Plugin Update Roundup

Today we pushed updates to 3 of our plugins (Uncanny Groups, Toolkit Pro and Tin Canny) and a fourth plugin update is coming tomorrow. While most of the changes are small fixes and improvements, there are some larger enhancements that deserve a bit more attention.

Uncanny Toolkit Pro for LearnDash

Perhaps the most interesting update is that the plugin, and specifically the Import Users module, no long requires LearnDash. This was done primarily to allow Uncanny Automator users to run imports that trigger actions as part of our new support for running actions on users in bulk. The Toolkit itself isn’t moving away from LearnDash, but this will be a big win for Automator users that aren’t necessarily using LearnDash.

The Enhanced CSV Reports module doubles the number of custom usermeta columns to 10. You can now run some very big reports with this tool with a lot of custom user profile data.

The Enhanced Course Grid module has the most changes, including all of the following:

  • There’s a new “hide_title” attribute to turn off course titles in the grid.
  • Multiple categories can now be defined for inclusion in the shortcode or block, separated by commas
  • There are 7 new action hooks, including the following: uo_course_after_short_description, uo_course_before_short_description, uo_course_before_course_title, uo_course_after_course_title, uo_course_after_featured_image, uo_course_after_grid_ribbon_price, and uo_course_after_grid_ribbon_text.

Overall, these changes add significantly more flexibility to what’s an already very flexible model for outputting course objects in a grid.

Uncanny Groups

The big new feature in today’s Uncanny Groups release is support for switching products in someone’s cart based on quantity. Why is this important? In the current model, when a user buys a group product, it always creates a group and adds them as a Group Leader. This is true even if a user buys a single seat for the group. What this means is that there must be 2 workflows for course purchase, one for a group, one for personal use by a user. A site might then have a “Buy for myself” button as well as a “Buy for a group” button on a course, since they are different products. Having to make this decision is an extra step though, and buyers are often confused by it.

The new option to swap products allows sites to present a single product to prospective buyers without having to choose whether it’s for a group or themselves. Instead, if the quantity is 1, the system (optionally) assumes the purchase is for themselves and can swap in a Course or other product. If the quantity is greater than 1, the Group License product is used. When a quantity is selected and the product added to the cart, the swap (if the quantity is 1) is automatic.

Here’s what it looks like when editing a group product:

Swap LearnDash group product

For developers, the Uncanny Groups 4.2 release adds 2 new actions: ulgm_before_license_group_is_inserted and ulgm_after_license_group_is_inserted.

There are also 3 new filters: ulgm_license_group_linked_course_id, ulgm_license_group_courses_linked_in_order and ulgm_include_user_direct_enrolled_courses (the latter for the Group Progress report).

Other Improvements

The Tin Canny release adds new support for negative scores in the individual quiz report as well as support for SCORM module uploads that may be missing requirement elements, like a title.

Across all plugin releases, there are also various compatibility fixes for LearnDash 3.6, PHP 8 and WPML. Yes, while our plugins have been translation friendly for years, we are starting to also add explicit WPML support where compatibility issues are reported.

How to Do More With LearnDash Achievements

LearnDash is one of the most popular LMS (Learning Management System) plugins in the WordPress industry. You can create and sell courses, award certificates, create quizzes, and much more using this powerful plugin.

LearnDash offers a number of free and premium addons to enhance the functionality of your eLearning site. One such addon is LearnDash Achievements. It is a free plugin for LearnDash customers used for creating and displaying achievement banners on your eLearning site.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to the LearnDash Achievements addon, discuss things you can do using this addon, and show how you can do more with the addon by connecting it to popular WordPress plugins. Let’s dive in.

Introducing LearnDash Achievements Addon

LearnDash introduced the Achievements addon to add gamification features to your eLearning site. You can increase the engagement level of your students by awarding badges or points using this addon. It will also help you to improve the learning experience of your students.

The Achievements addon offers a number of LearnDash course-specific triggers to choose from. Whenever a particular condition is triggered, the addon will automatically award points and/or a badge to the user.

For example, you can award and show a specific achievement for completing a lesson or course. You can also display achievements for passing a quiz. You can even show an achievement banner when a student’s assignment is approved.

The addon also supports triggers for non-course activities like reading an article, commenting on an article, user registration, and more.

The LearnDash Achievements addon is available for free. You can install and activate the addon by visiting the LearnDash Addons page on your WordPress admin panel (of course, you need a valid license of LearnDash to use the addon).

How to Create Achievements Using the Achievements Addon

It’s time to show you how you can easily create an achievement using this addon. We’ll be creating an achievement for enrolling in a course.

