Uncanny Automator is now FREE

The heading is not clickbait and there are no strings attached. Not only that, we made significant improvements before we released the new free version!

You can now get Uncanny Automator from the WordPress repository here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/uncanny-automator/. This free version replaces what we previously called “Lite”, except it’s even better than Lite: we removed the limit of 1 trigger per recipe and we even added more triggers and actions (including several previously only available in Pro).

Releasing Automator for free to the world was a hard decision for our team, but we believe it’s the right one for these 2 reasons:

  1. We want more people to try it. While Automator already has a big install base, we really want to see it grow and for more sites to try it. We’re very proud of the plugin and want to see it add value to more sites.
  2. Another company largely copied Uncanny Automator and released their own version in the WordPress repository. While reusing code isn’t uncommon in the open source world (and Automator does have a GPL license), copying our UI, website, and even name put us in a difficult situation and we wanted to make a big move to reinforce our dominance.

What is Uncanny Automator?

If you’re new to Uncanny Automator (and we know this post will attract a lot of attention from new users), it connects plugins, sites and apps together. It lets you create automations where something happening can make something else happen. These automations are what we call “recipes”. A simple example would be a WooCommerce purchase adding a user to a BuddyPress group. Of course, Uncanny Automator can do a lot more than that. 🙂 Maybe you want a form submission and an associated purchase to enroll the user in a course, register them for an event, and send their manager an email. That’s easy for Automator.

Uncanny Automator can do far more than that though. With Automator on 2 sites, you can have things that happen on one site (like a purchase) trigger things on another site (like user creation). You can also connect your WordPress site to other platforms using our webhooks and Zapier support, so other apps can make things happen on your WordPress site and the WordPress site can pass data to other systems.

Here’s a quick video explaining how it works:

Automator comes in 2 versions: the new free version on WordPress.org, and a paid Pro version (with different licensing options) available for purchase on this site. Pro does come with more powerful tools (check this list for a full breakdown; it also includes anonymous recipe support) but we promise the free version is extremely useful and capable too. We even added some features to the free version for this first public release (like a LearnDash course completion action and webhook actions) to ensure Uncanny Automator could add some value to almost all WordPress sites.

If you’re just getting started with Automator on your WP site, make sure you check out our Knowledge Base. It’s where we break down everything about using Automator. There are some video tutorials in there to help point you in the right direction too.

Changes for existing users

If you’re already an Uncanny Automator user (thank you!), things will be a little bit different for you. Lite users are being upgraded to Pro and Pro users are getting more sites (regular Pro users can now use license keys on 2 live sites, Agency will increase from 5 to 10 and 25-site users are upgraded to Unlimited). We recognize the huge role you’ve played in helping Automator grow and become a mature feedback; your feedback has been invaluable.

No manual changes to your plugins will be needed. When you upgrade the current Lite plugin it will automatically point to the WordPress repository version for your subsequent updates.

This is also a huge release

For current Automator Lite (and Pro) users, here’s what’s in the new version of the free plugin:

  • Email field types in form plugins now generate tokens for email type fields in actions
  • A Tin Canny verb can now generate course, lesson and topic tokens
  • Global tokens (for our new users, these are basically variables that you can use in actions) are available for the current date and time
  • Category and tag support is now available for recipes to more easily organize them

And for our Pro users, here’s what’s new in that add-on:

  • A WooCommerce trigger for order status changing to a status you define
  • New WordPress actions for creating new posts, adding new usermeta, and adding new postmeta (for user registrations and developers using Automator these could be gamechangers)
  • A new GamiPress action to revoke all points in a category
  • New trigger support for WooCommerce Subscriptions (the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin is required for these triggers)

Set usermeta and postmeta with Uncanny Automator

We have done a lot of testing on these updates, but it’s a big release. Please let us know if you notice any issues.

A full changelog is available here for the new free version and here for Pro.

For any developers out there, not only are we releasing a free version in the WordPress plugin directory, you can now access our repository for the first time and make pull requests. Make sure you check out https://bitbucket.org/uncannyowl/uncanny-automator if you have suggestions or want to contribute.

