Do you want to create or sell online sources via your WordPress site? The good news is that you can build a site where users can easily sign up for your courses using a simple plugin.
If you found this article because you are looking for a way to build an Udemy-like website, you are probably trying to do one of two things:
- You want to sell or offer free courses via your existing WordPress website, or
- You want to open a full-blown course marketplace like Udemy where instructors can sign up and add their courses with revenue splitting.
In this article, we focus on the first category: building a WordPress website like Udemy or Coursera, where learners can sign up for online courses. We’ll show you exactly how to create an online education site using Sensei LMS. Let’s dive in!
How to create a Udemy clone on WordPress
Udemy is an e-learning website with more than 350 million users worldwide. If you want to create a Udemy-like website and set up courses in WordPress, you’ll need to add a learning management system (LMS) to your WordPress website. A learning management system is a software application or technology that is used to plan and implement the learning process.
Some people use a third-party solution to host their courses, but they are often expensive and take a commission on your course sales. By using WordPress and an LMS plugin, you can lower costs, maximize your profits, and have full control over your courses.
There are a few plugins you can use to create a Udemy clone in WordPress, but we can highly recommend Sensei LMS.
Sensei LMS is a teaching and learning management plugin that lets you create online courses, lessons, and quizzes with ease. It integrates with your existing WordPress site, and you can customize the look and feel to match your brand at any time. It comes with a host of rich features, including WooCommerce integration, and interactive Sensei Blocks to make your content more engaging.
It’s worth noting that Sensei LMS isn’t designed to build a fully-fledged LMS or course marketplace like Udemy. However, Sensei has quite a few similar features, and you can make your WordPress site closer to a Udemy-like platform by adding extra plugins to the mix.
- By integrating Sensei with different WooCommerce extensions, you can set up pricing tiers and different payment options. For example, integrate with WooCommerce Payments to set up one-time payments and WooCommerce Subscriptions to set up subscriptions.
You can also track your course sales using these extensions. For example, if you use WooCommerce Subscriptions to sell courses then you can access updated subscription reports through the plugin dashboard.
- Users who enroll in any of your courses will be able to access them through the ‘My Courses’ tab, which acts as the course dashboard.
- You can use MailPoet to send email notifications to users after their quizzes are graded and after they complete a course. You can also send them follow-up emails by using the Follow-Ups extension. This way you can stay in touch and give them the incentive to purchase more courses.
If you need to create a Udemy clone, Sensei LMS is highly affordable and easy to use. It’s fully compatible with Full Site Editing and Gutenberg, and you can use a Sensei-friendly theme like Reign and plugins like Co-Authors Plus to add additional functionality to your site.
Sensei LMS is perfect for:
- Content creators that are running their own businesses online
- Educators that want to connect or offer additional content to their students online
- Course creators or instructional designers that want to create onboarding or training courses for small-to-medium businesses
- Educational institutions that want to create an online learning experience
- Small agencies/freelancers that create content for their customers using open-source software
Step #1: Get Sensei Pro
Start by installing the Sensei LMS plugin from WordPress.org or by activating the plugin from the WP Admin > Plugins view. Sensei LMS offers a number of different plans, but Sensei Pro (or higher packages) is ideal for building a Udemy-lookalike site.
Enter your license key. (Once you’ve purchased a license, you’ll be able to find this key under Licenses in your Sensei LMS Account).
This will bring up the installation wizard and the Welcome Screen.
Now you are good to go! The next screen you’ll see is the Purpose Screen, where you can input some information about the reason you’d like to create courses (e.g., internal training, selling courses to students online).
After that, you’ll be taken to the Features screen, where you’re given the option to install extra plugins that unlock additional functionality.
Once you’ve completed all the steps, you’re ready to start creating online courses of your own. (More on that later on!)
Step #2: Add WooCommerce to sort out the backend (and payment) logistics
One of the key benefits of Sensei LMS is its native integration with WooCommerce, an eCommerce plugin for WordPress. This integration enables you to choose how to collect payments for your courses, either as Subscriptions, Payments, Memberships, or Affiliations. To access this functionality, you’ll need to purchase the Sensei Pro plan.
It creates a great user experience for your students. As soon as a student pays for a course via WooCommerce, they are automatically enrolled in it. Sensei LMS works seamlessly with WooCommerce when it comes to account/portal creation. WooCommerce’s “My Account” section adapts beautifully to add a “Courses” tab, which doubles up as the student portal where students can manage all aspects of their course.
Sensei LMS supports three types of course sales:
- Individual courses, which will require you to install WooCommerce;
- Subscriptions, which require both WooCommerce and WooCommerce Subscriptions;
- Selling courses as part of a membership, which requires WooCommerce and WooCommerce Memberships.
Step #3: Install a Sensei-friendly theme
You don’t need a new theme when you install Sensei LMS – whichever theme you are currently using will work. Sensei’s theme compatibility handling features ensure that Sensei LMS will look good on the front end, no matter what theme you are currently using.
However, there are a few WordPress themes that are also compatible with Sensei LMS:
- Reign by Wbcom Designs
- Aardvark by Ghostpool
- Skilled by Aislin
- Divi de Elegant Themes
- Guru by design themes
- Twenty Twenty de WordPress.org
- Eduhub by Cleversoft
Reign is highly recommended if you want to create a Udemy clone because it has several ready-to-use Udemy-style course layouts and works very well with Sensei LMS. Reign has a very clean and engaging course list layout, which makes it easy for students to discover new courses. It also has among the most attractive quiz and lesson pages we’ve seen, along with many easy-to-use Sensei widgets that can add additional value to your courses. It can also integrate with your learner’s profile page layout, events calendar and grade system, so there’s very little work to be done design-wise if you use it. Best of all, it’s fully responsive, so your courses will look great on any device.
