A guide to LearnDash courses

In this article, we’ll explore LearnDash courses, explaining their functionality and providing guidance on their creation process. LearnDash courses are structured educational modules within the WordPress platform, enabling the creation and management of online learning content. They facilitate the organization of lessons, quizzes, assignments, and multimedia materials in a user-friendly interface, allowing instructors to deliver comprehensive learning experiences to their audience while efficiently tracking student progress and engagement.

LearnDash course structure

LearnDash courses employ a hierarchical structure built within WordPress, primarily comprising lessons, topics, quizzes, and assignments. At the core are lessons, acting as containers for educational content. These lessons can contain topics that serve as the primary content units. Each topic is associated with specific learning material, be it text, videos, or other multimedia elements. Additionally, quizzes and assignments can be integrated within lessons or as standalone elements, evaluating student comprehension and knowledge retention.

LearnDash course structure

The modular organization enables instructors to flexibly design courses, allowing sequential progression through topics and enabling the structured delivery of content, optimizing student activity within the learning experience.

This structured setup within LearnDash aids in systematically delivering course content and assessments while ensuring an intuitive user interface for educators and students.

Creating LearnDash courses

To create a new LearnDash course, go to LearnDash LMS > Courses page of your WordPress dashboard and click on the “Add new” button. This opens a page where you can set the main course details, including:

  • Course name
  • Course page content
  • Course categories and tags
  • Course featured image

By setting these details, LearnDash will create a dedicated course page that is accessible from the front end.

LearnDash create course

Once you set the required information, you can save the course as a draft until all course content is created. At this point, the page should contain only the course name and content.

LearnDash course content

Adding lessons to LearnDash courses

You can add lessons to courses by navigating to the Builder tab of the course edit page.

LearnDash course builder

The LearnDash Builder is an integrated tool that allows you to create and organize online courses easily. It offers a user-friendly interface with drag-and-drop features for structuring lessons, topics, quizzes, and assignments.

To add a new lesson, simply click on the “New lesson” button, then enter the lesson  name and click on the “Add lesson”  button.

LearnDash create lesson

As you can see on the screenshot below, we have added three lessons.

LearnDash lessons

Now if we save the changes, we can see that these lessons are displayed on the course page:

LearnDash lessons on course page

Adding content to lessons

Lessons can consist of text-based content alone, providing information or instructions. However, lessons can also be enhanced for a more organized approach by incorporating topics, which break down the content into specific sections, each dedicated to a particular aspect of the lesson. Topics allow for better organization, enabling instructors to present multimedia content, images, videos, or any other instructional material within distinct sections, thereby facilitating a more structured and engaging learning experience for students.

It might also be a good idea to combine textual content and topics, where textual content can be used as an introduction to the lesson, and the topics can be used to contain the actual educational material.

Gain Valuable Insights From Your WordPress User Data

Adding textual content to lessons

Content-only lessons might be sufficient when the course content is straightforward and doesn’t require further segmentation or organization. This approach is suitable for linear courses where information is presented sequentially without the need for subdividing into smaller sections.

To add textual content to the lesson, navigate to LearnDash LMS > Lessons page. On this page, you will see all the lessons that you have added from the Course Builder page:

LearnDash lessons table

To add content to any of the lessons, just click on the Edit button of any of the lessons, and you can add content to it just like you add content to a standard WordPress page and post. Once you save the changes, you will see the lesson content displayed on the lesson page.

Adding topics to lessons

When the lesson content can be divided into distinct sections or topics, using topics within lessons allows for better organization and presentation. It is helpful for breaking down complex concepts into smaller, more digestible sections.

You can add topics to lessons by navigating back to the Course Builder. This can be found in LearnDash LMS > Courses > Builder link of the corresponding course. To add a topic to a lesson, first expand the lesson.

LearnDash expand lesson

Then click the “New topic” button and add the title. Repeat the same steps for the rest of the topics. At this point, your lesson structure should look like this:

LearnDash add topics to lesson

To add content to a topic, go to your dashboard’s LearnDash LMS > Topics section. Then click on the Edit button of the topic to which you’d like to add content. After this, you can add text to the topic, just like when editing a WordPress page or post.

