April 20th, 2015 LearnDash Tips

One potential downside to offering online courses is that learners can often feel like they are alone in their learning. This is why it is important to continually communicate with them as they progress though a course.

There are multiple ways to do this, but one of the easiest methods is to send emails for important reminders and encouragement.

Using LearnDash, this can be accomplished quite easily, and unlike other learning management systems you aren’t confined to an email service that is built into the LMS. This is important because native email systems are lack-luster when you compare them to services that are built specifically for this purpose.

Programs such as AWeber, MailChimp, and Constant Contact have millions of dollars in development backing their platforms. Their feature sets are going to be far more extensive (and useful) for your online courses.

With this in mind, let’s look at one way you could leverage a powerful email tool like MailChimp to send emails in a LearnDash created course.

Sending Emails When Lessons Become Available

One useful feature in LearnDash is the ability to drip-feed your lessons.

For example, you can create a course and make the first few lessons available right after enrollment. You can then schedule the remaining lessons to become available after a certain amount of time goes by, or on a specific date.

Using the LearnDash Zapier integration, you can configure emails to be sent to your learners when these scheduled lessons are available for them to view.

People are busy, so an email reminder is a great way to keep them on track with the course.

Step 1 – Create your course

Before you can configure your email list, you need to have your course complete 🙂 . During this process, make note of which lessons you are drip-feeding to your learners and at what time. As a reminder, you can schedule when a lessons is viewable during lesson creation from the Lesson Options field:

Remember that you can drip-feed your lessons in two ways using LearnDash: By time (shown above), or by a specific date.

Step 2 – Create a mailing list for your course

Assuming you already have a free mailchimp account, the first thing you have to do is create a new list for your course.

For a complete video on creating a list, see this tutorial created by MailChimp.

Step 3 – Set up drip-sequence emails

In MailChimp, you have the option to configure an autoresponder. Here you create unique messages to go out “x days” after someone is added to the list. You should configure these messages so that they match-up to the drip-sequence you defined for your lessons (in Step 1).

(Taken from MailChimp.com)

Step 4 – Connect your LearnDash course to MailChimp list

The final step in this process is to connect your LearnDash course to your MailChimp list. Specifically, you want to add a user to your new list as soon as they enroll into the course.

To make this happen, you can use the free LearnDash Zapier integration. We even include instructions on the support site that explains exactly how to set this up with MailChimp.

That’s It!

Your course will now send email notifications as your learner progresses through the course!

This is just one example of ways you can use emails to enhance the user experience for your LMS.

For example, you can also send notifications when a learner completes their first lesson (great for encouragement), as well as when they finish the entire course (fantastic for cross-promotion).

LearnDash enables you to leverage robust 3rd party services such as  MailChimp to create a truly professional course offering. If you have questions on other ways you can connect LearnDash to 3rd party platforms, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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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


14 responses

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Do you have a changelog page?

Avatar ella

How do you set learn dash up to send a message when a clinet finishes a lesson?

Surely this depends on when they upload the assignment and how does mail chimp know that tney have done that ?


Hi Gavin-

Yes you can do this using Zapier. Just configure a user to be added to a list after lesson completion that kicks out a message.

I see this can be setup for a drip feed format. What about scheduled courses by specific dates?

Hi Brad-

You can probably do the same but in the email service of your choice you’d need to schedule emails to send on an exact date.

I was able to do this using a campaign schedule for the list with Mailchimp. It is a bit involved, especially if you have several courses for which you would have to schedule a campaign. Is this a feature that you all plan to build into Learndash in the future? We are looking into using Learndash for our companies safety and compliance courses, and each is scheduled on a specific date. Having a built in ability to email users when their course is about to become available, then again when the course is available, and again when their course is about to expire would be amazing. Having to do this through Mailchimp or equivalent is a bit cumbersome.

How can we set an email notification to the site admin that a user has uploaded an assignment? Also, how can an email notification go to the user to say the assignment has been accepted?

Avatar Jay

Hi Jay, these would need to be custom created. Admin notification upon uploading an assignment could possible be done with https://wordpress.org/plugins/post-status-notifier-lite/

Do you have any plans to integrate LearnDash directly with MailChimp any time soon? I don’t love the Zapier integration process. I have faced a few tech problems with it, and it’s not easy for my clients to integrate courses between Zapier and MailChimp.

Hi Katy-
You can integrate with Zapier, or you can do so using a shopping cart. Both of which will allow you to add users to MailChimp lists upon purchase.

I’d still love to see a custom plugin at some point. I find zapier quite complex for my clients to set up. The challenge I have right now is for bulk-purchasing courses, and adding multiple people. I’m testing out the new Groups plugin, but have found a few faults so it’s not a perfect match for now. Also, sometimes we have businesses/schools purchase 100+ spots and adding emails to a group registration page is time consuming. We have been doing it via spreadsheets (using BuddyPress import plugin), but the key is then to get them into MailChimp too, ideally automatically. It’s a tangle web of plugins we weave!

Some connectivity directly between members of courses, and learndash groups would be phenomenal!

What happens if a person cancels their membership? Will they continue receiving the drip emails?

Avatar Michael

If they are unenrolled from the course or their account is deleted then they will not receive the emails.

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