We could really use your support

While Uncanny Automator is 1.5  years old now, we are are now playing catch-up to the copy released by another vendor. We really hope you will give our Automator plugin a try, and if you do and it adds any type of value to your site, or you like the work we’re doing, please consider leaving us a review, mentioning us on your site or social channels, and following us on Facebook and Twitter, etc. It would mean a lot to us. And in the meantime, we’ll continue producing great products for WordPress and turning Uncanny Automator into the most powerful automation plugin for WP.

If you have any questions about Automator or what we’re doing, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

We really hope you like Uncanny Automator and the changes we’re announcing today. 

 

15 Ways to Automate Your LearnDash Site

Do you spend too much time overseeing your e<earning programs and supporting students? Are completion rates lower than you hoped? Do you worry that your one-size-fits-all courses only meet the needs of some of your students?

They’re questions that every eLearning site owner and facilitator wrestles with. You want students to have a positive learning experience and benefit from the training, but your resources are limited and you need to focus on where you can add the most value. What you create doesn’t always work for everyone, so you end up spending countless hours poring over LearnDash reports and sending follow-up emails. And even those tend to go out later than needed and not deliver the impact you hoped.

There is a better way, and it’s by using automation on your LearnDash site. Solving the resource problem—maximizing learning outcomes and engagement with minimum time and cost—was one of the main reasons we built Uncanny Automator. It’s one of several tools we’ll explore here that make it make it easy to add automated workflows to your eLearning programs.

In this article, we’ll look at 15 easy automation ideas you can add to your LearnDash sites in minutes that help to deliver a personalized learning experience, better learner engagement, more sales, improved knowledge transfer and better course analytics. After applying some of the automations in this article, you’ll end up with better courses and more revenue with minimal effort and cost.

Personal Learning Paths

Creating personalized learning experiences can help to deliver improved student satisfaction, higher completion rates and better knowledge transfer. Not everyone learns the same way, and it’s important to give learners both control over the learning and the right learning interventions at the right time. With automation, a few simple recipes make it easy to support weaker learners, keep advanced learners from getting bored and provide alternatives to students that need them.

1. Let advanced users skip ahead. If users demonstrate mastery of a subject in a pre-test, why not let them skip the rest of the course? You could just autocomplete LearnDash lessons in a course that were covered by the pretest materials, or you might autocomplete that course entirely.

2. Give struggling students extra help. Sometimes students get left behind and don’t get the attention they need, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are easy ways to identify struggling students, like poor scores in LearnDash quizzes or a lack of progress. Without automation, these are hard to track; you have to run reports to see quiz scores and there’s no easy way to track reduced course activity over time. But with automation, it’s instant; quiz scores can instantly trigger interventions and you can create easy workflows in a CRM using a plugin like WP Fusion (e.g. a user has a completion tag for the first lesson of a course but no course completion within 7 days of the lesson completion tag). When triggers like those happen you can serve the interventions automatically, which could include the following:

  • Enrolling the user in a remedial course automatically.
  • Sending the student an email with suggested learning activities.
  • Adding users to a study group via BuddyPress.
  • Notifying the user’s manager or instructor so personal intervention, like coaching, can be offered.

3. Incorporate personalized content. Contrary to what you might think at a glance, every LearnDash lesson and topic doesn’t have to be the same for every user. It’s easy to add user or group-specific variations to your courses—as long as you have the right tools. Users of Uncanny Owl’s Pro Toolkit can use LearnDash Group shortcodes to show content just to users of particular groups, and with membership plugins or CRM integrations, you can show content to users with a particular level or tag. Remedial users might see an extra video or download, or maybe users you’ve tagged as benefiting from auditory resources are offered an audio recording of the lesson. Interventions like these help learners receive the most suitable experience for their learning needs, all without facilitators having to get involved during the course.

4. Give users more control over their learning experience. With automation tools and more learner-facing controls in the front end, it’s easy to give users more choice about how they learn. With Uncanny Automator, you might create recipes that add buttons throughout your courses that let users skip ahead by autocompleting lessons, reset course progress to get extra practice, trigger an email to a Group Leader for assistance, self-enroll into additional courses, etc.

