Entries by Ryan Moore

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 […]

Introducing Automatic Template Overrides

We’re in the middle of another big round of plugin updates and perhaps one of the most exciting addition to our plugins is support for template overrides. Basically, this feature allows you to take key HTML elements from our plugins, copy the templates into your child theme, make modifications to them, and not be worried about your customizations disappearing when you update the plugins. Last week’s Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit Pro (3.1) and LearnDash Groups (3.0.4) and this week’s Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit (3.1) updates are the first to support this new behavior. Using the overrides is really easy; find something you want to override in the /src/templates folders of our plugins, copy that file to your child theme (into an /uncanny-toolkit/ folder for the Toolkit plugins, /uncanny-groups/ for the Groups plugin), and then apply your changes to the new file.  If the file is in a subfolder of the /src/templates folder, replicate the same folder structure inside the override folder, but drop the /templates path  (e.g. /src/templates/frontend-login/default-login.php would go in /your-child-theme/uncanny-toolkit/frontend-login/default-login.php). Certainly this feature is intended primarily for developers, who can build some very powerful features using our plugins as a base. Perhaps you want to add a new field to our […]

Tin Canny 3.0

We’ve had some big 3.0 plugin releases over the last few weeks, but today’s Tin Canny release is the biggest overhaul yet. It’s basically a complete rewrite of the reporting engine to improve performance and scalability on larger sites, with lots of smaller improvements and new features thrown in to round things out. Almost everything about reporting is now different, so if you’re an existing user, we highly recommend testing on a Staging site first. Beyond the improvements behind the scenes, there’s a lot different on the front end too—starting with a complete redesign of all reports and charts. They’re far more mobile-friendly and easy to use. Breadcrumb links are new, and now individual user reports include Gravatar images if available for your users. This helps to personalize reports and make them more visually appealing. Tin Canny hadn’t yet fully supported Adobe Captivate 2019, but now it does! The 3.0 release of Tin Canny will help you get more out of Captivate on your LearnDash sites—as will even more controls over resetting Tin Canny SCORM and xAPI records. Tin Canny 3.0 supports purging records for individual users. For testing purposes or clearing bad data, this is going to be a big help […]

Uncanny LearnDash Groups 3.0

It’s time for another 3.0 plugin release! We’ve had some big 3.0 releases over the last few weeks, but today’s Uncanny LearnDash Groups 3.0 update is really in a class of its own with new features. If you use LearnDash Groups, you should be very excited. One thing that really set our Groups plugin apart was the flexible ecommerce offerings it made possible. You could create and sell course bundles to organizations, let people pick and choose their own courses to create groups, even set up all of that with subscription support. But it never offered a way for learners to add themselves to groups with a purchase. Well, now it does. Learners can buy a WooCommerce product that adds them to a LearnDash Group automatically. Just create a product, map it to a LearnDash Group, and anyone that buys it gets added to the group. No codes, no changing the user to a Group Leader, the learner just gets instantly added to the group. And did we mention full support for subscriptions with the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin? That’s right, set up a subscription product, map it to a group, and the user gets access to the group but only for as long as they […]

Uncanny LearnDash Codes 3.0

Following up on our recent Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit, Pro and Continuing Education Credits 3.0 releases, today we’re excited to announce the 3.0 version of our popular Codes plugin for LearnDash! The Uncanny LearnDash Enrollment Codes plugin makes it easy to add learners to LearnDash courses and groups using codes you can generate on your website. It’s often used to sell access to LearnDash courses and groups from another website (such as from Shopify), completely offline (a popular use is bundling codes in book sales or posting codes at trade shows), or even shared in newsletters. It opens up a world of opportunities for getting people onto your WordPress site and into LearnDash courses. In the 3.0 release we’re adding some frequently requested features that make it even easier to manage large sets of codes. A recent client project that required generating and managing over one million codes inspired us to add powerful code search capabilities and a way to expire coupon codes by date and time—automatically. As with all of our 3.0 releases, the new Codes update also includes some Gutenberg blocks as well as the new Uncanny 3.0 architecture. This includes easier access to support resources and our help desk. For […]

Continuing Education Credits 3.0

As part of our series of 3.0 releases for our LearnDash plugins, today marks the release of the 3.0 update for Uncanny Continuing Education Credits. While Pro, Tin Canny and Groups tend to get all the attention, the Continuing Education Credits plugin is one that has been invaluable for some of our own projects, especially for the permanent record it creates of LearnDash course completions. With the latest changes, we’re confident it will be an even bigger asset to sites offering continuing education credits and compliance training. Here’s some of what’s changing in the 3.0 release: New Report Designs: We’ve completely redesigned both admin and front end reports so that everything is modern, responsive, and more intuitive. New Report Filters: Filter admin reports by date range, user or group. It’s even easier to get to the specific data you need. Gutenberg Block Support: We’re adding eight new Gutenberg blocks for shortcodes and reports to make it easier to incorporate credit reporting into the front end of your LearnDash site. Uncanny 3.0 Plugin Architecture: Now it’s even easier to get support right from your WordPress site and the control panel is aligned with our other plugins. The 3.0 release also includes a number […]

