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Shared Course Steps

Shared course steps allows you to reuse a lesson, topic and/or quiz across multiple courses. A few key reasons why you’d want to enable shared course steps include:

✅ Quickly create new courses with existing content from other courses
✅ Decrease bloat on your site caused by duplicate content
✅ Edit a step (lesson, topic or quiz) in a single place and that change will be reflected across all courses containing that step

Once shared course steps is enabled, it should not be disabled without careful consideration. Any step (lesson, topic or quiz) associated to multiple courses will lose its association if the setting is disabled.

Key Considerations

Before you enable Shared Course Steps, please consider the following.

Requires Course Builder

Because your course step associations are no longer one-to-one, shared course steps requires you to use the LearnDash course builder.

Since steps can now be used across multiple courses, the course association dropdown—normally found within lesson, topic & quiz settings—is disabled.


Enabling Shared Course Steps will automatically change your permalinks structure to use nested URLs.

Here’s a topic URL without Shared Course Steps:


Here’s a topic URL with Shared Course Steps:


All Courses Listing Page

In the WordPress admin area, the lesson, topic & quiz listing pages will no longer have an “Assigned Course” column.

However, you can use the course filter dropdown to view all steps assigned to a particular course.

LearnDash admin, filter lessons by course

Course Progression

Progression will always be tracked on a per-course basis. If a user completes a step in one course, it will not be marked complete in other courses where that step is also associated. This applies to lessons, topics and quizzes.

Enable Shared Course Steps

  1. Navigate to LEARNDASH LMS > COURSES
  2. Click on the Settings tab
  3. Scroll down to the Global Course Management & Display Settings section
  4. Make sure the “Course Builder” is turned on
  5. Next to “Shared Course Steps,” flip the toggle switch on
  6. Save your changes


Primary Association

A primary association means that the step was associated to the course before the Shared Course Steps setting was enabled. More specifically, you will see some courses designated as the “primary course” for the related step, if the association took place before enabling shared course steps. You can have a maximum of one primary association for any given step.

Secondary Association

A secondary association means that the step was associated to the course after the shared course steps option was enabled. More specifically, you will see some courses designated as “other course” for the related step, if the association took place after enabling shared course steps. You can have more than one secondary association.

Bare URL

A bare URL refers to the standalone component’s URL. For example, we needed a way for admins to have the ability to view a lesson, topic or quiz even if it was not yet assigned to a course (i.e. cannot use nested URL that would normally include the course slug). Only administrators can access bare URLs.

  • Example Bare URL: https://yoursite.com/lessons/lesson-name/
  • Example Nested URL: https://yoursite.com/courses/course-name/lessons/lesson-name/

Associated Content & Course Switcher

Once Shared Course Steps is enabled, a new “Associated Content” box will appear when editing courses, lessons, topics & quizzes. It’s located at the bottom of the sidebar:

LearnDash Associated Content metabox

The Associated Content box is NOT for assigning or moving content between courses. It functions as a way to show you what content the item is currently associated with. Instead, if you want to add, change, or remove the step from a course, you will need to use the Course Builder

When editing a course, the Associated Content box will list all lessons, topics & quizzes that have been associated with that course. You can click on any course step to go directly to it’s edit screen.

When editing a lesson, topic or quiz, you’ll see the same thing. In addition, there is a Course Switcher dropdown. This allows you to view the lesson/topic/quiz’s associated content for a different course (if it’s associated with more than one course).

LearnDash associated content metabox course switcher

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