How the #1 WordPress LMS Plugin, LifterLMS, is Democratizing Education

Today we are announcing the biggest update to LifterLMS since it’s inception. LifterLMS 2.0! In August of 2014 we set out to create a WordPress plugin that would allow teachers to build and sell online courses as well as automatically engage with students. The ride has been incredible, and the stories we have heard from many of our users have moved us in profound ways. We’ve been laser focused on our users’ needs and making a WordPress plugin that is not only powerful, but simple to use. Our community has been incredible, and every user of LifterLMS has helped us make the platform better by giving us feedback on ways we can improve the system. With this in mind, we are taking things to the next level, and today we are happy to announce that LifterLMS 2.0 is going to 100% open sourced and free. Download your copy of LifterLMS 2.0 here. [If you’ve previously purchased a license of LifterLMS, you can find out what happens to that license here.] The Mission of LifterLMS is to Democratize Education in the Digital Classroom LifterLMS makes it easy for anyone in the world to have a beautiful learning platform. There’s a huge opportunity in bringing online education to people around the world. How we track our success in our mission to democratize the online learning experience is how many websites are using our software and how many students’ lives those learning platforms are touching. We’re trying to make those numbers higher. We believe education in general is a cornerstone of a free society. The ability for teaching and learning and for ideas to be disseminated and for authority to be challenged is part of every free society that we’ve seen so far in history. The small part that LifterLMS can play in building a tool, an online classroom for the digital age, makes us excited. LifterLMS is a tool that allows people to get their thoughts and lessons out there in both small and significant ways. This is the future of learning. This is LifterLMS. How is LifterLMS 2.0 better than ever? Now making LifterLMS completely open source is cool, but we have also added some cool new features and enhancements. Vouchers First off, we are releasing a much requested and anticipated new feature called “Vouchers”! Have you ever wanted to take cash for a course and give your customer an access code that allows them to access a course without entering in credit card details … well now you can! With vouchers you can now generate one or 1,000 codes to be sold in B2B business transactions, conferences, or even off of the street if you are that type of hustler. However you want to use them, we want to give you the power to give access to your course in new and different ways. So after you get paid by some business for 500 seats in your course, you now have a way to give the business a voucher code that is good for 500 uses or 500 unique voucher codes. And here’s a quick video tour of the vouchers system … Bulk Add and Remove Students from Courses We are also releasing a new admin interface for adding and removing students. This gives you the ability to bulk add and remove students from a course. We’ve also optimized performance of this feature to work even better with large databases, like those containing thousands or tens of thousands of students. So if you want to give 10 promotional partners free access to a specific course, you can now search and bulk add …

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Introducing the LifterLMS Helper (and updates to Stripe, MailChimp, and Infusionsoft)

Today we’re unveiling a new free LifterLMS extension to aid in automatic updates of premium LifterLMS extensions via the WordPress admin panel. In an effort to improve the performance and user experience around activating and updating LifterLMS and LifterLMS extensions, we’ve created the LifterLMS Helper which serves updates more reliably than our previous methods. You can grab a copy of the extension and read more about how the extension works at https://lifterlms.com/docs/lifterlms-helper/. Right now the LifterLMS Helper will serve updates to the LifterLMS Stripe, LifterLMS MailChimp, and LifterLMS Infusionsoft extensions. We’re phasing out the updater methods that currently exist in LifterLMS in the next major release of LifterLMS itself so we recommend you grab the Helper and start using it as soon as possible.

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Accept Credit Cards for your Online Courses – Say Hello to LifterLMS Stripe 2.0

Yesterday we released a new major version upgrade of our popular LifterLMS Stripe extension. LifterLMS Stripe 2.0 is a major upgrade. You can read the full details in the LifterLMS Changelog, but in general, we’ve rebuilt the Stripe extension from the ground up with a focus on better performance, stability, user experience, eCommerce analytics, and more advanced testing features.   Why the LifterLMS Stripe Extension Helps You LifterLMS works out of the box with PayPal, which is great for making it possible to sell your online courses for one-time and/or recurring payments. But when you use PayPal to sell your courses and memberships, you direct your prospective customers off your website to PayPal’s website to complete the transaction. This isn’t bad, especially if your customers are used to using PayPal to buy things. But if you want to keep users inside your LifterLMS powered website and accept their credit card directly inside the checkout flow for a course or membership, you’ll love the new and improved, clean and easy to use LifterLMS Stripe integration.  

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How to Sell Online Courses with WooCommerce ~ LifterLMS WordPress LMS Plugin

Today we are excited to announce to you the release of LifterLMS 1.5.0. The majority of this update relates to enhancements to the built-in LifterLMS integration with WooCommerce. Many LifterLMS users don’t use the WooCommerce integration and simply sell their online courses with the native LifterLMS PayPal integration, or they accept credit cards directly in the checkout flow with the LifterLMS Stripe Extension. However some people prefer to use WooCommerce for checkout, and here’s how we made our Woo integration even better: Multi course checkout improvements so users can purchase many courses or memberships at once in the WooCommerce cart. Smarter logic so LifterLMS will know whether to direct users through the LifterLMS or the WooCommerce checkout flow, depending on the presence of SKU matching of products in the cart. WooCommerce is an excellent project in the WordPress ecosystem, and we’re happy to partner with their technology and team in our mission to democratize online education.  

