Using LearnDash for Schools

flipped-class-jpgOver the years we have seen LearnDash used in a variety of industries in many different context.

Many of the core LearnDash features are shared across these different contexts but there are some unique characteristics in each. One industry may be interested in a particular feature whereas another does not.

In this article I will share some of the relevant features and add-ons used within the classroom (traditional education) setting. The resources are broken up into three section:

  1. Core features – functionality found within the core LearnDash software
  2. Add-Ons – functionality found in the free and paid add-ons
  3. Resources – Other useful articles and resources worth reviewing

Now, admittedly not every school or classroom is going to have the same needs. Some features or add-ons may not be mentioned that you might want to use for your classroom learning management system. What is included here are some of the more popular options.

Core LearnDash Features

LearnDash Groups

The Groups feature allows you to group students together and then assign a leader for that group. The Group Leader has the ability to review learner progress, quiz performance, and submitted assignments. Courses can be assigned to groups as well and any student that is part of that group will be automatically enrolled.

Lesson Drip-Feeding

Classrooms using LearnDash often leverage the scheduled lesson feature so that certain lesson become available every week, thus preventing the students from skipping too far ahead.

Assignments

Using this feature allows you to require students to upload documents before they are permitted to continue with the course. You can set these to automatically ‘approve’ or require them to be reviewed first and then manually approved by the Administrator or the Group Leader. Comments can be left on assignments as well by both the student and the Admin and Group Leader. Notifications are sent out when a comment is made.

Quizzing

Most classrooms require quizzes, and here LearnDash has you covered with eight different question types. We have seen many classrooms use quizzes as “checkpoints” between lessons. In some cases they don’t require a certain grade. Instead they are for the student to see how well they are understanding the content.

Essays

Similar to Assignments, the essay feature allows open-responses to questions. Administrators and Group Leaders have access to these responses. They can be used in a formal quiz context or just to solicit feedback from a student. Comments on essays are supported (just like they are with Assignments). Notifications are sent out when a comment is made.

Quiz Statistics

The quiz statistics feature gives Admins and Students the ability to see quiz performance on a per question basis. This makes it possible for students to study their incorrect answers at a later date and for Administrators to see if there are any questions that seem to be more troublesome for students than others.

Quiz Leaderboard

An easy way to add an element of gamification to your classroom LMS. The quiz leaderboard will display the user names and their quiz scores with the best at the top.

Quiz Timer

Rather simple feature that require quizzes to be finished in a certain amount of time.

Quiz Attempt Restrictions

Limits the number of times a student can attempt a quiz.

Graduation Levels

This quizzing feature allows you to display up to 15 different custom messages depending on how a student performs on a quiz. For example, if a student gets a score between 0% and 60%, then you can provide them with different post-quiz instructions than students that earn above 60%. This is a useful feature if you want to point struggling students to additional resources, or even provide them with a calendar to schedule one-on-one help.

Certificates

Award certificates of achievement for completing certain class sections or an entire online course.

Relevant Classroom Add-Ons (FREE)

BuddyPress

This add-on is nice if there is a need for each student to have a robust profile (similar to Facebook). There is also a convenient grouping feature in BuddyPress so that different classes can communicate with one another.

bbPress

Many classrooms want a forum where their students can answer questions or work on group assignments. We have seen teachers require students post in these forums and incorporate that into their final course grade.

LearnDash Notifications

If you want email notifications to go out when certain activities are performed in your LearnDash courses then the Notifications add-on is a must. One particularly useful feature for classrooms is the ability to send a proactive message to students who have not logged-in after a certain amount of time. You can configure this message to be sent to the student as well as the Group Leader (and Admin).

BadgeOS

Nearly every school we’ve seen use LearnDash leverages the BadgeOS integration. This permits you to award achievement badges and points as students complete different course activities. It is great way to motivate and encouraging students.

LearnDash Toolkit

Useful add-on with 10 different modules granting additional functionality. Some of the popular modules include log-in redirects, front-end login, and resume button.

Relevant Classroom Add-Ons (PREMIUM)

LearnDash ProPanel

Detailed reports on student activities and performance within a course. Also permits the Admin or Group Leader to send out emails to specific courses (great for announcements or reminders). Group Leaders have access to ProPanel so that they can quickly manage submitted assignments and view their group’s activities.

LearnDash Notes

Great tool for allowing students to take notes as they go through a course. The notes are autmoatically organized by course and lesson. They can print these notes for review at a later date as well.

Gradebook

What classroom is complete without a gradebook? This add-on is an essential part for any classroom running LearnDash. It will automatically pull in LearnDash quiz and assignment scores, but also permits you to add grades for non-LearnDash activities such as class participation, reading assignments, projects, etc.

Slack Integration

More and more schools are using the popular Slack application for teacher collaboration. This add-on pulls in the classroom activity into Slack into its own channel. A great way for teachers to see real-time interactions.

Multiple Instructors

Schools that are using LearnDash may have a need to permit multiple instructors. This add-on makes it possible for many teachers to create their own courses and manage their own students all on the same LearnDash installation.

Additional Resources

How to Start a Classroom LMS – Advice for getting started with your classroom LMS.

3 Easy Ways to Use a Classroom LMS – An article detailing three possible ways to implement a classroom LMS.

Characteristics of a Flipped Classroom – Using LearnDash makes it possible to implement the ‘flipped’ classroom model.

How To Use Course Forums Effectively – Tips for how you can add value to your course forums.

Social Learner WordPress LMS Theme – Perfect theme for schools that want a robust, social learning experience.

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About the Author:

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

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