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Let me show you how to create your own educational website (LMS) using a WordPress theme called “Masterstudy”.
What is An Educational Website?
Before we dive into the theme, let’s ask ourselves what is an educational website, and how can we create one of our own?
An educational website contains various resources that enhance learning and supplement classroom teaching. Tuts+ is one such educational website, as it publishes tutorials and courses on creative subjects. Youtube can also be considered to be an educational platform, though not all its content is exclusively for educational purposes.
To create your own educational website you have 3 main options:
- Use WordPress and an LMS theme: this is fast, affordable, and doesn’t require much technical knowledge.
- Use a dedicated LMS (Learning Management System): this is a very capable option (Moodle is an example of a dedicated LMS), but potentially more expensive and offers less stylistic freedom as there are fewer themes to choose from.
- Outsource to a developer: this might get you exactly what you want, but can be extremely expensive and time consuming!
Personally, I’ll always favor option 1. So in this article I’m going to review a WordPress theme called Masterstudy and what it can do for your educational website.
Introducing Masterstudy: Education WordPress Theme
The Masterstudy WordPress theme made by Stylemix Themes is a great choice for creating an educational website. It has tons of useful features, 12+ premade templates, and it’s fully translated in 8 languages. Let me quickly show you some of its features.
Import Demo Content
I’ll show you the features as they’re implemented in the cookery course demo. By importing the demo content I have a fully populated website with menus, content, imagery etc.
The homepage gives us a great hero section which shows off what the website does and draws the users in. It also houses the navigation which comprises site menu options, plus an admin menu (more on that in a moment), and a search feature.
The top courses are displayed in a carousel format, with cards that reveal more information (like the rating, description etc.) when hovered over. There’s a similar section lower down for recent courses too.
Categories Section and Statistics
Users can jump into topics they’d like to learn about thanks to this nicely presented categories section. And the statistics section shows off some numbers about your educational website. All of this is fully editable of course.
Clicking on one of the cards will open up the course on the course page. This is very nicely done in my opinion, and in terms of aesthetics the cookery template is my favorite.
Each course has up to 5 tabs with various types of information:
The curriculum tab, for example, shows the course structure organized in chapters and lectures (lessons and quizzes).
Front End Course Builder
What I really like about this theme is its front end course builder. As a logged-in admin, you have the option to add course content via the back end, much like you would with any WordPress content, or you can use the interface on the front end. The front end builder allows you to add content in the same visual environment it will ultimately be published in. It’s a far more intuitive way of entering course details.
Masterstudy WordPress LMS Plugin
If you like the structure of the Masterstudy LMS, but you’d rather not use the whole theme and everything that comes with it, you can download a light version of their WordPress LMS plugin for free. You can then enjoy the power of this LMS with whichever WordPress theme your website uses.
How to Set Up the Masterstudy Theme
Once downloaded and activated, the first thing you need to do to benefit from demos and updates is to register the theme. The intro page will give you full instructions for generating a token which can then be used with the Envato API.
With your token generated, copy and paste it into the box provided in the WordPress admin, and you’re all set. You’ll then be able to walk through the step-by-step process of setting up your website.
With your website connected to the Envato API you can go to Install Demos and choose which of the premade templates you want to use. Again, I chose “cooking courses” as my template, and when clicked on the setup wizard asks if you’d rather use Elementor or WPBakery Page Builder as the engine behind your layouts. This is entirely up to you; I prefer to use Elementor.
Individual or Marketplace?
The next step is to choose whether your website will be for an individual educator, or run as a marketplace for multiple educators. As a marketplace, your educational website will allow teachers to upload, promote, and sell their own content.
Many of the general settings are self-explanatory; the setting up of certain pages and features for users, the setup for the course listings page, individual course page layout, opting to use WooCommerce checkout and guest checkout for the purchase of courses, that sort of thing.
With the main settings all taken care of, you’ll either import some demo courses or add your own courses to finish.
Build Online Courses
When it comes to building online courses Masterstudy makes it super easy for you. As we discussed earlier, you can go into the admin and go STM LMS > Courses to add courses much like you would any other WordPress content. Or you can use the much easier front end course builder.
To do this, go to your account page on the front end and click Add New Course.
Specify a course title, choose a category, upload a course image, setup a description, add various course materials (helper files etc.) and then under curriculum you can start adding your course structure. Do this by adding sections, and then lessons within them.
For each lesson you have some further settings. You can add an image, some textual content, then under lesson settings you can determine whether it’s a textual lesson, video, or slides.
Besides lessons you can also add quizzes, which are a super powerful way of getting your users to test their knowledge throughout the course.
Under the FAQ tab you can address questions which commonly arise about the course. Then under the announcements tab you can post whatever information you feel all students should be aware of; changes to the course material, or useful tips.
Sell Online Courses
The last (important) feature to mention is setting a price. By setting a price for your course you can make it available for paying customers. They add it to their basket and checkout.
Alternatively, Masterstudy comes with a Paid Memberships Pro integration which allows you to sell courses on a subscription basis. You can even sell courses in bundles using the Course Bundle add-on. There are plenty of options!
With all that done, either save your course as a draft, or publish it directly.
Other Useful Educational Features
Some other really nice features from Masterstudy include:
- Content drip: set up your course content so that certain lessons aren’t available unless students complete previous lessons, or a certain date has passed.
- Certificates: design and create your own certificates granted to students when they complete certain things or achieve certain scores.
- Course filtering: if your educational website has a lot of content, this is a really useful feature, allowing students to narrow down the courses they see in the archive based on type, price, length, rating etc.
- Udemy Importer: the Udemy importer add-on allows you to import courses from Udemy, list them on your website, and earn commissions based on those sales.
- Student Communities: Masterstudy makes it really easy to create a student community with the BBPress or Buddy Press WordPress plugins.
- Masterstudy Mobile LMS: Masterstudy have also created a mobile app for iOS and Android users, which you can find on CodeCanyon.
Masterstudy is a really solid way of building your own educational website for WordPress. It’s intuitive to setup, has a ton of useful features, and by connecting to the Envato API you can make sure your website stays up to date too. Check it out today and get educating!