Step #4: Enable Udemy-like discussions
If you’ve ever used Udemy, you’ll note that they have a host of community and cohort-based learning features that enable students to learn in groups, socialize, and collaborate. It’s a handy feature for students that want to interact in an online ‘campus’, rather than have a strictly isolated online learning experience.
Sensei LMS doesn’t have out-of-the-box community features (although they support messages and comments from your community), but you can install bbPress or BuddyPress for that exact purpose. Alternatively, you can also use WooCommerce Memberships to enable forums for members that have signed on to your courses.
One feature which is possible using Sensei is creating Groups and Cohorts. This means students can learn at the same time – you’ll set the same access period for a group of students and can award them the same certification at the end. This is a way of creating more accountability among your groups and increasing your course’s completion rate.
Step #5: Set up your courses!
Now you are ready to set up your courses! Anyone can set up an online course with just a few easy steps. You can start from scratch or import content from a different site in CSV format. You can also install a sample course to test what Sensei LMS can do for you.
Creating a course
Alt= Sensei LMS Courses Screen
To create a course, go to WP Admin > Products > Add New.
Enter the name of your course. We’ve called ours ‘Example Course’, but you can choose a snappy title (e.g., ‘Python for Beginners’, ‘How to Improve Your Digital Marketing Skills’). If you are selling a single course and not a subscription, select “Simple Product” from the drop-down menu and click the Virtual checkbox. You can add your price (e.g., 100) and hit Publish.
Creating a course outline
You can now create the outline of your course. Think of it as setting the stage for your content. This will give students an idea of what they can expect your course to cover if they sign up.
Go to WP Admin > Sensei LMS > Courses > New Course. Enter the title and description. It’s best to keep your title short as it will get displayed in various places online, but you can always edit it later. Now select a course layout.
Next, select a Product to grant access to this course, then hit the Publish button.
Creating a lesson
Now you are ready to add lessons. Go to WP Admin > Sensei LMS > Lesson > New Lesson. Enter the lesson title, e.g., Introduction to Marketing 101. Select your lesson layout.
Now, add this lesson to a course via the sidebar option.
You can now write your lesson content directly in the block editor. You can add text, videos, or embeds to create a really rich online course, using Sensei Blocks. Blocks are included when you sign up for Sensei Pro, or you can purchase the Sensei Blocks plugin as a standalone product for just $49 per year. Sensei Blocks give you the ability to add interactive and engaging content like flashcards, images, and questions to any page, post or custom post on any WordPress site.
El bloque de preguntas
Setting questions for your students is the best way for them to check their progress along the way. Using this block you can questions in a variety of formats including true/false, multiple choice, ordering answers, or open-ended questions. You can even allow students to upload files with their assignments.
The Question Block enables you to add questions anywhere in your course content. One approach could be to leave all your questions at the end of a particular lesson. Alternatively, you could set questions at different points throughout a lesson.
You can set auto-grading for questions, which makes sense for certain question types like multiple choice, and show your users customized feedback, depending on whether or not they’ve answered the question correctly or not.
This makes sense for certain question types like multiple choice. For more open-ended questions you’ll be able to grade those questions manually.
El bloque de fichas
One of the biggest challenges that online courses have is to keep the attention and focus of the students. If a student needs a lot of interaction, you can break up the content to keep them engaged and improve the online learning experience. Flashcards can help you do exactly that!
Alt= Flashcard block in Sensei LMS
You can add text, videos, images, and other embeds on both sides of the flashcard block to make your content even richer.
El bloque de zonas activas de imagen
You already know the importance of adding images to your lessons, as they give visual context for any concept you’re explaining and help your students learn faster. Image Hotspots take this idea to the next level – your students can now engage with your images and learn directly from the information you add to them.
You can use the Image Hotspot block to add content to images to teach and engage. Add text, videos, lists, audio, and images to the hotspot bubble to create a more engaging learning experience.
El bloque de listas de tareas
Keep your students accountable with the Tasklist Block! Using this block you can create a checklist for students to know exactly what they need to do to fully complete a lesson. This block also works great for tasks with step-by-step instructions.
Step #6: Sell your courses!
You’re now ready to set up and sell your course! One of the big advantages of using WordPress and Sensei LMS over a hosted platform like Udemy is you don’t have to pay huge fees for your course revenue. You’ll pay a small percentage for the credit card processing, but that’s it. You own your content and you own the pricing, and relationship with your customers, and you’re in control.
If you want to create a fully Udemy clone WordPress site, your next step will be to invite multiple instructors to your course website and create a course platform.
You’ll need to market your course website. We talked about how to use MailPoet to send email notifications to your customers. You can also use MailPoet to send marketing campaigns and welcome emails. You’ll then be ready to launch!
You now know how to create courses and lessons in WordPress using Sensei LMS, that are as engaging as any course you could create with Udemy! All you have to do now is to get started!
Set up your Udemy clone website with WordPress and Sensei LMS
Sensei LMS is the easiest and most affordable tool to use if you want to create a Udemy clone. It comes with rich, Udemy-like features and benefits that make creating and managing online courses a breeze. WooCommerce integration enables you to collect payments for Subscriptions, Simple Courses, or Memberships.
There are also several learning features that mimic the Udemy environment, including:
- Learning Mode to enable a distraction-free learning experience
- Content Drip so that you can decide when content becomes available (e.g., a set date after starting the course or a calendar date)
- Interactive Blocks with Questions, Images, Flashcards, and Tasklists to keep your students engaged
- Advanced Quiz features like timers and ordering questions, along with Quiz Grading and Feedback.
If you need to create a Udemy clone in WordPress, why not visit Sensei LMS and choose a plan that suits your course website?