First, you need to head over to LearnDash -> Achievements from the left sidebar of your WordPress admin panel. This will take you to the Achievements page where you’ll see 3 tabs: Achievements, Settings, and Shortcodes.

Achievements

The Achievements tab is the place where the admin can see and manage all the achievements. Let’s create a new achievement by clicking on the Add New Achievement button.

add new achievements

A new page will open up now with a number of fields.

In the Add title field, you should add the achievement name that’ll be displayed to the user. You can also add some text to the Message field.

The Details section is the most important part of any achievement.

The Trigger field controls when you want to award or display the achievement to the user. Go ahead to select User enrolls into a course (LearnDash) from the dropdown.

This will open up some new fields.

First, you need to select a course from the Course dropdown. Whenever someone completes that course, the achievement will be displayed to the user. You can also select All Courses to trigger the condition on completion of all the available courses.

configure details box

Want to award points to the user? You can do that by configuring the Points field. And you can add any numeric value of your choice to that field.

Note that the achievement points are useful for displaying leaderboards. Also, you can allow users to buy a particular course using these achievement points (you need to enable the option in the course settings).

Next, you can add an achievement image from the Image box. You can select a pre-built image by clicking on the Select Image link.

select achievements image

Finally, you should click on Publish to make your achievement live.

Settings

Want to change the look of the achievement banner? Maybe, you want to match it with your brand colors. Just visit the Settings tab to change the background color, text color, and even the time after which the banner fades away.

achievements banner settings

Shortcodes

The LearnDash Achievements addon offers some shortcodes to display the user achievements:

  • [ld_achievements_leaderboard] – It’ll display the list of users along with their points. For example, [ld_achievements_leaderboard=”10”] will display the top 10 users based on their points earned.
  • [ld_my_achievements] – This shortcode can display all the achievements earned by a user.

The Achievements addon also offers 2 Gutenberg blocks for displaying the individual achievements and the achievement leaderboard.

Do More With LearnDash Achievements Addon

The Achievements addon is a great addition to the LearnDash plugin. The addon makes it easy to create multiple achievements for different activities on your eLearning site.

Presently, the Achievements addon offers limited course and non-course triggers only. Want to do more with the addon? You can use the Uncanny Automator plugin and the Achievements addon together to take your gamification strategy to the next level.

In case you aren’t familiar with it, Uncanny Automator is a powerful automation plugin for WordPress. You can use it to connect WordPress plugins, WordPress sites, and third-party web apps together.

You can use the Automator plugin to collect achievements across all the plugins and tools you use, not just LearnDash. Not only that, but you can also connect our LearnDash plugins to the Achievements addon using the Automator plugin.

By connecting Uncanny Automator and LearnDash Achievements together, you can award badges and points to otherwise unsupported achievements, including the following:

The above examples are just some ideas – you can connect the Achievements addon to 75+ WordPress plugins and web apps and create unlimited achievements for your users. That means the simple Achievements addon could replace the need for additional gamification tools, all at no extra cost beyond the LearnDash license.

How to Integrate the Achievements Addon With Uncanny Automator

Let’s briefly show you how to use the Uncanny Automator plugin and the Achievements addon together with the help of an example – award an achievement to a user automatically for submitting a course evaluation form.

We’ll be using WPForms as the form plugin in our example. However, Uncanny Automator supports a wide range of form plugins like Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, Fluent Forms, Ninja Forms, Formidable Forms, and more. So you can use any form plugin of your choice – the process will remain the same.

Whenever you need to automate a task using the Uncanny Automator plugin, you’ll have to create a recipe. And every recipe needs at least one trigger and one action. In our case, the trigger will be a user submitting a form and the action will be awarding an achievement to the user.

To create a new recipe, you need to head over to Automator -> Add new from the left sidebar of your WordPress dashboard (we’re assuming that you’ve already installed the Automator plugin). Next, you should select Logged-in users as the recipe type and then click on Confirm.

select recipe type logged-in users

After that, you need to add a recipe title to the Add title box for future reference.

Setting Up the Trigger

The next step is to configure the trigger for our recipe. To get started, you should select WPForms from the list of available integrations.

choose wpforms as trigger integration

Next, you need to select A user submits a form as the trigger option.

select trigger option

Selecting that option will open up the Form field. Just select the course evaluation form from the dropdown and then click on Save.

select course evaluation form

You’ve successfully configured the trigger. Let’s set up the action in the next step.

