• Engineering
  • Interface Design
  • Responsive
  • Strategy

Creating a Modern Admin Interface for Course Creation with the WordPress Block Editor

As a top choice for many major universities, Fortune 500 companies, training organizations, and entrepreneurs, LearnDash is one of the most trusted learning management systems (LMS). Widely used to create and deliver courses of all types, the WordPress LMS plugin was nominated by Elearning! Magazine in their annual “Best of ELearning!” awards, making LearnDash the only recognized WordPress-based courseware solution.

When LearnDash entered the market, they were one of the only courseware solutions available for WordPress. As competition from a number of WordPress plugins and third-party platforms increased, LearnDash leadership acknowledged its flagship product had to work harder to maintain its position.

To cement its industry leadership and maintain a competitive advantage, LearnDash focused the upcoming 3.0 update on simplifying and modernizing the plugin UI and streamlining the course and quiz creation process. They also knew compatibility with the new WordPress block-based editor (code named Gutenberg) was crucial to its longevity.

Familiar with 10up’s design and engineering reputation, and investment in understanding the new WordPress block editor, LearnDash engaged 10up to reimagine the plugin’s admin experience.

“We didn’t want the new LearnDash interface to just be good. We wanted it to be the best, so we brought in the best UX/UI designers out there: 10up. They took customer feedback and used it to shape the entire admin experience of LearnDash.”

—Justin Ferriman, CEO and Co-Founder, LearnDash

LearnDash Overview

User Experience And Design Consulting

As with most engagements, 10up began by building an understanding of LearnDash’s goals, which would be informed by gathering feedback from current customers. Those insights identified conflicts and blockers in the application’s management experience, inspired a new design that respects current usage patterns, and enabled 10up to hone in on mechanisms to help course creators be more productive.

“We began with a single goal: to create the best e-learning platform on the market and set the gold standard for course creation and online learning. Driven by competitive research, conversations with customers, and user testing, 10up reimagined the entire admin experience to make LearnDash simple, intuitive, and easy to use.”

—Justin Ferriman, CEO and Co-Founder, LearnDash

Specifically, 10up’s initial user experience consulting included design research, competitive analysis, and user testing to facilitate research-driven decisions.

  • 10up interviewed course creators and LearnDash customers, including business owners, agencies, freelancers, universities, and larger institutions.
  • Alternate LMS solutions were reviewed alongside published research on UX best practices in the learning management industry.
  • 10up performed unmoderated remote user testing on the existing LearnDash interface, focusing on the course builder, the quiz builder, certificate creation, and customer onboarding.

10up reviewed its findings and prepared a list of recommendations,. collaborating with LearnDash to identify and prioritize its recommendations to deliver the largest ROI. With priorities established, 10up proceeded to create high-fidelity admin mock-ups with a component-centric focus, iteratively refining them through remote collaboration with the LearnDash team.

Key changes included:

  • A reimagined onboarding experience;
  • An improved settings management experience;
  • A seamless integration with the new WordPress block editor (“Gutenberg”) to elevate the course building and quiz building process.

LearnDash Miro Collaboration

Engineering A New Administrative Experience

With the design phase complete, 10up worked alongside the LearnDash engineering team to implement the newly simplified interface designs, ensuring the vision for a modern editorial experience seamlessly integrated with the new WordPress block editor would be realized in production. The LearnDash upgrade was engineered to make sure customers who hadn’t upgraded to the new WordPress block editor would still be offered a fully-functional fallback experience.

“We had to get out of our own way. We know e-learning, but we’re not UX designers. The LearnDash 3.0 update was our largest undertaking to date and we needed trusted partners to help create a modern, innovative course creation and learning experience. By leveraging the new WordPress editor, 10up designed a beautiful, seamless admin experience that blends with the native WordPress interface.”

—Justin Ferriman, CEO and Co-Founder, LearnDash

LearnDash features, like its well-loved course builder and quiz builder, are now constructed and managed within the WordPress block editor, utilizing native and custom blocks and an intuitive drag-and-drop builder.

After the initial engineering was complete, 10up facilitated a knowledge transfer with the internal LearnDash engineering team, to whom the projected was handed off for completion. LearnDash took the project over the finish line, which included addressing critical edge cases, while 10up provided engineering support. This process ensured that the team ultimately responsible for its ongoing maintenance was fully prepared to manage the application.

LearnDash Course Builder

Customer Feedback

“10up really pushed the envelope of software development and the boundaries of WordPress to help us make course creators more productive and deliver a premium experience for online learners. The LearnDash 3.0 update has allowed us to maintain our position as industry leader. Our customers are thrilled with the new course builder and quiz builder and we’re hearing great things about the new onboarding bootcamp. When you want to innovate and create something entirely new, you need to work with the best; you need a partner like 10up who can help you navigate the process.”

—Justin Ferriman, CEO and Co-Founder, LearnDash

The launch of LearnDash 3.0 was a smashing success, earning rave reviews from customers and industry professionals. Feedback from LearnDash customers speaks for itself:

  • “I’ve never seen Gutenberg used in this way and seeing it in LD3 has definitely opened my mind up to its possibilities. Huge respect for showing the way there.”
  • “This is an amazing update… thank you so much for all your hard work and diligence developing LearnDash into the leading LMS in the industry. Me, my staff, and thousands of students I work with are all benefiting in a major way.”
  • “The custom UI here and the Gutenberg aspects are pretty darn interesting, even if you aren’t into LMS or LearnDash. WordPress devs should take a glance. Nice work from 10up.”
  • “3.0 is amazing! Learn Dash is at the forefront of revolutionizing the online learning experience and making it easier for everyone to share their passion and knowledge with the world.”
  • “Wow, this IS a game changer! I’m absolutely blown away, I can’t wait to dig in and give all the new features a shot!”

You can learn more about the LearnDash 3.0 launch and 10up’s role in their announcement post, or to discuss how 10up can help achieve your digital goals, contact us.

Background of 10up team members

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