Sensei 1.9 beta – Call for testers

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We’ve been hard at work on the latest Sensei update, and it’s almost ready! This beta release contains 514 commits from 10 contributors.

We would really love your help with testing the new features, to make sure it all works seamlessly.

What’s New?

The main changes in this version are an improved template system, built-in language packs, and a new collection of shortcodes for adding Sensei content anywhere in your site.

We need help to test these changes, to make sure that the new features work as they should, and also that everything still works as it did before for existing users.

Template Changes

We’ve made some changes to the frontend Sensei templates, combining files where appropriate, and separating logic from markup, making the templates much more flexible.

We need to test all of the following templates thoroughly. All screens need to be tested both when logged in and logged out. When testing courses/lessons/quizzes, you should test when logged in and taking the course, and when logged in and not taking the course.

    • New Course Archive Page
      • This includes the following new filters:
          • All – Displays all courses
          • Free – Displays all free courses
          • Paid – Displays all paid courses
          • Featured – Displays all featured courses
        • Sort by: Newest first / A-Z
    • Single Course Page (including courses with and without modules)
    • Single Lesson Page
    • Single Quiz Page (including quizzes with all question types)
    • Messages Page
    • Single Message Page
    • My Courses Page
  • My Profile Page

We have updated all templates except for the Email templates. If you have customised your templates in your theme they will still work. Please give us feedback if any of your templates break so we can look at improving the backwards compatibility.

CSS

The main frontend CSS file has moved from /assets/css/frontend.css to /assets/css/frontend/sensei.css

Shortcodes

Previously we relied on shortcodes to display our course archives. In 1.9 we have introduced a new course archive template, as well as some new shortcodes that customers can use to display Sensei content wherever they wish.

The current shortcodes:

  • – A list of all courses.
  • – A list of featured courses.
  • – A list of paid courses (those linked to a WC product).
  • – A list of free courses (not linked, or linked to a free WC product)
  • Login

    – A list of courses the current user is taking or has completed. (Or a login/register form for logged out users).

These will continue to work for at least the next few versions, and we need to make sure they still work as they did before.

However, we will be encouraging people to switch to using the new course archive page, and the new shortcodes instead. The course archive page no longer requires shortcodes, and will be the page you select as “Course Archive Page” in Sensei > Settings.

All the following shortcodes and their parameters need testing thoroughly:

     – A list of featured courses
  • Login

     – A list of the courses the current user is taking. The default order here is by ‘title’ and order ‘ASC’. You can choose to show the completed or the active courses by the status parameter. If you omit this all courses (active and completed will be shown.
     – A list of specific courses by id. If no id’s are specified this shortcode will show all courses. By default this will show the most recent course by date. You can also specify the teacher and the category. Teacher can be the user ID or the teacher user name. Category can be the slug, id or term name.
  •  – A list of users with the teacher role, as link to their archive page. The include parameter is for adding extra users to the list of teachers. The exclude paramater will remove teachers already on the list.
  •  – A list of private Sensei messages for the current user.
  • Two highly requested features arrive in Sensei LMS 3.15 — our first release of 2022.

    This update gives course creators new tools for both videos and quizzes. Best of all, unlike other WordPress LMS options, these features are available entirely for free.

    Read on to learn more, or download Sensei here to give it a try.

    Require videos be played

    It seems only reasonable. When you add videos to a course, you want to encourage the learner to watch the video in its entirety. This is especially important for certification courses or those with strict compliance requirements. 

    With just one click, you can now require that videos are played to the end before a lesson can be marked complete. 

    Another new setting will automatically pause a video if another window or tab is opened on top of the video. This can be handy for stopping students from playing a video in the background while doing something else. There are good reasons students may open a tab during a video, such as taking notes on what they learn, so this setting may not be ideal for all courses.

    The third new option will automatically mark a lesson as complete when a video is watched — adding a nice professional touch to your courses.

    We call these new features video progression, and they all work seamlessly with YouTube, Vimeo, VideoPress, and native video uploads.

    Add pages to quizzes

    If quizzes get longer than just a few questions, it can be overwhelming and daunting for students.

    Sensei has always displayed all quiz questions at once at the end of a lesson. Now, you can quickly turn any quiz into one with pages. Just choose how many questions you want to show per page, and Sensei will take care of the rest.

    And to keep students informed and motivated, a new customizable progress bar will appear above quiz questions. Huzzah!

    How to use video progression

    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.

    A few important notes about these video settings:

    • These are applied to all lessons in a course.
    • Only videos embedded from YouTube, Vimeo, VideoPress, or uploaded directly to the WordPress site are supported.
    • If you add more than one video to a lesson, the Required and Autocomplete features will only apply to the first video that is watched by the student. So if adding more than one video, you may wish to break them up into multiple lessons.

