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How to Build Courses on LearnDash – Complete 2021 Guide

As you might have noticed by now, LearnDash is one of the most user-friendly and profitable course-building tools on the internet. The platform can be a little overwhelming and confusing to figure out at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be posting courses, lessons, and topics in no time!

LearnDash isn’t just about making and publishing an “okay” course online for people to see. It is about creating a site that functions the way you want it to and provides your content with the platform it deserves. Building your LearnDash course is the first step to becoming a social media marketing giant or savvy entrepreneur. 

To help you get started on LearnDash, we created this small post and step-by-step tutorial that will teach you everything you need to know to be successful on this site!

Step 1: Install WordPress

Before you can officially get started with LearnDash, you need to set up WordPress – the platform on which you will be posting your content and building your site. To create a WordPress site, you need to buy web hosting, purchase a domain name (remember to make it relevant to YOUR business!), and install the necessary software.

Learndash online course

If you’re unsure about how to start installing WordPress, you can use a third-party system that acts as a “WordPress host.” This host will take out some of the guesswork for you and create a seamless transition into creating your page. 

Popular WordPress hosts include SiteGround, Bluehost, HostGator, Hostinger, GreenGeeks, and InMotion. 

One of the foundational steps of creating your website is to create the hosting service for your LearnDash online course. 

If you use SiteGround, for example, you can choose from three different WordPress plans: StartUp, GrowBig, or GoGeek. Each of these plans has differing levels of benefits to make setting up your LearnDash account as easy as possible. 

If you’re building a singular website that won’t get too much web traffic, the StartUp plan is affordable and provides enough capacity to make your site run smoothly. However, if you’re looking to build an e-commerce empire with extensive resources, the GoGeek program is a much better fit.

Step 2: Install LearnDash Plugin

The second step in building your LearnDash online course is to obtain the platform. Now that you’ve installed WordPress on your computer, you need to install the LearnDash plugin on the WordPress platform.

Step 1

Go to Plugins on the left-hand side of your screen, where you will see other options in the menu bar like Posts, Media, Pages, Comments, Appearance, and Users.

Step 2

Click on Plugins > Add New. After this, you will see a message that says, “If you have a plugin in a .zip format, you may install it by uploading it here.” This is where you upload the LearnDash plugin that you downloaded to your computer from their site (from the “My Account” page). 

Step 3

You will have to log in, as shown above, then access the “My Account” page on the LearnDash site. 

Step 3: Upload a Theme

Although this LearnDash online course step is not necessary for creating a site, it lets you personalize your page and add unique features that otherwise would be missed on your platform! Installing a LearnDash-compatible WordPress theme makes your content look professional and tailored to your company. An awesome theme we recommend is Astra, which includes a specific LearnDash integration.

Your theme is the first impression visitors will get of your content – it controls how your course content, the navigation menu, and footer appear to users.

To get started, go back to the left-hand menu bar and click on “Appearances.” After this, click on Themes > Add New. You can find free themes in this section, or decide to splurge and pay a little extra for “Pro” themes that offer more customization. 

Learndash online course

Step 4: Creating Your First Course

We have finally made it to the LearnDash course creation step! Now that you have WordPress and LearnDash set up, you can begin adding your content to make your course stand out amongst the rest. Once the site’s essential looks are finished, head to “Courses” on the left-hand-side menu bar.

Learndash online course

Click on LearnDash LMS > Courses. Then click on “Add your first Course” in the middle of the screen. Name your course something easy to find and also something that will accurately describe what the course is about.  

Once your LearnDash online course has been named and given a description, the “Builder” tab will become your new best friend. The “Builder” section is how you organize what you’re going to put into your course. 

Learndash online course

For example, before you decide you want a course about soccer and you want a lesson about “Soccer Passing,” you need to go to Builder and add that Lesson under the overarching LearnDash online Course. Confused? Don’t worry. We’ll go into a bit more detail so you can quickly and efficiently use this site to your benefit. 

In the Builder section, you can add “Lessons,” “Topics, and “Quizzes.” 

Learndash online course

Lessons are the second-largest category under your overall LearnDash online Course, while Topics are basically sub-topics of the lesson.

For example, your Lesson is “Soccer Passing,” and your Topic is “Short-Range Soccer Passing.” The topic should directly correlate to your Lesson, adding more detail to the broader subject.

If you’ve added a Lesson, like “Soccer Passing,” and decide you want to add some info in the Lesson before you get to the first topic, you can click on the “Edit” button as you hover over the Lesson in Builder. 

