Instructional Design Students and WordPress Learning Management System Experience
Should instructional Design students use a WordPress LMS to create their own courses? Will it help them in their careers and give them experiences that they may not get otherwise?
Instructional Design students are likely going to gain some experience with setting up their own courses throughout their studies. However, they may not gain the full experience of setting up a course on their own in an LMS that they can by creating courses on their own with a WordPress LMS.
Setting up a WordPress LMS will give an Instructional Design student the opportunity to get the full experience of building a course from scratch and learning some of the skills that are required by a WordPress web developer, course developer, course administrator, instructor, and student in a WordPress LMS course.
Most of the skills learned creating a course with a WordPress LMS will be transferable to real world instructional design jobs. Some of the skills will make the Instructional Design student more marketable for job opportunities.
One of the courses that I am taking towards my Master’s of Education in Instructional Design through the University of Massachusetts Boston has required me to develop an ePortfolio. It also required me to develop my own professional development plan and to choose a professional development learning path goal that I could complete during the course.
The professional development learning path goal that I chose was to learn about how WordPress could be used as a learning management system (LMS). Specifically, were there existing WordPress learning management systems? What differences were there between different WordPress learning management systems? Which one was the best overall choice? How easy were WordPress learning management systems to set up and use.
I had a lot of success in comparing different WordPress learning management systems. I wrote a post titled “How to Compare WordPress Learning Management Systems for Your Organization” in which I wrote about the parameters that I think should be used in comparing WordPress learning management systems. I also wrote another post titled “WordPress can be used as a Learning Management System” about the merits of WordPress for use as a learning management system and the top WordPress LMS available for organizations to use.
In the post “How to Compare WordPress Learning Management Systems for Your Organization”, I indicate up front that an organization has to decide whether to use an open source, free WordPress LMS or a paid WordPress LMS. The organization also has to consider questions of cost, control, and support.
An organization has to ask the all-important questions of what the organization expects to get out of the box and what the organization will have to build and set up for itself with a WordPress learning management system.
An organization has to know how much it is willing to pay for a learning management system. It has to identify the costs up front, how much it will cost for additional or continuing services, and how much it cost for additional plugins.
The organization has to know whether it wants full control of LMS or whether it is willing to use a WordPress LMS where it pays for additional services for setting up, hosting, or managing the LMS. It has to know how much support it will need for the LMS and whether that support is available in house or will have to be provided by an LMS company.
The organization also has to know how many courses it will be developing. It has to know whether it has the right people in place to develop, administer, and deliver courses. It has to know whether it makes more sense to use a WordPress LMS or an established LMS that it can purchase.
For the organization, I noted that there are three basic categories of WordPress learning management systems: established with higher cost, established with no or little cost, and smaller or newer, less established.
These are significant questions and considerations for an organization. They are somewhat irrelevant for the instructional design student whose goal is simply to find the best WordPress learning management system for learning to develop a course.
An instructional design student doesn’t have to ask himself or herself any of these questions when selecting a WordPress learning management system for developing a course. But part of growing in a career field is knowing the issues and the considerations that are relevant in making choices in software applications and technology used in the career field.
The instructional design student does need to know that he or she will not be limited by what they are unable to purchase in the way of plugins or add-ons for a WordPress learning management system.
Ideally, the instructional design student will pick a free or low cost WordPress learning management system that doesn’t require additional plugins or add-ons for basic course development. The experience should be focused on learning WordPress and how to use it as an LMS for course development.
I recommend that instructional design students take some time to look at the LMS plugins and LMS themes that are available through the WordPress website. I also recommend looking at the resources lists comparing different WordPress LMS themes and LMS plugins in the blog “How to Compare WordPress Learning Management Systems for Your Organization”.
It’s really important that instructional design students learn the basics of WordPress, including plugins, themes, and how to set up a WordPress website from scratch before working with a WordPress learning management system. Two great resources for learning more about WordPress are the “Beginner’s Guide for WordPress” glossary and blog.
I was really successful in achieving my professional development learning path goal to learn about WordPress learning management systems. I have positioned myself as an instructional design student who can use WordPress to create my own courses. I have solid WordPress knowledge and experience combined with my own domains and sub-domains on which I can develop courses that I could feature in my ePortfolio.
There is one WordPress learning management system that made the most sense to me for an instructional design student to use in developing his or her own course. That WordPress LMS is Learning Courses.
Learning Courses LMS is free to download and use. It has one plugin. It doesn’t require additional plugins. It also doesn’t require the purchase or use of a specific LMS theme. It is designed to support the development of both single and multiple courses. You can view the Learning Courses introduction video below.
The Learning Courses plugin install and application set up has simple instructions to follow:
- Install and activate the plugin.
- Create the page “Courses” and insert the schortcode [nd_learning_courses].
- Create the page “Account” and insert the schortcode [nd_learning_account].
- Go in the plugin settings ( ND Learning ), insert your currency and assign the previous pages created to related select field.
- Start create your courses, teachers and related taxonomies (categories).
- Follow the detailed documentation of the plugin HERE.
It also has easy to use navigation to follow to develop your first course once the application is installed:
Here is a screenshot from the Learning Courses website of a course developed with the Learning Courses LMS:
Learning Courses is an excellent choice for an instructional design student learning to develop his or her first course with a WordPress learning management system. It will help prepare the instructional design student to navigate more advanced WordPress learning management systems and build transferable skills.
Are you an instructional design student? Have you used a WordPress LMS to create your own course? Would you recommend exploring WordPress learning management systems for your organization based on your experience? Which WordPress learning management systems have you used?