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Using WordPress for e-learning – 4 reasons not to overlook

Using WordPress for e-learning – 4 reasons not to overlook


All jokes aside, using WordPress for e-learning projects and businesses is something to consider, especially if you’re starting an online courses business and/or trying to work with your own lessons. But… Before we convince you this is the best decision you’ll make, here’s some other information for you to read on.

The e-learning market was worth an around $180 billion in 2017! It’s been estimated that this market will grow to $325 billion by 2025. It’s growing financial value is in line with the rapidly increased number of students choosing to go for an online course. 2016 shapers survey  showed that 21% of all participants found Education as a sector that would benefit the most from the adoption of the latest technology. Only Healthcare is before Education with 22% and these two, Healthcare and Education, always go hand in hand.

man working on a laptop, using WordPress for elearning

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The Same survey from 2015 showed that 77.84% of participants reported having taken online courses in the past. In 2016 it goes over 80%. It is estimated that by 2021 top universities will offer full degrees online.

Growing trend is that well-known institutions from traditional education offline are getting more and more online. Either via some of the popular websites or by creating their own e-learning points for anybody interested, it’s a fact.

For example, University of Illinois is offering full MBA online as a 2y course which takes approximately 20h a week and costs about $20,000, all that via Coursera! Another example is online learning portal HBX provided directly from Harvard Business School.

One more trend to look at is MOOCs Massive Open Online Courses. Why? These are becoming ultra-popular in today’s digital world because it’s possible to share some specific and valuable knowledge to a much bigger audience than the one that fits in a university classroom. Institutions recognized MOOC as a tool to share the knowledge, but as well to gain visibility for themselves and some other services or paid programs.

So anybody still doubts online learning is the future of education?!

Logically, after reading this, you’re wondering “Where is WordPress, the most popular CMS on the planet in this rapidly developing sector of online learning?”  LMS (Learning Management System) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of educational courses or training programs. There are some LMS solutions that are popular and independent like MOODLE  or ABSORB. WordPress learning platform is usually set up via one or more plugins developed for this purpose. This turns your ordinary website to a fully flagged Learning Management System.

Amongst the more widely used Learning Management System plugins for WordPress are CoursepressPro,  LearnDash, WP Courseware, and Sensei, and there are plenty of comparisons and pro/con analyses for these that we will share with you later.

But first thing first, why would somebody use WordPress for e-learning? Let’s list some obvious advantages:

1. Ease of use

This is a general advantage of WordPress, and we can all thank the community! People are creating and modifying WordPress plugins in line with their needs and this means a lot and frequent improvements. Whoever used MOODLE knows there are some steps you cannot avoid. Meaning, you need either to learn administration of totally new software or to hire somebody to this for you. When it comes to WordPress you can add a course as easy as in few clicks and all that from the well-known dashboard!

2. Design

LMS like Moodle or Blackboard are offering very simple designs with a very poor collection of eye catching themes. On the other side, you have WordPress with thousands of templates that are already made for a specific plugin and that’s not all. Plugins can fit your already existing website and use an already developed identity of your blog or other business.

3. Shareability and promotion

Unlike other LMS options, WordPress offers a lot when it comes to online promotion. Your e-learning website can use all the benefits of SEO, promotion, #SMM and Digital Marketing developed for WordPress in any other category! All these come as a separate plugin or widgets and it doesn’t care if your site is e-learning, eCommerce, food blog or small business presentation. It just works the way you set it.

Furthermore, combining your e-learning WP site with an e-commerce plugin lets you sell your courses online in a click!

4. Customer experience

Good look and options for online promotion would not bring WordPress LMS far away vs traditional LMS software… If WordPress did not offer same or better experience for customers. With LMS plugins for WP, you can have different forms of courses, video, presentation, pdf or simple text. You can as well make a combination of different formats, in one course or share formats between modules of the same course. There are a lot of options for students follow up, certification, tutoring and group work. When you combine this with easy course setup, sharing and selling your courses using great WP e-commerce and promo options and several times fewer resources you need on the server than LMS software like Moodle, it is clear that WP has a bright future in rapidly developing online learning.

woman working on a laptop

To know more and choose a plugin that fits you best we invite you to read some great texts:

What are your thoughts on using WordPress for e-learning and have you tried it yet?


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Ivana Cirkovic

Ivana is a Digital Marketing, PR and Social Media consultant with over nine years experience in the field. She is also a WordPress enthusiast and an active member of WordPress community who lives online almost 24/7. In love with Twitter, WP, photography and NYC.

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