Learndash online course

If you click on “Edit,” this will bring you to a new page where you can add lesson content (which will show up before your first Topic) or configure more advanced settings, like Lesson Tags and Post Attributes. 

When you go back to the “Builder” on your LearnDash online course, you can also access the “Settings” tab in the main course settings. The Settings tab lets you decide if you want others to see the support materials for your course, the certificate that each student would earn, the visibility of course content, the pagination, and course lesson order. 

We recommend setting the “Course Content” to “Always Visible” for free courses, and switching “Custom Lesson Order” to “On” so that you can customize how and in what order your lessons are displayed to the public.

The other parameters you can set in the “Settings” portion of the Builder are “Course Access Settings” and the course price. If you set your course to “Closed,” this means that it can only be seen by those who have enrolled, either by paying a fee or by signing up for your course online. 

Learndash online course

Adding Lessons

Now that you know what the LearnDash Online Course will look like and how to use the “Builder” feature, it’s time to add your first Lesson! In the course Builder, you’ll find the Lessons and Topics that you have added to the overarching Course title. 

Step 1

To add a new Lesson, click on the “+ New Lesson” button at the bottom of the screen, located next to the “+ New Section Heading” button. 

Step 2

Type in the name of your Lesson and hit ‘Enter’ or click on “Add Lesson.”

Step 3 – Lesson URL

After clicking the “Add Lesson Title” to add the Lesson to your Course, you will also see an area called “Permalink.” This is your lesson URL and what will show up in the search bar when someone is taking your specific Lesson.

The first parts of the URL are not customizable for your page – they are the site’s domain name and the categorization, which in this case will be /lessons/. However, you can edit the third part of the URL so that it directly reflects what specific lesson you’re teaching your students.

Step 4 – Lesson Content

The content you add for your lessons is what makes it unique to YOU. Adding what directly applies to your course and your specific lesson provides detail about your subject and encourages the students to continue reading. This is the section in which you can add text, images, gifs, videos, links to other sites, and PDFs to enhance your content. 

Adding Topics

If you decide that you have too much content to fit into the Course and the Lessons, you can add topics. Topics are sub-categories of the Lessons you are placing them under. Topics provide more detail and can go into depth about certain subjects that would otherwise have been too detailed for the broader Lesson.

Similar to adding Lessons, you can add various types of course material to your topics – like text, images, video links, YouTube videos, PDFs, audio files, and presentation slides to enhance your content and make it more visually appealing. 

In addition, you also have a few different display settings to choose from for Topics in your LearnDash Online Course. 

Creating Topic Content

The Topic page content is similar to that of the Lesson page content – this is where you have total control over adding whatever content you see fit to your specific topic. To add content, you will have to go to LearnDash LMS -> Topics on the left-and-side of the gray menu bar.

Click on the Topic you need to edit or click on the “Add New Topic” button. In the Builder, you will see the “Add New Topic” button here.

Featured Image

When adding content for your Topic, you can add a Featured Image – this is the main image associated with your Topic page. Look for the Featured Image panel in the sidebar on the right-hand side of your screen. You can either upload a new photo or select an image from your Media Library that you have previously uploaded. 

Adding Quizzes

Quizzes are a great way for you to test your students and make sure they understood all of the course material that was described in the Topic or Lesson. By measuring a user’s comprehension of the LearnDash online course, you can get a feel for how well your Course has described your intended subject. 

Learndash online course

Creating Your First Quiz

The LearnDash quiz is an easy way to add, edit, and move the questions within your quiz. So, how do you access the Quiz Builder?

Learndash online course

For creating your first quiz, you need to go to LearnDash LMS > Quizzes on the left-hand side of your screen in the menu bar. Click “Add New,” then click on the “Builder” tab to add the questions one-by-one. 

Quiz Builder Overview

To add a question to your quiz, there are multiple ways that you can do this. However, the method in which you add questions depends on the function of your page – do you want to add brand new questions or share questions across multiple quizzes?

Learndash online course

If you’re creating unique questions that are or a specific topic and lesson that won’t carry over to other subjects, then you can create the questions within the “Builder” section.

Quiz Questions

To add brand new questions to the quiz, you need to go to the “New Question” link at the bottom of the “Quizzes” page. Type the name of the question for you to find easily – this is not what people will see on your website, but makes it easier to organize. Hit ENTER or click “Add Question.” 

If you’ve already made existing questions and want to add them to another quiz, like the final quiz, you can find the question in the “Questions” box on the sidebar when editing a Lesson Quiz. Your most recent questions are automatically shown, but you can click “View All” to see all questions you have created.

