Building Online Courses With Learndash

As you might have noticed by now, LearnDash is one of the most user-friendly and lucrative tools to use on the internet today. Even though it can start as a little overwhelming and confusing to figure out, once you get the hang of this platform, you will be posting courses, lessons, and topics in no time!

It’s not just about making your course “okay” and publishing it just to have something online for people to see – it is about creating a site that functions just the way you want it to and provides your content with a platform it deserves.

To figure out how to best use LearnDash, we have created a little post and step-by-step tutorial that can help you learn everything you need to know in order to be successful on this site.

Install WordPress

Before you can officially get started with LearnDash, you need to set up WordPress – the platform on which you will be posting your content and building your site. To create a WordPress site, you need to buy web hosting, purchase a domain name (relevant to YOUR business!), and install the necessary software.

If you are unsure where to start installing WordPress, you can use a 3rd party system that acts as a “WordPress host.” This host will take out some of the guesswork for you and create a seamless transition into creating your page.

You can use hosts like SiteGround, Bluehost, HostGator, Hostinger, GreenGeeks, or InMotion. 

For example, if you use SiteGround, you can choose from three different plans to use: StartUp, GrowBig, or GoGeek. Each of these plans has differing levels of benefits that can set up your LearnDash account as easy as possible.

If you are building a singular website that won’t get too much web traffic, the StartUp plan is affordable and provides enough capacity for you. However, if you are looking to build an e-commerce platform with extensive resources, the GoGeek program will work best for you.

Install LearnDash Plugin

Now that you have finished installing WordPress on your computer, you need to install the LearnDash plugin on the WordPress platform.

Upload a Theme

Although this step is not necessary for creating a site, it can add some personalization and unique features that otherwise would be missed on your platform. Installing a LearnDash-compatible WordPress theme makes your content look professional and suited directly for your company. One great theme is Astra, which has a specific Learndash integration.

Your theme is the first impression people will get of your content – it controls how your course content, the navigation menu, and the footer appear to all customers.

To get started, go back to the left-hand menu bar and click on “Appearances.” After this, click on Themes -> Add New. You can find free themes in this section, or decide to splurge and pay a little extra for “Pro” themes that offer more customization. 

Create Your First Course

We are here! We have finally made it to course-creating. Now that you have the WordPress and LearnDash set up, you can begin adding YOUR content to make your course stand out amongst the rest. Once the site’s essential looks are finished, you can head to “Courses” on the left-hand-side menu bar.

Click on LearnDash LMS -> Courses. Then click on “Add your first course” in the middle of the screen. Name your course something easy for you to find and also something that will accurately describe what you will be talking about.  

Once your course has been named and given a description, the “Builder” tab will become your new best friend. The “Builder” section is how you organize what you are going to put in your course. 

For example, before you decide you want a course on “Soccer” and you want a Lesson about “Soccer Passing,” you need to go to Builder and add that Lesson under the overarching Course. Confused? Don’t worry; we’ll go into a bit more detail so you can quickly and efficiently use this site to your benefit. 

When opening the Builder section, you will see that you can add “Lessons,” “Topics, and “Quizzes.”

Lessons are the second biggest category under your overall Course, while Topics are basically sub-topics of the lesson.

For example, your Lesson is “Soccer Passing,” and your Topic is “Short-range Soccer Passing.” The topic should directly correlate to your Lesson, adding more detail to the broader subject.

If you have added a Lesson, like “Soccer Passing,” and decide you want to add some info in the Lesson before you get to the first topic, you can click on the “Edit” button as you hover over the Lesson in your Builder. 

If you click on “Edit,” this will bring you to a new page where you can add lesson content (which will show up before your first Topic) or configure more advanced settings, like Lesson Tags and Post Attributes. 

When you go back to the “Builder,” you can also go to a “Settings” tab in the main course settings. The Settings tab lets you decide if you want others to see the support materials for your course, the certificate that each student would earn, the visibility of course content, the pagination, and course lesson order.

We recommend setting the “Course Content” to “Always Visible” for free courses, and switching “Custom Lesson Order” to “On” so that you can customize how and in what order your lessons are displayed to the public.

The other parameters you can set in the “Settings” portion of the Builder are “Course Access Settings” and the course price. If you want your course to be “Closed,” this means that it can only be seen by those who have enrolled, either by paying a fee or by signing up for your course online. 

Adding Lessons

Now that you know what the Course will look like and how to use the “Builder” feature, it is time to add your first Lesson! Within the course Builder, you will find the Lessons and Topics that you have added to the overarching Course title. 