    How to use quiz pagination

    To add pages to quizzes, click on Single page when editing the Quiz Block.

    Then, choose the Multi-Page option and how many questions you want to show on each page.

    Screenshot of the Quiz Block to enable pagination.

    You also can use the Pagination settings in the sidebar when editing the Quiz Block.

    Screenshot of the Pagination settings in the block editor.

    You can enable the Show Progress Bar and choose the colors for the Progress Bar in these settings as well.

    Just the beginning

    We have several big releases lined up in the coming weeks and months. If you missed it, you can see a sneak preview of some of what is planned here.

    In the meantime, give the new video and quiz features a spin and let us know how you go!

    Download Sensei LMS here.

    Online courses are a great way to generate revenue, whether you already sell products or services — like digital downloads or coaching sessions — or are just getting started. Not only can you share what you love with people, regardless of their location, you can even generate virtually passive income. 

    Let’s take a look at how to take your courses to the next level by selling them online.

    Note: This post already assumes you’re using WordPress with Sensei LMS for online courses. If you’re looking for a “Getting Started” guide, check out our post, Beginners Guide To WordPress Websites For Online Courses.

    How to earn money with your online course

    To sell courses on your site, you’ll need to use WooCommerce and the WooCommerce Paid Courses extension. This adds all the functionality you need to accept payments and restrict access just to paying customers.

    1. Install your extensions

    You can install WooCommerce by logging into your WordPress dashboard and going to Plugins → Add New. Search for “WooCommerce,” then click Install Now → Activate

    This will launch a setup wizard that will walk you through the initial steps of setting up WooCommerce, like choosing a payment gateway. You can skip over many of these — like shipping configuration — that don’t apply to online courses. 

    Now, install the WooCommerce Paid Courses extension by going to Plugins → Add New → Upload Plugin. There, you can upload the ZIP file that you received after purchase. 

    2. Add your products

    Now, it’s time to create the actual products that you’re going to sell. Note that these are different from the courses you already built — we’ll be associating the two in just a moment. 

    1. Go to Products → Add New.
    2. Add your course name to the Product name field at the top of the page.
    3. In the Product Data box, check the box next to “Virtual” and add a price for your course in the Regular Price field.
    4. In the Product Short Description box, add a description of your product, the most important details. 
    5. In the text box right underneath the product title, you can add a longer description of your course, with more details that customers might be searching for.
    6. In the right column, add a featured image. This will display in your site listings and on social media when someone shares your course.
    7. In the Product Categories box, add a category for your course, if you’re offering several. This can be helpful for filtering and organization.
    8. Click the blue Publish button at the top right of the page.

    3. Connect your course with your product

    Now, go to Courses → All Courses and select the one you want to associate with your new product. In the right hand column, expand the Pricing box, search for your product, and check the box next to it. Now, only people who purchase that product can access your course!

    In the sidebar, you can also choose to set an Access Period, the amount of time a customer can view your course. For example, you can set access to expire after three months.

    And that’s all you need to start selling your courses! Check out the full documentation here.

    Want even more? Sensei LMS also integrates seamlessly with WooCommerce Memberships and WooCommerce Subscriptions. This lets you make your courses available as part of a membership program or even charge for them on a recurring basis.

    Tips for selling courses online

    Now that your courses are available for purchase, it’s time to attract potential customers and guide your students to success!

    1. Get your course in front of the right people

    The most important place to start is with knowing your target audience. Who are they? What are their pain points? What do they care about and what motivates them? Get to know them by spending time where they are, like in Facebook groups or forums. Talk to them at trade shows or in coffee shops. And once you understand them, craft your courses and marketing messages around what resonates with their needs. 

    Your next step is to create effective landing pages for your courses. Landing pages are hyper-specific pages of your site designed to compel visitors to take action — in this case, purchase your course. Here are a few things to consider including:

    • Previews of your courses, with images or bullet point lists of what’s included
    • Compelling copy that provides information that your audience is specifically looking for
    • Testimonials from people who have taken the course
    • Videos explaining the benefits of your course
    • Purchase buttons spaced throughout the page

    You can use these landing pages within the rest of your marketing efforts. Speaking of marketing, there are a variety of ways you can get your courses in front of your target audience, including:

    • Email marketing. Send updates, tips, coupons, and upsells to existing and potential customers. Your email list is one of your most powerful marketing tools as it’s one you own in its entirety. 
    • Paid ads. Use platforms like Google Ads to reach customers. Typically, you pay for each click your ad receives. Retargeting ads are also a super valuable option — they display your information to people who have already visited your site and are therefore interested in what you have to offer.
    • Social media. Create accounts on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. Regularly update your feed with new, valuable content and occasionally mix in sales offers. You can also publish paid ads on your social media accounts.
    • Search engine optimization. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a strategy designed to get your website in front of people who are actively searching for keywords related to your online courses. While there are a variety of things that go into optimizing your site, regularly creating high-quality blog content is a big factor.
    • Abandoned cart emails. Automatically send emails to people who add your course to their cart and don’t complete the checkout process. A quick reminder or coupon code can make all the difference in recovering these sales.