Annual Compliance Programs with WordPress

It seems like a simple scenario: Staff need to complete the same courses every year and those completions need to be tracked. Yet, if you deliver your elearning programs with WordPress, you probably know how difficult this is to achieve. Here’s where things with a WordPress-based LMS start to break down: WordPress LMS plugins don’t track historical completions. Once a learner completes the course once, that’s it. They can’t trigger a second completion. If you reset course progress, it resets everything. That’s probably why plugins make it difficult or impossible to reset progress. With the help of some addon plugins, however, it is absolutely possible to use WordPress as a platform to deliver annual compliance training. This article outlines how you can do it with the popular LearnDash LMS plugin for WordPress. Create a Permanent Record of Course Completions This is really the most important step. If you can’t track historical completions, you can’t offer annual compliance programs. Fortunately, one of our commercial LearnDash plugins makes this easy. The Uncanny Continuing Education Credits plugin automatically creates a permanent record of completions as users finish courses. Don’t let the name fool you; the plugin does far more than award credits for completing courses. And, […]

Tin Canny Meets Gutenberg

Happy WordPress 5.0 Release Day! Are you ready for Gutenberg? Or, more importantly, are your plugins? If you use Uncanny Owl plugins on your LearnDash site, you might be ready. Users of the Pro modules of the Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit, Groups, Continuing Education Credits and Codes plugins are all set with the latest versions available from our site without needing to update. But if you use Tin Canny, make sure to update to version 2.9.9 or higher to use the Tin Canny uploader! Without it, you will not be able to upload your SCORM and xAPI modules to your LearnDash courses. Tin Canny 2.9.9 isn’t just about Gutenberg though. It’s a big release and the last update before the 3.0 release later this month, so we wanted to talk through some of the changes and what they mean for your site. Most important is, of course, the Gutenberg uploader for Tin Canny. It’s completely different than what you’re used to seeing for Tin Canny. Uploading modules is now done in Gutenberg using the “Tin Canny Content” block. By clicking that, you can choose to Upload a new module or Select from Library any existing content. All of the controls you’re used to for your modules […]

What’s New in LearnDash Toolkit Pro 2.5?

Yesterday’s release of the Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit Pro 2.5 update included a few very highly requested features, so we wanted to highlight exactly what’s now available in a blog post. First up, there’s a brand new module: LearnDash Reset Button. We kept this one simple, but it’s powerful. When triggered, it allows users (or the system) to completely reset a user’s progress in a course. An example of this might be when a user has already completed a course but must retake it. In those situations the user may want to reset their progress first so they can start again, and this button is a great way to do that. Want to make sure users only see the button after they’ve completed a course? Wrap it in the shortcode! This module also includes a PHP function to reset course progress, handy for developers that perhaps want to reset progress when users repurchase a product. Learn more about this new module over in our Knowledge Base. We also have big changes for our Enhanced Course Grid module, one of our most popular modules in Pro.  Users have long requested that there be a way to resume courses. The most recent release of our free LearnDash […]

New Front End Quiz Reports

One of our Tin Canny customers came to us with a great question: How can my instructors and students easily track performance across both LearnDash AND xAPI/SCORM modules? Tin Canny does a pretty good job with LearnDash results, but xAPI results are harder to analyze and none of our existing reports combine all scores together (LearnDash and xAPI). So, to help that client out, we created some new reports—and those new reports are now available in version 2.9.5 and higher of Tin Canny. The first new report is a front end Group Leader quiz report. Administrators and Group Leaders can use the report to view LearnDash quiz and all scores tracked by Tin Canny (so H5P, iSpring, Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline and Rise) by group and by course. That means no digging into the Tin Can report in the back end and reconciling it with LearnDash quiz scores to get consolidated results. It’s all in a single report. Better yet, if quiz statistics were turned on for LearnDash quizzes, the new report also links to detailed quiz results, including a user’s answers and quiz times. (No such reports are available for Tin Canny scores, unfortunately, as those are LearnDash-only reports.) […]

We’re Going to Change How You Use WordPress

About 8 months ago, we had an idea that got us very excited. We wanted to personalize learning and give users the right direction and feedback they needed at the right time, and to do that, we started looking into an Trigger > Condition > Action model. We could watch for things to happen on an elearning site (a trigger), check a condition, then automatically do something else (an action) if the requirements were met. It’s a simple model, but with it, we would be able to completely personalize learning. That led us to start thinking bigger. If we’re going to build this architecture for one plugin (LearnDash), why not just build it out and make it work with lots of WordPress plugins ? The possibilities seemed endless. We could make one plugin, or several plugins, trigger actions in other plugins. Not only would it would a system like that make it easy to connect plugins and automate workflows, but we could eliminate the need for one-off plugins that just connected 2 plugins together in very simple ways. So, one thousand development hours and 6 months of development time later, we built the framework for a plugin that does all […]

How Are We Doing? Part 2

One year ago today we posted a reflective article about feedback from our customers about our performance. At that time we had been using a Help Desk system for over a year, and that allowed us to start collecting metrics and feedback from some of our plugin customers and development clients. A year later, we wanted to look back and reflect on how things have changed for us. For one thing, we’re definitely a lot busier! And, as we come up on our 5 year anniversary (next week!), it’s even more important to take a look at what growth has meant to our level of service. Here are some key stats for Uncanny Owl over the last 12 months: (The number of sites using our plugins may actually be a fair bit higher than 10,000, as we can only accurately say that it’s somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000; we suspect it’s around 11,000 at the time of writing.) It’s a lot of growth! Installs and support requests have more than doubled over the last year. And even with that growth, we’ve been able to improve the level of satisfaction across our support channels. Keep in mind too that those are only […]