Setting Up the Action

To configure the action, you need to first click on the Add action button. Next, you’ll have to choose LearnDash under Select an integration (the Achievements addon is part of the LearnDash integration in Uncanny Automator).

select learndash as the action integration

You’ll see a list of options now. Just find and click on the option Award an achievement to a user.

select action option

This will open the Achievements dropdown field. Here you need to select the achievement you want to award to the user for submitting the course evaluation form.

select achievement from dropdown

Finally, you need to click on the Save button to make your action live.

Publish the Recipe

It’s time to publish our recipe. To do that, you need to change the toggle option in the Recipe box from Draft to Live.

wpforms to learndash achievements recipe

Your recipe is live now. That means, whenever someone submits the course evaluation form, you can automatically award an achievement to that user.

Endnote

The LearnDash Achievements addon is a powerful tool for adding game-like elements to your eLearning site. You can even use it with the Uncanny Automator plugin to connect it to 75+ WordPress plugins and web apps. And you can use the recipe example in this article as a reference to create multiple achievements for your eLearning site.

The best part is you can add multiple triggers and actions to any recipe to create complex workflows using the Uncanny Automator plugin. For example, you can add actions like getting a notification on Slack or adding the user to a mailing list to the above recipe.

Have any questions on how to use Uncanny Automator and LearnDash Achievements addon together? Please feel free to comment below.

Expanded SCORM and xAPI/Tin Can support for LearnDash

At long last, the Tin Canny 4.0 release is now available! And it includes one major new feature that will transform what’s possible for small businesses running LearnDash sites: full SCORM and xAPI support.

Back when we originally launched Tin Canny it was an easy way for LearnDash sites to upload their modules from popular elearning tools like Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate and iSpring. Over the years we added support for Lectora, Quizmaker, H5P, Presenter, Rise… but all of that support was explicitly defined and we couldn’t offer fully SCORM or xAPI compliant solutions.

Tin Canny Uploader

Introducing full SCORM and xAPI/Tin Can support

The 4.0 release should work with any standards-compliant SCORM 1.2, 2004 and xAPI / Tin Can file. It took us close to a year to get there, but the effort was absolutely worth it. Now we can stop saying “no” to people every time we get requests to add support for a custom authoring tool or something third party that we don’t support. Better yet, there’s no longer a need to ask! With this update, he’s a partial list of authoring tools we will be supporting with Tin Canny:

  • Camtasia
  • Elucidat
  • Adapt
  • Easygenerator

Of course, there are hundreds of authoring tools in the market and we have only been able to test a small number of them, but if you were part of our testing group and provided file samples (thanks to those of you who did, especially Dennis Hall!), we can confirm that Tin Canny 4.0 works well with all of those files. And, going forward, we will offer support for any SCORM and xAPI files, as long as they are standards compliant.

The rest of the 4.0 release is far less exciting (and how could it not be?).

Course and User reports will have improved performance on large sites and can now take advantage of object caching if it’s available. For some sites this will mean a huge performance difference ( note that cached results are only refreshed every 5 minutes), but unless you have at least several thousand users, the changes might not be as apparent.

There’s better translation support, LearnDash quizzes that were NOT linked to courses (it’s rare but does come up) are now shown in the front end quiz reports, and Tin Canny users not using SCORM and xAPI features will find fewer confusing references to those options. The rest of the changes can be reviewed at https://www.uncannyowl.com/knowledge-base/tin-canny-learndash-reporting-changelog/

Uncanny Groups 4.0: Dozens of enhancements

The Uncanny Groups for LearnDash 4.0 release has been in development for months and focuses heavily on reliability and marginal improvements. And there are a lot of those; this release includes almost 50 plugin enhancements and fixes. Let’s jump right into some of what’s new:

More form support

Use Gravity Forms, WPForms or Formidable Forms? Now you can add enrollment key redemption fields from the form editor so you can link any form in those plugins to key redemption in Uncanny Groups.

Uncanny Enrollment Key in WP Forms

New edit group page options

Ever wish administrators could see invited users? That’s in, so is the ability to see orders and products associated with groups that were created from a purchase. You can even unlink a group from an order if you no longer want users to be able to add courses or seats to a group via purchase.

Edit Uncanny Groups page changes

New group list page options

We modified the group listing under LearnDash LMS > Groups to show seat counts and to make enrollment keys downloadable by admins. Both of these changes will make it a lot easier for administrators to get data they need without drilling down into a group or switching to the front end Group Management page.

Shortcode support in email templates

Email templates now allow shortcodes to be used in emails to users. One interesting use case, and the reason for us building it, was someone wanting to use the group logo shortcode from Toolkit Pro to brand emails to group members with the group logo.

New system status tools

Start with the Uncanny Automator 3.0 release, we’re adding a Status page to our plugins to provide useful troubleshooting information and database repair tools. Uncanny Groups 4.0 is the first of our LearnDash add-ons to support it. Look for the new Uncanny Groups > System status menu.

