WordPress has become a perfect online tool for education-related needs, as it has a wide range of themes and plugins.
The platform was started as an open-source blogging tool and then it quickly turned out to be one of the most popular Content Management Systems (CMS) in the world. At present, it powers 40.0% of all websites on the internet
Thanks to the ever-expanding list of the features; the platform is no longer just useful for small businesses and bloggers. It is also proving that it can be used by complex sectors such as education.
All over the world, schools, teachers, and students are trying to harness the potentials of this platform for their education-related needs.
Role of Technology in Today’s Education
The role of technology in education over the last few decades has been great. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a significant demand for online learning platforms. In fact, generation Z is deeply connected with technology.
Image Source: Global Indian International School
There is a wide range of devices that has become a part of our everyday life. From smartphones, tablets to social networking sites such as Instagram, we just can’t imagine our lives without these.
As a result, most educational institutions have realized the importance of having a website and started to create one. So, any student can easily apply for college courses online or contact the course faculties. Also, when a lecture or a PPT presentation is recorded and uploaded, teachers inform students about exam dates or any changes via e-mail. The test results are also uploaded via the educational institution’s administration software.
In fact, Peter Drucker, a well-known management consultant predicted this trend way back in 1997 which is quite shocking.
Universities won’t survive. The future is outside the traditional campus, outside the traditional classroom. Distance learning is coming on fast. – Peter Drucker
Growth of the e-learning sector in the US
WordPress CMS in the Field of Education
As of 2021, 40.0% of the entire web is powered by WordPress. This means that millions of websites use WordPress. Also, the possibilities with WordPress are quite endless. It still remains one of the best blogging platforms, but it is also used by websites with different verticals such as auction sites, forums, and even government websites as well. So, in this list, education is also not an exception.
It is used by many famous college and universities such as,
1. Bates College
2. University of Florida
4. University of British Columbia
4. Georgia State University
5. Boise State University.
The number of tertiary schools and charter schools are being exposed to the wide range of options that WordPress offers.
Here are some of the various ways through which educational institutions take advantage of WordPress.
A. WordPress Multisite Feature
Most of the popular universities, distance education institutions, charter schools, etc make use of the WordPress multisite feature which has been available since 2010.
In simple words, WordPress multisite is a multisite network that has a collection of websites that are present in one single WordPress installation. It has super administrator access through which you can add new websites. All the websites can have common themes and plugins and do not require a separate directory on your server. The sub-websites will have their own directories only for media uploads and other independent tables within the database.
To learn more about WordPress multisites, take a look at this detailed guide by Manish Dudharejia, founder of E2M Solutions Inc.
Another amazing solution offered by WordPress for the education field is Edublogs. This system is based upon WordPress, and the websites can be hosted on WordPress.com. Keep in mind that this was explicitly introduced to target the education sector. A private community for teachers, students, and educators.
Edublogs are mostly used by students to share the content they created with teachers rather than information exchange by institutions. Students write articles and create other forms of content and share them here. Teachers exclusively use this platform to share class schedules, homework, lesson plans, etc.
Here is a live example of Edublogs – Ms. Cassidy’s Classroom Blog.
Another WordPress tool that serves well for the education sector is SchoolPress. It is yet another WordPress-powered web application used by students, teachers, and classes. Through this WordPress web application, educators can start classes for either public or private use. Teachers can also add assignment due dates and students can upload/submit their works so teachers can track the progress. Members can also start online discussions, create a forum, send direct messages, etc.
D. WordPress Class Websites
Apart from creating school websites with WordPress, you can also create a class website. This will be useful for teachers as they can use the platform for blogging, assignments, and class programs. It can also be used to exchange information with students and parents; and as a collaboration and discussion platform with other educators. Teachers can also use this platform to get feedback from students so they can better teach.
E. Library Blog and Library Content Management System
WordPress can be used as either a library blog or library LMS. It is a smart way to inform and share library-related information with students and parents. You can give easy access to the library’s content. In fact, Kyle M. L. Jones and Polly-Alida Farrington have written an entire book about WordPress as a library content management click here to learn more.
F. Live Teaching, Live Online Coaching, and Live Training
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire education system has shifted to online mode and the terms ‘live teaching’, ‘live training’, ‘live online coaching’ and ‘virtual classroom’ are often being used in the recent times. If you want to keep up with the trend, with the WordPress CMS, you can create a virtual classroom website. It has an excellent repository of plugins and themes through which you can further develop the capabilities of your website. You can also read our blog on Ultimate Guide to Create a Virtual Classroom Website to learn more about how you can create one through WordPress.
G. WordPress as a Learning Management System (LMS)
Of course, education is not only limited to colleges and universities. Every day, thousands of useful materials are shared on the internet. There are plenty of free resources you can find about thousands of topics. There are many teachers who offer paid/premium courses in exchange for money. WordPress can handle this as well. Here are some of the ways through which you can create and sell online courses
Some of the most popular WordPress LMS plugins that can be used to create a membership website are,
We would recommend LearnDash as it comes with many useful features and it is also easy on the pockets. We have written a detailed review on LearnDash, do take a look to learn more.