Build Better Group Leader Front End Experiences

It’s really satisfying to see our LearnDash plugins grow and mature. Uncanny LearnDash Groups is still (at the time this article was published) our newest plug public plugin, and with the recent 2.x changes, we have reached a point where development is quite stable. It’s great to see how happy people are with the product too; in the last week alone, customers wrote to tell us that the Groups plugin is “absolutely awesome” (Jonathan B) and a “very useful addition [that I] strongly recommend” (Julia R). As it is a very complex plugin, however, we know that some users still find it challenging to create great user experiences around it on their sites. Recently we have particularly seen an uptick from customers asking how to make things easier for Group Leaders, especially how they should manage groups both post-purchase and on an ongoing basis. How should I get new Group Leaders to the Group Management page? How do I separate Student and Group Leader experiences? How do I teach Group Leaders what they should be doing? These questions and others do pose a challenge for some of our plugin users, especially because designing the right workflows aren’t necessarily part of the […]

Uncanny LearnDash Groups: Part 2

Uncanny LearnDash Groups users: This is the update you’ve been waiting for. Everyone else: Time to get excited about LearnDash Groups. Version 2.0 of the Uncanny LearnDash Groups plugin is out, and it’s a huge upgrade. Version 2.0 includes LearnDash Group Subscription support, major UI changes, many new shortcode parameters for front end customizations, better translation support, and over a dozen other important fixes and updates. Yes, there is finally support for WooCommerce Subscriptions! Certainly our most requested feature, you can now collect recurring payments for group purchases. Note, however, that we only support subscriptions for Group License products created by an administrator, not custom Group Licenses built by customers using the [uo_group_buy_courses] shortcode, and once purchased, the number of seats and courses for the group cannot be changed by Group Leaders. We’re constrained by limitations with the Subscriptions plugin, but we’ll be looking into possible solutions for those barriers in the next few months. Our documentation will be updated shortly to fully explain subscription use, but if you’re a current plugin user and want to get started, create the LearnDash Group Course products as you normally would, then use a Simple Subscription product (instead of a Group License product) to bundle the courses and sell […]

Improve Your LearnDash Course Sales Workflow

Do your visitors get confused about how to buy your course? Course pages in LearnDash tend to have two audiences: enrolled students and potential students. That can make things a bit confusing. Do you tailor the content and experience to the learner, or do you make the experience more intuitive for prospective buyers? You can absolutely do both (the visitor and student shortcodes come in handy here), but it does make managing the content and using page builders more difficult. In the latest version (2.3) of our free Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit plugin, we added a very simple new module that can make things easier for some sites. What it does is simple: If a person trying to access a course page is not enrolled in the course, the system redirects them to another URL. That’s it, the behaviour is very simple. Where this comes in really handy though is with both our course grid module in the Toolkit Pro plugin as well as the LearnDash grid add-on. Using either of those, now you have a way to control the behaviour when users click courses in the grid. If they click a course in the grid and they have access, the users get to the […]

Front End Reporting Solutions for LearnDash

It’s been a constant request from LearnDash users ever since we started building WordPress platforms: “We need better front end reports.” End users don’t like CSV files. They also get confused in the back end, even if they’re Group Leaders. LearnDash users needed a better way. Gradually some viable solutions started to appear in the LearnDash community. ProPanel add front end widgets a few months ago, and third parties like 247digitalclassrooms started to fill in some gaps. We added some compelling options ourselves, but after a year of countless requests, we’re finally bringing our most requested reports to the front end. Front End Reporting Comes to Tin Canny Version 2.2 of our Tin Canny LearnDash Reporting plugin adds the Course and User reports you’re familiar with in the back end to the front end. Group Leaders can finally access drill-down summary and student reports without requiring access to the back end of your WordPress site. On top of that, we have also added a filter for groups, so Group Leaders no longer have to look at combined data for all of their groups if they don’t want to. It’s super simple to use the new front end reports. Simply drop a [tincanny] shortcode on […]

Updates? We’ve Got Updates!

It’s been a very busy 2 weeks in the LearnDash world. Version 2.5 of LearnDash was released on November 7, bringing long-awaited features like a visual course builder and the ability to include lessons and topics in multiple courses. The latter is a fundamental change to how courses can be organized and developed. For LearnDash users, the changes bring welcome new features and far more flexible ways to author courses. And for plugin developers like us, we have to rethink how course relationships work and find new solutions when there are significant architectural changes to the plugins we depend on. For the last 2 weeks we’ve been working tirelessly to add proper support for LearnDash 2.5 to our plugins. This wasn’t always easy, as LearnDash changed how lessons, topics and quizzes mapped to courses—and with plugins as big and as complex as ours, we have a lot of code that has to look up course relationships, labels, and more. We released a significant update to the Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit 2 weeks ago that addressed several 2.5 related issues and also added a simple new module for easy User Switching. That plugin has now crossed the 8,000 active installs barrier (yay!) and no issues tied to […]

How We Made LearnDash 75 Times Faster

Important: This article examines how we modified certain parts of LearnDash to improve performance on high volume/enterprise sites. LearnDash itself is not slow, but some parts of it are designed for convenience rather than performance. For the vast majority of LearnDash sites, the optimizations discussed below are unnecessary and could be dangerous. This article is intended for very large sites where scalability and performance are critical.  We see a lot of projects that really push LearnDash to its limits, and for a sub-$200 WordPress plugin, those limits are surprisingly high. LearnDash is generally an efficient plugin that serves the vast majority of its customers very well, but every so often, an organization wants to see how well it can really perform at scale. The typical LearnDash site we see might expect up to 15 simultaneous learners (even on sites with upwards of 1,000 users) and perhaps 200 LearnDash posts. We  support several, however, that have hundreds of simultaneous learners and thousands of LearnDash posts (courses, lessons, topics and quizzes). At that level, everything gets harder and keeping everything running smoothly requires tuning performance wherever we can. What we observed on extremely large sites, especially after total courses crossed the 100 level, total quizzes exceeded 1,000 and we […]