Bulk discounts for WooCommerce Subscriptions

We had a few requests for users wanting to use our Bulk Discount system for subscription purchases as well as one-time purchases. That’s now fully supported.

New seat management system

The changes are largely behind the scenes, but the entire seat and key management system was rebuilt to ensure that it remains reliable, even with some edge cases that could cause sync issues in the past. While it sounds small, this change represents dozens of hours of work and should negate the need for the Reconcile seat count button for upgraded groups.

New license system

The 4.0 release includes a new system to track expired plugins that we’ll be adding to our other plugins shortly. Currently, it’s not obvious on user sites when license keys have expired and we get a lot of tickets from confused users about why they can’t update. Now, directly on sites, we can show how many activations a license key has, whether or not it’s valid and when it expires.

Other fixes and enhancements

The above is already a huge list of improvements, but here are a handful of other changes in 4.0:

  • New developer filters for the quiz reports to make overrides easier
  • Password complexity was reduced for automatically generated passwords
  • Better Divi, LearnDash Notifications and WPML compatibility

For the full list of changes in Uncanny Groups 4.0, make sure to check https://www.uncannyowl.com/knowledge-base/uncanny-learndash-groups-changelog/

Two Factor Authentication for LearnDash Login Forms

Version 3.5 of the Uncanny Toolkit for LearnDash was released today with one very important addition: new support for Two Factor Authentication (2FA). We have had a number of requests to improve security options for our login module and we’re pleased to now support a direction integration with WP 2FA, a popular two-factor authentication plugin for WordPress.

Easy 2FA for WordPress sites

What this new integration means is that it’s easier than ever to integrate the flexible, clean login forms in the Uncanny Toolkit with the additional security of the WP 2FA plugin. It’s the best of both worlds. Using both plugins together, you can now:

  • Require some or all users to authenticate with 2FA (including setting rules by role)
  • Allow users to add a secondary login check using an email or supported 2FA app

Beyond the additional account security, LearnDash site owners may appreciate that this additional security measure makes it much harder for users to share WordPress accounts.

Here’s what the login process looks like for end users when they try to sign in:

Two Factor Authentication code verification for WordPress

The use of two-factor authentication is of course completely optional, but we’ve made it as easy as possible to install the WP 2FA plugin should you want to enable it. From the Front End Login module settings page in Uncanny Toolkit > Modules, there’s a 1-click install option at the very bottom of the settings. Once installed, the Front End Login module will confirm it’s active and add an easy link to set up 2FA settings.

 

2FA for WordPress

Please note that this is an integration only, meaning we have added easy plugin installation, configuration and style for the 2FA plugin, but the 2FA behaviours, text and other settings remain with the other plugin.

Other changes in Uncanny Toolkit 3.5

In anticipation of the upcoming Uncanny Automator 3.0 release, we have made it easier than ever to add Automator recipes from the Toolkit. Users can get started with a new one-click install process so you don’t even have to leave your Toolkit settings.

This release also includes a number of updates related to LearnDash 3.4.x changes. We have seen a lot of changes in LearnDash over the last 2 months related to LearnDash 3.4 fixes, and a handful of recent changes have caused issues that require updates on our side. For this reason, the Uncanny Toolkit 3.5 release is highly recommend for all users of LearnDash 3.4.0 and above, especially if you use our Topics Autocomplete Lessons module.

Uncanny Codes 4.0 for WordPress

Our Codes plugin for WordPress has gone through many iterations since we first launched it in 2016. It started off as a simple code redemption tool to unlock LearnDash course and group access. Then we linked codes to registration and purchase, added expiry dates, allowed custom codes, then built in advanced code generation and redemption rules. Despite being a very capable and scalable plugin, it was never particularly popular and was limited to LearnDash use.

With the release of Uncanny Codes 4.0, however, everything changes.

Introducing Uncanny Codes 4.0

For about a year, the Uncanny team has wrestled with 2 big questions about our Codes plugin:

  • How far could the plugin go if we supported more than LearnDash alone?
  • What if instead of building integrations for other plugins we just linked it to Uncanny Automator?

Uncanny Codes 4.0 will answer those questions, because the plugin no longer requires LearnDash and we have linked the redemption of codes and code batches to Automator recipes. (For anyone not familiar with Uncanny Automator, it’s a plugin that connects lots and lots of things together. When something happens somewhere, Automator can make something else happen, like the redemption of a code adding a user to a membership level.)

Let’s review some of the biggest new features in Uncanny Codes 4.0.

