7 Cool Ways to Award LearnDash Certificates

Gold stars and extra credit are fun ways to motivate students and reward them for their hard work—but they don’t exactly speak to credentials. Certificates, however, give students something to work towards and serve as a tangible testament to their academic achievements. They also just look great hanging on the wall.

In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to improve student engagement using LearnDash certificates. Keep that certificate seal handy—with these eight cool ways to use LearnDash certificates, you’re going to need it!

What You’ll Need

Just like your students need tools for learning, you’re going to need some tools for awarding certificates and improving student engagement. Sadly, a laser pointer won’t do but we think you’ll find these plugins and add-ons much more helpful—and far less hazardous to your eyesight. They’re both easy to use and have a free version you can demo before making an investment.

Uncanny Toolkit Pro

Uncanny Toolkit Pro is the #1 must-have add-on for LearnDash websites—probably because it’s a masterclass in “Saving Time for Your LMS”. In addition to features such as course dashboards and personalized logins, Toolkit improves the functionality of LearnDash certificates to make administration easy and improve the student experience. Enhance your certification process with modules to preview certificates, automatically email them to students and staff or let your students show off their credentials with a certificates widget.

Uncanny Toolkit Pro

Feel free to check out the full list of features and the Pro pricing schedule by clicking here. We’ll be using Toolkit Pro features in our examples but that doesn’t mean you can’t download the free plugin and try out core modules.

Uncanny Automator Pro

If you’re running an LMS WordPress website, then Uncanny Automator is the best way to save yourself time and money. Connect your various apps and plugins for enhanced functionality, automate repetitive tasks and workflows and eliminate bloat from your website. Specifically, Automator packs so many LearnDash triggers and actions into even the free version of the plugin that you’ll feel like you’re cheating on an exam.

Automator Homepage

With Automator’s no-code, click-and-configure interface, you’ll be able to email LearnDash certificates to anyone on your contact list for just about any interaction that occurs on your website. In case that wasn’t enough, you can connect your LearnDash certification process to databases like Airtable, CRM tools like ActiveCampaign, ecommerce plugins like WooCommerce or even membership plugins like Restrict Content Pro.

Definitely try out the free Automator plugin and its dozens of LearnDash actions and triggers. Then, when you’ve gotten the hang of it, upgrade to Automator Pro to make the most of your LMS.

In addition to Toolkit Pro and Automator Pro, we’ll feature other commonly-used plugins and apps such as WooCommerce and The Events Calendar but these are only optional.

7 Cool Ways to Award LearnDash Certificates

Now that you’re all set up with the right tools, let’s look at these seven cool ways to award LearnDash certificates so that your students can start decorating their walls with their credentials.

1. Email LearnDash Certificates with Toolkit Pro

Uncanny Toolkit Pro allows you to email PDF copies of certificates to students and administrators with just a click. Here’s how it’s done:

Step 1: From your WordPress Admin Sidebar, navigate to Uncanny Toolkit > Modules.

Step 2: Scroll down to the modules titled Send Course Certificates by Email and Send Quiz Certificates by Email or type “certificates” into the search bar.

Uncanny Toolkit Pro Send Certificate Modules

Step 3: Toggle the button in the upper right-hand corner to the “On” position.

Step 4: Click Settings to configure the module and draft the email. You can then decide who will receive the email and draft the title and content using dynamic data to personalize the message.

Uncanny Toolkit Pro Send Certificate Module Email Editor

Step 5: Once you’ve configured the settings and drafted your email message, click Save module. Your students will now receive automated emails with a PDF copy of their certificate, ready for printing and framing!

2. Email LearnDash Certificates with Shortcode and Magic

Using some “copy-and-paste” shortcode and a little magic, you can put the power of printing certificates in your students’ hands—or, more accurately, at their fingertips. Upon completion of a course, present your students with a button to click if they would like to receive an emailed copy of their certificate. Here’s how to cast the spell:

Step1: From your WordPress Admin Sidebar, navigate to Automator > Add New. In the pop-up window that appears, select Logged-in users.

