How to Build Your Own E-Learning Site with WordPress

With more and more people looking to online learning to help them further their education, the age of the LMS (Learning Management System) is here. With the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning platforms have sprang up across the web, endeavoring to teach and explain concepts to anyone with some free time and an internet connection.

E-Learning isn’t just for schools and universities. Experts of all backgrounds are finding that using an LMS can help them make extra money in times where many businesses are stretched thin. If you’ve always wanted to teach others but never had the opportunity, now’s your chance.

Benefits of E-Learning Platforms

Online learning platforms offer numerous benefits over the traditional classroom experience. Namely, learners have the option to learn at their own pace, or at a time and place that’s convenient for them. They can still enjoy a rich media experience and learn from videos, demonstrations and other guides, just as they would in a traditional classroom. But with e-learning platforms, they’ll save money over not having to pay for housing and board, not to mention the time saved from commuting!

But money and time savings aside, building an LMS is a great way to make some extra cash while sharing your expertise with those who are eager to learn. The best part is, you can do it using a system you’re already familiar with – WordPress!  To turn WordPress into an LMS, we recommend Tutor LMS, a relative newcomer to the world of online learning, but one so feature-packed, you’ll find that it rivals many of the best and more expensive LMS platforms out there.

In this guide, we’ll show you precisely how to set up Tutor LMS free of charge on your WordPress website. Tutor LMS also has a paid version which may be worth upgrading to if you want to really expand your online course offerings. We’ll look at the features of both the free and paid versions, as well as how to configure the different features of this robust learning system.

Welcome to Tutor LMS!

Tutor LMS is a freemium (free but with a premium version available) LMS that allows you to build online courses using the WordPress environment that you’re already comfortable and familiar with. Using Tutor LMS, you can create your own e-learning platform quickly and efficiently.

In a nutshell, Tutor LMS helps you design and sell online courses. It includes: the ability to:

  • Restrict content so that only logged in or paying students can access it
  • Build your course using drag and drop modules
  • Integrate videos into your courses
  • Offer certifications in your chosen subject
  • Monetize your course via WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads
  • Separate student and teacher dashboards so that access is kept secure and private
  • Create course reviews from students

What sets Tutor LMS apart from the competition is that you can essentially create your own “Udemy” or “Coursera’ style site by inviting other instructors and paying them a commission. They can also withdraw their earnings from the site directly without you having to do anything directly. This makes Tutor LMS a lucrative way to build a type of online course marketplace in  your given field.

Now, with Tutor LMS being freemium, this means that while the base features are free, there’s an upgraded premium version that gives you access to much more. Upgrading is entirely optional, although recommended if you want more detailed analytics and notifications. First, we’ll go through how to set up Tutor LMS using the freely available features. Then, we’ll take a look at the modules that the premium version gives you.

Let’s take a look at what’s in the free version versus the premium upgrade:

What’s Included in the Free Version of Tutor LMS?

With the free version of Tutor LMS, you get the ability to build courses using drag and drop simplicity. You can create an unlimited number of courses with an unlimited number of lessons in each one.You’ll do this through the familiar WordPress backend. The process is much like adding a new page or post to your WordPress website.

You also get video player support so you can add videos to your lessons.

There’s basic quiz functionality built in as well. You can limit the number of attempts, add a timer and set a pass or fail grade. The upgraded version of Tutor LMS gives you a greater variety of quiz question styles and greater flexibility in how the quizzes can be graded.

The free version also includes the ability to monetize your course via WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads. So in a sense, you can use the free version to make money with your online course.

What’s Included in the Premium Version of Tutor LMS?

The premium version comes with what makes Tutor LMS truly stand out from the competition – its front-end course builder. If you’re inviting professors or instructors to your course marketplace, they can build their course out without ever having become familiar with WordPress at all.

The premium version also gives you access to more quiz question types and detailed reports that show you how your courses are performing. You can include multimedia attachments and also offer course previews to interested students. What’s more, with the premium version, you can include prerequisites and let students submit their assignments directly online.

Now, if you’re ready to get started creating your course, let’s lay the groundwork with the free version.

Creating a Course with Tutor LMS (Free)

Creating a new course is as easy as creating a new post or page in WordPress. You’ll see that there are lots of new boxes that give you more control on how you want to configure your course.

The drag-and-drop course builder (not to be confused with the front-end course builder) lets you add topics similarly to how you’d create categories in WordPress, with individual lessons being like subcategories.

When you create a new course, you can also set a duration for the course and add extra text to clarify who it’s for (like the benefits, requirements, material included, and so on). You also have the option to add a course intro video linked from YouTube or Vimeo.

Another interesting feature is the Announcements section, which lets you address your students by their first name by simply inserting the {user_display_name} string. This is a great way to update your students and let them know that a new course has been added!

Creating a Quiz

Clicking on Add Topic Quiz opens a popup that lets you create and configure quiz questions.  Just enter the quiz question text and choose the type of quiz question. The premium version offers a greater number of question styles.

From this area, you can mark questions as required, randomize the order in which questions appear and assign grades to each question. Beyond this, you can also set the number of attempts, the duration of the quiz and what constitutes a passing grade. There’s also  a max question limit. Combine this with the randomization aspect and every student will have their own random quiz without you needing to do any extra work.

Adding an Instructor

The free version of Tutor LMS allows you to add teachers directly through the back-end of the WordPress administrative area. From here, they can manage their courses and withdraw their earnings (provided you’ve configured the system to work with your chosen monetization option, like WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads).

With the premium version, they can manage all of this from the front-end without ever needing to see the WordPress admin area.

Managing Your Options

There are a lot of options, particularly in the premium version that allow greater flexibility and freedom in terms of managing quiz questions, seeing reports and other details, and much more In the premium version, you’ll get access to a new section called Add-Ons which allows you to enable or disable various sections like a course preview, email, course attachments, certification, multiple instructors and much more.

Through the premium version, you also get access to the front-end course builder, which is great for those instructors who aren’t familiar with WordPress or its administrative dashboard. Using drag and drop simplicity, instructors can build out their lessons using a user-friendly interface that’s tailored to helping them build excellent courses quickly and easily.

How Much Does it Cost?

Considering the wide range of features and upgrades it has available, Tutor LMS is very affordable, even if you’re just starting out. There are two different options for licensing. The first is an annual fee:

1 site for $149
5 sites for $199
Unlimited sites for $299

The other lets you buy lifetime support and updates

1 site for $399
5 sites for $599 and
Unlimited sites for $999.

Conclusion

Overall, Tutor LMS is a great way to start your foray into the world of online courses. Not only can you invite teachers and monetize your site but you can also further solidify your expertise as an authority in your field, giving you a significant advantage over your competition.

Although Tutor LMS lacks some more robust features (like advanced email automation), it’s still a newcomer to the field of learning management systems, and so I expect that the system will evolve to rival even some of the bigger, more established programs.

Still not sure where to start? Contact us today to learn more about our WordPress maintenance services and grow your e-learning business without worrying about tedious WordPress development and management tasks. See why hundreds of WordPress users in all types of businesses trust WPDandy for all their maintenance needs!

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