Entries by Ryan

LearnDash 3.2 and Group Changes

The LearnDash LMS plugin for WordPress first introduced groups almost 7 years ago, back in version 1.4. Groups were a way to assign courses and track progress for a collection of students as a single unit. It also empowered a new type of user, called a Group Leader, to oversee the activity for that segment of users rather than for all students on a site. As one of the most popular features in LearnDash, site owners started wanting more and more group capabilities. They extended group options with membership plugins, and developers like Uncanny Owl and Wisdm Labs built plugins specifically to add more features to LearnDash Groups. The LearnDash 3.2 release is the most significant change to the groups model since LearnDash first added them in 2013. In this  article, we’ll examine what’s different and how it affects users of third party group and membership plugins. Here are some of the high-level additions in 3.2 for LearnDash Groups: Group purchases Group hierarchies Group certificates Group pages Group content protection Group user management Bypass course restrictions for Group Leaders Course creation and management for Group Leaders Group creation and management by Group Leaders A new ld_group_list shortcode Search restrictions based […]

Use LearnDash Groups? Time to update

Some of our plugin releases are ground-breaking, some add minor new features, some include fixes and others are a combination of them all. The Uncanny Groups for LearnDash 3.6 release falls fits the latter category; it’s a really important update for compatibility reasons but it also includes some useful improvements and new features. New features The Essay Management shortcode now supports a “status” attribute, with possible values of “all”, “graded” and “ungraded” (the default is “ungraded”). When the shortcode includes this attribute, it will initially load only essay questions with that status. This is particularly helpful on sites with huge essay volumes to reduce load times by only loading ungraded essay questions. In the previous version of the Uncanny Groups plugin, clicking a user’s status on the Group Management page took Group Leaders to the Course Report. Based on feedback from current users, we are adding the option to instead take Group Leaders to the Progress Report (a.k.a. Manage Progress) instead. This will allow easier review of student progress. The Not Started status will also now be hyperlinked (previously it was not, since there was no progress to report, but if a Group Leader needs to add progress records this will […]

New WordPress Front End Login Options

The Front End Login module was one of the first things we created for the free Uncanny Toolkit for LearnDash plugin. It gave LearnDash users a simple, free tool for students to use when logging in, and for us (as our business was heavily focused on consulting at the time) it was one more way that we could make site development a lot more efficient. A lot has changed since we first introduced the module, including LearnDash adding its own login forms. There are still a lot of situations with the login form in our Toolkit is the best fit (and what we always use on sites we build), and with today’s Uncanny Toolkit 3.3 release we’re making the module even better. Introducing Modal Login Windows With the latest Toolkit release, you can add this shortcode anywhere on your site you want: [uo_login_modal]. That will create a link (that can also be styled as a button) that pops up a login window. No more devoting precious site real estate to giant login forms! Here’s what it looks like: There are new options in the Front End Login module settings to change the text of the label, whether or not to […]

Better LearnDash CSV Reports

Okay, maybe they’re not pretty, but the Course and Quiz CSV reports built in to LearnDash are still extremely useful reports. They’re a simple, reliable way to get information about students, student progress and quiz results out of LearnDash and into your favourite spreadsheet for analysis. We know a lot of users have looked at the reports, however, and thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could add this one more piece of data as a new column?” We’ve seen it asked a lot, so we decided to add this capability to version 3.5 of Uncanny Toolkit Pro for LearnDash. We’re excited to introduce the Enhanced LearnDash CSV Reports module to the Toolkit Pro suite of addons for LearnDash. Its purpose is simple: add more columns with frequently-requested data to the LearnDash CSV reports. Here’s a screenshot of the columns you can add: Choose any columns you want to add, save the changes, and the next time you run the LearnDash export for the User Course or User Quiz Data, the extra columns will be included in the output. It’s a pretty straightforward module, but requests for custom columns tend to come up a lot and now we’ve made adding extra data […]

Plugin Profile: Design Upgrade for LearnDash

When it comes to must-have plugins for LearnDash, there’s a pretty short list of plugins that can add value to every LearnDash site. Our Uncanny Toolkit for LearnDash is probably one (at well over 20,000 installs), and the Design Upgrade for LearnDash plugin from Escape Creative is another. The Design Upgrade plugin (by LearnDash guru Dave Warfel) solves a very common need: how do you rebrand and restyle LearnDash elements without knowing much about CSS or having to get deep into LearnDash code? It takes the challenge of restyling potentially hundreds of elements and adds controls to a UI that make everything intuitive. And it all works really, really well. The free version of the plugin, available at https://wordpress.org/plugins/design-upgrade-learndash/, has over 7,000 active installs and every one of his 36 reviews garnered 5-stars. It gets even more impressive: at the time of writing this article, the plugin had a single ticket over a 2 month period in the support forum. Imagine that, on a plugin running on over 7,000 LearnDash sites, a single user reported a single problem within a 60 day span. Let’s take a closer look at what you can do with the free version of the plugin. Design […]

