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Learning Mode Overview

Updated on January 13, 2023


Learning Mode is Sensei’s approach to providing a distraction-free experience to students and allowing course creators to choose a modern layout for their courses. Sensei LMS, together with Sensei Pro, includes four different layouts to choose from. Moreover, course creators can customize each layout or build their own from scratch.

WordPress’ Site Editor allows designing the whole site using blocks, not just the post content. Learning Mode builds upon the Site Editor to allow course creators to leverage its advantages without requiring a block theme to be installed. Site editing features are available for lessons only without affecting the rest of the site.

In this tutorial, we are going to learn about how you can customize the Learning Mode templates, what Sensei already provides for you, and even how you can create your own templates.

How to enable Learning Mode

There are two ways to enable Learning Mode, enable it on a per-course basis or you can enable it for all courses. On new Sensei installations, Learning Mode is enabled by default for all courses.

To enable it for a single course only visit the course. In the Settings Sidebar to the right, make sure that the ‘Course’ settings are selected and open the ‘Learning Mode’ panel. You can preview how the lessons will look like by clicking ‘Preview’. To enable Learning Mode, click the toggle and then ‘Update’. This will update the layout for all the course’s lessons. The course layout will be unaffected.

Alternatively, you can enable Learning Mode for all courses by visiting Sensei settings in the administrator sidebar and selecting the Appearance tab.

Sensei settings Appearance tab

In the Appearance tab, you can also choose which Learning Mode layout to use. Clicking on ‘Preview’ will bring up a pop-up with a detailed image of the layout. Sensei LMS Free includes only one layout with more options being available in Sensei Pro.

Below, we will look into how you can apply your own customizations to Learning Mode templates.

Learning Mode Templates

We include 4 different Learning Mode templates in Sensei Pro. The Default template is available in the free Sensei LMS plugin as well.

Default Template

The Default Template is a clean, polished, and minimal template that works great for all courses. It’s layout consists of the two-column main body with the Course Navigation Block on the left side and the course main content on the right. The top has your site’s branding alongside the Course Progress Bar, and below you’ll see the Course Actions.

Learning Mode Default Template

This template is built with both custom Sensei blocks and some core layout blocks like group, post title, post content blocks.

These are the Sensei blocks on this template: sensei-lms/ui, sensei-lms/course-title, sensei-lms/course-theme-course-progress-counter, sensei-lms/exit-course, sensei-lms/sidebar-toggle-button, sensei-lms/course-theme-course-progress-bar, sensei-lms/course-navigation, sensei-lms/spacer-flex, sensei-lms/button-contact-teacher, sensei-lms/course-theme-lesson-module, sensei-lms/course-theme-notices, sensei-lms/course-theme-lesson-actions and sensei-lms/page-actions.

Modern Template

In this minimalistic modern template, we display the course summary, top bar, featured video (if available), course time approximation, and difficulty level to the right side. The Modern template’s approach of content first will be a great distraction free option for your course. This template also features the Lesson Video Block that is displayed in the main content area at the top. Note: To make use of this block, you will need to use the Featured Video Block in the course editor.

Learning Mode Modern Theme

This template is built with both custom Sensei blocks and some core layout blocks like group, columns, column, post title, post content blocks.

In addition to the blocks in the default theme, we also include the sensei-lms/course-theme-lesson-video block which is responsible for rendering the featured video block. Note that this block is not the featured video block in the editor and is meant to be used only in the templates to detect and render the featured video block.

Video Template

Immersive video content that takes the full width of the page. The course summary moves to the right as a kind of playlist and students can navigate between video lessons and track their progress. This template also includes the top bar course information.

Learning Mode Video Theme

This template is built with both custom Sensei blocks and some core layout blocks like group, columns, column, post title, post content blocks.

Like the modern template, this template also includes the sensei-lms/course-theme-lesson-video block which renders the featured video block if one was added in the template.