    The right marketing strategy is most likely a combination of several of these methods. And remember: be patient. Marketing is very often a long-term investment.

    2. Engage with your students

    Loyal students are the best students. Why? Because they’ll come back time and time again and even refer your courses to their friends, colleagues, and family members. And the key to maintaining loyal students is to engage with them whenever possible. Here are just a few ideas:

    • Create a community. Get your students involved and interacting with one another. You can do this through a forum on your WordPress site or with a Facebook group.
    • Send certificates of completion. Give students a reward with a certificate they can print and hang or show off to their friends.
    • Respond to students quickly. Get back to learners who reach out with a question or comment and offer to help in any way that you can.
    • Send out ongoing content. Create an email list of previous students and send out helpful content, information, and tips to stay top of mind.
    • Let students share their progress. Add buttons that allow learners to share their success and excitement on social media. 
    • Create a completion page. Add a course completion page that really celebrates their accomplishments and makes them feel proud.

    3. Make some content available for free

    In many cases, you need to give away a little bit to encourage a purchase. For example, you may want to create a mini-course that’s available completely for free. This gives potential buyers a look into what they’ll experience if they sign up for a paid one.

    Or use your blog for this purpose. Share helpful information, tips, tricks, ideas, and even free downloads to show future students that you’re an expert and to get them hooked. Bonus: this content can be super useful in your marketing efforts, especially for email marketing, social media marketing, and SEO.

    4. Choose the right pricing strategy

    This is another time when knowing your audience is absolutely critical. Do some research into what your competitors are charging and what people are willing to pay for what you have to offer. You could also reach out to people in your target audience.

    Consider offering multiple courses at various price points so there’s a little something for everyone. You may even want to charge a fixed price or a recurring fee for a membership that allows access to all of your courses at once. It all depends on what your students will find most valuable.

    5. Solicit reviews

    88% of people trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation — they’re powerful! So after someone completes a course, encourage them to leave a review. The best way to do this is by sending an email post-completion that congratulates them and asks for a rating.

    Don’t have any students yet? Consider giving away access to your course to a few people in your target audience in exchange for honest reviews.

    6. Make it easy for people to ask questions and find help

    If someone encounters a problem, you want them to be able to quickly find a solution rather than give up on your course altogether. This is true for existing students and potential ones!

    So make it easy for them to ask questions through contact forms and live chats. Put together documentation and success guides that help them navigate your courses. And publish an FAQ page with answers to the questions you most commonly encounter.

    Make money with your online courses

    Not only do online courses enable you to share what you love and are passionate about with an interested audience, they’re also a way for you to generate income. That’s why Sensei LMS partnered with WooCommerce to make it simple to start selling your courses online.

    Ready to get started? Download WooCommerce Paid Courses today.

    Whether you love to cook, enjoy woodworking, speak another language, or are passionate about bookkeeping, online courses are an opportunity to share your knowledge with people who are interested in learning. And, if you want, you can even turn your courses into a little extra money or a full-time income! 

    The best part is that you can get your courses online without any development experience and very little upfront cost. How? By harnessing the power of WordPress and Sensei LMS.

    Why WordPress is the best choice for online courses

    WordPress is the leading website building tool, powering 43% of the web. And it’s no wonder — it offers endless flexibility for everyone from the earliest beginner to the most experienced developer. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits:

    1. You own and have full control over your content.

    WordPress is completely open source, which means that the code can be studied, modified, and shared by anyone at no cost. People all over the world are constantly working to make it the best software that it can be. But it also means that WordPress doesn’t own or take control over any of your website content — you do.

    You see, proprietary platforms like Wix, Shopify, Squarespace, and Teachable can take down your website and courses for any reason they see fit, sometimes without notice. They also typically make it very difficult to back up and move your site in its entirety, if needed.

    That’s not the case with WordPress. Since WordPress is software rather than a proprietary platform,you can do whatever you’d like with your courses and your website, even if that means moving it somewhere else. 

