Should Your Online Courses Have a Certificate?

Many people wonder whether having a certificate for their course makes sense, or if it is silly.

I get it.

You have an online course with great information but having a certificate at the end seems a little weird, especially if your training program isn’t even accredited.

But you know what?

It doesn’t matter!

There are plenty of online courses that utilize certificates because of what they provide the learner: motivation.

When you think about it, having a certificate is the original form of gamification. Today there are badge and points, leaderboards and more. But before all of these things there were certificates. A tangible byproduct acting as evidence that content has been learned.

Forming Community around Certificates

Certificates go beyond learner motivation, they also can help create a sense of community.

By way of example continuing education providers have long used certifications and CEUs (continuing education units) to build a sense of community around their courses and a particular profession.

The same can be said for universities.

But you don’t need to have “official” certificates to use them for community building purposes.

Consider my friend Troy Dean’s WPElevation program. He offers certificates and it is one facet to building his community. His students reguarly print-off their certificates as they are proud of completing his program.

What’s more you can use certificates as a way to effectively re-sell your courses by adding expiration dates. This is a nice strategy to keep learners returning for more each and every year. If you have a business selling courses then this strategy alone can increase your bottom line.

So if you are wondering whether or not to use certificates for your own program my advice is to do it.

While you may feel silly at first you will see that they have a measurable impact on your learning program.


Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Let's Talk! | Twitter

6 Responses

  1. It would be really nice to have Accredible support. The people at Accredible mention in some of their videos, that if some WP LMS wants to be integrated with their platform, they should contact their support channel. Anyway, it would be awesome as many support this platform. Cheers!

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