WooCommerce: A Guide to Selling LearnDash Courses

It’s no secret that selling online courses is a lucrative business. According to Forbes, the online course industry’s revenue in 2018 alone reached a staggering $46 billion dollars.

So, how can you take advantage of this growing market? 

With the wide range of easy-to-use learning management systems and e-commerce solutions available, it is easy for any educator or knowledgeable expert to start monetizing content.

Using WordPress as a starting point, LearnDash and WooCommerce make a powerful duo for running an e-learning business.

In this guide, we’ll take a brief look at how you can use LearnDash to sell online courses and walk you through the steps you need to follow to set up LearnDash with WooCommerce.

What is LearnDash LMS?

LearnDash is a learning management system for WordPress that enables you to create and deliver courses online. LearnDash courses are broken down into a hierarchy of lessons, which can be grouped into sections. Under each lesson, you can create additional topics. Finally, you can create quizzes associated with any given course, lesson, or quiz. 

When it comes to actually selling your courses, LearnDash gives you a few options:

  • Open courses, in which anyone can enroll.
  • Free courses, which students with an account can access for free.
  • Buy now courses, which can be accessed by site users after paying a one-time fee.
  • Recurring courses, which students can access by paying a daily,  weekly, monthly, or yearly fee.

LearnDash also has some other cool features that benefit course creators including:

  • Wide variety of WordPress LearnDash themes specially designed for selling and delivering your online courses.
  • Content prerequisites that allow you to control your student’s journey through the course.
  • A lesson release schedule to drip content.
  • Extended eLearning, eCommerce, gamification, and membership features are available through add-ons and integrations.

You can start your eLearning biz using LearnDash on the basic plan package with an annual single site license for LearnDash LMS for $159 USD (at the time of writing).

Sell LearnDash Courses With WooCommerce

While LearnDash core features might cut it for the bare basics, it leaves a lot to wish for when compared to the possibilities offered by specialized e-commerce plugins.

Thankfully, as with many other popular WordPress plugins, there are many LearnDash add-ons and integrations available, allowing you to customize your eLearning site.

Among them, we find the WooCommerce for LearnDash integration, which gives course creators access to a wide range of professional marketing and sales features.

What are the advantages of using WooCommerce with LearnDash?

LearnDash was primarily designed for creating online courses and it is extremely efficient at its job. On a secondary level, it also includes payment options for selling said courses. 

WooCommerce, on the other hand, was exclusively created to sell and market products and services, including digital products such as online courses. Ecommerce is its one and only purpose and it is one of the most powerful and popular tools in this niche.

Would you hire a carpenter to do your plumbing? Probably not. The same concept applies to your online course business. 

Where eCommerce is concerned, using LearnDash alone is very much like choosing a jack-of-all-trades – optimal for those looking for a lightweight site but very limited in its capabilities. Instead, a specialized e-commerce plugin gives you access to a powerful suite of options to sell your online courses.

Sure, configuring WooCommerce does take some additional work, but in our opinion, the added functionalities make it well worth it. Plus, if you are uncertain about tackling the process on your own, you can always get help from the experienced WooCommerce Developers at WooNinjas.

Here are some of the perks you get by going the extra mile:

  • Optimized WooCommerce checkout – Using LearnDash with WooCommerce enables you to customize your online store’s checkout page and user account pages and set up custom landing and thank you pages. Overall, this will help you improve the user experience and reduce cart abandonment. 
  • Additional marketing resources – WooCommerce integrates with the most popular CRMs, equipping you with all the tools to set up effective marketing campaigns.
  • Extended payment options – WooCommerce gives you access to over a hundred different payment gateway options while using LearnDash alone limits you to using only Stripe and PayPal to process your payments.
  • Sell course bundles – When using LearnDash on its own to create a course bundle is very time consuming. In this case, you need to manually add all the separate courses’ content into a new course. However, WooCommerce allows you to attach several courses to single product and sell course bundles in a few clicks.
  • Discounts and Sales – WooCommerce makes it easy to market your business, enabling you to offer discount codes and run well-organized sales for your online courses.
  • Upsells, cross-sells and order bumps – If you are looking to set up sales funnels as a part of your marketing efforts, you’ll be happy to find out that WooCommerce makes it easy to integrate upsell and cross-sell plugins, such as CartFlows and One Click Upsell Funnel for WooCommerce, with your online courses.
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery –  Abandoned carts are a frequent issue in eCommerce, whether you are selling physical products or online courses. Thankfully, you’ll find dozens of WooCommerce extensions designed to help you identify the reasons why customers aren’t completing their purchases and help you set up an efficient abandoned cart recovery campaign.
  • Sell products and courses with WooCommerce – Selling courses is profitable on its own. However, it is not uncommon for course creators to add private coaching, ebooks, or other products to the mix. While LearnDash falls short in this regard,  WooCommerce allows you to sell courses and products at the same time with a single plugin.

What’s best, WooCommerce and the WooCommerce for LearnDash add-on are available to LearnDash users at no additional cost.  (Disclaimer: many WooCommerce add-ons and extensions are paid products, but all of these are completely optional).

How to integrate WooCommerce with LearnDash?

First things first, make sure you have installed and configured WooCommerce on your WordPress site. 

Then,  you’ll also need to install and configure LearndDash and create your very first online course. You can learn more about how to do this by consulting LearnDash’s official documentation. You can also work with a LearnDash expert if you need any additional help with the initial LMS configuration process.

Now that you have completed the steps above, let’s jump into the tutorial:

  • Install and activate the WooCommerce for LearnDash add-on. You can download it for free from the Add-ons tab of the LearnDash menu on your WordPress dashboard.
  • Next, create a new WooCommerce product (which you will use to sell your course). Don’t forget to give it a name and description.
  • On the Product Data dropdown menu, select the Course option.
  • A new “LearnDash Courses” box will appear near the bottom of the product configurations window. Here, you will select the course you want to sell. If you want to sell several courses as a bundle, simply attach multiple courses to the product.
  • Then, follow along configuring the rest of the general WooCommerce product settings and publish.

Wait a second, we are not quite done yet. You still need to create a landing page to help you convert all those course sales. In LearnDash, your landing page would first and foremost be your Course page. (However, keep in mind that you are always free use any other page as a landing page and add a button linking to your WooCommerce product). You can customize your LearnDash course pages using the Gutenberg editor or a page builder such as Elementor. The course page’s enrollment “take this course” button will redirect prospective buyers to your course’s product page, where your prospective buyers will actually be directed to checkout.

You can customize your course WooCommerce product page just like you would any other product page, taking advantage of the wide range of tools at your disposal. From adding a related courses and products section and order bumps to product reviews and videos, your imagination is the limit here.

At this point, you can also start taking advantage of all the other possibilities that come with WooCommerce, such as building a sales funnel for your courses, customizing your checkout page, or even marketing a physical product using a free course as a lead magnet.

Conclusion

For anyone with knowledge to share and a working internet connection, the eLearning industry has it all – positive social impact, profitability, and most importantly, a low entry barrier.  

With the right tools and resources, virtually anyone can start selling an online course. After working on hundreds of eLearning sites, we’re first-hand witnesses of just how well WooCommerce and LearnDash come together for this purpose.

Ready to share your knowledge with the masses (and make a profit while doing so)? Get started right away. We’ll set up, configure and launch your LearnDash site in 30 days.

Elena Gutierrez

As the content manager for the WooNinjas Blog, Elena spends her time writing about everything related to WooCommerce, learning management systems, and WordPress development.

Rodolfo Melogli

Business Bloomer Founder

Author, WooCommerce expert and WordCamp speaker, Rodolfo has worked as an independent WooCommerce freelancer since 2011. His goal is to help entrepreneurs and developers overcome their WooCommerce nightmares. Rodolfo loves travelling, chasing tennis & soccer balls and, of course, wood fired oven pizza.

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