Seamless Uncanny Automator integration

This is what makes our codes plugin better than anything else on the market. When users redeem codes, we can make almost anything happen, and we really mean that. Adding just the free version of Uncanny Automator lets you connect code redemption to dozens of popular plugins with 100+ actions as well as thousands of apps with Zapier and webhook support (yes, all in the free version of Automator).

Codes for WordPress trigger

Here are just a few examples of what you can do with code redemption and the free version of Automator:

If you think that’s impressive, what’s possible when you add an Automator Pro license is mind-blowing. Keep in mind too that a single code redemption can do multiple things, so you could add a user to 3 courses, add a CRM tag and add the user to a social group.  Try doing that with any other plugin!

Actions for WordPress code redemption

Sell Codes for WordPress

One frustration we know users of Uncanny Codes have had for some time is how to handle distribution of codes. Once generated, getting codes in the hands of teachers, partners, affiliates and other clients has been a manual process. With 4.0, you can sell codes using WooCommerce.

Sell codes with WooCommerce

 

Let’s review what this means in practice. You, as a site administrator, generate 10,000 codes and define exactly what they will do. Then you can create a WooCommerce “Codes” product, and whenever someone buys a certain quantity, they receive that number of codes from the batch. They can even track whether or not they’ve been used. So say, for example, you create those 10,000 codes that you want to unlock access to 3 courses and a special membership level. A client organization then buys 100 of them. They receive an email with a CSV file of those codes (as well as a list in plain text) that they can distribute to their staff, so now they have an easy way to get 100 people access to those courses and membership. Another way to look at it might be as a way to sell 100 gift cards that are way easier to redeem (and far more flexible) than 100% off coupon codes.

More Form plugin support

Earlier versions of Uncanny Codes supported Gravity Forms only as a way to redeem codes during registration. But why limit code redemption to registration, and why just Gravity Forms? Codes 4.0 adds new support for WPForms and Formidable Forms, both fantastic plugins. This will open up many new redemption opportunities, and you can tie any form submission to code redemption. Only want to allow users to register on your site with a valid code? No problem. Just want a simple redemption form for signed in users? That’s easy too.

Codes for Formidable Forms

We add new Uncanny Codes field types to the form plugins we integrate with. Just add the field to your forms, make the field mandatory (if it is), and Uncanny Codes will take care of the redemption process.

A new way to generate codes

With all the new support for different code types and Automator we needed a new interface to make generation more intuitive. This wizard approach to code generation makes the process less confusing and connects Automator code generation to recipe creation. It works really smoothly.

Generate codes for WordPress

Code batches now also have names. It makes them far easier to identify and the names were really essential to keep Automator recipes and code batches linked to products organized.

Let’s talk about Uncanny Automator Pro

You don’t need Uncanny Automator Pro to use Uncanny Codes, but it definitely makes it a far more full-featured codes solution. When those 2 plugins are paired, here are a few more examples of things that can be unlocked with codes:

  • Register the user in a Zoom meeting or webinar. Simply enter a code, no registration form, and the user will instantly get the confirmation from Zoom.
  • Add the user to a private mailing list in Mailchimp.
  • Add the user to a membership (MemberPress, Paid Memberships Pro).
  • Reset a user’s attempts for a quiz (LearnDash, LifterLMS).

Check code redemption status

We had valuable feedback from some customers that users that were issued codes had trouble identifying which codes had been used and which ones hadn’t. If you want users to be able to check the redemption status of a code (without redeeming it) in the front end, you can drop this shortcode in a page:

[uo_user_redeem_code check_only=”yes”]

The system will check the status of that code and return one of 4 values: Invalid code, Code redeemed, Code available or Code expired. Purchasers of codes also have a new option in their Orders page in WooCommerce to check available and redeemed codes, but this new shortcode will be useful for codes that are distributed manually and not sold.

Try Uncanny Codes

For existing users of Uncanny Codes, we highly recommend trying version 4.0 out on a Staging site before you update your live site.  Uncanny Codes 4.0 is 100% backwards compatible, but this is a huge release that changes a lot about code creation, editing and management, so we highly encourage testing things first and reviewing all the new articles in our Knowledge Base. A full list of changes is available here: https://www.uncannyowl.com/knowledge-base/uncanny-learndash-codes-changelog/

Uncanny Groups 3.10: Easier classroom management

There’s one thing in our Uncanny Groups plugin that I felt had been a gap for some time, not just in our plugin but in WordPress in general: Why do users always need a valid email address to set up an account?

The answer is straightforward, of course, it’s an identifier and allows users to reset their passwords independently. But in many K-12 classrooms, manufacturing and industrial environments, students simply don’t have email addresses. This makes using LearnDash and our plugins exceedingly difficult.

