September 16th, 2015 Announcements

LearnDash Updates latestToday is an exciting day for a couple of reasons.

First, it is the beginning of Q4 of 2015. This has notoriously been an exciting time for LearnDash customers as many of our projects are coming to completion and soon into your hands.

More information on this is included at the end of this post.

Secondly (and perhaps more relevant to you right now), today marks an important baseline release of LearnDash version 2.1.

A lot is happening with this version, particularly “behind the scenes”, but it also includes some fun and useful updates that you can use immediately to create better online course experiences.

It also sets the stage for a follow-up release that isn’t too far behind.

Let’s look at what you can expect in this latest version…

Certificate Enhancements – Phase I

We are happy to report that you can now assign certificates to COURSES without the need of a quiz. Simply assign the certificate from the EDIT COURSE page:

To demonstrate what this looks like, we added a course certificate to the demo site. After completing the free course, we were immediately taken back to the course page to now print our certificate.

There are also new shortcodes available so that you can include additional course information on your certificates.

Specifically, you’ll notice a new option for the certificate shortcodes listed under LEARNDASH LMS > CERTIFICATES > CERTIFICATE SHORTCODES:


This allows you to pull certain course information and place it onto a certificate, including:

  1. course title
  2. completed on (date)
  3. cumulative score
  4. cumulative points
  5. cumulative total points
  6. cumulative percentage
  7. cumulative timespent
  8. aggregate percentage
  9. aggregate score
  10. aggregate points
  11. aggregate total points
  12. aggregate timespent

Cumulative is average for all quizzes of the course.
Aggregate is sum for all quizzes of the course.

For example, you can use the following shortcode to display average points scored across all quizzes of a particular course:

[courseinfo show=’cumulative_score’]

This is a great way to give your learners a final course summary after they successfully complete all tasks.

Course Completion Messages

Included in this new version is the ability to present your learners with a custom message on the course page the moment that they successfully complete the content.

This is a great way to cross promote other courses, provide learners with a special prize or gift, or any other incentive.

When you’re on the course page, place messages for people who complete the course between the following shortcodes:




That’s it!

For example, you can use this shortcode with the Course Grid add-on to present multiple course recommendations instantly. Or offer special discounts to other courses, or perhaps upsells to one-on-one coaching.

We went ahead and implemented this on the LearnDash demo site.

Notice how after we successfully complete the free course, we have the option to print our certificate and there is also a message recommending the paid course (put there using the free Course Grid add-on).



Again, insert any content you like here. You can have a “thank you” video, sign-up form, or course offering – pretty much whatever you would want your learners to see immediately after finishing a course!

Complete Code Update

Have you ever heard of the expression, “can’t see the forest for the trees”?

It’s used when you are too close to a situation and you need to step back and get a little perspective.

When it came to the LearnDash code-base, we knew that it needed to be improved, but felt that we were too close to it.

Because of this we decided to get out of our own way and partnered with the WordPress gurus at WPValet for this massive undertaking.

The result of this partnership is an updated code-base that is more consistent with WordPress conventions, restructuring of files & folders, consistent spacing, as well as DocBlock documentation for developers throughout it all.

If you don’t ever look at the LearnDash code, then you will not notice anything different. If you are a developer, you’ll really like this – go ahead and have a look using your favorite editor 🙂 .

Despite these improvements, code refinement is not a “one-and-done” procedure. We will be continuing our partnership with WPValet as we make additional code enhancements.

Big Plans for Q4

So far this year we’ve seen the growth of LearnDash across the industry in a variety of ways.

Many WordPress theme developers see LearnDash is driving industry innovation and as such are creating themes that are tightly integrated. Similarly, we are seeing more add-ons appear which offer you additional functionality for your LMS.

You can expect this trend to increase in frequency especially given our recent code update.

But the fun isn’t over!

As I had mentioned earlier in this post, Q4 of 2015 is poised to be quite busy – which means some exciting things are coming your way.

New (highly requested) core features are already going through testing, multiple add-ons are in the works, and enhancements to existing features are taking place.

We are so very grateful for your continued involvement in LearnDash.

Your suggestions and feedback have established LearnDash as a “go-to” solution not only among WordPress learning management systems, but also within the entire LMS industry.

Thank you all so much, and until next time!

Justin Ferriman photo

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


69 responses

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HI, thats great news. right now which is the best theme for learn dash ? I’m about to redesign my site.

Avatar Ravi

Hi Ravi-

Thanks for the comment. Send us a note from this page and we can send you a list of some great options.

Ravi, I LOVE Thrive themes. My email is [email protected] if you want more information how I use it and a sample orientation on SKYPE as to how it works. Thanks

I’m so excited about these features! I hope to employ some of these new features soon!

I’ve had to significantly hack templates/course.php to get my desired functionality. Was this file heavily changed? If so, that would require me to completely re-hack the new file which would not be a great experience.