Large Video Template

With the Large Video template, the Featured Video will display the full width of the page, with the course summary moving underneath. The course summary will become “sticky” after the user starts scrolling further.

Learning Mode Video-Full Theme

This template uses the same blocks as the video template. Like the modern and video templates, this template also includes the sensei-lms/course-theme-lesson-video block which renders the featured video block if one was added in the template.

Customizing Learning Mode

The Site Editor allows creators to modify and create layouts that are shared between many different pages and posts. Each different layout is called a Template and every change done to a Template will reflect on all pages and posts which are using it. Although this guide will teach you the basics of using the Site Editor, you can learn more by reading the official guide here.

Sensei’s Learning Mode is built using the Site Editor and every different layout is essentially a Site Editor Template. To see all available Templates, you can visit ‘Appearance’ -> ‘Editor’, click the icon in the top left corner and select ‘Templates’.

Site Editor Templates

In the above example, this site has two Templates coming from Sensei and three Templates from Twenty Twenty-Two theme. If you are not using a block theme, only the Templates from Sensei are going to be available. Clicking on a Template will open it on the Site Editor to customize it. Similarly with posts, to save the changes you need to click ‘Update’.

Modified Learning Mode Template

A customized Template icon will appear with a blue dot on top of it. In the dropdown menu, you can revert all customizations and return to the Template’s original state. Be careful however, as your changes are going to be lost permanently.

Customizing the Template’s blocks

Any Template is comprised of blocks, in a similar way to the post content. When you add a block to a Template, this block will appear in every post that uses this template. WordPress provides Theme Blocks to allow users to add content which is relevant for many pages and posts. One example is the Post Content block which is represented as a placeholder in the Site Editor however in the front-end its contents will be replaced with the actual post content. Other examples of such blocks include the Post Title or the Site Logo. In this section, we will learn how you can rearrange, add and remove blocks to a Template.

The List View

The List View displays all the blocks that are included in a Template in a hierarchical way.

Sensei’s Site Editor blocks have a green color.

This is a locked block. Sensei developers will generally mark blocks as locked in cases where removing and/or moving the block will break part of Sensei’s functionality. Only unlock a block if you are aware of the consequences.

Hierarchy levels are seperated by indents. In this specific case, the ‘Fixed Header’ block contains ‘Row’ and ‘Course Progress Bar’ blocks. The ‘Row’ in turn contains two other ‘Rows’.

Use this button to open or close the List View.

The List View

The List View is a very useful tool to analyze the blocks contained in a Template. For example, in the above screenshot the basic blocks for the default Learning Mode layout are displayed. On top is the Fixed Header which contains a Row with the buttons and the course title and the Course Progress Bar beneath it. The rest of the page is defined by a Two-column Layout, which contains the Sidebar and the lesson’s Main Content. Click on the image’s hotspots for a few more details.

Removing and Adding blocks

Learning Mode templates try to include the Sensei components that make sense for the majority of the users. However, some of the components might not suit your needs. For example, let’s suppose that you don’t want to allow the students to contact you and you need to remove the ‘Contact Teacher’ block. To remove it:

  1. Select the block either in List View or in Site Editor.
  2. Open the dropdown menu.
  3. Select the option ‘Remove’ followed by the block name.
Removing a block

Now let’s suppose that you want to use the emptied space to promote some other page by adding a button. To add a block you can either use the ‘+’ button or you add it closely to another block. More specifically:

  1. Select an adjacent block.
  2. Open the dropdown menu.
  3. Select ‘Insert before’ or ‘Insert after’
  4. Type ‘/’ and the name of the block that you want to add.
Adding a block

Rearranging blocks

Blocks can be also rearranged to change the Learning Mode layout. You can rearrange blocks using either drag and drop or the move buttons.

Moving a block in the editor

Alternatively, you can use List View with the added benefit that you will gain a better understanding of the resulting block hierarchy.

Moving a block in List View