    2. You can easily create beautiful pages.

    You don’t have to be a developer or tech wizard to design and build a beautiful website. WordPress includes a simple builder that allows you to drag and drop elements called “blocks” into a page — everything from text and images to videos, forms, social media feeds, and more. Then you can customize the look and feel of each block to fit your brand.

    You can also choose from hundreds of free and premium themes, many of which come with ready-made templates that let you simply replace existing content with your own. We’ll talk about this a bit more later.

    3. It’s endlessly flexible.

    With WordPress, you can create absolutely anything that you’d like. Not only does WordPress core provide everything you need to build a unique website, you can also add additional tools called plugins.

    Plugins are designed to add specific functionality to WordPress, and there are hundreds available focused on eCommerce, security, design, marketing, and more. If you have a need, there’s almost certainly a plugin to meet it. 

    4. The community and support is unrivaled.

    There’s nothing quite like the WordPress community. The commitment to open-source software means that there’s a passionate group of users and developers that work towards making WordPress the best it can be. 

    Not only is there excellent support available via forums and support tickets (for premium plugins), there are also meetups around the world, Facebook groups, and other online communities where you can ask questions and learn.

    5. It’s completely free.

    While there are paid extensions available, WordPress itself — along with a huge library of plugins — is completely free. That makes it the most affordable way to get started online.

    How Sensei LMS can help you create online courses

    Sensei LMS is a WordPress plugin designed specifically for online courses. It’s free to use — though there are some paid features — and allows you to:

    • Create online courses that you can customize to your brand
    • Include videos, slideshows, images, and other rich media in your courses
    • Break your courses up into modules and lessons
    • Create quizzes to assess your students’ knowledge and understanding
    • Manage students, grade their work, track their progress, and provide personal feedback

    You can manage all of this directly within WordPress, rather than having to log in and out of multiple platforms. And there’s no need for tech or coding experience — it’s all beginner friendly! If you do run into any trouble, there’s extensive documentation that will walk you through everything, along with a community that’s ready to help.

    How to build an online course website

    Now that you understand why WordPress and Sensei LMS are the best combination for online courses, you can get started building your website! 

    1. Pick a domain name, choose a host, and install WordPress

    Start by choosing a domain name, the URL people type in when navigating to your website. You want it to be memorable and true to your brand or industry — a .com ending is preferable, but not required.

    Then, choose a host, which stores your website files and database, and makes your site viewable to people around the world. It’s the foundation of your site’s performance and security, so it’s important that you choose a good one. You’ll want to look for:

    • A commitment to security and uptime. Look for features like regular backups, malware scanning, and a server firewall. Uptime (the percentage of time your server is available to display your site) should be as close to 100% as possible.
    • Good reviews. These are often the best way to judge a host’s quality and can provide warning signs.
    • A focus on WordPress. While your hosting provider doesn’t necessarily need to exclusively host WordPress sites, it should have lots of experience doing so. 
    • Quality support and maintenance. Is their support team available 24/7 via live chat and phone? You want to be able to get in touch quickly any time of day if necessary. Also ensure that your provider updates its software — like PHP and MYSQL — regularly.
    • Scalability. Choose a host that lets you upgrade plans and resources easily so that, as you grow, your server can grow with you.

    Not sure where to start? Check out WordPress recommended hosts.

    Finally, install WordPress on your new hosting plan. Most providers offer automatic WordPress installation to make things super simple, but if you have questions, read the installation documentation.

    2. Pick a WordPress theme

    Your theme impacts the design, layout, and even functionality of your website. There are lots of both free and premium ones available. Some are essentially “plug and play” options — just replace demo content with your own and you’re good to go. Others require and allow for more customization. 

    Take the time to explore theme demos to find the right fit for your brand and design style. Read the reviews and glance at the documentation to understand how easy it is to work with. And always choose a reputable source, like the WordPress.org repository or the WooCommerce theme marketplace.

    One of the Astra theme’s demos

    Here are just a few themes we recommend:

    • Storefront: a clean and simple design perfect for selling your courses
    • Aardvark: built specifically for online learning, with lots of ready-to-use demos that provide a great design foundation
    • Astra: a lightweight, super customizable theme

    3. Publish your pages

    Now it’s time to create some content on your website. You can create absolutely any pages that you’d like, but probably want to consider:

    • A Homepage: Highlight your courses and feature other important content and testimonials
    • An About page: Share information about your courses, your business, and why you’re passionate about your chosen topic
    • A Contact page: Make it easy for people to get in touch via email, phone, or contact form.
    • An FAQ page: Answer common questions about your courses, business, and industry.

