WooThemes Sensei: The Best Learning Tool for WordPress? - ManageWP

WooThemes Sensei: The Best Learning Tool for WordPress?

WooThemes Sensei plugin logo.

I love WooThemes. They make great products, their customer support is excellent and they’ve got style. My own blog runs on their extremely popular Canvas theme framework and they are the one and only theme shop I turn to when in search of a premium theme.

With that in mind I tend to keep my eyes open for any new themes and plugins that WooThemes release, which brings me to the topic of this post: a learning management plugin by WooThemes called Sensei. It promises to make the creation of an online learning resource simple. But the question is, does it deliver?

An Introduction to Sensei

Let’s see what WooThemes has to say to describe Sensei’s capabilities:

Teaching coursework has never been easier, all within WordPress. With the Sensei plugin you can create courses, write lessons, and add quizzes. Set lesson and course pre-requisites, allow user registration and even charge for your course content using WooCommerce if you want.

If you want a more visual representation of Sensei’s capabilities, check out this video courtesy of WooThemes:

Sensei represents everything that I love about WordPress — near-limitless extensibility. It wasn’t so long ago that purists would scoff at the notion of WordPress being anything more than just a blogging platform, but Sensei is just another example in a long line of plugins that can turn a simple blog into something far more functional.

WooThemes Sensei screenshot.

Speaking of functional…

Functionality

WooThemes understands how plugins should be separated from themes and as such Sensei is designed to integrate seamlessly with whatever theme you are using (as opposed to taking over). Having said that it has been designed to work particularly well with the Definition theme (seen above) so you might consider purchasing that alongside Sensei.

In terms of infrastructure, Sensei enables you to create courses that are made up of individual lessons. The whole process is very familiar as lessons are actually just a custom post type:

Sensei screenshot.

But that’s not all. You can create quizzes to accompany your lessons and enforce a particular pass mark in order for your students to progress to the next lesson. In this way you can exert a level of control over your student’s learning but also gamify the whole experience, making it far more interactive and rewarding. In terms of setting your course apart from competitors’, Sensei could certainly give you a cutting edge.

A screenshot of a WooThemes Sensei quiz.
You should probably make your quizzes more challenging.

It is important to note that Sensei is not a membership or eCommerce plugin and offers no such functionality as standard. It has however been designed to operate in tandem with WooCommerce so that you can charge for your courses and lessons.

Cost

At the time of writing Sensei is available at three different price points:

  1. $79 (single site licence)
  2. $129 (five sites)
  3. $279 (unlimited sites)

I would imagine that most people interested in this plugin will be looking to utilize it on a commercial website, hence its premium price tag (to match the premium functionality). In all reality, if you’re looking to build a site that will turn over thousands or tens of thousands and beyond, Sensei’s price tag seems reasonable.

Fit for Purpose

Creating a learning resource is something that has been on my radar for a while and having had a good tinker with Sensei I know that I would choose it for my own site.

To be quite honest with you I have not come across another WordPress plugin that offers the same breadth and quality of functionality and features and doubt one will be coming along any time soon. I know I can rely upon WooThemes for top quality support down the line, so Sensei would most certainly be my choice.

I’d love to know what you think so please don’t be shy — let us know in the comments section below!

Purchase Sensei here.

Tom Ewer

Tom Ewer is the founder of WordCandy.co. He has been a huge fan of WordPress since he first laid eyes on it, and has been writing educational and informative content for WordPress users since 2011. When he's not working, you're likely to find him outdoors somewhere – as far away from a screen as possible!

20 Comments

  1. Liane

    Hi There,
    I just stumbled on Sensei and was looking to find whether it has the ability to drip feed lessons- an absolute must as far as I am concerned – It seems that a lot of people have requested this feature since the original release but so far not a bleep of an answer from Wootheme- If that is great support, I’d hate to try a unconcerned one…
    So since you have tried the plugin, can you guys tell me whether this feature is now included or planned to be included? the only one I have found which does this is fastmembers plugin so far. thanks !Liane

    1. David

      Content Drip is coming soon as an optional extension to Sensei.

      1. Tom Ewer

        Thanks for the heads up!

  2. Kloe

    You may also want to take a look at LearnDash!

  3. Nick

    “In this way you can exert a level of control over your student’s learning but also gamify the whole experience, making it far more interactive and rewarding.”

    How can you do that?

    1. Tom Ewer

      By using quizzes.

  4. Niche Master

    I’ve been looking for something like this for ages, looks great i’m going to give it a try

  5. Chris Lema

    I wrote about the comparison between Sensei and WP Courseware on wpdaily.co when Sensei first came out. I’m doing another review soon, but I’d say the biggest difference is that Sensei still doesn’t do the drip (or timed release) or dependency as well as WP Courseware.

    1. Scott See

      Does WP Courseware have an autoresponder? I didn’t see that on their site. I’m looking for courseware that drips content or has an autoresponder. Thanks, Scott

  6. Michael Scott

    Hi Tom,

    I applaud you for sticking up for your WooTheme love;) Some people are just naturally suspicious I guess. Very cool plugin… thanks for turning me on to it.

    1. Tom Ewer

      Thanks Michael, my pleasure :-)

  7. Mathew Porter

    I’ve used a few WooThemes plugins before and their platform, I must say, as you did in a comment reply that their code, functionality and support is of a high quality.

  8. trailerparkboy

    Did you actually purchase the product and test it out? You’re just repeating everything from their website. It may be a good plugin, but how does it compare to the competition, like LearnDash?

    1. Tom Ewer

      Hello,

      I don’t review plugins without trying themselves out for myself. As I said in the post, I’ve been looking for a plugin like this for a while and would pick it above the competition for three reasons:

      1. It’s breath of functionality matches or surpasses that of other comparable plugins
      2. It’s made by WooThemes so I am confident that it will have been sturdily made and will be well supported
      3. It integrates nicely with other WooThemes plugins

      Cheers,

      Tom

  9. Southland

    Wow, is this a paid endorsement? An absolute gush of unrestrained praise. Woo has been involved in some matters that have left a bad taste with some people not least to do with their forum, e-commerce history and delivery promises. A little balance here would be nice instead of presenting them as angelic heroes of WordPress.

    1. Tom Ewer

      Hello,

      It’s not a paid endorsement — we will never and have never done them here on ManageWP. We are proud of being able to take an unbiased approach to product reviews.

      The simple fact is that I love WooThemes and I think Sensei is a great plugin and I get nothing in return for saying so. I’m not in the habit of reviewing plugins that I don’t like.

      I know we live in a cynical world but take some solace in the fact that there are still people out there who simply like stuff and have no ulterior motives in communicating their feelings as they see fit.

      Cheers,

      Tom

  10. Lee

    How does it compare to Fly Plugins WP Courseware?

    1. Tom Ewer

      Hey Lee,

      I’m afraid I’m not familiar with that plugin so couldn’t say.

      Cheers,

      Tom

    2. Kevin Gilbert

      I tried to demo WP Courseware, but I could never gain access to their demo. I, too, am a WooThemes user already, and the Sensei product has been exactly what I was looking for. I highly recommend it, too.

      1. Cristi

        Kevin, i just try the wp courseware demo. You must create a demo account, then you can login and play with the demo.

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