Uncanny Automator Add New Recipe Logged-in Users

Step 2: Name your recipe something that makes it easy to remember, like… Certified Magician.

Uncanny Automator Recipe Title

Step 3: From the menu of available integrations, click Automator.

Uncanny Automator Trigger Automator

Step 4: From the drop-down list that appears, select A user clicks a magic button.

Uncanny Automator A user clicks a magic button trigger

Step 5: Your trigger should now look like this:

Uncanny Automator A user clicks a magic button trigger Live

Copy the bracketed text [acutomator_button id=” xxxxx “ “ label=”Click here”] and save it to your clipboard. We’re going to embed this shortcode in the Classic Editor of the desired course.

Step 6: From your WordPress Admin Sidebar, navigate to LearnDash > Courses and click Edit beneath the course for which you would like to offer certificates to students for course completion.

LearnDash Course Editor

Step 7: In the Classic Editor screen, click the Add button icon then click Shortcode and paste the magic button shortcode (the bracketed text we copied from Step 5) into the box.

LearnDash Course Editor Shortcode

Step 8: Next, we’ll need some additional shortcode so that the Automator magic button only appears for students who have completed the course. Thankfully, LearnDash has a library of preset shortcodes for us to use. Click here for the LearnDash Course Complete shortcode or copy the bracketed text: so that the finished block should now look like this:

LearnDash Hide Automator Magic Button Shortcode

The Automator magic button will now only appear to students who have completed the course. You can add a new block above this one, describing the purpose and function of the Automator magic button or you change the label itself to something more descriptive by simply replacing “Click here”.

Step 10: Return to your Automator recipe by navigating to Automator > All recipes and clicking Edit beneath Certified Magician.

Step 11: In the Actions panel, click Add action then click LearnDash.

Automator Action LearnDash

From the drop-down list that appears, select Send a certificate.

Automator LearnDash Send a certificate Action

Use tokens such as User email, User first name, etc. to send, draft and customize your email.

Automator Send a certificate Action Email Editor

Note: When formatting the Certificate body, do not use shortcodes. As in the image above, only use tokens by clicking on the asterisk symbol. You can use these tokens to include information such as dates, user first and last names and courses.

Step 12: In the upper right-hand corner, toggle the recipe from Draft to Live. It should look like this:

Automator Send a LearnDash Certificate from Magic Button Trigger

“Abracadabra!” Just like that, your students can receive their certificate upon course completion with just a click.

3. Sell LearnDash Certificates with Automator and WooCommerce

Learning should be—and often is—totally free. But credentials often come with costs. With Automator and WooCommerce, you can offer paid LearnDash certificates for free courses. Here’s the best way to sell those certificates:

Step 1: The first thing you’ll want to do is to create a WooCommerce product. You’ll then connect this product to a LearnDash certificate using Automator.

From your WordPress Admin Sidebar, navigate to Products > Add New. In the Product data panel, set the product to Virtual.

WooCommerce Virtual Product

Finish configuring your product as you’d like by setting the price, image(s), upsells, cross-sells, etc. Once the product is to your liking, click Publish.

Step 2: In these next steps, we’ll create a recipe that connects your WooCommerce product to a LearnDash certificate. We’ll add an additional trigger so that only the students who have earned the certificate will receive it.

From your WordPress Admin Sidebar, navigate to Automator > Add New and select Logged-in users.

Step 3: Name your recipe. We’ve named this recipe WooCommerce-LearnDash: Certificate Order.

Step 4: In the Triggers panel, click LearnDash. From the drop-down list, select A user completes a course. Select the course associated with the certificate and click Save.

Automator LearnDash A user completes a course Trigger

Step 5: Still in the Triggers panel, click Add trigger then WooCommerce. From the drop-down list, select A user completes, pays for, lands on a thank you page for an order with a product.

