors to register for and log in to your courses, go to Settings > General in your WordPress Dashboard, and ensure the Membership checkbox is selected:

General WordPress settings

Sensei Settings

Sensei’s settings are grouped into a few different screens:


Access Permissions

Enabling Access Permissions means that users will be required to log in to your site in order to be able to view course, lesson and quiz content. In most cases, you’ll want to enable this setting; however, if you aren’t using quizzes and want your course content to be freely available to everyone without registering, leave it unchecked.

Disable Private Messages

Allows learners to send private messages to the teacher from any course that they are enrolled in. You can disable this communication by checking this option.

Course Archive Page

Sets the page used to display courses.

My Courses Page

Sets the page used to display the active and completed courses for a particular learner.

Use placeholder images

Displays a placeholder image for any course or lesson that does not already have a featured image.

Disable Sensei Styles

Prevents Sensei’s CSS from loading, which effectively removes any default styling. This is useful if your theme already includes styling for Sensei elements, or if you prefer to style them yourself.

Quiz question points format

Formats the display of the number of points a question has been assigned when a learner takes a quiz.

Disable Sensei Javascript

Prevents all front-end Sensei-specific JavaScript from loading.

Disable HTML security

Allows any HTML tags in the video embed fields. Enabling this setting can leave your site vulnerable to XSS attacks. We therefore recommend that you leave it unchecked.

Delete data on uninstall

Deletes Sensei data when the plugin is deleted. Be careful! Once removed, this data can only be restored from a backup.

Enable usage tracking

Helps us make future improvements to Sensei by collecting usage tracking data. No sensitive information is collected.


Sensei Courses settings

Courses are complete

Determines when a course is considered to be complete:

  • Once all the course lessons have been completed – Course won’t be completed until all of the lessons belonging to it have also been completed.
  • At any time – Learners are able to mark courses complete by clicking the Mark as Complete button on the My Courses page:

"Mark as Complete" button

Display Course Author

Displays the course author on the course archive and My Courses pages.

My Courses Pagination

Sets the number of courses to display per page on the My Courses page.

Course Archive Image

Displays each course’s featured image on the course archive page.

Image Width – Archive

Specifies the width (in pixels) of the image to display on the course archive page.

Image Height – Archive

Specifies the height (in pixels) of the image to display on the course archive page.

Image Hard Crop – Archive

Crops the image to the specified dimensions. If not selected, Image Height – Archive can be left blank and will be set proportionally to the specified width.

Single Course Image

Displays a course’s featured image on the single course page.

Image Width – Single

Specifies the width (in pixels) of the image to display on the single course page.

Image Height – Single

Specifies the height (in pixels) of the image to display on the single course page.

Image Hard Crop – Single

Crops the image to the specified dimensions. If not selected, Image Height – Single can be left blank and will be set proportionally to the specified width.

Featured Courses Panel

Displays the featured courses panels on the course archive page.

More link text

Specifies the text to display for the link when there are more courses on the course archive page.


Sensei Lessons settings

Allow Comments for Lessons

Enables learners to comment on lessons for courses they are enrolled in. Only registered learners are able to view these comments.

Display Lesson Author

Displays the lesson author on the single course and lesson archive pages.

Course Lesson Images

Displays each lesson’s featured image on the single course page.

Image Width – Course Lessons

Specifies the width (in pixels) of the lesson image to display on the single course page.

Image Height – Course Lessons

Specifies the height (in pixels) of the lesson image to display on the single course page.

Image Hard Crop – Course Lessons

Crops the image to the specified dimensions. If not selected, Image Height – Course Lessons can be left blank and will be set proportionally to the specified width.

Single Lesson Images

Displays a lesson’s featured image on the single lesson page.

Image Width – Single

Specifies the width (in pixels) of the image to display on the single lesson page.

Image Height – Single

Specifies the height (in pixels) of the image to display on the single lesson page.

Image Hard Crop – Single

Crops the image to the specified dimensions. If not selected, Image Height – Single can be left blank and will be set proportionally to the specified width.

Email Notifications

Sensei Email Notifications settings

Emails Sent to Learners

Specifies which events will trigger an email notification to learners:

  • When their quiz is graded (either manually or automatically)
  • When they complete a course

Emails Sent to Teachers

Specifies which events will trigger an email notification to teachers:

    • When a learner starts a course
    • When a learner completes a course
    • When a learner completes a lesson
  • When a learner submits a quiz for grading
  • When a learner sends a private message to a teacher

Emails Sent to All Users

Specifies which events will trigger an email notification to all registered users:

  • When they receive a reply to their private message

“From” Name

Specifies the name from which all Sensei emails are sent (usually your name or the name of your site).

“From” Address

Specifies the email address from which all Sensei emails are sent.

Header Image

Specifies the URL of an image to display in the header of all Sensei emails (e.g. your logo).

Email Footer Text

Specifies the text that is displayed at the bottom of all Sensei emails.


Specifies the colours to use in all email templates. The colours that can be configured are:

  • Base Colour (background colour of the header)
  • Background Colour
  • Body Background Colour (background colour of the email content area)
  • Body Text Colour

Sensei email colours

Please see Email Notifications for more information.

Learner Profiles

Public learner profiles

Creates a public profile page for each learner at

Show learner’s courses

Displays the learner’s active and completed courses on their profile page.


The following setting is only available if both WooCommerce and WooCommerce Paid Courses are installed and activated.

Enable Sensei WooCommerce Integration Debugging

Logs Sensei and WooCommerce events to WooCommerce > Status > Logs for easy debugging.

Importing Dummy Data

Sensei comes bundled with dummy data that can be imported to instantly to set up sample courses, lessons and quizzes. Using it will show how Sensei content is displayed on your site and test Sensei features before adding your own course content.

Locating Sensei Dummy Data

Dummy data for Sensei is in a file called dummy_data.xml, which is located in the Sensei plugin directory. Once Sensei is installed go to ‘wp-content/plugins/woothemes-sensei’ and locate the dummy_data.xml file, or save it as dummy_data.xml directly from here.

Installing the Sensei Dummy Data

From the WordPress admin area:

  1. Go to: Tools > Import.
  2. Click on the WordPress link.

WordPress Importer


If you do not have the WordPress Importer, it prompts you to install.

3. Click Choose File and select the dummy_data.xml file you located above.

Dummy Data Import

4. Click Upload File and Import.

A screen asks you to import or select an author and various options to download and import file attachments.

5. Select the person you want to make author of new products from the dropdown (e.g., your admin).

6. Tick the Download and Import File Attachments checkbox. The latter will download all the images to your local server for use on the products.

Import WordPress


7. Click Submit, and the dummy data is installed.

A working copy of Sensei with data is loaded, which you can edit to your liking or replace with your own content.