    To build those pages, you’ll use the WordPress block editor. You can easily drag a wide variety of elements — like images, buttons, videos, paragraphs, and headers — to create any layer you’d like. Organize them into columns and edit them to fit your brand. 

    4. Plan out your courses

    It’s time to plan the courses you want to offer and create the content for each one. The most important place to start is with your audience. Who are you creating courses for? What are their needs? What questions do they have? The best way to create successful courses is by keeping the needs of your audience in mind every step of the way.

    Then, get organized. Sensei LMS allows you to create a content hierarchy within your course:

    • Modules: Essentially a category, used to group related lessons
      • Lessons: A specific topic you’re teaching
        • Quizzes: Tests created to judge your students’ knowledge
          • Questions: Individual queries that make up a quiz

    Let’s say that you want to offer online classes about food and decide to start with one called Exploring Italy. You create modules based on region, so your initial outline looks something like this:

    • Module: Tuscany
      • Lesson: Food history
      • Lesson: Common spices and ingredients
        • Quiz: Identifying flavors of Tuscany
      • Lesson: Most popular dishes
      • Lesson: Favorite recipes
    • Module: Sicily
      • Lesson: Food history
      • Lesson: Common spices and ingredients
        • Quiz: Identifying flavors of Sicily 
      • Lesson: Most popular dishes
      • Lesson: Favorite recipes

    Then, flesh out each of these modules, lessons, and quizzes. You might want to include historical images, videos of you making the most popular dishes, and recipe PDFs that your students can download. Think about what your specific audience will find most helpful — that may mean meeting a variety of learning styles!

    5. Publish your courses

    Now you can add your courses to your new website. Start by logging into your WordPress dashboard and going to Plugins → Add New. Search for Sensei LMS and click Install Now → Activate. This will open an easy-to-use setup wizard that will walk you through some initial settings and options.

    To add your first course, go to Courses → Add New. Add your title in the Course Name box. You’ll notice that a few blocks have automatically been added — a “Take Course” button, “Contact Teacher” button, course progress bar, and course outline — but you can rearrange these if you’d like.

    Next, you’ll add your course content to the outline:

    1. Click the Create a module button in the Course Outline section.
    2. Add a module title and description.
    3. Add your lesson titles. You’ll see that a new lesson will appear below each one you create.
    4. Then, repeat with any additional modules and lessons.

    To add content to a lesson, start by clicking Save Draft at the top right of the page. Then, click on the lesson you want to edit and click Edit lesson. This will open a new window.

    Once there, you can edit the title, length, and difficulty. Then, click on the Write lesson content section to fill in all your material. You can use blocks to do this just as you did with your other site pages — add paragraphs, images, videos, whatever you’d like!

    Then, you’ll see a Lesson Quiz section where you can build out questions and answers. Select which answers are right and which are wrong. 

    Finally, publish your lesson by clicking the blue Publish button at the top right of the page. Your finished lesson may look something like this:

    Your final step is to add your course pages to the main menu of your site. You can do this by going to Appearance → Menus. There, you’ll see default course pages under the Sensei LMS section in the left panel, including Courses, My Lessons, Profile, and Login/Logout. Check the pages you want to add and click Add to Menu. Then, you can drag and drop them wherever you’d like and click Save Menu to publish.

    And that’s all there is to it! Of course, there are additional settings, pages, and content types you can create. If you want to dive even deeper, read the Sensei LMS documentation.

    6. Decide whether you want to sell your courses

    There are a variety of reasons you might want to create courses:

    1. As part of a membership program
    2. To educate employees or team members
    3. To provide specific certifications
    4. To share your passion for free
    5. To make extra money or generate full-time revenue

    If you want to sell your courses, you’ll need to use WooCommerce and the WooCommerce Paid Courses extension. This will provide all the tools you need to list your courses on your site, collect payments, and deliver them exclusively to paying customers.

    Share your knowledge with like-minded people

    No matter what you’re passionate about, WordPress and Sensei LMS provide everything you need to make an online course website. A user-friendly system, ultimate flexibility, helpful selling tools, and outstanding customer support will get you off on the right foot and help you find success for years to come.

    Ready to go? Get started with WordPress and Sensei LMS.

    A few weeks from now, Sensei LMS turns nine years old! 

    We’ve powered tens of thousands of courses for millions of students in that time. And our WooCommerce integration has helped enable those selling courses to build thriving businesses. We’re thankful for all of you that have created, taught, and learned with Sensei over the years. 

    Now to the point — this is just the beginning — your Sensei courses are better than ever, and 2022 will be a wild ride.