Improve Learner Engagement

5. Celebrate Learner Accomplishments. Self-directed programs can sometimes make the learner feel like they’re on their own, making it easier for them to lose interest and even stop the course altogether. Gamification is an easy way to reward progress and achievement, and with Uncanny Automator, this can become even more powerful. Besides awarding a badge with a plugin like GamiPress, you might send a congratulatory email from the instructor automatically, notify the learner’s manager, even send a tweet from the organization’s Twitter account with a congratulations message. To make congratulations emails more natural, leverage a CRM to tag the user based on a specific condition (like scoring over 80% on a final exam) and then send the email the next business day during working hours so that to the user it feels less scripted.

6. Add users to a study group for peer collaboration. Use learning metrics to add users to an appropriate study group and encourage students to get involved with the community. Maybe if a user scores 50% or lower on a course-pretest they’re added to a remedial group, and 90% or higher they’re added to an advanced group. This action might be combined with a series of dripped emails outlining how to participate in the community and encouraging involvement.

7. Check in on incomplete courses. Not all automations have to be triggered by something; it’s also extremely useful to trigger automations when something doesn’t happen. These types of automations are easier to set up with the help of a CRM and plugin like WP Fusion. These types of automations might send the user an email after a tag has been set indicating the user has access to a course but X days later does not have a tag confirming the user completed the course. They might also trigger interventions if a user hasn’t visited the site for several days or the user has viewed a lesson but hasn’t completed it.

Improve Course Sales

Certainly not every eLearning site is revenue-driven, but for ones that are, it’s easy to build in simple automations that increase sales opportunities.

8. Recommend products on course completion. One of your users just completed a course; what should they do next? Instead of leaving them guessing, you can send them an email with a product recommendation. If you use a CRM you can even make this recommendation based on previous purchases and course completions (you don’t want to recommend a course someone has already purchased or completed).

9. Offer upsells that fit the learner’s needs. Is a student consistently showing poor quiz performance? Suggest some private coaching sessions. Does a course evaluation form suggest interest in a particular topic area? Suggest a deeper dive in a more advanced class. More advanced behavior tracking through automations and CRMs means you can make better product recommendations, and better time the recommendations for when the user most needs them (and is most likely to buy).

10. Create certification programs. LearnDash on its own doesn’t support certification programs, but they can be a great way to encourage users to complete or purchase extra courses in order to be “certified” in a particular subject. The Uncanny Owl Continuing Education Credits plugin offers a way to offer certificates for completing combinations of courses, and with tools like GamiPress, BadgeOS and Uncanny Automator, you can award badges or other certification rewards to users that complete a series of courses. You could even make users “buy” a certification by having users both complete a series of courses and purchase a certification product.

Improve Knowledge Transfer

11. Reinforce training outside of the WordPress site. With automation, it’s easy to integrate the LearnDash courses with other learning interventions. After a set of important lessons, create a recipe with Uncanny Automator to send the learner a summary of what they learned and next steps. With Automator and Zapier, you can even pass training data to HR systems or other apps to deliver related training materials through other platforms used by your learners.

12. Offer more blended learning opportunities. If you offer live events and eLearning courses, why not sync the two together? Perhaps signing up for a live workshop unlocks an eLearning course to help users better prepare for the in-person session. Or offer bundles that reinforce learning across multiple channels for better engagement.

13. Keep learning manageable. It’s easy for students to feel overwhelmed when they look at a course listing and see a huge list of 30 courses that they need to complete. Instead of throwing everything users have access to at once, as is typical on a LearnDash site, you can use automation to unlock courses and other content only when it’s appropriate to do so. Have the completion of one course unlock the next 2 courses in a learning path, or perhaps reaching key milestones in a course unlocks other resources.

14. Set users up for success. This is a step we see routinely overlooked on LearnDash sites. When users start a course, why not send an introductory email that welcomes users to the course, sets expectations and offers tips for success? Make users feel more comfortable and understand how to get the most from a course to promote better learning outcomes.

