One of the reasons why people turn to WordPress and LearnDash for powering their online courses instead of some of the hosted platforms available is because of the flexibility it gives for creating unique learning programs.
The inherent qualities of WordPress just make it ideal for teaching.
While I could go on and on about all the various tools and techniques available, today I just want to highlight one specific feature in LearnDash that gives you the ability to creatively offer bonuses and extra content to your learners.
Why Offer Extra Content?
You may be wondering why you should offer extra content at all? It seems like a lot of extra work, and you are probably right.
But giving people the ability to unlock new material based on their learning has echos of gamification, a proven technique for improving the learning experience.
At a more basic level, people just like getting access to unexpected bonuses. If you are selling courses then unadvertised bonuses are a suggested technique to decrease the refund rate – so that could be reason alone to spend the time creating one.
The more bonuses the better but don’t overwhelm your learners by bombarding them with extras. Just like you can drip-feed content over a specified amount of time you should also release your extras according to a predefined schedule.
Releasing Bonus Content in LearnDash
Adding bonus content in LearnDash can be done in a variety of ways, but the method to give you the most flexibility is the Student shortcode combined with the Course ID.
The shortcode itself looks like this:
A few things to note about this shortcode:
- It can be used on any page or post – not just LearnDash content.
- The “Course ID” component limits view access to only users enrolled into that course.
- Don’t worry about remembering this format. You can use the LearnDash Shortcode Wizard to add the shortcode in the proper format.
Regarding item #3, the wizard can be found here on your text editor:
Using this shortcode you can create a resources page and add special downloads and documents to learners who are enrolled into specific courses. For example, you can create special announcements on blog posts that can only be seen by students of the course.
Another idea would be to put an embedded Google Hangout (or other webinar platform) on the page, protected for only those who are enrolled into the course.
Or, you can even make special up-sells that are available just to select students! You can do this a few ways, one of which would be to also use the Course List shortcode nested within the Student shortcode. For example:
You may consider putting this combination of shortcodes on the same page as the learner’s profile. Suddenly when they get access to the course they will be presented with bonus courses, formatted nicely form them using the Course Grid add-on.
Are you starting to see the potential of this feature?
Let’s take it one step further…
Let’s say you want to provide bonus content to learners based on how they perform on a quiz. Well, using the free Adaptive Learning With LearnDash plugin you can!
You put a quiz in your course (let’s say this course ID is “123”). Now, based on the quiz performance you can choose to have a learner auto-enrolled into another course. Once enrolled the learner now can see bonuses and locked content you have for that new course.
If you enrolled the learner into course ID “456” then they will now have access to anything protected with this shortcode:
So they have bonus content from two courses based on achieving a certain performance level that you define before hand!
As you can see, this shortcode alone makes it possible to create some really interesting experiences for learners. I encourage you to think of other creative ways to use these shortcodes (and the others) in LearnDash for creating truly unique online course programs.
If you are not currently using LearnDash then I invite you to tell us more about your project. We would be happy to let you know whether LearnDash is a good fit.