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  4. Install and Set Up Uncanny LearnDash Groups

Installing the Plugin

Important: This plugin requires PHP version 5.6 or higher and LearnDash version 2.3 or higher.  Please update before installing this plugin. 

After you purchase and download the Uncanny LearnDash Groups plugin, you can simply sign into your WordPress site as an administrator and navigate to Plugins > Add New. To install the plugin, click Upload Plugin to start the process. After installation and activation, you will be directed to the License Activation page to enter your license key and activate the plugin. The plugin must be activated to receive automatic updates.

License Activation Screen

Fig. 1 The Uncanny LearnDash Groups Plugin admin menu and license activation screen

Tip: The plugin download link and the license key are included in the purchase email (look for the hyperlinked file name, but note that it does expire after 48 hours) and are also available from within your Uncanny Owl account on this site.

Setting up Basic Options

Once the plugin is installed and activated, you can start setting up the basics! Note that plugin activation does create some new pages on your site and set up some default email templates, but more on those later.

Settings for Uncanny LearnDash Groups can be accessed by administrators from the WordPress back end under Uncanny Groups > Settings.

Groups Plugin Settings

Fig 1. Group Settings Page

The first section of the Settings page lets you customize the Per Seat Text displayed to users, as well as product pages when using the plugin with WooCommerce. For example, you may prefer to use “Per License” or “Per User”. Whatever custom label you decide to use, seats will be tracked based on the groups created and the number of seats made available for each group.

There are optional settings that can be applied to the Groups plugin, they include:

  • Allow Group Leaders to remove students at any time
    By default, Group Leaders cannot remove students from groups once the students have started course activities. Checking this box ignores this rule and allows Group Leaders to remove students at any time to free up seats.
  • Group Leaders don’t use seats
    Group Leaders added to the group as Group Members by a Group Leader have course access but will not use seats. Be careful with this option, as Group Leaders can exploit this to give unlimited students course access. Changing this setting will not affect current seat counts.
  • Do not add Group Leaders as Group Members
    Group Leaders will not be added to groups as members, will not take a seat and will not have course access. Changing this setting will not affect any existing memberships.
  • Automatically include Group Course products in Group License purchases
    Group Course products will be included as $0 line items when a user purchases a Group License. Check this if you want to be able to trigger integrations with other plugins (e.g. Follow-Up Emails, WP Fusion, Memberium) based on the courses included in a license.

Fig 2. Catalog Visibility

If you are using the Uncanny LearnDash Groups plugin with WooCommerce,  you can select whether a Group License Product is available in your WooCommerce store by adjusting its Catalog Visibility. This may be important depending on whether or not you want to sell premade Group License Products or you want Group License Products created by your customers to be available to others.  More about these concepts and how to set products up for purchase is covered in the Using the Plugin with WooCommerce article.

Identifying Group Management Pages

The next section of the Settings page identifies which pages (in the WordPress front end) are used for group management. These pages are created and added here automatically when the plugin is installed, but they can be modified as needed. Identifying the pages here makes sure that the buttons on different pages link to each other properly. More information about the pages that are created by the plugin and their shortcodes is available later in this article.

Email Settings

In the next section of the settings page, you can set the From Email, From Name, and the Reply To  for all group email communication, using the email templates provided by the plugin.

There are 5 built in email templates to set up and automate communications when users are added to groups. Note that all email templates are global; there is no way to send different communications to different groups, or to allow Group Leaders to add their own personal messages.

The variables associated with each template allow you to include personalized information (such as #FirstName, #LastName) for each user. Please take note of the variables for each template and their description below:

VariableDescription
#SiteUrlThis variable will display the website address for the site the user is being invited to join.
#loginUrlThis variable will display the address of the user log-in page of the site the user is being invited to join.
#RedemptionKeyThis variable will display a custom redemption key to be used for site registration and group enrolment by each user.
#EmailThis variable will display the users email address as saved in their user profile on the site.
#UsernameThis variable will display the username saved in their user profile on the site.
#FirstNameThis variable will display the users first name as saved in their user profile on the site.
#LastNameThis variable will display the users last name as saved in their user profile on the site.
#DisplayNameThis variable will display what is saved in their user profile on the site and used as the name displayed across the site.
#PasswordThis variable will display the password generated by the site for new user log-in.
#SiteNameThis variable will display the name for the site the user is being invited to join.
#GroupNameThis variable will display the group name for the group the user is being invited to join.

Use the Redemption Email Template to customize invites to new users for sign up and enrollment into a group. In this email template, make sure you include the #SiteUrl or #LoginUrl variable (where the user can find their way to the registration form), and the #RedemptionKey variable which is the key for group enrollment.

Fig. 4 Default redemption email settings can be edited and saved by an administrator

Be very careful with your email templates, because in most cases you can’t trigger them to be sent again. Set up all of your variables and test them before they are sent to learners.

Use the User Welcome Email Template to send a custom email to new users when they are simultaneously added as a new WordPress user and added to a group by a Group Leader. It is used in place of the Redemption email when users are created and sent passwords instead of codes that users can redeem to register themselves. This template includes the #Password variable because passwords are randomly generated for new users.  If you would prefer to have users select their own password, you can include a link to your site’s password reset page along with instructions to reset their password.

Fig. 5 User Welcome Email Settings

Use the Existing User Welcome Email Template to send email to existing users when they are added to a group by a Group Leader.

Fig 6. Group Leader Welcome Email Settings

Use the Group Leader Welcome Email Template to send a custom invite email to new Group Leaders when they are added as a new user and as a Group Leader. This template includes the #Password variable because passwords are randomly generated for new users. Please be sure to include the #Password variable in the email message, as there is no way to retrieve the password again and users would have to initiate password resets.

Fig 7. Existing Group Leader Welcome Email Settings

Similar to the new user and existing user welcome email templates shown above (see Fig. 4 and 5), the email settings page also provides the Group Leader Welcome Email Template  and the Existing Group Leader Welcome Email Template to send email to users when they are added as a Group Leader to a group.  Use the Group Leader Welcome Email Template to send a custom invite email to new Group Leaders when they are added as a new user and as a Group Leader. This template includes the #Password variable because passwords are randomly generated for new users. Please be sure to include the #Password variable in the email message, as there is no way to retrieve the password again and users would have to initiate password resets.

Important: The Uncanny LearnDash Groups plugin can generate a lot of emails when you have a lot of groups and learners. We highly recommend using a third party transactional email service like SparkPost. This will improve email deliverability from WordPress and make sure that there are no issues sending high volumes of emails as your Group Leaders invite users, especially as part of uploads.

Also note that emails generated by the plugin use the default sender name and email address for your WordPress site. If you want to change that, consider using a plugin to modify them, like WP Simple Mail Sender to change basic sender details,or even WP Better Emails if you need more control over email branding and want to wrap the messages in a nicer template.

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