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Improved Permission Management in LifterLMS v1.4.5

Better permission management for LifterLMS admin panel screens Until now, permission management in LifterLMS has been impossible. LifterLMS granted access to all LifterLMS settings screens, analytics screens, and custom post types (Courses, lesson, quizzes, and more) based on one singular, and rather relaxed, WordPress user capability: “edit_posts.” In our newest release, we’ve hardened default permissions so that now only users with the “manage_options” capability — WordPress Admin Role by default — can access these areas of LifterLMS. We’ve also added 13 new filters in order to allow you to customize access based on your site’s specific needs. Using these new filters, you can now determine exactly what a LifterLMS user can see when they access your site’s WordPress admin panel. Access to a LifterLMS screen or post type is now granted based on it’s own capability, so if you need to grant access to LifterLMS analytics but not to LifterLMS settings, you can easily do so with a few short lines of code. For every menu item (pictured right) there’s an associated filter and a filter to control the presence of the main LifterLMS menu item itself. For more information on leveraging our new filters, please consult our documentation. You may also wish to brush up on WordPress Roles and Capabilities. New action hooks trigger during student and membership enrollment You can now also hook into either “llms_user_enrolled_in_course” or “llms_user_added_to_membership_level” to make custom scripts executed during user course or membership enrollment. For more information and code snippets follow this link: https://lifterlms.com/docs/lifterlms-action-reference/. And that’s not all, we’ve also Added new translations and filterable areas during LifterLMS checkout and payment confirmation. Memberships now correctly display pagination Improved the admin user interface to allow multi-select boxes to be powered by the incredible Chosen jQuery plugin

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WE NEED YOUR ADVICE

[Note: In case you’re wondering, this post is a follow up to this (which received more email replies than I’ve ever received on this blog). I try my best to respond to each and every Facebook comment, email, and blog comment]. Ok… I received a LOT of comments from readers calling me a “tease” and “punk” in my last email… And our awesome LifterLMS VIP Paul said… Sorry about that. I’ve been reading a book on screenwriting, and I think I might have taken “cliffhanger” thing a bit far. Anyway, I’ve been feeling reluctant to talk about all of this. But this is long overdue, so here goes… As many of you know LifterLMS has grown so much over the last year and has exceeded my wildest expectations. Our small team has created something that now supports thousands of teachers and students all over the world. And we are just getting started! When we first dreamed up LifterLMS in June of 2014 … I never in a million years DREAMED I’d have the opportunity to have the impact I’ve had. I’ve been blessed to have helped tens of thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of educators transform their lives for the better. And I’ve been deeply touched — and so many times moved to tears — by all the beautiful emails, letters, gifts, and hugs you’ve sent over the years (and from all over the world). On one touching occasion, a LifterLMS VIP called me to tell me that she was making money from home by teaching. This was huge for her, because prior to finding LifterLMS and our LMScast podcast she had been on welfare and not able to get a job because a chronic autoimmune disorder caused her to be bedridden. It’s calls like that make everything worth it. Or another time when I received an email from a lady who was teaching basket weaving from a remote location in Africa allowing her to create a better life by teaching students all over the globe. So here is what I have been holding out on for years…. I’ve been: Nicely asked Strongly encouraged Begged Pleaded with… To share the accumulation of what I have learned over the last 5 years from presenting and researching in Knowledge Management to creating the first profitable MBA program at Azusa Pacific University (while I was an undergrad), and eventually creating LifterLMS with my good friends Chris, Thomas, and Mark. For YEARS I’ve resisted teaching this stuff in a formal training. I made the usual mundane excuses like “I don’t have enough time” and “I’m too busy with building LifterLMS to actually teach others.” And I’m embarrassed to admit that, as LifterLMS grew bigger and bigger (and blessed me and my team more and more)… I wondered if sharing my teaching techniques would actually HURT LifterLMS and result in fewer clients. That I would help people learn how to teach online, and they would choose another platform other than LifterLMS… (In hindsight I realize how small my thinking was.) I also wondered if I was even capable of teaching everything I’d learned… Oh. And I’m also a bit of a perfectionist. (Just ask the LifterLMS team, and they’ll tell you how bad it can get.) Ok “a bit” is a understatement . . . I’m a FULL BLOWN perfectionist. And because I’ve given up all hope of fixing this, I realized that I simply cannot go halfway with this. As far as I am concerned, it’s **all the way** or not at all. Here is what I am going to do: Despite my fears, hesitancies, …

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Getting Personal . . . And FINALLY Doing What You’ve Told Us To Do