Effects of COVID-19 on eLearning Demand

It’s been about 2 months now since Uncanny Owl started seeing changes related to COVID-19, and since then our business has been anything but normal. We wanted to share some of the changes we’ve seen in the elearning and LearnDash space in case it’s of interest to our customers, prospective LearnDash users and the elearning community in general. The last 6 weeks in particular have been a very strange time for us. The first two weeks The second week of March is when businesses and schools here (in Ontario Canada) started shutting down due to the coronavirus. Our consulting clients started working from home (our team normally works remotely anyway) and we began to see some worry among plugin customers. By the second week we were seeing a noticeable uptick in refunds due to cash flow concerns among businesses using LearnDash and work from existing consulting clients was either reduced or there was more emphasis on keeping costs down. This period is when we mostly saw panic, businesses weren’t pivoting yet and everyone was trying to figure out what came next. Organizations that we support that offer blended learning (both online and offline classes) started to shift to online only, […]

New Code Capabilities for LearnDash

Generating and redeeming codes for LearnDash just got a lot more powerful. Today’s Uncanny LearnDash Codes 3.1 release adds new ways to set up codes, new edit code capabilities and more. This update is free for all current Uncanny LearnDash Codes users. Use custom codes Probably the #1 customer request, version 3.1 now allows plugin users to enter their own codes rather than having them randomly generated. It’s as simple as it sounds; the Generate Codes page now has a toggle at the top to choose either randomly generated codes or codes entered by the user. Here’s what the new interface looks like: Any codes are allowed, as long as they’re unique, between 4 and 30 characters long, and use alphanumeric characters plus hyphens. There’s no longer any need to edit database records if you want to use your own codes! The new system does check manual codes to make sure they are unique and valid, so there’s no need to worry about duplicates with custom codes after the update. Edit existing LearnDash code batches Have you ever wished you could make changes to codes that were previously generated? Maybe to allow more uses or extend an expiry date? Version 3.1 […]

Uncanny Groups: Empowering Group Leaders

Today’s Uncanny LearnDash Groups 3.5 release is a big update that includes a number of new features and improvements. Restrict content to LearnDash Group Leaders There are many ways to restrict content with LearnDash (by role, tag, course, group, level and more) in our plugins and those of others, and even in Uncanny LearnDash Groups we have a shortcode to show content to members of a certain LearnDash group only. What was missing was a way to show content to Group Leaders only. The Uncanny Groups 3.5 release includes support for this new shortcode: [uo_groupleader_restrict_content user_groups=”7542″] Only Group Leaders can read this. [/uo_groupleader_restrict_content] What that does is show the content inside the shortcodes only to Group Leaders that are set up as Group Leaders for the group with ID 7542. The “user_groups” attribute is optional; if it’s omitted, all users with the Group Leader role will see it. It can also support multiple group IDs separated by comma. Group License purchase emails A common question we’ve had from customers is how to get new Group Leaders to the Group Management page and to make onboarding easier. Today’s release includes a completely new email type: New Group Purchase.  This email is sent to […]

Uncanny Automator is now FREE

The heading is not clickbait and there are no strings attached. Not only that, we made significant improvements before we released the new free version! You can now get Uncanny Automator from the WordPress repository here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/uncanny-automator/. This free version replaces what we previously called “Lite”, except it’s even better than Lite: we removed the limit of 1 trigger per recipe and we even added more triggers and actions (including several previously only available in Pro). Releasing Automator for free to the world was a hard decision for our team, but we believe it’s the right one for these 2 reasons: We want more people to try it. While Automator already has a big install base, we really want to see it grow and for more sites to try it. We’re very proud of the plugin and want to see it add value to more sites. Another company largely copied Uncanny Automator and released their own version in the WordPress repository. While reusing code isn’t uncommon in the open source world (and Automator does have a GPL license), copying our UI, website, and even name put us in a difficult situation and we wanted to make a big move to […]

Lectora Support and Front End Tin Canny Reports

As the Tin Canny 3.4 release goes out, the Uncanny Owl team is currently all working from home and sheltering in place. Like many other firms in the LearnDash space, we’ve been swamped with requests and tickets as more education goes online, and we’re doing our best to meet the demand. Late last week, an agency in the UK approached us about work they were doing with part of the National Health Service. To support onboarding healthcare workers, they needed a way to get Lectora Inspire modules into LearnDash, specifically with Tin Canny. We’ve had a few requests for Lectora in the past, but not enough to justify the development effort (and adding support for new authoring tools does take a fair bit of time). Regardless, we wanted to help if we could, and between Friday and Wednesday of this week we built support for xAPI and SCORM 1.2 Lectora files. Today’s release of Tin Canny 3.4 includes the Lectora support that we built for the NHS. It’s our first time working with Lectora Inspire but the data tracks well with Tin Canny Tin Canny now also supports front end versions of the Tin Can and xAPI Quiz reports. Those […]