We did offer a workaround for CSV imports; files can include a password column and this password would be set for new users, allowing administrators and Group Leaders to create users that didn’t actually need an email address. With this approach, account info (email and password) could be set up and given to students directly so that setting up a password by email confirmation wasn’t needed. Privacy concerns aside, this at least offered a path for students without an email address to use LearnDash and our plugins.

CSV files are hard to work with though and outside the technical abilities of many Group Leaders. Enter Uncanny Groups for LearnDash 3.10.

Password field in Add Users

New in the 3.10 release is the ability for Group Leaders and Administrators to set passwords for new users when they add them. This applies to adding users individually and adding multiple users at once. It sounds simple, but giving teachers, managers and instructors an easy way to set new student passwords means that a valid student email address is no longer required.

Instead, Group Leaders can simply set up a fake email address (e.g. student@1234.com) along with a password and the student associated with that account can now sign in and take courses.

Student passwords for LearnDash Groups

There are some caveats:

  • Once set, students and Group Leaders cannot change passwords (don’t forget to store a record of the password!)
  • Students without a valid email address cannot receive notifications or announcements
  • Passwords can only be set for new users; if a password is set for an existing user it will be ignored

And there’s a bonus (also a huge security risk, use this cautiously): the #Password token in the new user notification email will include the password set by the Group Leader if it’s in the email template.

Improved WooCommerce order autocompletion

We made a few changes here to make it easier for orders of Uncanny Group products (specifically Group License and Group Course) to be autocompleted. Here’s what we changed:

  • The “Virtual” and “Downloadable” checkboxes on the edit product page are no longer hidden. This makes it easier to override settings for exceptional cases. New Group License and Group Course products default to “Virtual” (not Downloadable).
  • There’s a new setting under Uncanny Groups > Settings for “Autocomplete Uncanny Groups orders”. If this is checked, our plugin will automatically set the order status of orders that include Uncanny Groups (and other virtual products if included) to “Completed”. In some cases a third party plugin was needed to autocomplete orders, so this new setting eliminates the need for a plugin override.

Autocomplete LearnDash group orders

Better links between groups and orders

This might be primarily for our team, but we thought other users would also benefit from an easier way to move between a LearnDash Group and the associated WooCommerce order (if the group was created by our plugin from a WooCommerce purchase). In version 3.10, it’s now easy to see the order associated with a group and vice versa using new links added to the edit order and edit group pages in /wp-admin/. These details, including the purchase history, will make it a lot easier to audit the current status of a group.Uncanny Groups WooCommerce Orders

 

Fixes and updates

Our plugins aren’t fully compatible with PHP 8.0 yet, but we’re getting there, and this release adds some important compatibility fixes.

We also experienced a very unfortunate (and surprising!) conflict with the Yoast SEO 15.8 update and buying groups from the Buy Courses/Groups page that’s fixed in this release.

Additional details about the release are in the Uncanny Groups changelog.

Tin Canny 3.6: Microlearning for LearnDash xAPI & SCORM courses

It’s time for a new Tin Canny update! Version 3.6 adds support for microlearning using Single Page LearnDash courses, more flexible user details in reports, new column sorting options, a more visible X icon for modules in a lightbox and more.

Single page xAPI & SCORM LearnDash courses

Today’s Tin Canny 3.6 release adds support for something LearnDash and Tin Canny users have been wanting for years: the ability to build standalone courses with Articulate Storyline, iSpring, H5P and other module types without having to use LearnDash lessons and topics.

What does that mean? Well, with most (non-WordPress) LMS platforms, you can upload self-contained zip files and that uploaded module becomes the entire course. A user sees the course name, launches that uploaded course in a new window or lightbox, and that’s it — no digging into lessons or topics first, it’s just the course. LearnDash, however, normally requires that courses be structured into a hierarchy of WordPress posts that requires at least one “lesson” beneath a course. The SCORM or xAPI file would then be uploaded inside the lesson or topic, so students would have to click through a “course” level first that sometimes served no purpose.

LearnDash Single Page Course

Tin Canny 3.6 adds support for our Single Page Courses module in Toolkit Pro, allowing uploaded SCORM and xAPI files right to the course level while still allowing proper LearnDash tracking. Support is available for these content types:

  • Articulate Storyline
  • Articulate Rise
  • Adobe Captivate
  • iSpring
  • H5P
  • Lectora Inspire

The use of Single Page Courses for microlearning does require that the Toolkit Pro for LearnDash plugin be installed, active, and the module turned on.