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Question Type

When creating your online quiz, you can choose what kind of questions to add to your quiz. Creating a quiz requires you to keep your audience interested – rambling off 30 single-choice questions will not keep your student engaged. Instead, choose various questions like single choice, multiple-choice, matrix sorting choice, fill-in-the-blank, or essay. 

When creating your question, setting the “Question Title” is for your use only. It keeps your questions organized in your Builder, and can help you easily drag and drop the questions into the proper quiz. Once you set your Question Title (ex: Ch 1, Q1), the Question Text is where you actually write the question that you have for the user. This is for the student to see, and is the content you are quizzing them on.

Single Choice Question

When adding a single choice question, this means that you are asking a question that has only ONE correct answer. If you are using a formal quiz or want a standardized format, using single choice questions is the best option. 

If you use a single choice format, you can provide an unlimited amount of incorrect answers to test your students. Choose the correct answer by selecting “Correct” next to the right answer.

Multiple Choice Question

Using multiple-choice format questions test your students’ knowledge of all potential answers since there could be more than one right answer. Giving a student a multiple choice question ensures they have a deeper understanding of the question being asked since they must know that an answer is CORRECT, not that just one answer is wrong. 

If you choose multiple choice, there is no limit to the number of answers you provide. If you really want to test your students’ knowledge, you can subtract points for selecting an incorrect answer.

For example, say the question is “What are the most common soccer formations?” and the student incorrectly chooses “B) 4-5-2 Formation.” Since this answer is incorrect, you can set it to deduct a set amount of points from the students’ scores.

Free Choice Question

Free choice is the equivalent of writing down what YOU think is the answer on a test. If this is the type of question you choose, the students have to type an answer evaluated by the administrator. Sometimes, this question makes your quiz tough to grade, since it is up to the grader’s discretion to determine if the answer has accurately answered the question. 

For example, if you ask, “What colors are used in FC Barcelona’s home jersey?” and a student types “Blue, red, yellow,” you have to decide if you give them full credit or not since they missed an answer – “white.”

Fill In The Blank Question

Fill in the Blank questions are similar to free choice – this requires the user to type in what they think is the correct answer to the question. This can sometimes be up to the grader’s discretion but leaves less to the imagination than a free choice answer. If more than one blank in this question format exists, all blanks need to be answered correctly for the question to be considered correct, enhancing the quiz’s difficulty.

For example, you might say, “I _____ soccer, and I _____ goals.” The answer would be “I play soccer, and I score goals,” but if you put “I play soccer, and I pass goals,” the question would be marked incorrect.


Do you have a student or group of students who have done a GREAT job on their lesson material and quizzes? In this case, you can reward students that have passed a certain quiz or have done extra work with special certificates. 

You can give your student a certificate for two reasons: 

  1. Successfully completing a LearnDash online course
  2. Passing a quiz
Learndash online course

Creating a Certificate

Creating a certificate is Step 1 in the certification process for your LearnDash online course. To start, you need to head to LearnDash LMS > Certificates, and click “Add New.” 

Certificate Title

The certificate title is for your own use – this helps you organize your certificates and assign them to the correct quiz or course. 

This will appear in the dropdown menus when you apply it to the material that’s attributed to the certificate, so make sure the title is something you recognize and can easily understand.

Certificate Content

The certificate content is for the student who has earned this reward.
To make sure the certificate is personalized, you need to include the user’s name, course title, date of completion, and any other details that are related to the certificate when presenting it to your student. 

Previewing Your Certificate

If you want to view your certificate before it’s posted for the student to see, then you need to preview the reward before you publish it. 

  • Head to LearnDash LMS > Quizzes and click on “Add New.”
  • At this point, give the quiz a title – we talked about this in the previous section.
  • In the ”Settings” tab, choose the certificate that you want to preview.
  • Click on the correct question to the quiz and then click on “Finish Quiz.”
  • This lets you see the certificate before it is published, with the option to “Print Your Certificate.”


Assignments can be attributed to each LearnDash Online Course, Lesson, or particular Topic to give your students extra material to learn and be quizzed on. Although these additions are completely optional, they provide another way for your students to gain comprehension. 

Assignments are always enabled on a lesson or topic basis, and first, need to be assigned to whichever section is appropriate for the specific assignment. 

To figure out where to attribute your assignment, you first need to go to LearnDash LMS -> Lessons and click on the lesson you need to enable the assignment for. Click on “Settings” and turn on the “Assignment Uploads” setting.

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