Automator WooCommerce A user completes, pays for, lands on a thank you page for a product Trigger

Step 6: Automator will prompt you to configure the rest of the trigger settings. We selected completes then chose our newly created product from the drop-down list. Your finished triggers should look something like this:

Automator LearnDash and WooCommerce Triggers

Step 7: In the Actions panel, click Add action then click LearnDash. From the drop-down list, select Send a certificate and configure the rest of the settings. When you’re finished, click Save. Your action should look like this:

Automator LearnDash Send a certificate Trigger Live

Step 8: Toggle the recipe from Draft to Live. Here’s what the final recipe should look like:

Automator LearnDash WooCommerce Recipe

Step 9: Students can sometimes be forgetful—because their heads are full of knowledge. If you wanted to ensure that your students get the recognition they deserve, you could create a second recipe to send an email upon course completion with a link for them to purchase their certificate. Grab the product url from the product page and paste it into the Email body field of your Automator action. That recipe might look something like this:

Automator Send a Certificate Upon Course Completion

You could also use Automator’s tagging actions with CRMs like Groundhogg, Mailchimp or Mailpoet to send even more compelling emails and boost conversions.

4. Award LearnDash Certificates for Live Event Attendance

Who doesn’t love to have a perfect attendance record? You can use Automator to send certificates to attendees of live events as a way for your students to remember the occasion. Here’s how to send certificates as souvenirs of successful events:

Step 1: From your WordPress Admin Sidebar, navigate to Automator > Add New and select Logged-in users.

Step 2: Name your recipe. We’ve named this recipe Special Event Attendance Certificate.

Step 3: In the Actions panel, click The Event Calendar and select A user attends an event. Automator will prompt you to select your event from a drop-down list. After you’ve selected your event, click Save.

Automator The Events Calendar A user attends an event Trigger

Step 4: In the Actions panel, click Add action then click LearnDash. From the drop-down list, select Send a certificate and configure the rest of the settings. When you’re finished, click Save.

Step 5: Toggle your recipe from Draft to Live. The finished recipe should look like this:

Automator LearnDash Certificate for Event Attendance

Step 6: Concerned about event certificates only being available by email and not from the website? One solution would be to create a hidden course with an associated course certificate. Then, in our event attendance recipe, change the action so it completes the hidden course instead of sending the certificate via email.

This way, the Toolkit Pro module to send a certificate can provide it by email, and the Show Certificates module in the free version of Uncanny Toolkit can show event certificates to students!

5. Credit & Course Group Based Certificates

Credit where credit is due—which, in this case, means awarding certificates. If you have purchased the Uncanny Continuing Education Credits plugin, you can award certificates for groups of courses as well as for credits earned. Here’s how to claim the credit:

Step 1: After downloading the Uncanny Continuing Education Credit plugin, navigate Uncanny CEU > Settings.

Step 2: Scroll down to the section labeled Certificate Email Settings. Check the boxes next to Enable Multi Course certificate and Enable CEU Credits certificate. You can also choose to send the certificate to Site Administrators and Group Leaders as a prudent recordkeeping practice.

Uncanny CEUs Email Certificate Settings

Step 3: From your WordPress Admin Sidebar, navigate to LearnDash > Certificates. Select the certificate you would like to award based on credit or course groups or create a new one. On the right-hand side of the Classic Editor, you’ll see options to award the certificate based on CEU credits accumulated or courses completed.

Uncanny CEUs Certificate for Multiple Course Completion

Once you’ve finished configuring your certificate, click Publish.

Step 4: Finally, navigate to LearnDash > Courses. From the Classic Editor within each course, you can set the CEU value. If you’re not certain how to do this—or would like to “continue” your Continuing Education Credits learning—click here.

6. Award LearnDash Certificates for Course Series with Automator

If you don’t have the Uncanny Continuing Education Credits plugin, you can still award certificates to students who complete a series of courses using Automator. It’s a lot easier than building a curriculum, we promise.