    Let me tell you why…

    In case you missed it

    You can now create courses, lessons, and quizzes, all within the WordPress block editor. If you can write a post, you can publish entire courses without learning a new interface or jumping between multiple screens. 

    By using the default WordPress experience, Sensei also becomes more customizable and developer-friendly. It is a win-win for all. 

    Here are a few quick highlights:

    What’s next for Sensei?

    This year has been about improving the course creator experience, and while we’ll keep working on that, next year, we’ll focus on improving the experience for students.

    Here’s a little preview of what we’re working on. 

    Mockups of learner mode, showing a desktop and mobile view of the course layouts.

    Sensei will soon have an optional “Learner Mode” that you can turn on for courses, lessons, and quizzes. This is a distraction-free and fully-brandable layout for courses — all in our free WordPress LMS plugin.

    Every pixel of “Learner Mode” is optimized for readability, accessibility, mobile-friendliness, performance, and more.

    You’ll be able to keep on using your existing theme whether or not you choose to enable “Learner Mode.” 

    Other new features in the pipeline include:

    • student collaboration
    • a quiz timer (the long-time #1 requested Sensei feature)
    • video tools
    • interactive lesson elements
    • email notification automation 

    Plus a whole lot more.

    A growing Sensei team

    If you are reading this far, you may be wondering, how is Sensei going to deliver so much so quickly?

    Part of that answer is that our team keeps growing with quite a few new faces joining in the past few months. From new developers, to marketing, to well, me. 👋

    My name is Ronnie, I’m a former educator, and for the past decade, I’ve led businesses at the intersection of WordPress and education. I recently joined Automattic (the company behind Sensei LMS) to help double down on our core mission:  

    Democratize online learning by building the best Learning Management System for the web.

    All this to say that Sensei is growing strong and is ready to help you launch your next online course. 

    We are honored that you are here to join us. Stay tuned for more helpful content, announcements, and release information in the coming weeks and months. 

    Happy teaching and learning!

    Sensei LMS 3.14 has launched with a focus on improving the feedback options for learners on quizzes.

    Along with quiz feedback, this release also includes several bug fixes and performance improvements under the hood.

    Answer feedback blocks

    Answer feedback is now editable in the block editor, separately for correct and incorrect answers. Best of all, feedback can now show any content – including formatted text, images, and videos!

    Screenshot example of the feedback options for quiz questions.

    See the feedback options for yourself – which work with Multiple Choice, True/False, and Gap Fill question types – by editing any lesson in a quiz and scrolling down below lesson content.

    You’ll find that editing quiz feedback looks the same as it does on the front end of a lesson.

    Adding feedback to a Gap Fill question in a quiz.

    More granular settings

    Along with the new feedback options, you can now adjust what information learners see when reviewing a quiz after grading.

    Screenshot of the quiz settings.

    For Developers

    For those extending or building with Sensei, here’s an overview of the relevant changes to be aware of with this release.

    New/Updated Hooks

    • sensei_question_answer_message_grade — filter the grade displayed in the answer feedback notice
    • sensei_question_answer_message_text — deprected as part of Sensei_Question::output_result_indication
    • sensei_question_answer_message_css_class — moved into Sensei_Question::the_answer_feedback

    Deprecated Code

    • Sensei_Question::answer_feedback_notes — renamed to Sensei_Question::the_answer_feedback
    • Sensei_Question::the_answer_result_indication — now part of Sensei_Question::the_answer_feedback
    • Sensei_Question::output_result_indication — now part of Sensei_Question::the_answer_feedback

    What’s Next?

    We have much more news and exciting features coming soon!

    To be the first to hear about it all, please subscribe to our email list.

    And be sure to download and play with Sensei LMS today!

    WooCommerce Paid Courses 2.6.0 is hot off the press!

    We’ve added the ability to set a time limit on courses using the new Access Period setting*. If you need to offer the type of courses that last only for a period of time, such as compliance training or continuing education, this feature is for you!

    To get it set up, simply create a new course, or open an existing one, and use the Access Period panel in the sidebar:

    New learners who enroll in the course will be notified via email when their access is set to expire soon, and will also see notices on the course frontend. They will automatically lose access when the date passes.

    On the admin side, you’ll be able to see the expiry dates for all of your students right from the Learner Management table:

    *The Access Period setting is only available in the block editor, not the classic editor.

    Please see the full release change log for Sensei LMS.

    To update, please head on over to Dashboard → Updates in the WordPress admin.

    Please note: While we have thoroughly tested this release, it’s always possible that we’ve missed something. We recommend that you test the update on a staging site before updating your live site.

