The Uncanny Owl Blog
At Uncanny Owl, we love creating flexible and powerful learning-enabled websites for our clients. They love our solutions, and we’re able to help businesses achieve important business goals while delivering engaging learner experiences.
Custom LMS solutions can be a great fit for the right company, but in most cases the costs are too high—in dollars, in time, in complexity, in maintenance requirements and in training. Not every company can afford $5,000+ implementation costs or the 2-4 months it typically takes us to go from project initiation to going live. A lot of companies out there just want the basics—an easy way to deliver self-directed training via their website—and don’t need a custom solution to achieve their goals.
Right now there’s no easy way for smaller organizations to make training available online with WordPress. Sure, you can buy an LMS plugin, but that invariably ends up being a very small part of the platform puzzle. There’s a lot that can (and does) go wrong and the learning curve ends up being a lot higher than most people expect. We’ve spent the last 2 years working on dozens of WordPress sites with learning capabilities and it’s taken this long to really get the hang of how to create a great platform.
Next month, we’ll be starting the beta phase of a WordPress product that will make it easy and inexpensive for organizations to offer training online. The product will be simple but comprehensive, flexible but worry-free. With it, you will be able to launch a complete website with all of your courses in under a week—without having to deal with theme issues, plugin integrations, hosting, ongoing maintenance or code conflicts.
We’ll be starting the platform beta next month, but we’re only making 5 spots available for participants. We want to be able to carefully monitor the first set of users, but we’ll open up more spots as we stabilize things. Beta users will be able to take advantage of a heavily discounted rate for their first 6 months of use. If you want to participate, you’ll need to apply to be considered. Here’s the type of user we’re looking for in the first wave:
- You have some course materials ready
- You know a little bit about WordPress
- You plan to sell course access, preferably on a membership basis
- You will actually use the product and so will your learners
The product will start with a limited feature set focused on delivering self-directed elearning smoothly and effectively. Eventually we will add capabilities that support things like blended learning and virtual communities, but it’s important that we nail down the basics first.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the beta or becoming a beta participant, sign up below!
LearnDash (the company) released a very exciting update on Wednesday that allows LearnDash (the plugin) to talk to over 300 third-party applications. This means that key LearnDash events, like course enrolments and completions, can now trigger actions in other applications, like adding a learner to a mailing list, sending an email, creating a help desk ticket and more. LearnDash uses Zapier to talk to other integrations, and it works really well—once you understand how to do it.
We were a bit too excited by the Zapier released and installed it as soon as it was available, and before instructions had been posted. This caused some initial confusion, both for us and one of our clients (who also wanted to jump on board). To make things a little easier, we created the screencast below to walk through the process of setting up your first zap.
We hope that was helpful!
Over the next few months we’ll be building new zaps for ourselves and our clients. If we come up with anything interesting, we’ll post it here!
Uncanny Owl is looking for an experienced WordPress Developer to join our team on a full time or contract basis. We need help with all development stages of WordPress projects, including creating and customizing complex plugins, modifying and styling themes, and even some front-end design. Experience developing large membership sites and previous work with WordPress LMS tools (e.g. LearnDash and Sensei) would be a huge benefit. A Toronto-area candidate is preferred but your skill set is more important than your location.
For more information and to apply, click here.
No agencies or companies, please.