In this LearnDash LMS tutorial, you’ll learn how to create an online course from start to finish. You’ll also learn how to promote and sell your course and start making money! This is the complete guide you’ve been looking for, so let’s dive right in.
I’m sure you’ve heard by now that creating and selling online courses is a great way to build an online business. Why is that?
For one, the process is very easy. These days, we’re inundated with smart tools, software, apps, that can help use make a course quickly.
Secondly, you don’t need any prior qualifications to teach online. You can simply share your skills, knowledge and earn money doing so. And thirdly, it’s free to get set up! You can use simple tools like Udemy and Skillshare to start your online course! These platforms, however, take a commission each time you sell a course.
But those are not the only reasons; there are others. The growth of eLearning has been exponential. Let’s look at some interesting statistics –
Here’s another one –
Over the last 20 years, revenue created by eLearning has increased by a jaw-dropping 900%! Need any more convincing?
But all that said, just because you can create an online course, doesn’t always mean you should.
Because it’s not for everyone. Creating an online course takes careful planning, patience, and smart work. Maybe a little hard work is thrown in as well.
If all of those things aren’t your cup of tea, then don’t even bother. Making the decision to create an online course half-hearted on the idea is not great either! The last thing you want to do is create a mediocre course. Instead, consider offering an eBook or some consulting.
But, if you really have what it takes to create your own bespoke online course and start promoting and selling it online, then read on!
The tools you’re going to need are the following –
The main star of the show is the LearnDash LMS plugin since this is a LearnDash tutorial. I can’t imagine using any other plugin or solution to create my online courses. It’s one of the easiest tools to use too. And since I’m a WordPress power user, for me, it fits the bill perfectly.
So what is LearnDash?
LearnDash is an award-winning eLearning or course building and management plugin for WordPress. Everything you need to create the right learning experience for your students is included in this software. Some of the features include –
I’ve already reviewed this plugin in great detail, so if you wish to check it out, click here.
Whilst these are great platforms for creating and selling your online course, as they include everything. And all you have to do is upload your content. However, the one problem I have with using a third-party platform is ‘ownership.’ If I create an online course, I’d like to own all of it, including the platform it’s built on. Who knows, maybe down the line, I might want to sell one of my online courses as a single product. It’s tough, if at all possible, to do that when you use a platform like Teachable or Thinkific. A platform that you do not own.
OK, back to this LearnDash LMS tutorial. So we’re going to break this post into several parts. I won’t be diving into creating a WordPress website from scratch. If you need to learn how to create a website with WordPress, click here.
You can also watch the quick start video tutorial below to set up your online course with LearnDash. However, the guidelines below are more detailed –
Quick Note: I’m using the Oxygen Builder theme builder plugin in the tutorial video below, however, you can use any theme you wish.
Here are Part 1 and Part 2 of the video tutorials.
OK, let’s get cracking and start putting together our online course.
The first step is to install several plugins. If you don’t need to know how to install and activate a plugin, skip this step!
Once you have downloaded the LearnDash plugin from the LearnDash website, you can log into your WordPress website or blog, go to Plugins > Add New > Upload. Drag the Zip file of the LearnDash plugin and drop it into the file uploader and click Install. See the image below.
Next, Activate the plugin, then head over to LearnDash > Settings > LMS License to enter your email and unique license number. See the images below.
OK, so that’s the main plugin installed; now we need to install and activate the Stripe Integration Plugin. This plugin will enable you to easily set up credit card payments for your online course.
Go to LearnDash > Addons > and look for the Stripe For LearnDash plugin. Click Install Now and Activate.
OK that’s all the plugins we want to install for LearnDash. The last plugin you should install is the WPForms Lite plugin to create a contact form for inquiries of your online course, however, this is entire optional.
Right then, now let’s configure some settings in LearDash. We’ll go through each tab carefully. Go to LearnDash LMS > Settings > General, and let’s start with the Design & Content Elements options.
Here you can select the custom color you would like for accent, progress, and notifications. You can also enable focus mode if you would like this feature for your course students. Login & Registration can be switched on if you want users to subscribe to access your course.
