November 28th, 2016 E-Learning

elearning-duration-clockWordPress has proven to be useful for purposes beyond just blogging. Common use-cases include membership sites and online courses using a learning management system plugin like LearnDash.

If you are creating your own course on WordPress, you may be wondering: how long will it take?

Giving an exact answer to this question is near impossible without making certain assumptions. The course creation time for a WordPress “power user” or developer will be different than someone who is new to WordPress as a CMS.

Content is Different than LMS Configuration

Keep in mind that setup is different than course content creation (that is, creating the material that will be in the lessons and quizzes of your course).

When I consulted Fortune 500 companies on their e-learning programs, a common figure we used was 99-120 hours of development for every one hour of online course material. You can use this as a starting point for your own project.

But let’s consider the “non-content” components.

When using WordPress as your learning management system, you will need to account for set-up not directly related to your course(s). These tasks include…

  • Choose a domain name & hosting provider
  • Selecting a WordPress theme (free vs. paid)
  • Configuring the design options for your theme
  • Configuring the pages for your theme
  • Configuring plugins related to your pages (i.e. a contact form)
  • Writing content for all these pages

If you are using a complex theme with a lot of different options then this may take longer than if you just need a simple site. Now, if you already have a WordPress site then you don’t need to worry about these steps since LearnDash will work with any modern theme.

This highlights an important point with WordPress and the disparity in setup time. If you don’t currently have a WordPress site then you have to go through all of the steps above, and if you are new to WordPress this will require a significant time investment.

You also need to consider the timing involved with “extras” on your WordPress LMS. Things like:

  • bbPress forum setup
  • BuddyPress installation and setup
  • Gamification using plugins like BadgeOS
  • Tin Can API configuration with GrassBlade
  • Shopping cart installation and setup
  • Any other plugin you need for your learning environment

Again, each one of these requires a time investment. It may only be 30 minutes or an hour depending on your experience, but something to consider nonetheless.

Creating (and selling) online courses is a marathon, not a sprint. You are in it for the long-game. It is totally understandable that you are eager to get started and everything up-and-running but take the time to do it correctly. It will pay off for you and your learners over time.

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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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