Return to Policy and Practice

Using WordPress for elearning

WordPress  is a very a flexible platform for Education communicators to bring together all the facets of elearning they want their pupils to see. I personally use WordPress as the main part of animatedscience which enables me to pull together my youtube content on Science, my twitter feeds @animatedsci  and also a link to moodle sites and other materials I have online for teaching. You can also promote any books you write other idea projects. From a standard website you can link it practically to any other php script in a subsite such as a webshop or image gallery.

My advice for a beginner is to pick a good hosting service such as and make sure you install WordPress without any script help, just do a proper job and put it in a subdirectory. This makes it much easier later. Then you move the main page to the public html direction and off you go. This enables you to change platform later and put all other key parts of the site in sub directory..

This means you can control everything and turn on or off parts of the site when you want to, or upgrade without breaking the whole lot.

I think another key thing to think about is menus before you start as they are hard to change as content builds up. It is certainly worth paying for some plugins on wordpress to help things along. However, one key thing I have learned is to use the standard templates where possible so the php is automatically updated for no extra fee. I personally use graphene as a theme which works well on mobile now and desktop.

Another key idea is to not try and use WordPress to deliver an elearning course. It is not designed for this and struggles. Try and use a basic Moodle install instead which is in essence a file store online with a bit of a simple GUI interface. Think about it, most Universities use it, as it is so powerful so why try and be different? Also if you need to give access to users to certain places it is much easier. WordPress simply cannot do this.

Also think about your content, I started in flash which was great until Apple pulled the plug. Now I try and stick to simple PPTX, PDF, DOCX which can be read by anyone and the youtube video format. Each format is easy to use and will be universal for some time.

Also you will need to make sure you buy a secure certificate, then your shop is safe and you will be high up on google rankings. Sites in the furture without this will just not appear or not be able to be used by some schools or organisations.

Branding is key too, think about your site name and keep it simple. Mine is what it says on the tin! It is Science which is animated. You will need a set of really good quality images which are clear and clean. Try and avoid being too jazzy as it does not work.

Finally one key idea is don’t worry about trying to provide content for everyone, just make some resources that you use in class and share them out. However, you need to make sure they are good quality!

If you liked reading this, please feel free to ask a question, and if you want to help me out, follow my youtube account as I need to get past 1000 subscribers to quality on the new criteria for being an “approved site”.




Permanent link to this article: