April 27th, 2017 LearnDash Tips

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:

[student course_id="123"]

A few things to note about this shortcode:

  1. It can be used on any page or post – not just LearnDash content.
  2. The “Course ID” component limits view access to only users enrolled into that course.
  3. 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:

[student course_id="123"]

[ld_course_list tag="bonus"]


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:

[student course_id="456"]

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.

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


6 responses

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This post changed everything! I’ve been offering bonuses by triggering a BadgeOS to trigger a myCred event to trigger a LearnDash woocommerce event.
The only bad news is that now I’ll need to spend the weekend thinking about all the ideas.

Avatar Michael

Glad you found it helpful Michael 🙂

Hey Michael,
You can now directly award points on specific LearnDash actions using this integration addon

I want to create a course where people can be in the ‘base model’ and purchase additional material/support for certain blocks of time (such as 6 months of live Q & A calls + recordings)…
Is it possible to have another tab that reveals access to the live call recordings and info for the time period they purchase, then when it expires it disappears and they still have access to the base information?

Avatar Karen Rohlf

I know of people doing something like this leveraging tags and using a CRM (they usually use Memberium or WPFusion in conjunction with LearnDash to make this happen).

Hi Justin, I have 20 clients who all buy different versions of my 15 LD classes. My clients are broken down into LD Groups. How can I make It so that Group X students only see the 3 classes that were purchased for them when they log into their group sign in page.

I thought this was really easy to do but I can’t figure it out.

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