April 9th, 2015 LearnDash Tips

If you have a site where you offer multiple courses, then there are times where you may want to display unique content depending on the course that is being viewed.

By default, the LearnDash course layout will include a content area and a sidebar where you can insert widgets (such as a progress bar and course navigation), a configuration that has proven to be effective for online course delivery.

For simplicity, courses leverage the primary sidebar in WordPress. For example, you can create a generic sidebar for all of your courses. Here is the LearnDash demo site sidebar:

This configuration results in the following display:

But there may be some situations where you want to differentiate what appears in this area depending on the course (or content) being viewed.

Fortunately, WordPress grants you the ability to add all kinds of useful features for your elearning site by leveraging both free and paid plugins. If you want to create a unique sidebar for any part of your site, then there’s a plugin for that!

Content Aware Sidebars

If you are interested in creating unique sidebars for your courses, then look no further than the free plugin Content Aware Sidebars. With this installed and activated, you can create custom course sidebars, lesson and topic sidebars, and even present unique content for a quiz.

In other words, instead of one sidebar under APPEARANCE > WIDGETS, you can now create an infinite number of unique ones. Here is one that was built for a specific Lesson:

This is a great way to add helpful hints along the way for people who are taking your courses. You can even use this space to cross-promote other courses on your site.

If you’re interested in creating various sidebars for your LearnDadsh courses, the Content Aware Sidebars plugin is available for free on WordPress.org.

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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

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16 responses

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I am trying to show different widgets on the Course page sidebar depending on whether the user is logged in or not.
I am trying to achieve this through the WordPress Plugin: Widget Logic but it is not saving the widget logic code, please advise?

Avatar FG

It could be that this particular plugin doesn’t support custom post types. Post on the support forum and maybe we can determine a viable solution.

Is there a way to choose a full width option for certain Learndash course pages?

Avatar Tansey

I’m also looking for this feature. I’d prefer a collapsible sidebar, so my content will have more width and thus is more prominently present.

Avatar Peter

I would like to pick up the topic “fullwidth option for Learndash pages” once again and would appreciate getting advice on this!

Avatar Robert

Thanks for the note. You have a few options for changing the templates used in LearnDash. See this FAQ.

Justin, this was exactly what I was searching for! Thank you for your support.

Avatar Robert

Can you use the learndash sidebar on non course pages with this plugin?

Avatar annie

If you mean LD widgets like course navigation & progress, no you cannot. Those only display on LD content.

I need to create a custom lesson completion page. I was thinking of creating just a post or page with the content and adding the menu. If that is not possible, do you have any recommendations? Its not part of the course, it will appear after the exam and the content of this page will vary but its basically just a static confirmation page.

Avatar annie

Can I use the sidebar to display non-course content? Like upsells to products on site? Or navigation to other site sections?

Does it support custom html items?

Yes for sure. Doesn’t have to be course content, you can put whatever you wish into the sidebar.


I understand that I can use shortcodes for this. But can I use custom HTML too? To add my text and my buttons the way I want?

I’ve installed the plugin suggested but don’t see WP Achievements in my list of widget options as shown above. How can I add the badges and achievements to the sidebar? Thanks!

I’m trying this plugin and cannot make any sidebar to be shown on “courses”
I’ve followed the entire procedure, sent support tickets, without luck

Could be the problem my current theme? How could I force my theme to show sidebar when “showing” courses?

“By default, the LearnDash course layout will include a content area and a sidebar where you can insert widgets (such as a progress bar and course navigation), a configuration that has proven to be effective for online course delivery.” – somehow I’ve managed to not have this as an option. I’ve never seen the default learndash sidebar on any of my courses. I must have something turned off somewhere but can’t for the life of me figure out what I’m supposed to turn on. No matter where I enable any kind of sidebar, nothing changes (customizer, in the “course” page itself, playing with the widgets, etc). Not a web developer, just fumbling through this by myself… any help would be appreciated.

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