Next, you can Upload A Logo for branding and toggle the Video Responsive CSS if you want to embed videos and make them responsive on your course.
Last, on this page, you can go through the Global Pagination Settings. Usually, I leave this alone. However, the Admin User Settings make sure the Course Auto-Enrolment and Bypass Course Limits are switched on. REST API settings are optional, and if you’re comfortable customizing your own endpoints, etc.
OK, so in this section, we’re going to put our course together using the Builder tab in LearnDash. Before we can do that, we need to actually create our first course.
Go to LearnDash > Courses > Add Your First Course.
Next, you need to add a title and some information about your course. Of course, crafting the best copywriting for your course landing page will take some time, so no need to rush this part. If you already have copywriting, you can paste it in the content field, just like you would with a blog post or page in WordPress.
Once you’re done hit the publish button.
Next, head over to settings and add some additional information about the course requirements, if there are any. Under Course Content, select whether you want the course to always be visible or only visible to enrollees. If you are selling your course, then select Only Visible to Enrollees.
Next, scroll down a little further and look for Access Mode. Here you can select how your course can be accessed. If you are selling your course, select the Buy Now option and add your course price.
Don’t forget to update everything…
Right then, now that you’ve created your first course and tweaked the settings, it’s time to add some lessons, chapters, quizzes, and make it awesome, so head over to the Builder tab to get started.
Under the LearnDash Course Builder, click on the New Lesson link to add some lessons. Add as many as you want.
Then click on each lesson to begin adding information about the lesson as well as some topics and quizzes!
To begin adding content to both the lessons and topics, all you have to do is hover your pointer over the lesson and you’ll see a link to Edit or Remove appear. I usually do this by right-clicking the Edit link to open the lesson up in a new tab. You can edit however way that works for you.
Adding content to your lesson is simple, once you’re done editing, hit Update and go back to lessons to edit the next one.
In the settings tab, you have a few options. The one I want to focus on in this tutorial is the Lesson Access Settings.
Here you will see which course this lesson is associated with. You can also adjust the Lesson Release Schedule. Under normal circumstances, you can just set this to ‘The lesson is made available immediately on course enrollment.’
Just a quick tip; if you go back to the Course Page, there is a useful navigation feature in the main right column where you will see all of the lessons associated with the course you are editing. In the sidebar, make sure you are viewing the course options and not the block options.
OK, so we’re done putting together our course. I would highly recommend playing around with the Builder and other features to get used to them.
Right then, now you have your course lessons, topics, quizzes in place. Let’s go through some essential settings for accepting payment for your course when your students enrol.
This tutorial assumes that you are going to sell your online course. So we’re first going to go through the PayPal settings –
Quick note: PayPal is the simplest way to accept payments for your online course. It’s trusted and widely used. However, keep in mind that you will not have the ability to customize the user’s checkout experience if you accept PayPal. If you wish to customize the checkout, I recommend using Stripe and WooCommerce plugin.
Now let’s look at the Stripe settings –
Important: Keep in mind that you will need to add two sets of configurations to this page. Live and Test. Once you have added the Test settings, uncheck the Test Mode box and go through again to add the Live settings.
Once you’re done configuring your course payment options, save everything, head over to the front-end, and test it. You can use dummy credit card numbers which you can find here, to test your course payment process.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you sell to customers in the EU, you’re likely to be subject to collecting and paying EU VAT or other taxes. Now, I’m not a financial advisor or accountant. You should do your own research into what technology and services are available to add VAT and Tax collecting features to your checkout. Here are some links I recommend for additional reading and research –
OK, we’re done creating our awesome course using LearnDash LMS. Give yourself a big pat on the back. Now you’re ready to launch it and start earning some revenue. But, before you do, I want to give your some tips for giving your brand new online course the best launch possible!
OK, that’s it. I hope you’ve found this LearnDash LMS tutorial helpful and the tips above for creating hype and buzz around the launch of your online course. I want to wish you the best of luck in your course creation and launch! Now go create the best course that you can!