ELearning and WordPress: Critical Success Factors
WordPress has evolved quite a bit since its humble beginnings as a blog platform. Today, you can see WordPress used across a variety of industries as a content management system, and also a learning management system.
If you have ever wondered about using WordPress for your elearning, the time has never been better!
That said, as with anything in life you have to put in your due diligence if you want to maximize the chances of your elearning program’s success on WordPress.
There are many factors you need to consider, but let’s start with the “nuts-and-bolts”, so to speak.
Without a solid foundation, your program will be doomed from the start. Before implementing your elearning program on WordPress, there are a few factors to consider – some of which may be critical to your success.
1. All Plugins are WordPress Multisite Compatible
This is one of the more popular aspects to come out of WordPress, and that is the ability to create your own network of WordPress sites. In a multisite environment, you are the “Super Admin”, and you control access for the “child” sites.
When would you use this? Well, some schools want their teachers to have the ability to run their own learning sites for their classrooms. With a multisite compatible plugin, you can easily grant access to the teachers to use them on their own site. It really is a painless process, just a matter of a few “clicks”.
If you don’t have a need for a multisite network, that’s fine. However, at least you can have piece of mind knowing you can change your set-up at any point without any issue.
2. Choose Tools that are Well Supported
The WordPress ecosystem is great because it allows for customization at the speed of thought. However, if you choose the wrong themes or plugins, then you’ll find yourself with a compromised site. Always choose themes that are actively supported by the author. Many premium themes (that is, themes that cost money) are pretty well supported.
The same is true for plugins. No matter what the plugin is used for, make a point to research its background.
Who created it?
Is it a part-time project?
Is it updated often?
What are people saying about their support?
The answers to these questions are important aspects to research as you don’t want to negatively impact the user experience because one of your plugins is never updated, fixed, supported, or evolving.
3. Partner with Your Hosting Provider
The single most important aspect of any website is the hosting platform. The majority of people don’t have their own servers, so they look for a hosting service instead. They should be thought of as partners.
This can literally make you or break you.
The biggest mistake people make when choosing a host is making that decision based on price. More often than not, these are shared hosting accounts (which is fine), but their bandwidth is simply stretched to thin in an effort to turn a profit.
If you are running your elearning courses, the last thing you want is a slow connection that takes 5-10 seconds per page-load. No one will stay on your site.
When choosing your host, make sure the plan you choose is easily scaleable, research the custom support, and make sure that they are WordPress friendly (this is a WordPress site after all).
Recently, there have been many web hosts emerging who specialize in WordPress. These are usually a good choice since they know what it takes to run (and optimize) hosting for WordPress.
Remember, setting up an elearning program on WordPress is a process, the core of your set-up will help you towards elearning success, instead of hinder it down the road. Get these crucial parts correct, and you set yourself up for success down the road.