Until recently I would have said that you need to create a membership site in order to have a WordPress based online course. Yesterday WooThemes changed all that when they released their new Sensei plugin also termed as a learning management plugin. Of course I had to buy it and test it out, and I’ve spent all day playing with it. It’s true love :), cue hearts and violins
Sensei is different from the WordPress Membership plugins I’ve recently posted about. Sensei allows you to create an online course quickly, it’s installed via the plugin section of the WordPress dashboard and then you populate the lessons area with your content. As well as lessons you can also add quizzes to test the understanding of your students. All good so far
Can you sell your online courses using Sensei?
If your online course is a paid course, you’ll need to add the free WooCommerce plugin to manage the sales aspect. WooCommerce is a lovely plugin and is very easy to use, you should go and grab a copy and see what you can do with it – you can easily sell digital products using it and you don’t have to use the WooThemes framework to use the plugin, which makes it pretty awesome.
Back to Sensei…
After uploading your plugin via the dashboard you add your license key to the Woo plugin updater. This appears at the top of your dashboard:
You just add your details to the next screen and click login.
When you purchase your copy of Sensei, you will be given the choice of a single site license, a 5 site license or a developers license. When you activate your license key you will be able to activate the support facilities that come with the plugin. If you are not great at configuring things you should make sure that you do this so you can get any help you need.
The next set is to look along the left hand side bar of your dashboard and find the tab that says lessons.
Click Add New Lesson
And a page appears for you to add your lesson content to.
Under the content area is another tab that you can complete to let your students know how long each lesson will take and the lesson’s complexity. As the content I’ll be using is suited for beginners to intermediate the facility to keep the student informed is useful.
What I love about Sensei is the simplicity. It enables you to create an online course quickly and effectively. I’ve found in the past after you’ve created your course outline, created the content etc the most time consuming aspect is the actual creating of the Learning Environment. As I mentioned above, I’ve had to use the membership site option which can take time to configure.
When you’ve added your lesson the next option is to the lesson to a course. You’ll find this section to the right of the post in the sidebar area. I love this aspect, in theory I can add certain lessons to separate courses without having to duplicate pages.
You can also create prerequisites, in my case if I want someone to take a foundation course before the main training course I have the option of adding this.
Aside from ease of use, the next engaging aspect of the Sensei plugin is the ability to quiz your students. This can be found underneath the lesson information area.
In my excitement about the plugin I’ve not yet created a quiz…
You can use the WordPress menus aspect of WordPress to create your own menu. The default menu has several options (I also have WooCommerce installed)
I like the facility for the student to see what courses they are undertaking, the ability to add multiple courses and sell them from one site and using WooCommerce I can suggest additional products – upsells.
What I’d like to see for Sensei in the future…
- The ability to drip feed content
- To have one time offers for students
- To be able to send email reminders when students have not logged in for a week
- To have some sort of forum integration, I’m not sure what that would look like though
- Built in video player
How does Sensei compare to Premise, Wishlist Member and eMember?
Premise, Wishlist and eMember have been created with a different aim in mind – membership sites. Sensei is geared towards learning and tuition rather than just delivering the content. The fact that I’m using it like a membership plugin is down to it’s ease of use. Sensei doesn’t have the ability to drip content (yet) or email students/members.
If you are teaching courses you’ll find Sensei more to your liking than a membership site plugin, which is geared towards marketers rather than teachers.
Given that most marketers are quick to snap up simple, effective products, I can see more marketing features added as an upgrade in the future.
As I mentioned earlier, I love the plugin and I recommend it highly at just $99 (usual price currently discounted to $79) it’s a great investment. You can grab a copy here.
I can see how I can use this to create upsells to my Kindle social media guides, fast and efficiently. I can see lots of uses for this plugin and it’s one that’s going to get a lot of use from me.
Have you tried Sensei yet? What do you think of it so far?