Entries by Ryan

User Experience Improvements for Uncanny LearnDash Groups

One of the biggest challenges that users of our Uncanny LearnDash Groups plugin face is figuring out how everything works. It’s a plugin that started off with quite a basic footprint, but over the last 2 years we have continued innovating and adding some really exciting features. As we have done that, we know that it has increased the learning curve a noticeable amount, both for users of the plugin directly and for LearnDash Group Leaders. Because of that, the next few releases of the plugin will focus more on user experience. We need to make our giant plugin easier to manage, and that starts with today’s release of Uncanny LearnDash Groups 3.4. The Group Management table The biggest change in the 3.4 release is to the main Group Management page interface. When we launched the very first version, it was really simple; there was a way to add users and there were simple course and quiz reports. It was simple and uncluttered. Then we added a function to email users, an assignment management page, an essay management tool, a way to manage user progress… and it just got really busy and confusing. Here’s an example of what part of […]

How to ask for WordPress plugin support (the right way)

Uncanny Owl recently passed a big milestone for our Help Desk: Ticket #10,000. We started using a Help Desk system in 2016, before we started selling plugins, and it’s perhaps our most valuable tool. It’s the first thing we check in the morning, the last thing we check at night, and using it ensures that the thousands of customers that depend on us stay happy. After a few years of providing support to over 3,500 different people, we know all too well what makes a WordPress support ticket easy to resolve and what types of inquiries are going to drag on for some time. Everyone wants a quick fix to their question or problem, and while we as plugin vendors do our best, there’s a lot you can do as a plugin customer to make the process more efficient. In this article, we’ll outline the best ways for making sure that your problem is resolved quickly and accurately. Be specific Last Thursday I took a call from a plugin customer who wasn’t very happy with our product. Despite us having a 10 minute call about it, I still don’t know why he was unhappy. The best answer he could give […]

Use LearnDash Groups? Get this Toolkit Pro Update

Version 3.2.6 of the Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit Pro might sound like a small point release, but for users of LearnDash Groups, it’s going to make things a lot better. We worked really hard on this one to accommodate a number of user requests (including from the LearnDash team), so we know it’s going to add a lot of value. Send Group Drip Notifications The Group Drip module is now compatible with the LearnDash Notifications plugin! What does that mean for you? Well, if you control how lessons are dripped by LearnDash Group, it means you can send users an email when the lesson is available. Workarounds, like using a CRM to drip notices based on group tag, are no longer needed. This makes is much, much easier to let students know when content is available in their courses. Please note that while we did our best to make things as simple as possible, because of how the Notifications plugin works, having emails triggered by group drip date does unfortunately require that everything be set up in a particular order. Here’s what’s needed to make the notifications work: Create the Lesson Notification in the LearnDash Notifications plugin. Create or edit the lesson you’re going to drip. If […]

Manage LearnDash Course Progress for Learners

Websites using LearnDash Groups, rejoice! The 3.2 release of the Uncanny LearnDash Groups plugin just added an amazing new feature: a way for Group Leaders and administrators to view and edit learner progress in the front end. It’s got a great UI, it’s really simple to use, and our Manage Learner Progress tool is very powerful. Here’s a video that explains it: Just drill down into courses, click, and progress is updated automatically. It works for courses, lessons, topics and quizzes. If courses and lessons have associated lessons, topics and quizzes beneath them, those get automatically completed too.   Set up Front End Progress Management To use the new tool you must, of course, have the Uncanny LearnDash Groups plugin installed and activated. Once that’s done, the Manage Learner Progress page must be created manually by adding the [uo_groups_manage_progress] shortcode to a page. Once that’s added, Group Leaders and admins can start managing progress! Why manually create the page when other pages in the plugin are created automatically? We made that decision because a lot of LearnDash admins might not want their Group Leaders having this level of control. This way, it can’t be accidentally turned on. Once the shortcode is in […]

Manage Learner Progress

View and Manage Learner Progress Version 3.2 of the Uncanny LearnDash Groups plugin added the ability for Group Leaders and Administrators to view and (optionally) manage the progress of users in the front end. It’s a very powerful tool that makes it possible for Group Leaders to have even more oversight over their groups; the video below highlights the benefits. This hierarchy view of courses, lessons, topics and quizzes allows all of them be reviewed and marked complete or incomplete. For course and lesson completions, everything below those elements will also be marked completed. As of version 3.4.1, this page created automatically when the plugin is activated. Add a Manage or View Progress Page To allow Group Leaders and Administrators to view and/or manage learner progress, create a new WordPress page and add this shortcode: [uo_groups_manage_progress] The shortcode supports the following attributes: Whether admins and Group Leaders are given access to an editable or read-only view is controlled by the Allow Group Leaders to Manage Progress checkbox on the Uncanny LearnDash Groups settings page. Once the page is set up, you can optionally add a link to it from the Group Management page. To do this, look for the Progress […]

LearnDash 3.0 is out. Do you still need the Toolkit?