Hi Adrian-

That file wasn’t heavily changed. We cleaned up formatting, added some documentation, and there was a date function call that was adjusted – but the actual markup itself wasn’t altered. If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to open a support ticket.

Great news Justin!

I really appreciate everything you and your team have done and continue to do with LearnDash. The code refinements and additional modules are a bonus for everyone. Cool stuff!

And on top of all that, we’ve got a real Coach for the Wolverines in the Big House. M GO BLUE!



Avatar Ed Stutzman

Indeed Ed, multiple things to be excited about 😉

Fabulous – love this update. Thanks Justin.

The enhanced certification features sound excellent, Justin.
Thank you for all the hard work you put in to making Learndash the great platform that it is.

Thank you for the kind words Chris!

I have also heavily customized some of my templates. Will I need to re-do these? I know that they’re part of my theme, and won’t be overwritten, but will all of my legacy code on these templates (topics, quizzes, lessons, courses are all customized) still be valid and work as expected?

Looking forward to the next update! Thanks!

Hi Mary-

Thanks for the comment! They’re pretty much the same from a markup perspective, we cleaned the formatting up quite a bit.

HI Justin,

Really love the progress by you and your team. Keep up the good work.


Thank you Steve, very much appreciated!

Thanks for the improvements ! I’m sad to see that nothing was done to improve detailed and printable reporting for each quiz and student.

Avatar Dario

Thanks Dario! We have big plans for reporting as well!

Thanks again Justin for all your hard work and forward thinking!

LearnDash rocks!

Regards, James


The code base is looking really good – nice work! (I’ve updated my blog post review accordingly.)


Thanks John – I’m happy to hear that you like it!

Great news. What about essay questions or free form answers?? This is still my #1 feature request and what we need to be able to go live with our LD site! Thank you!

Avatar Shivani

Hi Shivani-

You’ll soon be quite happy 😉

Awesome can’t wait! 🙂 thanks for all the good work!

Avatar Shivani

Hi – is there any update on this? What’s the ETA on essay questions? I really don’t want to have to switch to a different LMS!

Avatar Shivani

Nice update. I have a question, can you retrieve score on a specific lesson/quiz and print it on the certificate? I have multiple lessons with quizzes and then a final exam at the end of the course, and it is only the final exam result I want to print on the certificate. Can that be done?

Great.. Will check it out now… Waiting eagerly for further development updates.

The result of this partnership is an updated code-base that is more consistent with WordPress conventions, restructuring of files & folders, consistent spacing, as well as DocBlock documentation for developers throughout it all.

This is good ! 🙂

Everytime I create learndash category, blog category with same name also created. Is this bug is fixed or not in learndash 2.1

Avatar Dhruv

Hi Dhruv-

Thanks for the comment! We’ll be separating the various categories further in a coming update.

These features are definitely aligned with the direction of the L&D industry. Is there a way to add additional resources to lessons for students to download as they progress through the course?

Avatar Zakia

Hi Zakia-

Appreciate the feedback! I suppose you have a few options on how you want to do this in your course. Send us a note and we can discuss some of these further.

I’m assuming the update is done via WP backend ?

Avatar Juan Colome

Hi Juan-

Thanks for writing. Yes, under DASHBOARD > UPDATES you should see an update available for LearnDash.

Hi Justin,

Will there ever be a Learn Dash add on that for Wishlist Member? I’d like to try your LMS (right now I use WP Courseware) but I don’t want to switch my membership plugin. Thanks!

Avatar Sam

Hi Sam-

​Thanks for the note. While we don’t have a direct integration with Wishlist Member (it could be an integration we do eventually pursue depending on overall interest), you can still use it to protect your courses. In WLM, go to SETTINGS, then activate protection for Custom Post Types. You can then protect LearnDash course content.

“When it came to the LearnDash code-base, we knew that it needed to be improved, but felt that we were too close to it.”

Justin, that is one of the most wonderful things I have ever heard a developer say.

That is my biggest complaint when working with all this WordPress stuff and support. SSOOOOOO much support is written and communicated from the POV of someone that knows it inside and out, not from the POV of the new user.

All that means is their ego is in the way.

Sometimes I just want to scream, “Guess what people, if I could decipher what the fu** you were saying I wouldn’t need to because I would know it was well as you do! Get you head out of your ass!”

Thank you for being a humble man, putting your ego aside and turning this over to a party that wasn’t blinded by the trees.

Developers all over the world can learn from your actions.

Thank you for making my life easier.


Thanks again for giving Learndash a good future with all the work you put in to it. Very professional to let WPValet look in to things and work together with them. It shows you are really putting money in to making Learndash the best. As a customer from the beginning I see you not (only) in it for the profit, but you want to make Learndash the best and you are always very helpfull for your costumers. We can all learn form you!

