October 9th, 2013 LearnDash Tips

Since our launch in January of this year, our main priority has been to create a product that is in touch with the latest elearning trends, and that is consistently enhanced based on community feedback.

Today we are excited to be releasing a feature that we know many of you have been looking forward to, and are eager to use on your WordPress LMS.

New Course Layer: Lesson Topics!

Until this point, LearnDash has included two official levels (Courses and Lessons), but starting today you can now create a third layer, called “Lesson Topics” (found under the Lessons menu).

Just like you can assign an unlimited number of Lessons to Courses, you can have an unlimited number of Lesson Topics per Lesson!

Creating Lesson Topics is just like creating a lesson, simply give it a title and add your content or media. Once done, all you have to do is assign it to the appropriate Lesson.

Lesson Topic Progression

Lesson Topics adopt the same settings as Lessons for your course progression. If you require your users to take the course lessons in sequential order, then they will also be required to take the Lesson Topics in order – no skipping 🙂 !

[caption id="attachment_7789" align="aligncenter" width="194"]Visually track topic progress Visually track topic progress[/caption]

As your users progress through a Lesson at its Topics, they will be able to visually see their status, and return to the Lesson page at any time. A Lesson cannot be marked complete until all Topics have been successfully completed.

Lesson Topic Quizzes, Timer, & Assignments

Just like you can do with your Lessons, you can assign Quizzes to a Lesson Topic so that it cannot be marked as complete until it is successfully passed. This is a great way to ensure that users understand the content before being allowed to move onto the next Topic.

Want to require an assignment for a Lesson Topic?  No problem! All you need to do is select the check-box indicating that the Lesson Topic requires an assignment to be submitted. Users won’t be able to progress until their submissions are approved.

As an added bonus, you can also choose to leverage the timer so that users cannot mark a topic complete until a specific amount of time has elapsed.

Topics are 100% Optional

By no means do you have to use Lesson Topics to break-up your Lessons. Some Lessons may have more content than others, and the Lesson Topics give you the ability deliver it in smaller “chunks”. In the image below, you can see three Lessons, but only the second Lesson has Topics. For current customers, you can read more about how to get started with Lesson Topics by referencing the scripts and videos in the support documentation.

Thank you again for your suggestions on how we can improve LearnDash. We know that you have put your trust in us, and we will stand by you as you continue to deliver learning on your WordPress powered site.

Until next time!

Justin Ferriman photo

About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter


53 responses

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O yes, I was waiting for this function. Many thanks, now I can really start building my courses the way I want. Thanks again. When I’m ready I’ll sent you the url of the website and give you a look inside.

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Avatar Alice

Awesome. I was literally sitting down this morning to start working on creating an entirely new course with learndash. Could not have been better time as the lesson topics feature is incredibly useful for the course I was about to create.

Looking forward to more create updates in the future. Thanks Justin.

Great to hear Raleigh, glad our timing matched up!

Thank you for this! You guys rock!

Fantastic feature Justin! You are making a huge impact in our training industry, well done!

Avatar Jon Maybrook

Thank you for your kind words Jon!

LearnDash just keeps getting better and better. You’ve reduced our lesson creation time by hours.

We were breaking up our content with a widget which required formatting every time someone writes a course and then had to check it works on Ipad and mobile and recode if necessary (mainly image related). Now we can just concentrate on the content.

Thanks a lot for this. You just made my day

Avatar Ryan

Hi Ryan-
Thanks for the comment – happy to see that this enhancement will make your creation process a bit easier 🙂

Great Justin… Awesome feature

Avatar lucas

You were not joking when you said it was in the works!

Great stuff.

Does this also mean the topics can have chunks?

Our topics would have several videos and chunks of text, so can a lesson topic be divided into several pages?

Thanks Justin!

Avatar Razak

Hi Razak-
Thanks for the comment. Currently the three formal levels in LearnDash are Courses > Lessons > Topics, but you can still break up any of these in informal ways (such as on-screen tabs).

