Is there a WordPress plugin to create online courses?

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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 icon smile Is there a WordPress plugin to create online courses?

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 icon smile Is there a WordPress plugin to create online courses?

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:

Sensei Wordpress plugin login Is there a WordPress plugin to create online courses?


You just add your details to the next screen and click login.

Wordpress online course plugin Is there a WordPress plugin to create online courses?


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.

sensei online course plugin Is there a WordPress plugin to create online courses?


Click Add New Lesson

WordPress online course add lesson Is there a WordPress plugin to create online courses?


And a page appears for you to add your lesson content to.

WordPress Learning Management plugin Is there a WordPress plugin to create online courses?You can use the Woo Shortcodes within your content as well.

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.

WordPress LEarning management extras Is there a WordPress plugin to create online courses?

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.

WordPress Learning Management Plugin Course Is there a WordPress plugin to create online courses?

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.

Sensei online course plugin quiz Is there a WordPress plugin to create online courses?


In my excitement about the plugin I’ve not yet created a quiz… icon sad Is there a WordPress plugin to create online courses?


WordPress Menus.

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)

Sensei menu one Is there a WordPress plugin to create online courses?


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.

lesson completion Is there a WordPress plugin to create online courses?

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?

Sarah Blogging Is there a WordPress plugin to create online courses?

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Comment how YOU like


  1. says

    Impressed by the plugin and impressed by you finding it and putting it to the test so quickly.

    Are you using it on a live site yet Sarah – if you are please post a link.

    Also notice that you are using the Fancier Authorbox plugin – is that the paid version?
    Do you recommend?

    Always learn something when I come over and you are still by #1 female blogger.
    Keith Davis recently posted..Dynamik Website Builder for Genesis or…. the Genesis Extender plugin?My Profile

  2. Bob Dunn says

    Hey Sarah, thanks for the fast review. I saw the release of this in my inbox this AM and jumped right on it. Going to purchase it tomorrow as its perfect timing for some new coursework I am putting together. Although I’m always a big fan of anything from Woo, great to hear such a favorable review from someone I know and trust :)
    Bob Dunn recently posted..The Events Calendar PluginMy Profile

  3. says

    Hey Sarah,

    Wow, looks like a cool plugin. I go plugin happy (at times) and have used WooThemes for a number of years. I like the fact that it uses shortcodes because I know some html and css, but would rather not dig around with code. Have toyed with doing a membership or course style site in the past. Got so much going on I have to sit down and see which stuff I want to pursue.
    Garen recently posted..Giveaways – Part 1 Interview With Justin GerminoMy Profile

  4. says

    I’ve had a quick play with Sensei for a few days. Initial thoughts are that is a great start but it needs a few more versions and some sensei plugins to make it really useful for anything but simple courses.

    For example the quiz to move on a lesson option seems to be all lessons or none. Plus it is only multiple choice at present. No checklists or other options. Would love to integrate with gravity forms for great questionnaires.

    The lesson and course creation works well but feels a little basic.

    The integration with woocommerce looks very interest but I’ve not tested that yet.

    Great start and a snip at $79 plus 50% off at the minute.
    Rob Wilson recently posted..Bite Sized Webinar – WordPress SEOMy Profile

  5. says

    Hi Sarah,

    Thank you for such a thorough review of Sensei. I’m really intrigued, but like you I want a few more features.

    While doing some more research I came across another LMS plugin called LearnDash It has a bunch of features you had on your wishlist such as being able to email your students and to also have a forum and feedback set up. You can also schedule your lessons to drop according to a schedule.

    I’d love to hear what you think of LearnDash compared to Sensei.

    Ian recently posted..Best LinkedIn Group StrategiesMy Profile

  6. Charlie says

    If you want your course to be a paid for course and the customer clicked on it, would they automatically get redirected to the payments system with the course in the basket ?> what would happen ?

  7. Simon says

    Can I ask a slightly different question? It’s not so much about the plugin that does the business at the back end as the theme to make it look good…

    Got any advice/suggestions about themes? I know it’s going to depend pretty much on what the courses are about (obviously!) but my main problem with using wordpress is that it *looks* like wordpress. I’m looking for something that looks different….


  8. says

    Hi Sarah

    Thanks for the thorough review of Sensei. Glad you liked it :)

    We’re working hard to improve Sensei even more, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the plugin now it’s been around for a while.

    Feel free to drop me an email if you have any more feedback/suggestions :)

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