The Uncanny Owl Blog

WP Courseware 3.0 Released

Fly Plugins released a big update to WP Courseware on Thursday, bringing it up to version 3.0. The update primarily brings enhancements to quizzes that help to bring it more in line with what competitors like LearnDash and Sensei are offering. Question pools, randomization, timed quizzes, feedback and more are all now available. The video below outlines some of the highlights.

If you already have a WP Courseware site, you’ll notice a number of changes to quizzes after you upgrade. The quiz creation interface is quite different; everything is divided into tabs. Of course, there’s still essentially only one type of graded question—multiple choice—but at least more quiz options are available.

WP Courseware 2.9

WP Courseware 2.9

WP Courseware 3.0

WP Courseware 3.0

On the end user side, really the only difference that’s visible is a new button to download quiz results as a PDF file. Still, it’s nice to see an update; there haven’t been many over the last year (the official change log still doesn’t reflect the last 2). The most recent updates were actually sponsored, so perhaps Fly Plugins is slowing down the active development of new features.

It’s also worth noting that prices are going up on WP Courseware in about 2 hours. What they’re going up to hasn’t been shared by Fly Plugins, only that they’re increasing. If you want to grab a copy while it’s still at the lower price, you can pick it up here. If you want to see it in action, visit our WP Courseware demo site.

One of WP Courseware’s biggest advantages relative to competitors has been a lower price point for individual sites. Let’s hope it keeps it!

Update 1: If you’re getting a 404 after clicking a link on this page, it appears to be because WP Courseware changed some things on their site. I’ll wait on them to get it resolved and then update the links in this article accordingly.

WP Courseware LMS Demo Site

WP Courseware LMS DemoNow that we have demo sites available for LearnDash and WooThemes Sensei, we thought it was only fair to include WP Courseware in the mix. These 3 products are, after all, the bigger players in WordPress Learning Management Systems.

The new WP Courseware demo site is available at http://wpcourseware.uncannycloud.com/. Once again, we stuck to the same type of platform to make it easy to compare the 3 LMS platforms. Try signing in to all 3 and note the differences for yourself. (Note that this will only work for about 3 weeks; we’re planning on making some significant changes to our LearnDash site in the near future that will make it harder to do a direct comparison—but the new site will be a lot better!)

As always, drop us a note or leave a comment if you have any questions about the demo or working with WP Courseware. Stay tuned for a WP Courseware review in the near future!

LearnDash Review Revisited

A few months ago, Ken wrote a brief review of his experiences using LearnDash to develop Grade Hacks, Uncanny Owl’s study skills program. It remains our second most-visited page on this website and attracts a lot of traffic for people searching for LearnDash reviews. Since that article was originally published 6 months ago, LearnDash has gone through a number of big changes, including the release of version 2.0. Ken’s original article is now outdated in a number of areas and we thought it was time to revisit some of the problem areas to see where things stand in the current release (2.0.3 at the time of writing).

A few months ago, Ken wrote a brief review of his experiences using LearnDash to develop Grade Hacks, Uncanny Owl’s study skills program. It remains our second most-visited page on this website and attracts a lot of traffic for people searching for LearnDash reviews. Since that article was originally published 6 months ago, LearnDash has gone through a number of big changes, including the release of version 2.0. Ken’s original article is now outdated in a number of areas and we thought it was time to revisit some of the problem areas to see where things stand in the current release (2.0.3 at the time of writing).  Navigating between courses, lessons, topics and quizzes was a significant source of frustration for us early on, especially while developing large training programs. In the version of LearnDash used for the article, courses, lessons, quizzes (standard and advanced) were very distinct objects and navigation between related items was difficult. In the most recent version of LearnDash, everything is now grouped under a single LearnDash entry in the WordPress admin interface, the 2 quiz components were combined, and course objects now include related items on the editing screen (made possible by LearnDash now enforcing a 1:1 relationship between courses and lessons/quizzes/topics). All of these changes make navigation much easier and intuitive, though building out courses can still be a very tedious process. (In that area, we would love to see a way to duplicate courses that retains course objects as well as an easy way to import and export quizzes from Word.)   Quizzes have been simplified in LearnDash 2.0, with Standard and Advanced Quizzes now combined into a single “Quiz” object. It’s great to have all quiz settings and questions in a single location, but the number of options is still going to overwhelm new users. Make sure you use quiz templates to make the quiz creation process as efficient and consistent as possible!  We would still love to be able to customize LearnDash more easily and to have access to additional shortcodes. Certificates are one such example; it’s hard to retrieve someone’s certificate without either displaying the learner’s full profile or having them retake the quiz. We’d love to see a shortcode for quiz display and to display a list of courses without descriptions.   In the comments of the original article, another LearnDash user mentioned wanting a custom theme for LearnDash. In earlier days of using LearnDash we certainly agreed, and we spent a lot of time making CSS changes to get unsupported themes working seamlessly with LearnDash. With LearnDash recently confirming that they won’t develop a theme themselves, it’s great to see themes like University http://themeforest.net/item/university-education-event-and-course-theme/8412116?ref=uncannyowl now showing up that have explicit LearnDash support.   It’s great to see the positive changes with LearnDash and many of Ken’s earlier criticisms being addressed. The community is still vibrant and it’s reassuring to see development continuing at a good pace. Navigating between courses, lessons, topics and quizzes was a significant source of frustration for us early on, especially while developing large training programs. In the version of LearnDash used for the article, courses, lessons and quizzes (standard and advanced) were very distinct objects and navigation between related items was difficult. In the most recent version of LearnDash, everything is now grouped under a single LearnDash entry in the WordPress admin interface, the 2 quiz components were combined, and course objects now include related items on the editing screen (made possible by LearnDash now enforcing a 1:1 relationship between courses and lessons/quizzes/topics). All of these changes make navigation much easier and intuitive, though building out courses can still be a very tedious process. (In that area, we would love to see a way to duplicate courses that retains course objects as well as an easy way to import and export quizzes from Word.)

Quizzes have been simplified in LearnDash 2.0, with Standard and Advanced Quizzes now combined into a single “Quiz” object. It’s great to have all quiz settings and questions in a single location, but the number of options is still going to overwhelm new users. Make sure you use quiz templates to make the quiz creation process as efficient and consistent as possible!

We would still love to be able to customize LearnDash more easily and to have access to additional shortcodes. Certificates are one such example; it’s hard to retrieve someone’s certificate without either displaying the learner’s full profile or having them retake the quiz. We’d love to see a shortcode to display certificates (with a single link if you passed at least once, regardless of the number of attempts) and one to display a list of courses without descriptions.

In the comments of the original article, another LearnDash user mentioned wanting a custom theme for LearnDash. In earlier days of using LearnDash we certainly agreed, and we spent a lot of time making CSS changes to get unsupported themes working seamlessly with LearnDash. With LearnDash recently confirming that they won’t develop a theme themselves, it’s great to see themes like University now showing up that have explicit LearnDash support.

It’s great to see the positive changes with LearnDash and many of Ken’s earlier criticisms being addressed. The LearnDash community is still very vibrant and it’s reassuring to see development continuing at a good pace.