Most weeks we send out helpful eLearning advice. Well … today is a bit different. I want to pull back the curtain a little bit and share something more personal. Here goes. I was recently talking to my co-host of LMScast, Chris Badgett, about my goals for 2016. For those of you who know Chris, he is wise and incredible at asking questions that cause me to drill deep into the inner parts of my brain. Chris asked… “What are the things you do for LifterLMS that you are really excited about?” Chris hit me right in my heart. This question put me into a bit of a tailspin. (You’ll see why as you read further.) All my closest friends know that December is a very important month for me. To name a few reasons why … My birthday is this month, I always fly home to Indiana for the Holidays, and I take a lot of time to decompress my entire life from a mental, emotional, professional, and spiritual level. I also consider the month of December as a time of letting go, changing gears, and expanding. This year the usual decompression was painful for me. Don’t get me wrong. This year was AWESOME, and I had amazing growth in all areas of my life. But something has been missing… I’ve found myself having BIG paradigm shifts in my life and the way I look at our business. And I don’t think it’s a quarterlife/midlife crisis. ( I had that a few years ago when I contracted E. coli in China. That’s probably more info that you wanted. ) Maybe it’s my younger brother recently moving in with me to get his feet on the ground while he creates a life in California. He’s always talking about his life and career and what he is passionate about. I think it’s really started to rub off on me. — You may be asking, “Joshua, I don’t care about your drama. What does it have to do with ME!” I’m glad you asked… Because it has everything to do with you! I’m serious. As many of you have noticed, we are revamping the way we do business, and we are really focusing on what YOU have told us over the years that you would like to see us offer and address. Hence, the weekly LMScast episodes, semi-regular “expert interviews,” and mini-courses we’ve created. There’s still more to come! And I am always interested to know what you wish for me to provide, so keep the ideas coming! But… (the infamous “but”)… There is one REALLY BIG request you have made that I’ve been holding back on for over a year – despite pleading and outcries from many of you. I’m contemplating changing my mind and giving you what you’ve been asking for since we launched LifterLMS a year or so ago. But I’m nervous, because it means sharing with you more of myself and my business than I have in the past. And I’m also going to need your help. Anyway, that REALLY BIG request is… (Stay tuned until next time.) – Joshua Millage

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LifterLMS Roadmap Details This Week’s 1.4.4 Release

Membership Levels and the LifterLMS Learner Dashboard As the membership site market continues to mature into more evolved learning management systems here in the WordPress community, we continue to bring the best parts of “membership sites” to the LMS experience. A traditional membership site has what are called membership levels. At LifterLMS, you’ve always been able to restrict access to a course, multiple courses, and non-LMS content to one or multiple membership levels. In this week’s LifterLMS release 1.4.4, the membership levels that a learner has access to can now display automatically on their My Account page. To activate this feature, just click the check box in the LifterLMS settings. By checking this box to display memberships to students, they can see a list of the memberships, along with when they joined and their current status (see image below). LifterLMS Analytics and Student Management Updates You now have more data on your LifterLMS course analytics and student management panel. Learner progress on courses and enrollment status Learner memberships We still have much much more coming to the LifterLMS student analytics and management area. Keep an eye on the LifterLMS roadmap and changelog. And thank you again for all the feedback from the community for your ideal analytics and student management needs. What are Custom Taxonomy Archive Templates? and Why You Should Care In WordPress speak, the definition of a custom taxonomy archive template are pages that display the content in a specific area like in a specific course category. If you are building a lot of courses, you will start to care about course categories as a way to get organized and create a good user experience in your course catalog. If you are a university or larger certification institution and you’re looking to organize your degree programs (course tracks), you’re going to enjoy the power of the LifterLMS course tracks & their associated custom taxonomy. If you haven’t heard it yet, check out this LifterLMS podcast episode about how to build an online certification program. But Wait. There’s More … There’s more detail about what’s available in today’s LifterLMS release 1.4.4 here in the changelog. Click here to purchase LifterLMS. If you are an existing LifterLMS customer and wish to download the most recent version or check the status of your account, you can login here.

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LifterLMS Stripe Extension Release 1.1.0

Today’s release of a new and improved LifterLMS Stripe Extension (which allows you to accept credit cards directly on your WordPress LMS website) embraces the concept of Kaizen. Kaizen is the practice of continuous improvement. Kaizen was originally introduced to the West by Masaaki Imai in his book Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success in 1986. Today Kaizen is recognized worldwide as an important pillar of an organization’s long-term competitive strategy. An issue came to our attention with the LifterLMS to Stripe API connection where amounts with coupons present were not always correct in Stripe. This issue has been resolved. We know how important eCommerce is to your business, and we are here for you. We also stand behind Stripe as our #1 recommendation as a payment gateway for you to work with to collect money from credit cards directly on your web property.

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How To Create A Successful Online Course In 5 Easy Steps

As entrepreneurs we all dream of a passive income… …perhaps from creating an online course or product to share our expertise: to boost authority and impact grow revenue work for us while we sleep… But where do we even start? And how come others seem to manage it so easily? The trick to a successful online course is honestly quite simple…but it’s often missed How do you get the knowledge you have out into the world in a way that makes sense? And more importantly: Make sure it doesn’t flop? Keep reading to learn how…

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