Where to Find LearnDash Training, Tutorials and Documentation

Building a robust and polished LearnDash site can be quite difficult. We’ve been doing it for over 4 years now and we’re still discovering new and better ways to build sites. We definitely have an edge with a team of skilled developers and LearnDash experts at our disposal, but we’re all too aware of some of the challenges faced by for new WordPress users and even experienced developers. This article came about because we still get countless inquiries from people who recognize that LearnDash is a powerful tool that can probably help them—but that’s really as much as they know. They don’t know how to get started and don’t know where to turn to find more information, guidance, and support. We unfortunately find, time and again, that people simply aren’t aware of some of the great LearnDash resources (including tutorials, screencasts and documentation) that are available. We’re hoping that this article saves those users some confusion and frustration. Start with the Source The LearnDash Support Site is an invaluable resource that not all LearnDash users seem to know about. If you haven’t bought a license yet, you might not even know it exists! It’s easily as valuable as the plugin itself though. There […]

Use LearnDash Groups? You Need This.

We heard your requests for better group management in LearnDash and we listened! Today we’re releasing our Uncanny LearnDash Groups plugin, and it’s going to completely change what you and your Group Leaders can do with LearnDash groups. The plugin adds features in 3 main areas to your LearnDash elearning sites: Selling courses and seats to organizations. Managing groups in the front end. Front end reports for Group Leaders. This plugin has something for everyone—maybe you just need front end group reports, or maybe you simply need a way to sell custom course bundles to organizations that you support. Use as much or as little as you need. Here’s a video that explains how the plugin adds new opportunities for using LearnDash Groups on your site: Group Management Made Easy If you currently manage groups or support Group Leaders, Uncanny LearnDash Groups will make your life a lot easier. After installing the plugin your Group Leaders can do everything themselves. No more emails to you and spending your time settings things up! Whether groups are set up through a purchase or by you, Group Leaders can add or remove users (with limits; no-one can cheat the system) and monitor progress. […]

Uncanny LP Is Now Available

WordPress has become a very strong platform for elearning over the last few years. With such wide use, great elearning tools, flexibility and strong development community, there are a lot of advantages over proprietary Learning Management systems and platforms that only do elearning. There is a tradeoff though: it’s hard to build and support robust elearning sites with WordPress. It typically takes months to get a site off the ground and a skilled developer is needed to do things well. For many people that puts a WordPress elearning platform out of reach—until now. Uncanny LP, a hosted platform powered by WordPress and LearnDash,  finally makes it possible for businesses to launch polished elearning sites quickly and easily without any development. Uncanny LP includes the basics that every site needs to launch and to deliver an engaging learning experience. From LMS tools and ecommerce to event management and gamification, it’s a complete platform that works seamlessly for everyone wanting a working LearnDash site without the need for an experienced developer. What is Uncanny LP? Uncanny LP is a complete learning platform that we built from the ground up to provide what many organizations tell us they want in a WordPress LMS platform. […]

The Uncanny LP Beta is Ending!

Here’s something our clients and followers may not know: we’ve been running a beta for a secret LearnDash hosted platform for the last month. We didn’t want to attract too much attention while we were testing it, but for some of our dedicated followers and a few very determined searchers, they’ve had a month to explore Uncanny LP (Learning Platform). Uncanny LP is our easy-to-use, complete LearnDash platform that will make launching and managing a WordPress LMS a lot more accessible to everyone. The Uncanny LP beta will be closing on Sunday, September 17, so that we can officially launch LP on Monday, September 18. There are 3 spots left in the beta at the time of this posting to lock in LP permanently at the discounted beta price. This is the only launch discount we will be offering. To find out more about the platform, visit https://uncannylp.com. We’ll talk a lot more about LP and how it can be used after launch, but at a high level it lets anyone deploy a polished WordPress elearning platform in 24 hours at very low cost. It supports elearning (with LearnDash, of course), ecommerce, event management, gamification, social sharing and more, plus it […]

A LearnDash Course Completion Report for Everyone

Have you ever wanted an easy way for learners, managers, parents, administrators, or anyone else to verify course completion records? Especially if they don’t have WordPress accounts? Until recently, there has been no way to make this possible with LearnDash. Administrators and Group Leaders have several options, between LearnDash CSV reports, ProPanel, Tin Canny and other plugins, but access to the data is heavily restricted. We introduced a great way to verify course completions a few weeks ago but we didn’t draw a lot of attention to it. It’s part of our new Continuing Education Credit plugin, and the front end course completion report was one of the features we were most excited about. Even though the name might suggest otherwise, the plugin does not require you offer credit for your courses. In fact, it offers several features (multi-course certificates are another) that don’t depend on courses with credits. EVERY LearnDash site stands to benefit from having the plugin. [et_bloom_inline optin_id=”optin_2″] Check out the screenshot below of our course completion report (notice the lack of CEU reporting in this version!). This is in the front end on a regular WordPress page and it can be used by anyone, regardless of whether or not the user has an account […]