Can we have an update that allows us to change the lesson topics to list as ascending or descending order when viewed within the lesson?

Avatar Patrick

Hi Patrick-
Thanks for the comment. Lesson Topics adopt the lesson progression as set within the Options for Lessons menu. If you would like to discuss further, please submit a forum post at http://support.learndash.com.


Wow Justin,

LearnDash is growing in leaps & bounds. It’s so reassuring as a customer, to have these regular and powerful learning tool updates.

Congrats to you and your team, doing a great job.

Avatar Brent

Fabulous update Justin. Thank you!
I was looking forward to this so much.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! This feature will save me so much organization troubles! It couldn’t have come at a better time. Now I can organize my content just like our class textbook.
Thanks so much!! 🙂

Great to hear Michael – glad you like it!

I can’t wait to update and try out topics. This is what I needed, now I can move my sites software over.

Thanks so much

Thanks Justin, the features just keep getting better!!

Any way to adjust where the lesson topic buttons appear on the lesson list? Mine are appearing to the left of the lesson title, making it look uneven and unorganized. Underneath the lesson title (like i see in your final picture) or to the right of it would be ideal options to have.

Avatar Patrick

Hi Patrick-
Happy to assist, please open up a thread in our support forum at http://support.learndash.com

Ditto those above. Wonderful feature.

My first foray into setting up Course’lets’ using LearnDash is a bit of a learning curve in itself.
One difficulty I have is the ever growing list in Lesson Topics is distracting. A filter exists in the list of Lessons to filter by Course and I can see great utility in having a filter in Lesson Topics by both Course and Lesson.

Hi Soilman-

Thanks for the suggestion. We have plans to address the organization of Courses/Lessons/Topics in the Dashboard in the near term (exact ETA unknown, but it is a higher priority). Appreciate the feedback.

Curious, is it possible to break up the topics so that when I click in to a lesson it shows me the video video topic that we have setup, and students can progress video to video until they’ve completed a lesson?

Avatar Chris

Hi Chris-
Thanks for the comment, although I’m not sure I understand your question. Please do write us with some more detail and someone will reply shortly.

Hi Justin

We’re quite new to Learndash, and have just discovered Topics. I was initially excited by this, as I saw it as a way to very efficiently manage content. My plan was/is to be able to create a library of topics that can be associated with multiple courses.

As you can imagine, it’d be great to be able to update and optimise multiple courses/lessons, simply by updating a Topic.

However, it appears that Topics can only be associated with a single lesson. Is there a way around this, or am I simply looking at it wrong.

Thanks in advance,


Avatar Adam

This is something I am also interested in. Is there a workaround for it?

Avatar Michael

This is also something I am also interested in. It seems like Topics should be comprised of more than 1 lesson. Would be great to see implemented in the future.

Avatar Brad


Is there any chance a member can skip the other lessons and view the next one?
I have red an article about this but I can’t find it anymore.

Answers is appreciated.


Avatar Jen

Hi Jen-

Yes this is possible. There is a setting on the edit course page.

It’s a bit confusing when reaching the end of all topics in a lesson and not be able to progress to the next lesson. As it is now you have to click “Back to Lesson” then click “Next Lesson” just to get to the following lesson once you complete all the topics.

Any plans to update this?

A simple link that says “Next Lesson” at the end of the last topic in a Lesson would be great

Avatar Charles

Hi Charles-
Thanks for the note. After the last topic is complete you don’t have to click ‘back to lesson’ – you should be taken to the lesson automatically where you can either take a lesson quiz (if there is one), or indicate the lesson as complete. To answer your question, yes we are currently adding more automation to this.

Can you take an existing topic and turn it into a lesson easily?

Avatar Cristina

Hi Justin! Is there any option (or third-party plugin) for moving or duplicate posts to topics. Currently I am doing it manually.