Once you have created the topics, your lesson page will look like this:

LearnDash lesson page

Adding quizzes to LearnDash courses

In LearnDash, integrating quizzes is an essential aspect of creating comprehensive and interactive learning experiences. Quizzes serve as effective tools to assess and reinforce students’ understanding of course materials.

Quizzes can be added to the following elements:

  • Topics
  • Lessons
  • Course – final quiz

You can add a quiz to a lesson or topic by clicking on the “New Quiz” button in the LearnDash course builder:

LearnDash add quiz

After you add the quiz, you can drag and drop it into any lesson or topic. In the following screenshot, you can see that we have added one quiz to a lesson and another quiz to a topic:

LearnDash quizzes in buidler

You can add a final quiz to a course from the “Final quizzes” section of the builder:

Once you have added the quizzes, save your changes, and you can proceed to the next step of adding questions to the quizzes.

To add questions to quizzes, navigate to LearnDash LMS > Quizzes section of your dashboard. Find the quiz that you’d like to edit and click on its “Questions” link. In this section, you can add as many questions as you like by clicking on the “Add questions” button.

Configuring course access

LearnDash provides different options to select how can each course be accessed and who is allowed to access it. Course access can be configured in the Course Settings page which can be found under LearnDash LMS > Courses > click on the “Edit” button of the course > Settings.

And here is a walkthrough of some of the main access options available:

  • Access Mode: The following options are available to choose for course access:
    • Open – accessible to anyone, including non logged-in visitors
    • Free – accessible logged-in users who are enrolled to the course, does not require a payment. An enrolment link is available for users to enrol to the course in order to access it. This is the default access option.
    • Buy now – you can select this option when you’d like to sell courses. Courses can be purchased by using the built into LearnDash PayPal and Stripe payment methods.
    • Recurring – this is another option for selling paid courses. The difference from the “Buy now” is that this requires the user to be subscribed to a recurring payment plan.
    • Closed – the course can be access only through manual admin enrolment or group enrolment. This option can also be used when implementing custom solutions for selling courses by using an e-commerce add-on, such as WooCommerce.
  • Course Prerequisites – allows to select other courses that the students need to complete before gaining access to this course.
  • Course Points – you can set a requirement of minimum course points required to access this course
  • Start Date and End Date – allows you to select a period when the student can start and end the course. This option does not affect open courses.

Configuring group access

LearnDash groups enable the grouping of users for specific course access and management purposes. These groups allow administrators to allocate courses, content, and track progress for a defined set of users collectively.  Groups can be created and managed from the Learndash LMS > Groups page of your dashboard. If you would like to allow course access to all users from a group, you can do that from the Groups tab of the course edit page.

LearnDash group access

Manually enrolling users to courses

You can manually enrol a user to a course from their User profile edit page. To open this page, go to the Users page of your WordPress site dashboard and click on the Edit button of the user that you’d like to enrol. If you scroll down, you will see a section called “User Enrolled in Courses”. To enrol the user to a course, just select the name of the course and click on the right arrow. This will move the course name to the right-hand box, which contains the names of all courses that the student is enrolled to.

LearnDash manually enrol users to course

Course analytics

If you are using the Users Insights plugin, you can gain various insights on your student activity in your courses. Users Insights provides various visual reports, such as enrolments activity, top courses and quiz stats.

Learndash reports

Additionally, the Users Insights table can be a useful tool to further analyze your student activity and information. Providing different filters, you can search your students by the courses that they have started or completed, by their quiz activity and any other information that is provided by the plugin’s features and 3rd party integrations:

learndash export user data example


This tutorial provides a detailed walkthrough for using LearnDash, covering course creation, lesson structuring, quiz integration, access management and analytics. By following these steps, educators can efficiently create, organize, and assess courses, manage user access, and analyze course performance. LearnDash serves as a powerful tool for WordPress websites, enabling a structured and effective approach to online education.