Adding Topics

If you decide that you have too much content to fit into the Course and the Lessons, you can add topics – these sections are basically sub-categories of the Lessons you are placing them under. Topics provide more detail and can go into depth about certain subjects that would otherwise be too detailed for the broader Lesson.

Similar to adding Lessons, you can add various types of course material to your topics – like text, images, video links, YouTube videos, PDFs, audio files, and presentation slides to enhance your content and make it more visually appealing. 

In addition, you also have a few different display settings to choose from for Topics. 

Creating Topic Content

The Topic page content is similar to that of the Lesson page content – this is where you have total control over adding whatever content you see fit to your specific topic. To add content, you will have to go to Learndash LMS -> Topics on the left-and-side of the gray menu bar.

Click on the Topic you need to edit or click on the “Add New Topic” button. In the Builder, you will see the “Add New Topic” button here.

Featured Image

When adding content for your Topic, you can add a Featured Image – this is the main image associated with your Topic page. Look for the Featured Image panel in the sidebar on the right-hand side of your screen. You can either upload a new photo or select an image from your Media Library that you have previously uploaded. 

Adding Quizzes

Quizzes are a good way for you to test your students and make sure they understood all of the course material that was described in the Topic or Lesson. By measuring a user’s comprehension of the course, you can get a feel for how well your platform has described your intended subject. 

Creating Your First Quiz

The LearnDash quiz is an easy way to add, edit, and move the questions within your quiz. So – how do you access the Quiz Builder?

For creating your first quiz, you need to go to Learndash LMS -> Quizzes on the left-hand-side of your screen in the menu bar. Click “Add New” and then click on the “Builder” tab to add the questions one-by-one. 

Quiz Builder Overview

To add a question to your quiz, there are multiple ways that you can do this. However, the method in which you add questions depends on the function of your page – do you want to add brand new questions or share questions across multiple quizzes?

If you are creating unique questions that are or a specific topic and lesson that will not carry over to other subjects, then you can create the questions within the “Builder” section.

Quiz Questions

To add brand new questions to the quiz, first, you need to go to the “New Question” link at the bottom of the “Quizzes” page. Type the name of the question for you to find easily – this is not what people will see on your website, but makes it easier for your organization. Hit ENTER or click “Add Question.” 

If you already have made existing questions and want to add them to another quiz, like the final quiz, you can find the question in the “Questions” box on the sidebar when editing a Lesson Quiz. Your most recent questions are automatically shown, but you can click “View All” to see all questions you have created.

Question Type

When creating your online quiz, you can choose what kind of questions to add to your quiz. Creating a quiz requires you to keep your audience interested – rambling off 30 single-choice questions will not keep your student entertained. Instead, choose various questions like single choice, multiple-choice, matrix sorting choice, fill in the blank, or essay. 

When creating your question, setting the “Question Title” is for your use only – it keeps your questions organized in your Builder, and can help you easily drag and drop the questions into the proper quiz. Once you set your Question Title (ex: Ch 1, Q1), the Question Text is where you actually write the question that you have for the user. This is for the student to see, and is the content you are quizzing them on.


Do you have a student or group of students who have done a GREAT job on their lesson material and quizzes? In this case, you can reward all students that have passed a certain quiz or students that have done extra work, with special certificates. 

You can give your student a certificate in two ways: 

  • Successfully completing a course
  • Passing a quiz
Creating a Certificate

Creating a certificate is step 1 in the certificate process – to start, you need to head to Learndash LMS -> Certificates, and click “Add New.” 

Certificate Title

The certificate title is for your own use – this helps you organize your certificates and assign them to the correct quiz or course.

This will appear in the dropdown menus when you apply it to the material that is attributed to the certificate, so make sure it is something you recognize and can easily understand.

Certificate Content
The certificate content is for the student who has earned this reward.
To make sure the certificate is personalized, you need to include the user’s name, course title, date of completion, and any other details that are related to the certificate when presenting it to your student. 
Previewing Certificate

If you want to view your certificate before it is posted for the student to see, then you need to preview the reward before you publish it.

  • Head to Learndash LMS -> Quizzes and click on “Add New.”
  • At this point, give the quiz a title – we talked about this in the previous section.
  • In the ”Settings” tab, choose the certificate that you want to preview.
  • Click on the correct question to the quiz and then click on “Finish Quiz.”
  • This lets you see the certificate before it is published, with the option to “Print Your Certificate.”


Assignments can be attributed to each Course, Lesson, or particular Topic to give your students extra material to learn and be quizzed on. Although these additions are completely optional, they provide another way for your students to gain additional comprehension. 

Assignments are always enabled by a lesson or topic basis, and first, need to be assigned to whichever section is appropriate for the specific assignment. 

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