Avatar Wilco

Great news Justin, looking forward to the release – looking forward to seeing what we can do with it!

– Dave

Thanky ou for the great work. The code now looks very well organized and well commented. From a developer’s point of view it will be much easier now to develop custom plugins for my clients, this is definitely a solid foundation for future developments

Any news on any updates to the quiz? I have even been trying out various other LMS’s purely for the advanced quiz options, sadly the rest of the LMS components are just not as good as learndash 🙂 Would love to see more options for easy bulk question importing from excel, essay style questions would be handy, pulling X random questions from each question category would create much better revision quizzes that could be taken multiple times, and chained questions would be absolutely awesome to create simulation type exercises… Seriously, if you could integrate with the Chained Quiz it would make my day.

Avatar Bron

What we be great is an option for people to rate the course and then a shortcode to place the ratings where needs.

Avatar Javi

Thanks Javi! There are actually a few ratings plugins available on that you could use for this purpose.

hello, me too I think it could be a good feature to have a rating system integrated. Does last version does it ?
If not, which rating plugins can you suggest on ? Any user exeperience ?

Avatar clarisse

Hi Clarisse-
There isn’t one built in but any plugin that allows for rating posts/pages can be used so there are a number of options.

So just to confirm, the certificates can now show one number (total quizzes for the course either averaged or added together), but can’t show a listing of all of the quizzes with their respective scores? It would be nice to be able to show them all and then to use the new shortcodes you have listed above to show the Grand Total.

Any idea when category scores for a quiz will be able to be listed on certificates? I guess I just like to ‘show my work’ to explain how those final scores were derived. You can see them on the results page, just not put them on the certificates as of yet, as I understand it.

Hi Jennifer-

Thanks for the comment! Your summary is accurate in that the scores can be displayed as a ‘grand total’ (or average, depending on what you use). To my knowledge the idea of scores by categories on the certificate hasn’t come up before (very cool!), I’ve made a note of the suggestion.

Great – I look forward to being able to do that in upcoming releases 🙂

Hey Justin,
Checked my WP Dashboard, no update for Learndash 2.1 – is there another way to access the update?


Hi Rosemary-

Thanks for the note. See this article for updating options.

Hi Justin,
i’d like a powerfull email notification system for all event in a course, like a drip lesson available, a lesson marked as complete.
A integration with autoresponder service, without Zapier?
I pay the Aweber or Getresponse, for example, why i need to pay also Zapier? 😉

Hi Justin Ferriman,

Friend there is no option in quiz side of fill in the blanks and drag drop as you as you mention that these option are exist please let me know about that

Hi Ahsan-

Thanks for the note. These question types certain exist 🙂 – send a note to our support and we’ll show you where.

Hey Justin, Hoping assignment upload and completion notification emails are coming out in the next release? We’re having great success using Learn Dash for our new Certification programs, but as we don’t have a dedicated admin, being able to send email notifications automatically is something I’m really holding out for.


Avatar Mary Weise

Hi Mary-

Depending on the type of notification you’re looking to implement there may already be an option for you – just send a note here with more details and we can discuss further.

I bought Learn Dash over a year ago but never did anything with it. I want to change the domain I use this for. Can anyone help on how I can do this?

Hi Phil-

You can upload to another domain and use it there. If you have additional questions, submit a ticket to support and we can discuss further.

I would like to recommend that there is a place for all the shortcodes to be listed… I just spend 20 minutes looking for this shortcode [course_complete] and [/course_complete]. booo

Love the updates 😀

Thanks Jessica, I’ve noted your feedback. Glad you found them!

Is it possible to use the [courseinfo show=”cumulative_score”] shortcode in the sidebar? I would like it to show above the Course Progress Bar, but can’t seem to get it to work, nothing shows up. I also tried adding the shortcode to a certificate and also nothing showed up.

Avatar Freshysites

No, that shortcode only applies to certificates.

I can’t seem to get these shortcodes to work, nothing is displayed. I tried adding them to a certificate but nothing shows up… is there something I am missing? Ideally, I would like to use the [courseinfo show=’cumulative_score’] shortcode in the sidebar above the course progress bar. Is this possible?

Avatar Freshysites

Sorry, my original post had an error, so I didn’t think it posted.

Avatar Freshysites

How can i put a user Id number on LearnDash Certificate? Any particular code for my question?
Another is, Is it possible to put a certificate number on Learndash Certificate? Thanks Alot.

Avatar Marlyn

Hi Marlyn, a custom shortcode would need to be created in this case if the current user meta shortcodes don’t meet your requirements.

We are using LearnDash with Event Espresso, so can we create custom short-code for certificate such as event venue?

Hi Justin,

Excited to see that the ability to link the certificate to the course is there without having to do a quiz, but is there any way to allow that same functionality to the lesson or topic level?


Avatar Michelle

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