    For Developers

    New Filters – Sensei

    • sensei_user_courses_query – Filters the query which fetches the user courses. So it’s possible to introduce tabs with new content.
    • sensei_user_courses_filter_options – Filters the the user courses filter options (tabs).
    • sensei_render_view_results_block – Filter to render or not the view results block.
    • sensei_display_course_enrollment_actions – Filter to display or not the course enrolment actions.
    • sensei_admin_enrol_user – Notify when a user is manually enrolled to the course.
    • sensei_learners_learner_updated – Filter when a learner row is updated in learner management.

    New Filters – WooCommerce Paid Courses

    • sensei_wc_paid_courses_expiration_remaining_days_notifications – Filters the remaining days to notify the user.
    • sensei_wc_paid_courses_expiration_notification_email_content – Filters the expiration email content, so the user can customize the text for the emails, or create new content for different remaining days notifications (in case they use the previous filter).
    • sensei_wc_paid_courses_expiration_notification_job_recurring_schedule – FIlters the schedule for the notifications, in case the user wants to send it at a different moment.
    • sensei_wc_paid_courses_expiration_before_email_content – Action to add any content before the expiration email.
    • sensei_wc_paid_courses_expiration_after_email_content – Action to add any content after the expiration email.
    • sensei_wc_paid_courses_expiration_countdown_notice_threshold – It allows users to configure when the notices will start to appear.
    • sensei_wc_paid_courses_expiration_job_recurring_schedule – Filter the course expiration job recurring schedule. The default value is "0 0 * * *" (daily at midnight). It doesn’t have additional arguments.
    • sensei_wc_paid_courses_learner_access_expiration_date – Filter the learner access expiration date. The filter arguments are:
      • {DateTimeImmutable} $expiration_date – Expiration date.
      • {DateTimeImmutable} $start_date – Start date.
      • {int} $user_id – User ID.
      • {int} $course_id– Course ID.

    Deprecated Code

    • Sensei_WC_Paid_Courses\Courses::fix_product_metadata_type – No replacement.

    In WooCommerce Paid Courses 2.5.0, we’ve added the ability to create a WooCommerce product from within the course editor. 😍 Now, there’s really no reason to ever leave the editor while building your course!

    And, after creating your product, it’s automatically linked to the course for you. Easy peasy!

    To add a product, just look for the Pricing section in the Course sidebar:

    “Create a new product” link in the Course sidebar
    Creating a new product from the Course sidebar

    Or, if you’re using the Course Signup block (formerly known as the Take Course block), you can create a product from the pricing modal:

    “Create a new product” link in the Course Signup block
    Creating a new product from the Course Signup block

    Also, if you prefer to work inside WooCommerce, you can associate one or more courses with a product right in the product page.

    To update, please head on over to Dashboard → Updates in the WordPress admin.

    Please note: While we have thoroughly tested this release, it’s always possible that we’ve missed something. We recommend that you test the update on a staging site before updating your live site.

    For Developers

    New Filters

    • sensei_learner_courses_page_template –  Filter the My Courses page template when created through the setup wizard.
    • sensei_course_completed_page_template – Filter the Course Completed page template when created through the setup wizard.

    Template File Changes

    • templates/content-course.php – Don’t add HTML for the course excerpt if it’s empty.

    Deprecated Code

    • Courses::add_product_catalog_data – No replacement.

    Everyone deserves to be recognized for a job well done! ⭐

    That’s why, in Sensei LMS 3.13, we’ve added a Course Completed page that is displayed immediately after the learner finishes the last lesson. This page congratulates them on completing the course, provides some next steps, and displays their results:

    Screenshot of the Course Completed page

    And the best part is that you can customize this page however you like! You could:

    • Cross-promote or cross-sell other courses
    • Ask for feedback via a course evaluation form
    • Request a review of the course

    The simplest way to create this page and start using it right away is to re-run the setup wizard from the Help tab on the Courses page:

    Screenshot showing how to access the setup wizard from the Courses help tab.
    Launching the Setup Wizard

    See what else is in this release.

    What’s New in WooCommerce Paid Courses?

    We’ve streamlined the way products are assigned to courses in the course editor AND added the ability to link courses and products right from the product page!

    If your workflow involves creating courses first and then products, you can now link them together without ever leaving the WooCommerce product page:

    Screenshot showing how to associate courses with a product.
    Linking courses to a product on the product page

    Or, if you prefer to create products first and then courses, you can link them on the course page from either the Pricing section of the sidebar or the Take Course block:

    Screenshot showing the Pricing section in the Course sidebar.
    Pricing section in the Course sidebar
    Screenshot showing the modal to link a course to products from the Take Course block.
    Linking products to a course from the Take Course block

    For Developers

    New Filters

    • sensei-lms.Course.completedActions – Customize the Course Completed Actions block buttons (JS).
    • Sensei_Course::sensei_course_completed_page_url – Filter the course completed page URL.

