Online Learning and Wordpress

WordPress and Online Courses


A question I get asked a lot from people who look after their own WordPress websites is how is the best way to deliver an online course.

An online course will need user management, payment collection and generally a way to drip feed content.

There are loads of plugins out there and what you opt for will depend on your needs and your budget. I have had experience with a handful of setups but I have a combination of plugins that I keep going back to as it ticks the boxes that most of my clients have.

What plugins do I use

One of the biggest issues with a lot of the plugins, is they aren’t setup for tax reporting intuitively so if you’re an Australian resident and registered for GST, collecting the right amount of tax can be an issue.

The next common request is multi payment ability – so for example buy it now for price xyz, or pay for it in x amount of instalments. Sounds like a simple request but the management of the multi-payments make it become a bit more complicated.

Keeping these things in mind I use a combination of plugins to get all the things I need.

If you don’t need to worry about GST, then Memberpress will do all of the things very simply.¬†If you do need to capture feedback then the above setup with WooCommerce Sensei will work in lieu of WooCommerce Memberships.

By no means will this setup replace a Learning Management System which will have more robust features and functionality around reporting.

Should I use a subdomain to host my course

I do use a subdomain for my course, simply because I wanted to keep it pretty simple and avoid plugin conflicts – which sometimes happens when you have a lot going on. The downside is you have to maintain two installs of WordPress so if your website is quite basic it’s not required.

Things you also need to note when creating online courses

Online learning is a big topic for discussion and just hiding content in the form of text and videos behind a login isn’t technically a course. An online course really needs to have a desired outcome for your user and needs to give feedback to ensure the learning outcome is achieved.

So consider this when you are creating your course and whether or not what you are creating is to be called a course or something else.

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