Customizable user details in reports

We’ve seen an increase in tickets with users not wanting to use our default “Display Name” record when we show student names in reports. Many sites would rather use first name and last name, perhaps even hide email address for privacy reasons. Tin Canny 3.6 allows site admins to choose which values and/or columns should be displayed in user listings of the Course and User reports with these settings:

User settings in Tin Canny reports

Sort all columns in the User report

Adding the optional “Sort by % Complete” setting to User reports some time ago led to requests for sorting on other columns, as it should. This is still a setting we suggest using with caution on large sites, as there is a slight performance hit on load, but if Enable Sorting by % Complete in Tin Canny settings that all columns in the User report will become sortable. Look for the arrow icons in column headers when accessing the User report to sort by column and show current sort settings.

Sort LearnDash user report columns

Other Tin Canny 3.6 changes

To round out this release, here are a handful of other highlights:

  1. The Gutenberg block for Tin Canny content has a new Module ID indicator. This makes it a lot easier to reconcile uploaded modules in LearnDash courses with uploaded modules on the Management Content page in /wp-admin/ (useful when deleting content that’s no longer required or replacing modules with newer versions). With our Classic Editor support this was always easy, as the shortcode included the ID, but now management is easy with Gutenberg too.
  2. We improved performance significantly in a recent update but on a very few number of sites (perhaps 2-3%) our old, slower method of tracking was preferred. There’s now a switch in the settings to use a compatibility mode if some Tin Canny uploads aren’t catching all statements when they’re closed.
  3. Error messages are now more descriptive if an error is encountered during a Tin Canny module upload.
  4. The Settings page has been completely reorganized.
  5. The X icon to close modules in a lightbox has been made more visible.

As always, the full changelog is available at https://www.uncannyowl.com/knowledge-base/tin-canny-learndash-reporting-changelog/

Toolkit Pro 3.7: Usermeta in reports, transcript changes and more

We try to avoid Friday releases where we can, but with the upcoming holiday weekend in Canada and some exciting changes from LearnDash, we couldn’t wait to get version 3.7 of the Uncanny Toolkit Pro plugin out. It’s a big release with several really compelling new features.

Group Drip notification changes

We do need to start the list of new features with a change that Group Drip users may need to make on their sites.

LearnDash is releasing version 1.5 of their Notifications plugin next week, which is a big overhaul and improvement. That’s great news, but because of how it was rearchitected, it does break compatibility with existing notifications linked to our Group Drip module. Any current notifications on sites set up to alert users when lessons are available to the group will stop working, but there is good news: we have a new trigger available to support Group Drip notifications.

If you upgrade to LearnDash Notifications 1.5 and want notifications to be sent to group members when lessons become available via group drip, you must create new notifications with this new trigger: “A scheduled lesson is available to user with Uncanny Drip by Group”. If you don’t use group drip notifications, no changes are necessary.

LearnDash Group Drip Lesson Notifications

Custom usermeta in LearnDash CSV reports

We keep adding more column options to LearnDash reports, and in today’s 3.7 release we’re adding up to 3 new columns that can output any user data you want. If you store custom fields for users in your system, like maybe a department, manager name, job title, whatever, now you can include columns with those records in LearnDash CSV reports using the Enhanced LearnDash CSV Reports module.

Here’s what it looks like:

Usermeta in LearnDash CSV reports

To add these extra columns you will need to know the key for the record in the usermeta table, but if you’re storing custom fields you probably know what keys to use. If you’re not sure, look at whatever is capturing that record (perhaps a form or checkout process) and see if it shows the usermeta key for the record you need.

Certificates in LearnDash Transcripts

We made some really interesting LearnDash Transcript module changes in this release, and before any current users panic, these new records are optional. We know you’ll want to use them, but they can be turned on and off.

First up is the addition of a Certificate column to the Transcript output. It does exactly what you expect; if the column is shown and the user has an associated course certificate, we show an icon with a link to the certificate. This is a really handy way for users to retrieve their certificates, including from courses in which they’re no longer enrolled but do have a completion record.

The Certificate column is automatically hidden from the print view, where it wouldn’t make sense.

LearnDash Certificates and CEUs in Transcript

Custom Credits in LearnDash Transcripts

We’ve been hard at work lately with amazing new features for our Continuing Education Credits plugin, and now that it’s easy to track custom credits, we wanted to make it easy for users to see their consolidated training records. In Toolkit Pro 3.7, we have added the ability to include custom learning credits in student transcript. If our Continuing Education Credits is installed and enabled, and a user has been awarded credits, we will now (optionally) add new rows for those records.

Please note that because records like scores and steps are not applicable for custom credit records, we output “n/a” in those columns for custom records.