The LearnDash 3.0 release landed a few weeks ago, bringing with it lots of new features and a far better user experience for students and admins. It also added new login and registration options, meaning LearnDash site admins no longer need to rely on additional plugins to incorporate those features. With all of the LearnDash enhancements in the 3.0 release, it begs the question: Do LearnDash site owners still need the free version of the Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit?   What’s in the Toolkit? To consider the relevancy of the free Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit in a LearnDash 3.0 world, let’s review the modules included in the Toolkit: Breadcrumb Links: Allow easy navigation from inside lessons and topics back up to the course and student dashboard level. Certificate Widget: Output a list of earned certificates in a widget area with links to open the certificates. Front End Login: A login form that allows easy branding, password reset, recaptcha support and more. Groups in User Profiles: List groups that a user belongs to on the profile edit page in /wp-admin/. Hide Admin Bar: Hide the admin bar for users based on role. Log In/Log Out Links: Add links to menus to easily log in […]

xAPI Quiz Reporting: Beta

Today’s release of Tin Canny LearnDash Reporting added some extremely significant new features for anyone working with xAPI modules inside LearnDash. Because they are big changes and have not yet been tested extensively on live sites, for now we’re considering them “beta” additions and we recommend caution when trying them out. Track xAPI Quiz Scores The biggest change is that we now support collecting quiz data from xAPI records. For our current Tin Canny users, you know that in previous releases we collected scores and verbs from xAPI and SCORM records only. There were several reasons for this, but an important one was that earlier Tin Canny releases were not as efficient with very large sets of data and in early development we decided to capture and report on the most important data only so that we kept database records down and performance up. We estimate that around 10% of Tin Canny users requested that we add quiz data as well though, so now, in beta form, we’re making that option available. Here’s what we came up with as a starting point: This is going to be hugely beneficial to sites that offer quiz questions inside uploaded modules, because it now makes […]

Site Check

Having some trouble with Tin Canny? Before you file a support ticket, versions 3.2 and higher of Tin Canny include a Site Check tool to quickly diagnose common problems. If you experience issues related to modules not loading, the Mark Complete button not unlocking, or xAPI not being tracked, start with this. Using the check is as easy as visiting the Site Check tab in the Tin Canny section of /wp-admin/. If you’ve made changes, click the Re-check button to validate the new settings. Anything that doesn’t pass suggests that you will have problems with Tin Canny operations and the system will suggest possible causes. If you can’t resolve them on your own, reach out to Uncanny Owl support and we can lend a hand.

Pro Updates: Faster Learndash and a New Dashboard

Every time we make a blog post about one of our plugin updates it’s because it’s a huge update with new features, and for today’s Uncanny Learndash Toolkit Pro 3.2 update that’s especially true. This one has been in development for quite some time, and the new features are going to make a huge difference to LearnDash sites, especially ones with a lot of content. Faster LearnDash Lesson & Topic Performance We’re most excited about adding a new Lazy Loading Course Navigation tool. We get inquiries all the time about how to improve LearnDash site performance at the enterprise level. This includes sites with potentially hundreds of courses and thousands of LearnDash lessons and topics. On those sites, things can really get slowed down just because of the volume of content; queries get really heavy just to check course content relationships and progress within courses. On larger sites, we’ve seen these queries add seconds (yes, plural) to every page load that students make inside a course. You can’t really take away navigation aids from inside courses—but you can now load them after the rest of the page loads. That’s what our new [uo-course-navigation] shortcode does. Use it in place of the normal […]

Lazy Loading Course Navigation

Note: This module requires version 3.2 or higher of the Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit Pro plugin. The Lazy Loading Course Navigation module adds a very simple feature to LearnDash sites: it replaces the default Course Navigation widget with one that loads after the rest of the page loads. On sites with a lot of LearnDash posts (courses, lessons, topics and quizzes), this behaviour change can result in pages inside courses loading in up to 25% faster than with the standard Course Navigation widget. To use the Lazy Loading Course Navigation tool, turn on the module in the Toolkit settings, then add this shortcode to wherever you want to use it (typically in a widget area for a sidebar): [uo-course-navigation] The Lazy Loading Navigation module will inherit styles used for the standard Course Navigation widget in LearnDash. You can also add an extra title above the navigation widget using the module Settings, but in most cases we recommend leaving it blank. Please note that this module is intended primarily for sites with a lot of LearnDash courses, lessons, topics and/or quizzes. Smaller sites won’t see much benefit from this tool and may prefer to continue using the standard LearnDash Course Navigation widget instead.