In general, people who want to enter the education field spend a lot of money, be it online or offline. WordPress education theme creators occupy a fraction of this market as well. Apart from LMS, that is why there are many free and paid themes available. You can also go for WordPress custom theme development so you will get exactly what you are looking for and needn’t pay extra for the features you don’t plan to use.
Here’s what Manikandan, an educationalist, has to say about WordPress.
1. Why did you choose WordPress over the other CMS’s?
- Low operational costs
- Ease of Development – Speed
- Ease of Content Management, especially mock test data
2. What are the main benefits of using this content management system?
- Admin Panel – User-friendly and easily understandable
- Read/Write/Re-write data – very easy
- Non-experience (non-tech-savvy) people can also play with the system
3. Why do you think people love to use your WordPress-based system from the feedback you get?
- For the ease of content management
- Low costs – efforts and time
4. Do you think there are any weak points in WordPress that should be fixed so many other educational institutions like yours can start using it?
- Sites are slow
- UI/UX/styling shall be improved
Role of WordPress - An All-Round Solution For the Education Industry
So far, we have outlined a variety of options that can be used to build a perfect education website with WordPress and how the industry can take advantage of the various technological solutions.
There are many companies that are specialized in developing WordPress-based school and education websites. One such prominent education company web design & development company in India is ColorWhistle. Here is a short interview with our founder, Sankar. He explains why we use WordPress to build school & education websites and what kind of feedback we have received from our education white label clients regarding the usability of the WordPress CMS.
1. ColorWhistle is well-versed in education web design and development based on WordPress. Why do you prefer WordPress over others?
Good question on WordPress CMS.
Following WordPress evaluation in Web Content Management (WCM) from the beginning.
WordPress started as a “Blogging platform”. It solves the industry problem of that time – anyone can start their web presence instantly, without tech knowledge!
Popular blogging platform as an open-source has got many community members/contributors to improve further online experiences.
WordPress Community opened up market places to reach out to more user base.
Eventually, WordPress has tapped out general website needs. Their dynamic community created a robust, scalable architecture that enhances the CMS website experience for developers and businesses.
Once WordPress developed as a full CMS platform for business websites, the community started working on niche/sector-based WordPress solutions/themes & plugins.
Likewise, for the education industry, Learning Management System (LMS) has developed a lot with WordPress architecture-based solutions.
Being followed and inspired with this for a period, I would highly recommend WordPress CMS for the education industry – for school websites to LMS to Live Coaching in 2021 & beyond.
2. Do your clients know what WordPress is? Do they usually know how they would like to have their site built?
In 2021, yes. In today’s digital consumer era, most of our client base is aware of what WordPress is, and many have experienced over the platform too.
Sometimes, we need to break the industry myths and explain hard about WordPress use cases to our clients.
Only very few work on how they would like to build their website. Without that added effort, if they are looking for a consultation/or quote estimation, it will be time expensive on both sides.
Many times, we ask them to document the needs (if it’s complex, multi-functional, or different kind). For simple ones, they can just provide us a site map or a reference to take the right direction. We will also help them narrow down their thought process towards the tech solutions.
For us, website development is a collaborative teamwork and starting point of a long journey with our customers. WordPress eco-system is helping many small businesses, around 40% of world’s websites. We are happy that we could be able to connect and provide services to this biggest digital community.
3. What kind of feedback do you usually get from education institutions? Can they use and edit the site easily? Do they like doing it?
Educators are mass content producers. We love to work with them a lot.
As they work on many content types, going with generic tech solutions won’t help them fully or won’t meet the desired results. So, they will reach us for options & customizations.
We recently started working with UAE-based educators. We are supporting them on graphics, web page creations, webinar setup, email campaigns, digital marketing-related works. We give this support with our full-stack designer & full stack developer skills.
Educators don’t like to do managing tech surrounding works.
Though the website is built with WordPress, and it’s easy to manage the existing content from the WordPress backend dashboard – many don’t like to do it by themselves. Except for tech educators (those who teach & explore tech topics), others are heavily tech-challenging persons until this year.
4. How do you convince potential clients to build their sites on WordPress?
No need to convince them. Instead, we will educate them with the knowledge and experience we have with WordPress sites.
We will ask them about their business objectives/goals of a website or going online with their business.
It will help them to get a more detailed understanding of website functions and their serving purposes. Will also help them to take the right direction with our recommended solutions within the WordPress eco-system.
We have clients from various industry sectors, like education, travel, healthcare, real estate, eCommerce, etc. We are playing a tech hub role with our WordPress expertise to connect all these spokes of the wheel in our business!
Our main goal of this blog was to educate you on the various ways through which you can use WordPress in the field of education. There are still many less than common WordPress plugins & themes for group collaboration, ePortfolios, a repository for resources for educators and students. Overall, the WordPress CMS has achieved amazing results and proven its popularity in the education sector.
At ColorWhistle, we believe that the real WordPress boom is yet to come. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have seen an exceptional increase in the number of websites. So, in the next few years, the number of WordPress-related services, solutions, plugins, and themes will only grow more. Apart from this, the need for a user-friendly CMS in the field of education will also expand.
We hope you will also give WordPress a shot. In case you are already familiar with it and used it to create your education website, we’d love to hear about your experience. Do share it in the comment section below!