Avatar Angel

Sorry, it was already answered in your previous comment 🙂
Great plugin! Thanks!

Avatar Angel

The features are awesome. As I read about the Learndash, it says that there are currently three levels. Can I get a plugin or feature in which I can make 5 levels, namely Course, Subjects, Chapter Name, Topic, Quiz.

Please reply….Thanks!!

Avatar Lokendra

There are ways to add a fourth level to some extent (though not officially tracked but for breaking up lessons within a course). Anything other than that would need custom development.

Hi Justin, I am current working on this plugin, I see sort by selection under course option and lesson option, is there also a sort by selection for the topics? currently the courses and lessons are in correct order, but somehow all topics under each lesson are not in the order that they should be. I have tried different number in the attributes but no luck. Any suggestions? Thanks.

Avatar yu

Topics will always adopt lesson parameters. Try clearing your cache and double-checking that you have the correct ordering for Topics. For additional assistance, contact support.

I love LearnDash so far! Just want to suggest another 4th layer. Lets say you have a bunch of courses, which all are organised in lessons and topics (or units and lessons how we call it). What about if you want to group a few courses together? Lets say you want to give a specific certificate if someone completed a specific number of courses. at the moment you can’t really do that i suppose unless you use course dependencies. but if your courses don’t have dependencies, for example if you offer 10 spezialisations and if someone completed 3 out of the 10 available ones he/she gets a diploma.

a feature (lets call it program?) where you can select mandatory courses and elective courses and assign a certificate if you completed them would be absolutely awesome!

Avatar Miro

Where can I find these settings? I have checked course, lesson and topics settings couldn’t find it to prevent the user from progress to next topic if they haven’t answered correctly the quiz questions.

Avatar Thomas Chuntic

Very useful indeed. Is there a way to change previously made lessons into topics? Or would I need to copy and paste the information from a lesson into a new topic?

Avatar Eli Hardie Howes

This is a really great feature, however, our test users complain about how the progression works to get into these sub items. There is no NEXT button to enter sub topics, only Next lesson which skips the sub items, the user gets used to clicking through that way then when there are sub items or topics they have to click on the first one directly before advancing. Every single user has complained about this in our testing. Is there any way to fix this? Any plans to have the progression the same as the rest when it comes to sub topics? If not, can you tell me where I can edit files to make this happen? We are currently in a testing phase so would be a good time to fix this. Thanks!

Hi… Do you have your course set to linear progression? Mine go from lesson to topic to topic…to next lesson. Like I think you want.


Avatar Heather

I know this is an old thread but I haven’t found the answer elsewhere… Is there any input/feedback/information that addresses how much info or the ideal # of paragraphs to be included in a single lesson or topic? (To keep student engagement up and whatnot.) Remember original websites that you can scroll for days and still not hit bottom? No one wants that. I’m curious what’s the best range. Right now I’m using a variety and leaning toward more steps than fewer, but data would help.

Avatar Heather

If only topics worked the same way as lessons. Now when users are pressing next, they jump to the next lesson, skipping all the topics. If only the Next-button would progress to next topic this would be so useful.

Instead now it becomes very confusing. I wish next-button would simply take the user to the next step in the course, topic, quiz or lesson – just the next step. And also not jump back to the start of the lesson after the last topic.

Apart from that, I love learndash of course <3 🙂

PS. Any hacks/tips/tricks are welcome. I´d really love to use topics, it would be a game changer for our platform.

Hi. FYI I noticed what looks like an error on this post. Halfway down there is some code appearing:
[caption id="attachment_7789" align="aligncenter" width="194"]Visually track topic progress Visually track topic progress[/caption]

Just passing on good Karma. BTW Love Learndash 🙂

Avatar Jamie Robe

Hi there,

Can you make the first 2-3 Topics of a lesson free, and the others paid?

Avatar Rafael Minuesa

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