This recipe won’t differ much from previous set-ups using Automator. The only difference is that you’ll add multiple triggers; one for each course. The finished recipe should look something like this:

Automator Send Certificate for Multiple Course Completion

7. Award LearnDash Certificates for Offline Learning Activities

Why just keep the classroom online? You can leverage the power of LearnDash, Automator and Uncanny CEUs to make changes in the real world! Combine Automator with any form-building plugin or web application such as WPForms or Forminator to award credits and send certificates following offline learning events.

Step 1: You’ll need some method of verifying attendance for your offline learning activities—this will serve as the trigger for our Automator recipe. If you already have a verification process, you can skip to the next step.

For our verification process, we’ve created a form. This form can be a simple registration form or a more complex form with information only the attendees would know. It’s up to you to configure as you’d like.

Step 2: Create a new recipe in Automator, select Logged-in users and choose an appropriate title.

Step 3: In the Triggers panel, configure your trigger according to your verification process. In our example, we’ve selected our form-building integration and the form associated with our offline learning activity. Click Save.

Step 4: In the Actions panel, click Uncanny CEUs then select Award a number of custom CEUs to the user. Automator will prompt you to fill out the date, description and number of CEUs to award. When you’re finished, click Save.

Automator LearnDash Certificate for Offline Learning

Step 5: Create a second recipe to send certificates or mark a hidden course complete (and send the certificate with Uncanny Toolkit) based on the total number of CEUs a student has earned. That recipe might look something like this:

Automator LearnDash Certificate for Offline Learning Recipe Live

Keep Certifying

For students, certificates are as good as gold medals… if there was an Academic Olympics. And tools such as Uncanny Automator and Uncanny Toolkit help you leverage the certification process to improve your LMS and, ultimately, your students’ experience.

Try out a few of the examples we provided in this post and we promise you’ll spend less time administrating and more time educating. Then, when you’re ready, upgrade to the All Access Pass and get even more Uncanny plugins and add-ons, not to mention industry-leading support. Now that’s certifiably cool.

Uncanny Groups for LearnDash 5.0

Yes, the Uncanny Groups release is that big. It deserves the 5.0 label, because this is a giant release with dozens of changes and over 100 hours of development and testing time. A lot of what’s new probably won’t even be on the radar of most users, so we’re hoping this release brings a lot of happy surprises!

Ready for the list of what’s new? It’s a big list, but if you’re on Uncanny Groups user, we definitely recommend reading through to the end.

Pooled seats

Ever wish you could set up some groups in a hierarchy, and instead of having seats managed for each individual groups, the entire set of groups could draw from a shared pool of seats? That’s what this is. When enabled, groups that are connected together share their seats.

Suppose you sell course access to a school and grant that school 1,000 seats to use at their discretion. They’re going to want to divide students up into classes for reporting purposes as well as to manage course enrollment. Instead of having to figure out how to assign 20 seats to one group and 30 to another, now the entire set of classrooms shares from a total pool of 1,000 seats. If a Grade 9 math class uses up 20 seats, then a grade 10 music class uses 30, other groups now have a pool of 950 available seats.

That’s the simple introduction. We tried to keep it as straightforward as possible, but there’s a lot to consider when implementing pooled seats.

To get started, you’ll have to think about whether you want to enable pooled seats for specific groups only, and let Group Leaders control that setting, or whether you want all group hierarchies to have pooled seats enabled. Here’s what it looks like:

LearnDash Pooled Seats Settings

Checkbox 1 allows Group Leaders to control whether or not to enable seat pooling at the individual hierarchy level by adding a checkbox to the Group Management page. This checkbox is only shown when a top-level group is selected in a hierarchy, and it looks like this:

Top Level LearnDash Group Hierarchy

If checkbox 2 is also selected on the settings page, this forces all groups in all hierarchies to use the pooling system. It means the setting for pooled seats is now longer managed at the hierarchy level and instead enables it globally.

So how does it actually work, and what happens in various use cases? Let’s cover an example to make this more clear.