LearnDash Required Course Credits

Two weeks ago we introduced Uncanny Continuing Education Credits, a plugin that helps LearnDash sites track, manage and report on CEUs and CPD continuing education credits for their learners. While a great plugin on its own, we felt like it was missing something at launch: the ability to set credit requirements. Sure, version 1 could report on credits earned and track annual credit totals, but there was no way to compare what someone had earned against what they should earn. Today, in the first major update to the Continuing Education plugin, we’re adding an exciting new feature: Required Credits. With version 1.1, administrators can set and track credit requirements for individuals and groups. Credit requirements are really easy to set up and track. Here’s a screencast explaining the new features and how they work: In the front end, we’re adding new shortcodes to track how many days are left to earn credits against the rollover date ([uo_ceu_days_remaining]) and to look up how many credits a user still needs to earn ([uo_ceu_credits_remaining]) before the annual rollover date. These are great tools for helping your learners plan their training activities. You can also send out email reminders to students that haven’t met their credit requirements. […]

Use BadgeOS? Try This

If you’re a BadgeOS user, you’ve probably noticed that the plugin hasn’t been updated for almost a year. Conflicts with the latest version of WooCommerce and other plugins have made it virtually impossible to use BadgeOS on many sites, and as we have a lot of LearnDash sites relying on BadgeOS, the situation became rather difficult for us. As future support of BadgeOS is unknown, we decided to implement some fixes ourselves for our clients. We know a lot of people are affected by these issues though, so we thought it would be helpful to release our patched plugin to the wider community. Having said that, there are some caveats: This is not a plugin we will be maintaining or supporting. If you want to use this code, it’s at your own risk. This is purely to address some common issues that we know site owners are struggling to address themselves with BadgeOS version 1.4.8.2. We currently have no plans to keep this updated. Right now it’s a short term fix. This plugin may or may not work with third-party integrations. We fixed some common issues that affected our clients and plugins. We have no relationship with the BadgeOS developers. We’re just filling […]

New Course Certificates and Lesson/Topic Grids!

As we head into the 1-year anniversary of our Pro plugin for the Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit, our most popular product, we’re excited to announce 3 new features that will make life easier for many LearnDash admins! Today’s 2.1 release, available to all new and existing Pro users, adds the ability to send course certificates as PDF files on course completion, a new grid option for lessons and topics, and a new attribute that makes our dashboard module a lot more flexible. Send Course Certificates by Email We’ve supported sending LearnDash certificates as PDF files with quizzes for a long time, but the ability to send course certificates to learners, Group Leaders, administrators and other users was a gap. In this release we’re adding support for emailing those certificates, which are triggered on course completion and sent exactly as quiz certificates would be. The functionality is largely the same as the quiz certificates function but this is set up as its own module. It can be used with or without the quiz certificate emails; there are no dependencies. For easier retrieval of certificates, you can save the files to your web server and we’re including the user’s email address in the […]

How Are We Doing?

It’s been about a year now since we started using a Help Desk platform for inquiries and support, and besides being an invaluable tool for managing all of our conversations, it’s given us real insight into how our clients feel about our performance. The Help Desk has allowed us to capture a lot more feedback and we thought it might be interesting to share some of the metrics and feedback we’ve collected with the public. A year later, we’ve received 3,300 emails and conducted 1,100 conversations with 620 people. Whew! Without the Help Desk system I don’t know how we would have managed. Crunching the numbers, that’s about 12 incoming emails per working day about new projects, support requests, plugin questions and more. What’s even more interesting is that across all of those thousands of emails, approximately 20% have left feedback about the interactions to let us know how we’re doing. That’s huge! And we’re so grateful for the extra time people have taken to give us that insight. Here’s what our numbers look like over the past year: Yes, there was one comment from a random person who wasn’t happy at all (after I pointed out that we weren’t the […]

How to Choose a LearnDash Developer

As LearnDash developers with some visibility in the WordPress LMS community, we get a lot of requests to fix bad projects. It’s so easy for things to go wrong, and selecting the wrong partner can often mean the project is doomed before you even start. In this post we’ll explore the most important things to consider when choosing a developer for any WordPress elearning project. Our expertise is in LearnDash, but all of this applies equally to LifterLMS, Sensei, and any other WordPress LMS plugin that you’re building your platform around. This post isn’t about selling our services; we’re already at capacity and have unfortunately had to stop accepting new clients several times recently. What we want to do with this blog post is raise awareness so that when you are looking for a partner to help build your LearnDash site you better understand how to choose an organization that is competent and will be able to deliver a robust platform that meets your needs. If you’re starting out on your first LearnDash development project, here are some things to consider as you look for a partner: Start with a conversation. We really find that emails don’t work well enough […]

A Pro 2.0 Easter Egg!

We’ve had some great feedback on our 2.0 update to the Toolkit Pro plugin after it was released last week. It included the new Import LearnDash Users module (which is huge and essential with large user import lists) as well as lots of other improvements and new features. But did you know that it included another brand new module? We didn’t! Oops. Due to an oversight with the move to 2.0 (and what that meant behind the scenes in our repository branches), a module we hadn’t planned on releasing yet was included. Luckily it did work and had been through testing, but we only discovered that it had been included this week. So, now that it’s out, we’re pleased to introduce the Autocomplete Lessons & Topics on Gravity Forms Submission module! That’s a very long name for a module that does exactly what it says it will do—complete LearnDash lessons and topics on submission of a Gravity Form. The module came about because we’ve seen so many users lose their form entries on LearnDash pages. By adding a form, users then see a Submit button (for the form) and Mark Complete button (for LearnDash). It’s not always clear that Submit must be clicked before […]

What Else is New in Toolkit 2.0?