Group expiration shortcode

We have offered the Expire LearnDash Group module for quite some time, but we always relied on email notifications to let users know when it was expiring. This made planning difficult for Group Leaders and members, so in today’s release we have added a new shortcode. Here are some examples of usage:

[uo_group_expiration_in] //Show countdown to expiry date if set and user is only part of 1 group
[uo_group_expiration_in group-id="xx"] //Shows countdown to expiry date if set and user is part of the associated group
[uo_group_expiration_in pre-text=""] //Override default "Group Access Expires in" text in shortcode output
[uo_group_expiration_in group-id="" pre-text=""] //Combine the above attributes

When the Expire Group module is enabled this shortcode is available automatically. The default text to include is set from the module settings:

Other changes

As always, all new features, updates and fixes are included in the changelog. Two notable additions are support for Single Page Course settings for non-admins (like Instructors in the Instructor Role plugin by Wisdm Labs) and outputting course-level quizzes in the Course Dashboard module.

Uncanny Groups for LearnDash 3.9 Update

The version 3.9 update of the Uncanny Groups for LearnDash plugin includes some interesting updates that may really transform how the tool is used by some customers. Given the magnitude of the changes, this is also one that we recommend testing on a Staging site first.

Let’s jump right in to what’s new in the release and how it might affect your site.

BuddyBoss Social Group sync

You asked, we listened. A lot of people use the BuddyBoss theme and platform with our Uncanny Groups plugin. BuddyBoss does include a sync tool for LearnDash groups, but it doesn’t work properly when users are added or removed from groups managed by our plugin. It also doesn’t sync LearnDash groups created with our plugin to new BuddyBoss groups.

BuddyBoss Groups Sync with LearnDash Groups

So, in the Uncanny Groups 3.9 release, here’s what’s new if LearnDash Group Sync and Auto Create Social Group settings are enabled in BuddyBoss > Integrations > LearnDash on a BuddyBoss site:

  1. When a LearnDash group is created by the Uncanny Groups plugin, an associated BuddyBoss social group is created.
  2. When a user is added to a group from the Group Management page in our plugin, the user is added to the associated BuddyBoss group. If the user is a student they are added as a “Member”. If the user is a Group Leader they are added as an “Organizer”. This works for adding single usersadding multiple users and adding users via CSV import.
  3. When users are removed from a group from the Group Management page, they are removed from the associated BuddyBoss social group.
  4. When users are added or removed by an administrator from the LearnDash edit group page, we sync the change to the associated BuddyBoss group.

If you use BuddyBoss groups, these changes are probably a very welcome surprise. All of these behaviours are automatic and based on the settings in BuddyBoss only; there are no settings to change in Uncanny Groups to add this support.

Support for semicolon delimited CSV files

For non-English users of our plugin, your Group Leaders can now export CSV files from Excel and have them work without having to change region settings or use something like Google Sheets. (For some regions and languages, Excel automatically exports CSV files with a semicolon delimiter instead of a comma, but previously our user import only support comma delimiters.)

Performance improvements for LearnDash Groups

One of our developers took his frustrations with LearnDash performance on sites with a lot of groups and turned it into a new performance tweak. By default, the list of groups in LearnDash LMS > Groups in /wp-admin/ shows a column that includes a count of the number of users, courses, and Group Leaders in a group. On sites with a lot of groups, these lookups can slow down load times to show groups a lot and the information isn’t always necessary. We ended up including the option to turn the column on or off if people don’t need it, and by doing that, sites with a lot of groups will see a big performance increase (with the compromise, of course, being that the data is no longer output in the group list).

Show legacy LearnDash group data

In recent versions of our plugin (including this one) we have improved the performance of Uncanny Groups reports and key generation. For ProPanel users, there were a handful of situations where data in our reports would not exactly match ProPanel; this was due to LearnDash storing progress and enrollment data in multiple locations in the database. This was usually corrected by running the Course and Course Access List upgrades from LearnDash LMS > Settings > Data Upgrades, but we wanted to provide an option for users to choose the slower (but from sources matching ProPanel) report generation option.

Legacy LearnDash course data

Uncanny Groups 3.9 updates and fixes

Details of all updates are of course in the full changelog, but we wanted to draw your attention to a few highlights that you might notice as you use the plugin:

  1. LearnDash recently changed how new assignments are named to make them more unique, but this in turn created formatting issues in our Assignments report since we listed the full file name. We have no changed file names to a View link instead.
  2. The list of courses on the Group Management page is now ordered alphabetically.
  3. Group keys are now deleted when a group is deleted, even if WooCommerce is not active (there were some scenarios where deleted groups might still have orphaned keys stored in the database).