The rise of the online education – WordPress LMS Website Development
October 17, 2016 Updated : October 4, 2017
WordPress LMS themes can make your school or college accessible like never before
Education is increasingly imparted online, especially through WordPress LMS websites. The availability of continually improving Learning Management Systems or LMS on platforms like WordPress has made it possible for educators to go online and teach.
For over half-a-decade now, there has been a steady rise in the number of courses available online, the number of universities and institutes worldwide who have made online courses part of their regular curriculum.
Along with this rise has stemmed an almost unrelenting debate about whether online education can be as effective as traditional education avenues. Opinion pieces have been written about it and governments have run extensive debates and want to make online education the norm.
A consensus that appears from the debates is that online education is here to stay but it must be imparted in such a manner that it replicates the critical thinking nature of traditional education.
This post doesn’t argue the point that online education has become a reality. It also won’t debate the pros and cons. If it comes to that even traditional education systems have their pros and cons. Any system is up for debate, so I am not going to debate it further.
In this post, we’ll work with the reality that online education has become a way of life and that education institutions must embrace this method wholeheartedly.
I write from a technology view point. The technology that makes it possible to go online and learn is improving every day. LMS has evolved from standalone systems to Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress. This has made it possible for education web development with technology-driven LMS that makes learning as challenging as the traditional methods.
Why online education is a good thing
Public education systems and private education systems both stand to lose very less if they embraced this technology. What technology brings to education are certain key factors:
Technology proliferation in the form of internet penetration and the fast spread of handheld and portable devices has made it possible for people to access courses and education systems that would otherwise be out of their reach physically. Technology reduces the distance between the institution and student and between the student and the teacher.
There is no denying that online education allows an affordable channel of learning. Students who cannot afford the tuition and accommodation at universities are now able to access the course materials for significantly lower prices which enable them to learn like their peers who can afford the real time experience.
An online course can be managed at the student’s time. For people who work full-time or people who are unable to attend real-time classroom sessions, online education websites provide ample flexibility to pace their courses and learn at comfortable speeds.
An online education website makes it feasible to achieve the goal of educating children across social spheres, where traditional systems may falter. An online system is not constrained by space or time.
When education is viewed as a birthright of every human, we can see the larger picture of how online education helps. I am not just saying at the college level. Public schools, charter schools, private schools and institutions of higher learning must make learning available and affordable. Online learning systems make it possible.
The Standalone LMS
Online LMS have been making eLearning possible for the last several years now. LMS like Blackboard, Moodle and Canvas enable millions of people worldwide to eLearn like never before. These are stand alone systems which have their own specific set of characteristics:
- They tend to be complex. Configuring an efficient back end can take hours of coding.
- Look and feel are pretty much always standard. Standalone systems are generally not very high scoring when it comes to customization to enhance user experience.
- Installations are megabyte-heavy and can cost quite a bit when it comes to scaling up for many users. Shared hosting is not really a strong point for systems like Moodle.
- Combining eCommerce and eLearning is not simple with standalone LMS. In fact, while Moodle allows you to sell a course online, order management, payments, and tracking are not a possibility for standalone systems.
The WordPress option to set up your LMS
When it started, WordPress was a blogging platform. It has since evolved into a Content Management System or WordPress CMS that has quickly and surely become the website design tool that nearly all businesses want.
In its next level, WordPress has become the platform for developing Learning Management Systems as well.
When compared to the standalone systems, WordPress LMS website development has some distinct points in its favor:
- Easy to structure and restructure especially when using WP Courseware which allows designing a course through simple drag and drop options
- Enhanced user experience through the use of custom WordPress theme, widgets and CSS animations
- The size of installation is much smaller than standalone LMS – it is about a third of the standalone system even with resource intensive plug-ins
- WordPress is a great marketing tool and allows easy integration with WooCommerce. You can manage your course sales quite simply and elegantly.
- WordPress extensions allow sharing content on social media, web traffic analysis, email campaigns and much more.
WordPress LMS theme options
Several LMS options are available under WordPress, each has its own USP. From the popular LearnDash plug-in which costs between $129 and $299 as a one-time fee and can support unlimited users to the free, open-source LifterLMS plug-in to the full WordPress theme called WPLMS they satisfy the different needs of the institutions looking to offer courses online.
A quick run through of the available options:
|Academy of Mine||For people who are looking to sell their courses and content. Includes built-in eCommerce functionality.|
|LearnDash WordPress LMS||Premium WordPress LMS with full features. Integrated with WooCommerce and BadgeOS.|
|LearnPress WordPress LMS||Free plug-in that comes with free and premium add-ons.|
|LifterLMS||Premium plug-in with integration with PayPal, WooCommerce and Stripe.|
|Namaste! LMS||Free and professional versions available and offers unlimited courses and students.|
|Sensei||Manage courses, registrations and charge for content.|
|WP Courseware||Aimed at people who are looking to sell courses online and enables you to make custom objects and badges.|
Schools and Colleges, get online!
A few years ago, a report from the Heritage Foundation had found that online education in the K-12 system of public education has the potential to allow children from disadvantaged areas to access high quality learning opportunities. The same can be held true for all types of educational institutions.
Today, the education sector has valuable technology at its disposal. This doesn’t mean that technology will replace teachers. This technology will only evolve and it will become easier to teach and learn online.
More than that, platforms like WordPress are a solid way to create your brand awareness. To get help getting started with your WordPress LMS, get in touch with a web development specialist in custom WordPress development and make a difference.
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