WordPress Plugin – Sensei

Sensei

One of the plugins that I have recently started using is “Sensei” by WooThemes.  Sensei is a paid plugin that enables you to create online content for training purposes.   I wanted to create a WordPress course for my clients and had heard about Sensei so thought, why not give it try.  The main features include: Course Catagories, Courses, Lessons, Quizzes, Grading, and Analysis.  Sensei comes with a starter course set to help you get started on the learning curve.  After reviewing I deleted it and started my own.  Really wasn’t that difficult.

When first getting started you will need to go through the Settings page and adjust to your needs. If doing courses for a fee, there are settings at the bottom of the screen for this purpose and it has an interface into WooCommerce.  You have settings that apply to Sensei in general, Courses, Lessons, Learner Profiles, and WooCommerce.

Course Categories

Sensei gives you the ability to layout your courses by catagories and then as the courses are being entered, it keeps track of how many courses are in a specific category. When first setting up Sensei, I would start with entering at least a couple of categories.  I started with “Beginner”, “Intermediate”, and “Advanced”.  You would need to choose categories based on your needs.

Courses

As Sensei is delivered the courses are sorted down by date and time. I found this very troublesome as I didn’t know what all my courses would be when first starting and it is tedious to go back and adjust the date and time to obtain the order you wish.

As a result, I have written a plugin that allows you to re-order the courses using a drag and drop interface. This plugin does require a sort order change in the plugin itself.  I have documented the required changes in the readme.txt of the plugin.  (The plugin has not been formally released as I still have one gotcha when traversing the courses).

There are a lot of things that I like about Sensei and one of them is the course overview.  When first clicking on course tab, all the Courses are listed in order of presentation. (This is the order my plugin enables changes for).  A course overview includes the course name, author (if not turned off), number of lessons in the course and the category. When clicking on the course name, you are taken to the first lesson.  There you can click on the “Start taking this course” button and your lesson details will be tracked for the instructor.

Lessons

Setting up a lesson is done the same way as entering a page or post as it used the same editors.  Just enter your content the same way including images. Another nice feature is the ability to add lesson complexity, videos, and quizzes for each lesson.

Here again I had difficulties with the date/time format for sorting down the lessons as the plugin is released.  (My plugin as mentioned under courses resolves this). In lessons the traversing works great when re-ordering the lessons).

Quizzes

After you have a saved a lesson, you then have the ability to add a quiz for that lesson.  This can be in the form of multiple choice, true/false, fill in the gaps, essays,  single line replies or multi-line line replies.

Grading

In the grading section, you can grade each learner manually or you have the system perform an Auto grade.  Also you can reset the grade if so needed.

Analysis

There is an analysis module that gives the overall stats of the training course.  Included is total course count, total lesson count, number of learners, average number of courses being taken by learners, and the overall average grade.   Each learner is listed along with their number of active courses, completed courses, and average grade.

Summary

In summary I believe this is a great module for online training and only limited by your imagination.  There are a lot of features provided and I am sure that I have not exploited them all yet.  Would I recommend it!  You bet…

Chuck Ainsworthetc.com

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