The new Import LearnDash Users module may have stolen the show on Monday’s release of 2.0 versions of both the Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit and the Pro Modules add-on, but there were actually a lot of significant enhancements that deserve more attention. Some of them fundamentally change how you’ll interact with the Toolkit on your sites. Module Settings We’ve added a lot of new modules to the Toolkit suite since we first launched it and the settings page for it was starting to feel too busy. To make things easier to manage, we’ve added new filters for module type, module category and status. Now it’s a lot easier to see the modules in a more organized way. We also recognized that having to turn modules on and off and then save the changes at the bottom of the pages was causing some confusion. A lot of people expected clicking the switches alone to turn modules on and off, so that’s what we did. Now you can click the switch and you’ll get a confirmation almost immediately that the status change was saved. We know a lot of users will appreciate no longer having to worry about forgetting to click the Save button. […]

Import LearnDash Users

The Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit is now trusted on our 4,000 LearnDash sites to improve the learner experience and make things easier for site admins. It is by far the most popular free LearnDash plugin in the WordPress repository, and our Pro modules add-on continues to bring new improvements and capabilities to LearnDash sites. Today we’re very pleased to introduce version 2.0 of both the Toolkit and Pro modules. The free Toolkit makes configuration activities less confusing, and the Pro plugin adds one of our biggest module additions ever: the ability to import users via CSV file and add them directly to LearnDash courses and groups. If you’re asking yourself why that might be needed when there are several plugins that support importing users via CSV and adding them to groups by including usermeta values, once you see our module it will be very clear how much safer and more efficient our approach is. The new Import LearnDash Users module, available today to all Pro plugin users at no extra cost, gives you an easy-to-use interface to choose which courses and groups to add users to. It allows custom (and optional) notification emails with lots of variables to make sure learners […]

LearnDash Groups for Tin Canny

Wednesday’s update to our popular Tin Canny LearnDash Reporting plugin, which adds easy LearnDash and xAPI/Tin Can reporting to WordPress sites, introduced Group Leader access to the Tin Canny reports. With this change, LearnDash Group Leaders now have access to a powerful reporting tool to better understand the learning activities and training records of learners in their groups. Group Leaders can drill down into the courses and users assigned to their LearnDash Groups to see both summary and granular details about the activities of their learners. As always, Tin Canny remains a back end reporting tool, making access consistent with ProPanel and LearnDash Group Leader tools. Access for Group Leaders is automatic; nothing needs to be turned on and Group Leaders can immediately see all existing records. Do note that Group Leaders see everything for their assigned groups as consolidated data, so if Group Leaders are assigned to multiple groups, they will see all data together in the LearnDash reports. (Tin Can reports can, as before, be filtered by LearnDash Group.) We’re really excited with this release and it’s a very big change that took weeks of development. The new addition is going to make it a lot easier for Group Leaders to gain […]

Introducing Native SCORM Support for WordPress

The Tin Canny LearnDash Reporting plugin has been a very interesting initiative for us. It opened up LearnDash in a bigger way to enterprise users and proved that it was possible to use WordPress as a viable Learning Record Store (LRS) with advanced reporting. Organizations around the world are now using it, but one thing that’s always been missing is a way to capture SCORM data inside LearnDash. Maybe a business had some content output to SCORM that they couldn’t republish to Tin Can/xAPI, or maybe they were using a product like Articulate Rise, which doesn’t even support Tin Can/xAPI. Whatever the case, today we’re very excited to announce that SCORM modules can be tracked natively inside WordPress with our Tin Canny plugin. At this time of this post, the Tin Canny plugin officially supports SCORM 1.2 and 2004 as well as xAPI / Tin Can for Articulate Storyline 2, Storyline 360, Articulate Rise (SCORM only), iSpring, Adobe Captivate 9 and H5P (xAPI/Tin Can only). It’s been a lot of work but we’re especially excited to welcome Rise, iSpring and Storyline 360 to the plugin. Please note that this is the first release for supporting all of this modules, so it’s […]

New Modules for LearnDash Pro Toolkit

Yesterday we released version 1.4 of the Pro modules plugin for the Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit and it’s one of our biggest updates yet. Along with the usual suite of improvements, we introduced three entirely new modules: Send LearnDash Certificates by Email, Complete Lesson/Topic on Quiz Completion, and the Group Leader Experience. All 3 have been very popular requests and we’re very excited to be able to include them in the Pro plugin. All new features are, of course, available at no extra cost to existing users. Here’s a screencast that outlines how the new modules and other changes work: The biggest addition to the plugin is the ability to send LearnDash PDF certificates by email on quiz completion. Certificates can go to learners, of course, but even more exciting is that the site admin, Group Leaders, and even custom email addresses can be notified and also receive the certificate attachment. It’s a great way for managers and organizations to track staff achievements. One caveat with this module is that it works with quiz certificates only for now (not course certificates), but we know a lot of people are going to be excited about easy certificate distribution by email! The Autocomplete Lessons […]

New Code-Based Enrolment Plugin for LearnDash

If you’ve ever wished for an easier way to get your learners into LearnDash Groups or courses, our newest plugin is perfect for you! We’ve built a really easy way to generate codes that can be used by learners to self-enrol into LearnDash groups and courses when they register, make a purchase, or are simply signed in. If you sell course access to organizations, you can use the Uncanny LearnDash Codes plugin to generate and distribute codes that can be redeemed for LearnDash access. Using Gravity Forms, Theme My Login or the included registration shortcode, users can enter a code during registration that adds them directly to a group or course. Create codes with custom prefixes and suffixes to identify clients, and distribute codes in CSV files to your partners. You can also control how many times a code can be redeemed, so if it’s better for your situation to distribute a single code with multiple uses, that works too. Here’s a screencast that walks through exactly what the plugin does and how it works: The plugin also supports integration with WooCommerce and independent enrolment. For ecommerce transactions, you can identify specific products that can only be purchased with a […]

ProPanel 2.0 or Tin Canny for LearnDash Reporting?

Yesterday marked the release of the ProPanel 2.0 plugin for LearnDash, which is a very exciting improvement for LearnDash users. We’re very pleased to see it available and it makes sense to include it on many of the LearnDash sites we support. Now that it is available, we expect to see a lot more questions from LearnDash users about whether it makes sense to use our Tin Canny LearnDash Reporting plugin or ProPanel, so in this post we’ll explain some of the differences and why one and/or the other might be appropriate for your site. First, the 2 plugins are not directly competitive and they serve very different purposes. We fully expect to use both ProPanel 2.0 and the Tin Canny plugin on many of our sites. They actually work quite well together as complementary tools. Our Tin Canny plugin is purely a reporting plugin for site administrators (at the moment). ProPanel 2.0 includes an invaluable tool for emailing learners by group and completion status, a learning activity stream, a Group Leader view, and easy access to assignments and essays. Tin Canny doesn’t do any of these things, and we never expect to add anything related to emailing, essays or assignments. If you […]

What’s New with Uncanny Owl Plugins?

We’re continuously improving our plugins and making sure they’re the best possible products for our users. Unfortunately, sometimes we overlook communicating new features and talking about how they can make your LearnDash sites even better. Here’s what you may have missed over the last few months: Pro Modules for Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit In version 1.2 we added a new module to clearly label sample lessons. Out of the box it’s not always obvious to users which lessons are samples in LearnDash, so in tables that list lessons we add a very clear label and introduced controls styling that label. You can even change the text, so instead of “Sample” you could use “Preview” or “Free”. More information is available at https://www.uncannyowl.com/knowledge-base/sample-lesson-label/. In version 1.3 we added a new quiz time control that restricts access to a quiz unless users have spent a certain number of minutes in a course. For courses where you need to prevent learners from completing a course unless they’ve spent a minimum amount of time within it, this can be invaluable. We also added some navigation controls that were removed in LearnDash 2.3 that make workflow more intuitive for learners when autocompletion behaviours are enabled. Finally, version 1.3 […]

Great LearnDash Plugins You Don’t Know About

LearnDash users are fortunate to have dozens of plugins available that extend its functionality and make it easy to integrate with other plugins and apps. Some of those plugins enjoy very wide recognition, including our own useful LearnDash plugins (our free LearnDash Toolkit is now installed on over 7,000 LearnDash sites and is the most installed LearnDash plugin in the WordPress repository). Other plugins are showcased on the LearnDash site, but there are many others still flying under the radar. We want to introduce a few of them to you in this article. WP Fusion We love it when LearnDash clients incorporate marketing automation tools into the delivery of their elearning programs to make them more engaging and improve learning outcomes. Historically this was the realm of Memberium and Infusionsoft, and while both tools work reasonably well, as developers we were never particularly fond of using either (and invariably ran into complications setting them up for clients). We much prefer using Active Campaign for simple marketing automation (it’s what we use ourselves) and WP Fusion does a great job of integrating LearnDash with Active Campaign. We’re so pleased with it, in fact, that we’d actually built a competitive plugin and abandoned that work after we […]

Create a LearnDash Site in 1 Hour

Creating your own WordPress LMS with LearnDash doesn’t have to be a complicated ordeal that takes weeks or months (and endless frustration) to set up. If your needs are simple, it’s entirely possible to have your platform set up and working well in under 1 day. In our most recent screencast, we run through all the most important steps in an hour, from setting up hosting to installing plugins and building an intuitive learner experience. This demo platform does rely on a few key plugins and paid tools to make things a lot easier. Doing this with a free theme and your own plugins is possible, but site creation take many, more times longer. The first paid item we use is the University theme, and we added it because it takes care of styling LearnDash and WooCommerce elements so that you don’t have to spend hours fiddling with CSS and template files (which may not be styled at all with some things). I will add the disclaimer  that we don’t use the University theme at Uncanny Owl, but that’s because we can take care of our own styling and work with something more flexible. For beginners and fast projects, however, ease of […]

A Tin Can LRS and LearnDash Reporting for WordPress!

Uncanny Owl is very pleased to introduce the easiest way to incorporate Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate and H5P modules into LearnDash courses! We don’t just embed modules; we created the very first Tin Can (xAPI) Learning Record Store that’s completely native to WordPress. There are no other applications to install. No endpoints to configure, no complex upload tools, no segregated reporting or any of the other complications that have been historically required to track Storyline, Captivate and H5p modules in WordPress. Easy Tin Can/xAPI and LearnDash reporting is now available with the Tin Canny LearnDash Reporting plugin. The Tin Canny LearnDash Reporting plugin is more than just a Learning Record Store. Capturing Tin Can statements is of no value unless there’s a great way to present the data—so we built a very powerful reporting tool that combines Tin Can data with all the rest of your LearnDash course data. In fact, even without the Tin Can piece, this is the most comprehensive reporting platform available for LearnDash sites. And that’s still not all—we wanted LearnDash and Tin Can integration to be as seamless as possible, so we modified LearnDash Mark Complete button behaviours so that they only appear after a user has completed all […]

Tin Can for WordPress is Coming!

Update: Our Tin Can/XAPI LRS plugin with LearnDash reporting is now available. Read the announcement. We’ve seen a lot of excitement for Tin Can use in WordPress in the past but very little use of it in the real world. After all, every Tin Can solution relied on a reporting application outside of WordPress. It meant segregating reporting and figuring out how to send Tin Can statements externally, plus reports tended to be too granular and not practical. Many LRS solutions obfuscated code and prevented customizations, so making improvements was impossible. We discouraged Tin Can use for our  clients because capturing data—and, more importantly, making the data meaningful—was just too cumbersome. Of course, the lack of a viable Tin Can solution also meant that WordPress wasn’t a useful platform for larger organizations that tended to create elearning modules with tools like Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate and others. We decided it was time to add Tin Can to WordPress. We just finished building a complete Learning Record Store (LRS) that’s entirely native to WordPress. It captures Tin Can statements with no configuration. Just upload Storyline or Captivate zip files, or add H5P modules, and statements are automatically captured right inside an existing WordPress site. And it integrates seamlessly with LearnDash, the leading WordPress […]

Branding for LearnDash Groups

Do you sell courses to organizations? If you do, you probably wish there was an easier way to tailor your course and site branding to your clients without having to use multisite or cloned courses. With today’s release of a new Pro branding module for LearnDash Groups, you can easily deliver organizational branding right inside your existing courses! Our new branding module adds 2 important features to LearnDash sites: group logos and front-end group lists. After adding a logo to LearnDash groups, just add a shortcode anywhere you want users to see the logo associated with their group. It might be a learner dashboard, a contact page—it could even be in the header of your site. How much would your clients like their users to see branding associated with their organization? It’s completely dynamic, so users will only see the logo for the group they’re a member of. If you use our Group Registration module, you can even display the logo for the associated group on the user registration page. It helps users validate that they’re on the right page, and it helps your client organizations deliver the right branding for their users—all without multisite. Our shortcode for group listings seems simple […]

Introducing the Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit Pro Modules

Earlier this year we released our first public plugin to the WordPress Repository. The Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit has developed a huge following since its release, with over 1,000 active installs and over 4,000 downloads, and we wanted to take that foundation and add a number of new capabilities that would help LearnDash site owners really take their learner experience to the next level. The Pro set of modules for the Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit is our first paid plugin and represents the culmination of hundreds of hours of internal development time. The new modules are considerably more complex than what’s in the current plugin, but they’re also very powerful and fundamentally change what’s possible with LearnDash sites. Here are the modules included in the initial release of the Pro plugin (usage instructions are left to our Knowledge Base articles in the links because of module complexity): Autocomplete Lessons and Topics: As simple as it sounds, this module marks lessons and topics as completed when the page is visited so learners no longer have to click Mark Complete on lessons and topics. Simple Course Timer: Adds time tracking to LearnDash courses. Both total course time (across course, lesson, topic and quiz post types) and course […]

Introducing the Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit

We are very pleased to announce the Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit, our very first plugin in the WordPress repository. This plugin is a collection of some of the key basic features we see requested on LearnDash sites that usually require a custom solution. We created this plugin to make it easier for general LearnDash users to get a head start with their LearnDash sites. The plugin, at least for its initial release, makes it easy to do the following: Add a clean login form to any page so you don’t have to rely on wp-login.php. Force user verification, so users can create accounts but can’t sign in until approved by an administrator. Hide the admin bar for WordPress roles of your choice. Add a button anywhere that lets users resume their most recently viewed course, lesson or topic. Display a user’s list of LearnDash Groups in their user profiles. Redirect users to a specific page after logging into the site. Mark lessons as complete automatically when all topics and quizzes within the lesson have been marked complete. Hide or show menu items based on the user’s signed-in state. Display a list of earned LearnDash certificates. Show or hide content based on […]

New to WordPress? Start Here

We love helping people discover WordPress and use it in creative ways. In fact, its one of the things that sets us apart in the LearnDash consulting space—we’re educators first, developers second. Every project we work on puts heavy emphasis on training clients to use their platforms effectively and delivering a great learning experience to users. We spend a lot of time teaching people to use WordPress and we’re always looking for better ways to deliver WordPress training. That’s why we were very excited to partner with Mike Brown of TheBloggingBuddha to create an easier way to help beginners learn WordPress. What really sets TheBloggingBuddha apart is that it’s very simple, it’s comprehensive, and it’s free. An account is only needed to track progress and issue rewards. TheBloggingBuddha walks new WordPress users through the entire website creation process, from buying a domain and hosting to setting up pages, posts and plugins in WordPress. By the end of the WordPress Orientation course, learners will have a fully-functional blog up and running; and best of all, they’ll understand how to use and maintain it. Here’s a video that explains TheBloggingBuddha: TheBloggingBuddha website is, of course, powered by LearnDash. That’s why we’re profiling it! The site […]