    Deprecated Code

    • getProducts selector and its related functions in the Products store (JS).
    • Sensei_WC_Paid_Courses\Courses::store_user_confirmation – No replacement.
    • Sensei_WC_Paid_Courses\Courses::update_modal_confirmation_date – No replacement.
    • Sensei_WC_Paid_Courses\Courses::has_user_confirmed_modal – No replacement.

    To update, please head on over to Dashboard → Updates in the WordPress admin.

    Please note: While we have thoroughly tested this release, it’s always possible that we’ve missed something. We recommend that you test the update on a staging site before updating your live site.

    Today we are ending support and maintenance of the Sensei LMS extensions Share Your Grade and Course Participants. Share Your Grade provided social networking links to learners after they completed quizzes that allowed them to post their quiz grade. Course Participants added a widget that listed the learners in the course.

    Both plugins had limited usage. Therefore, by retiring them we hope to focus our efforts on adding new and exciting features to Sensei LMS. An archive of the source code is available on GitHub for both Share Your Grade and Course Participants.

    In Sensei LMS 3.10, we released the Learner Courses block, which introduced a redesign of the My Courses page.

    In Sensei LMS 3.12, we’ve added an all-new layout to the Learner Courses block – grid view! This is in addition to the list view you already know and love:

    My Courses page - Grid view

    Grid view is responsive, meaning the number of columns increase or decrease automatically based on the current screen size. To use it, add the Learner Courses block to the My Courses page, and select Grid view from the block toolbar or settings.

    What Else is in This Release?

    Here are some other things you’ll find in 3.12:

    • Compatibility with PHP 8.
    • Fixed an issue with lesson order not saving when object caching is used.

    See the full list of changes.

    To update, please head on over to Dashboard → Updates in the WordPress admin.

    Please note: While we have thoroughly tested this release, it’s always possible that we’ve missed something. We recommend that you test the update on a staging site before updating your live site.

    New! Video Progression and Quiz Pagination

    Author: Ronnie Burt

    Two highly requested features arrive in Sensei LMS 3.15 — our first release of 2022. This update gives course creators new tools for both videos and quizzes. Best of all, unlike other WordPress LMS options, these features are available entirely for free. Read on to learn more, or download Sensei here to give it a […]

     – Display a specific course page’s content by id.
  • No course categories found. – Display the course categories in a list. The categories will link to the archive pages. To only show top level categories, set the parent parameter to zero.
  • [sensei_unpurchased_courses] – A list of all courses linked to a WC product, which the current user has not yet purchased.

Language Packs

If a Sensei translation exists for your chosen language, it can now be installed and updated directly from WP admin.

To test this:

  • Go to our Sensei project on Transifex, and choose a language from the list (preferably one that is mostly translated).
  • Go to Settings > General in your WordPress dashboard and change your Site Language to your chosen language.
  • When you click ‘Save Changes’ your site’s language will change, and you should see a notification at the top of your dashboard telling you there is a Sensei translation available for your language.
  • Click ‘Install’ and the language pack will be installed. You should see a success message, and your Sensei admin pages should now display in your selected language.
  • Also test switching to a language that isn’t in the list on Transifex and make sure you aren’t prompted to install a language pack.

There are currently only a small number of language packs available, mostly with incomplete translations. We will be posting again soon with more details on how you can help contribute Sensei translations.

Other changes

There are several other changes in this release, which also need testing:

  • When lessons are completed, you will now see a “Next Lesson” button in the completion message.
  • Improved support for Twenty Fifteen theme
  • Added support for Twenty Sixteen theme
  • Improved support for Storefront theme
  • If you view a quiz that has no questions, you will be redirected back to the lesson
  • All chosen dropdowns have been replaced with Select2
  • Questions can now have a zero grade
  • Course management metabox on Edit Course screen which links directly to learner management and grading.

Important notes for developers

  • Sensei()

    now officially replaces

    $woothemes_sensei

    , which will be deprecated in a future update.

  • The php classes are now auto loaded when needed instead of loading all classes for every request. New filters for all sensei core post type for easier customization.
  • You’ll notice that our class naming convention is no longer class-woothemes-sensei but rather class-sensei.
  • Better class and function comments to assist developer IDE with discovery.

How to test

If you’re interested in helping us test this update, please complete this short form, and we’ll get back to you soon with further details:

Sign up for beta testing

Timeline

This round of beta testing will be open until Monday 30th November, so the sooner you can test the better.

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