Let’s start with a little bit of background on my experience building online courses. (Read full review – https://goo.gl/9D6k5J)
I launched my first course in 2014 using a platform called OptimizePress and a membership plugin called MemberMouse.
It was a disaster. Everything that could do wrong, went wrong. But this learning experience was a stepping stone to becoming better.
I learned that too much technology can hurt you. It is not a repeatable process if your website need a lot of maintenance. As it turns out, OptimizePress requires you to jump through many hoops just to make changes to any of the videos. It was a painful process that is not scalable at all.
It got to the point where my website was running extremely slowly and I decided to just delete the site rather than keep on maintaining it. It wasn’t working out, so I cut my losses and went elsewhere.
These technologies (OptimizePress and MemberMouse) had gotten better since, and they did served me really well when I first got started. But I soon realized they are simply not the greatest tool for developing online courses.
On my second attempt in 2015, I decided to try out a video hosting platform called Rainmaker Digital. The setup was very straightforward as there’s nothing much to tweak or manage. Creating a course was really easy. All I needed to do is to upload the video and it’s done.
They had a built-in learning management software that’s geared towards membership sites. So it wasn’t exactly meant for online courses, but I made it work.
But soon enough, it wasn’t working for me. They weren’t upgrading their tool nearly as quickly as I was progressing my business. So it was holding me down at a certain point.
It was a hosted solution. And that meant that I needed to start from scratch again.
I tried Teachable, Sensei and other platforms and membership softwares. I looked at Elegant Themes to see if they had any options. I did a bunch of free trials, installations and subsequent uninstallation.
And then I fell in love with something called LearnDash. I want to share with you why I like it so much.
The first reason I like it is because the developer is honest. It’s basically a single person developing this. There might be other developers involved as well, but Justin is the figurehead of the business. And he is working hard to make LearnDash the best learning management software out there.
LearnDash focuses on helping people to learn. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles other platforms have, but the features are spot-on for what we need.
What even better is that it’s a WordPress plugin. I like anything that’s built on WordPress as I can custom code it (and not break it) if I need to. Also, this plugin integrates with many other plugins and softwares that I use.
We now have 3 courses running on LearnDash and we’re loving it.
Why we build our courses with LearnDash
Here are 8 things we love about LearnDash. And 2 features that we can’t wait to explore in 2018.
1. Structure of course content
The course content is structured in an easy to understand hierarchy. At the highest level is the course, followed by lessons, then topics. There’s also quizzes, certificates and assignments that you can add to each of the levels. It’s basically all you need to build a course.
Let’s take Beginner Google Analytics for example. This Beginner course is part of the full Google Analytics Course. The Beginner course will be a course by itself. And within this course, we’ll have 10 lessons. Some of these lessons will have topics, other won’t. We also have a quiz in this course, it comes after all of the lessons.
To organize all this, we use the handy drag-and-drop feature of the LearnDash Course Builder. Using is feature, we can control where things are showing up. The hierarchies are easily defined and the visual presentation makes it really easy to understand.
2. Set up access to courses and lessons
You can set up access to the different courses (and their contents) based on the purchase made.
The ability to lockdown content is the most important part of a learning management system.
LearnDash provides a few options when defining access to the course content. You can set courses to be only available to paying students, and you can select the payment mode of either one-off or recurring subscription.
You can also build free courses that free to join.
As the control is done at the course level, you don’t need to worry about parameters of individual content pieces (lessons, topics, etc.) within that course.
3. Rename custom labels
You can rename the custom labels in the system. This is not just for internal use, but is reflected on the students’ end.
In our Agency Jumpstart Course, we rename Courses into Jumpstarts. You’re not really taking a course, but jumpstarting a different part of your business.
(Read full review – https://goo.gl/9D6k5J)