Suppose you start with a parent group with 100 seats assigned, and that parent group has a child group that has 50 seats. If pooled seats are enabled for the hierarchy, both parent and child groups would immediately see that the hierarchy now has 150 seats. (And if you disabled the pool again, the seats would return to 100 and 50 respectively.) When viewing the parent or child groups in this situation, all would show the same number of total and available seats.

In cases where enabling seat pooling results in no available seats, perhaps because of admin overrides, Uncanny Groups calculates the total pooled seats as the current number of users across all groups in the hierarchy and adds 10, but this default value can be overridden with a filter:

apply_filters( 'ulgm_pool_seats_add_extra_seats_in_parent', absint( 10 + $diff ), $diff, $group_id )

Just a note too that for any of this to work, group hierarchies must first be enabled in LearnDash settings and relationships must be set up for groups by administrators. There is not yet any way to manage group relationships in the front end or by Group Leaders.

New pricing options

For a very long time now we’ve had requests to override pricing rules and quantities for seats. Typically requests would sound something like these:

“I want to sell a group product for $999 that includes 100 seats, I don’t want users to have to choose a quantity of 100 and change my course prices to hit this pricing target.”

“I only want to sell groups with a minimum of 5 seats, they shouldn’t be available when the quantity of seats is just 2.”

We would always recommend WooCommerce pricing plugins that allowed easy overrides, but it wasn’t a great workaround. Today’s update adds native solutions to these problems to Uncanny Groups.

Here’s what the pricing section now looks like when setting up a Group License product:

LearnDash Group pricing rules

Normally, of course, the price is ignored for a Group License product, instead calculating the price based on the cost of each Group Course product and the number of seats purchased. But when “Fixed price” is checked, the “Regular price” field is used as the group cost regardless of the number of seats purchased. In the example above, we’re charging $100 for exactly 10 seats. Users cannot purchase another amount, they just buy a product here that includes 10 seats for that fixed cost.

The “Minimum” and “Maximum” quantity fields can be used independently to set limits around seat purchases. These might even be used to set up more advanced pricing rules for different group types.

New Gutenberg blocks

One of our customers rightly pointed out that we had Gutenberg blocks in other plugins for redemption and registration shortcodes, but we didn’t for [uo_groups_registration_form] and [uo_groups_redemption_form]. Now we do! Look for the new blocks for “Enrollment Key Redemption” and “Enrollment Key Registration”.

The new blocks add support for the normal shortcode attributes as well, so the registration block (for example) has settings for redirections, making the key optional, logging the user in automatically on submission and the default role.

New report sort options

We made it a lot easier to sort the various Uncanny Groups reports by different columns on load using shortcode attributes. There are a ton of new attributes here, so we’ll post the list with quick details:

Group management [uo_groups]

  • Enrolled users
    • enrolled_users_orderby_column – The title of the column used to sort. Default: First name
    • enrolled_users_order_column – Designates the ascending or descending order of the orderby parameter (asc/desc). Default asc.
  • Group leaders
    • group_leaders_orderby_column Default: First name
    • group_leaders_order_column Default asc

Course Report [uo_groups_course_report]

  • orderby_column Default: Date Completed
  • order_column Default: desc

Quiz Report [uo_groups_quiz_report]

  • orderby_column Default: Date
  • order_column Default: desc

Assignments Report [uo_groups_assignments]

  • orderby_column Default: Date
  • order_column Default: desc

Essay Report [uo_groups_essays]

  • orderby_column Default: Date
  • order_column Default: desc

For some of the above, please note that the values are stored in the browser cache, so you may not see changes immediately after updating shortcodes. Try a hard refresh or incognito mode for testing.

Other important updates

Group Leaders can now manage users and Group Leaders for child groups when they’re assigned to the parent group level. This makes it a lot easier to set Group Leaders up at the parent group only to manage hierarchies instead of adding them to every child group.

In the Manage Progress report, we now show a spinner when a search is active to make the activity more clear to users on slower sites.

A variety of WPML improvements are also now in the plugin.

That wraps up the highlights for the Uncanny Groups for LearnDash release! The full list of updates is available in the changelog.