Version 2.1 Brings Exciting New Features!

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 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

69 Responses

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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!



  3. 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.

  4. 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!

    1. Hi Mary-

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

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

  6. 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!

        1. 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!

  7. 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?

  8. 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 ! 🙂

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

  10. 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?

  11. 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!

    1. 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.

  12. “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.

  13. Justin,

    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!

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

    – Dave

  15. 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

  16. 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.

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

      1. 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 ?

        1. 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.

  17. 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.

    1. 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.

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


  19. 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? 😉

  20. 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.


  21. 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?

  22. 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 😀

  23. 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.

  24. 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?

  25. 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.

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

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

  27. 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?


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