Create Better Courses

15. Make course evaluation automatic—and more meaningful. You probably already have simple post-course evaluations on your site to capture a learner’s immediate (emotional) feedback. But do you measure knowledge transfer and retention? With tools like Uncanny Automator and Zapier, you could use pre and post-tests in a course to automatically pass quiz scores to Google Sheets and automatically compare results and learning as a result of course completion. But you can go further, and with a CRM perhaps trigger timed tests to go out 30 days after course completion to better assess application of learning to the workplace or retention of what students learned in the course.

Get Started with Automation

Many of the automation solutions outlined in this article can be added to your LearnDash site in minutes using tools like Uncanny Automator (which was used for all screenshots in this article). The benefits are significant and well worth the modest investment. For users, you can deliver more personalized user experiences, better support, personal learning paths and improved knowledge transfer. For administrators and facilitators, the time and cost savings can’t be understated, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone on your LearnDash site.

And the best part is that it’s easy. With Uncanny Automator, create your first recipe in minutes and add dozens of site-enhancing automations in a few hours. Get started now or find our more about how Automator can improve your LearnDash site!

Uncanny Automator is Here

We did it! After 9 months of development, 2 months in beta and 2,000 hours of development time, the most powerful automation plugin for WordPress is now available. You can get it right now from only $49 annually at https://automatorplugin.com/.

So what is Uncanny Automator and why do you need it? Automator lets you create “recipes” that perform things automatically on your website. When something happens, something else happens. Maybe a user logs in for the first time and you send them a welcome email. Or maybe a user purchases a product and submits a form and you add them to a course and set a tag in Infusionsoft. Personal learning paths, marketing automation, even routine admin tasks – they can all be set up to run automatically on your website to save you time and give your users a better experience.

To create these time-saving workflows, Automator connects the plugins that are already on your site together. Whether you use WooCommerce, BuddyPress, Gravity Forms, LearnDash or many more, Uncanny Automator connects your plugins so that they can “talk” to each other. It works seamlessly and in the background as people use your site. No code is needed and it’s super intuitive to set up recipes on your site. You can have your first recipe running in 5 minutes!

We’re launching Uncanny Automator 1.0 with a full 65 triggers and actions. (Triggers are activities that Automator watches for, like making a purchase or submitting a form. Actions are things that happen as a result of triggers, like sending an email, adding a tag in Active Campaign or enrolling a user in a course.) Since each recipe can have unlimited triggers and actions, you can literally create millions of different recipe combinations to make your site the way you want it to work.

Compare that with other integration plugins, which often connect 1 plugin with 1 other plugin in a very specific way. And if that dedicated plugin doesn’t work the way you want, you could be looking at thousands of dollars in development costs for a custom solution that’s still very inflexible.

Just in case 65 triggers and actions and support for 15 different plugins at launch isn’t enough for you, version 1.0 has support for Zapier webhooks. This means you can connect your WordPress site and plugins with over 1,000 non-WordPress apps. You can have your WordPress site trigger zaps (and coming soon, have Zapier trigger things on your site). Still not enough? We’re on track to support over 100 triggers and actions along with powerful new features by Christmas.

Whatever type of WordPress site you have, Uncanny Automator can make it even better.

Ecommerce site? Have purchases trigger personalized emails or unlock content. Or maybe orders with certain criteria, like dollar value, should set or remove a tag in your CRM (this requires the WP Fusion plugin). You might even combine purchase behaviours with page visits to trigger sales emails and drive more purchases.

eLearning site? There is simply no more powerful way to build personal learning paths, anywhere. Maybe one course unlocks the next course. Or create powerful interventions, like having poor score trends enroll the user in a remedial program, suggest additional support interventions and notify their teacher or manager. You can even have H5P and xAPI activity trigger recipes (with our Tin Canny plugin).

Whether you run a simple blog, marketing site for your business, community website or something entirely unique, Uncanny Automator can streamline your site and eliminate manual work.

Still not sure if Automator is right for you? We’re so convinced that you’ll benefit from using it on your site that we’re offering a 30 day, no questions asked refund policy. If you don’t like it, we’ll give you your money back. It’s as simple as that. Click here to get Uncanny Automator for your website!