New Home Forums Media & Technology Buddy Boss Website Template for online learning, what do you think of it?

7 replies, 4 voices Last updated by  albanito123 4 years, 6 months ago
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    Yarrow Willard

    I am in the process of creating is a new website and format for our online herb school and could use some advice from Andy or anyone else that is familiar with this theme All our courses are built in Sensei and as we develop them out further, we want to have an easy and engaging platform for the school.
    Have you seen this platform, is this what you use? and what do you think….? I believe this could also be good for others in the course creation process


    Andy Freist
    Mountain Guide

    This course is built on Social Learner 🙂

    It’s a great solution to get up and running with relative ease, but it does have some limitations and annoyances. It’s taken a bit of work to get it functioning how we like it, and I have plans to grow GEA out of it over the next few months.

    All in all, it’s great for what it’s worth.

    Can you tell me a bit more about what you are wanting out of your course platform and why you feel social learner is a good option? A bit more insight can help me guide you in the right direction 🙂


    Lisa R

    I’m getting to grips with Social Learner right now Yarrow.

    I’m finding it offers great potential, as well as a big learning curve (for me, anyway). It takes quite a while to get things ‘playing nice’ with each other, and there have been times when I’ve been seriously tempted to ditch it and go to Teachable or similar. But then I remember its potential! I also like the fact you have much more control over what you can actually do, and it’s all on your own site.

    Hope that helps!



    Yarrow Willard

    Thanks Lisa and Andy I really appreciate both of your insights.

    I am looking to create a school environment where there are places for students to interact that feels fun, yet professional to spend time on. Where they enjoy learning , can build relationships with other students and easily track their own progress.

    The School is Wild Rose College of Natural Healing that is a 40 year old herb school that has offered the highest high level of herbal courses in the past. As my Father the creator retired 2 years ago, I have now taken over as director and we are only available online now.


    Current classes-

    We are as of 3 months ago working on a project to completely retrofit the website and school programs to offer a more user friendly way to learn about herbal medicine.

    Currently there are 21 course courses on the site that have been converted to Sensei platform over the last year or so. Mostly from PDF, some with video. Over the next 5 years we will be going through them and updating the content as well as video and over all presentation… (Lots of work)

    The Vision is to take these current courses Plus 2 Courses that I will be creating from scratch over the next year and create 3 Herbal Diploma level Programs and a wholistic therapist program, Similar to how the inclass version was at one point.

    My Question is, is this a good platform to do that with? or do you have other suggestions?

    and second fold to that is that as I will be hiring some help to make it all fit together, is this platform going to cost a lot of hours to set up the way I want it or is it going to save me some time and $$ because it has features built in that I can use rather then have to create?

    Also I am slightly over whelmed by the amount of educational Website themes out there, I feel choosing one is really holding us back from going full forward with this project. So I really want to pick one soon, but also don’t want to regret it 2-5 years from now. So if you have other options I should explore, right now I am really keen to start doing that and get clear…

    Thanks for your advice..

    Thanks for even reading all this… SHishh…




    Andy Freist
    Mountain Guide

    Okay so the best approach is to break everything up into components and figure out the best solution that will cover all those components.


    In essence, you want:

    • A way to sell and deliver your courses
    • A way for students to connect with eachother
    • An enjoyable experience

    Social learner ticks all those boxes, but in my experience, it can be lacking in the “enjoyability” aspect.

    Social Learner utilizes Buddypress and bbPress as the community features. Buddypress for profiles, and bbPress for forums.

    These are both decent, but they are very clunky from a user perspective and not really up to par with our current expectations with how apps/websites should feel in 2016.

    Social learner is a great starting point, and its what we are using, but were already feeling that we are outgrowing it capabilities and user experience. It works, but we’re not in love.

    Considering you want this platform to be usable for the next 5 years, I would recommend you check out is getting a Sensei-compatible theme that you really like to sell and deliver the courses, and use a more robust forum solution such as IPBoard for the community aspect.

    IPBoard is a totally separate software from wordpress, which you can install on your server, or pay a monthly fee for them to host it.

    There are 3rd party software that allows you to connect wordpress to IPBoard.

    So when someone becomes a member, they then get automatic access to the community forum. The only downside to this i believe is that im not sure if you can have separate forums dedicated to members of specific courses. This may be a more suitable solution if you have a membership site with one membership level.

    The good thing about using the features of Social Learners built-in functionality is that you can set private forums for each specific course/group

    If you like the way the GEA forums work, then it would be sufficient for your needs.

    The main problem with Social Learner is that if you want to break out of its built-in functionality, you can run into problems as its hard-coded to do what it does.

    So if you are happy with the way Social Learner functions, that will be the most cost effective solution that can get you everything you want.

    I’d love to know what you anticipate you’d need to change/address in order for Social Learner to do what you want..?


    Yarrow Willard

    Thanks again for your awesome in depth response Andy.

    It is so invalueble to have someone to ask these type of questions to. I contacted the buddy boss company and got nothing back from them yet.

    I had a look at the IPboards, and it looked like a great platform. Got the demo and started playing with it for an hour tonight… But I’m not sold on it at this point for our needs..

    I feel I am more prone to use something that out of the box has a course learning system in place that is easy to set up and not write code for, so we can focus more on the look, the feel and the promotional aspects…

    I also feel as though even though the versatility of the ipboards is likely better, it feels less personable and will have to be made much more custom to get the feel we want. Also both me and our coordinator are well versed in Word Press and like the mix of easy integration that social learner will have with sensei, and word press.

    SO I think I am going to go with the

    with the Social Learner and sensei plugin and get started,

    To answer your qestion,

    I’m not sure that I know yet what we would need to change in social learner for our needs yet, but if we stumble… I may ask again…

    Questions I do have are:

    I would like to know if you foresee any major challenges with moving the content off of social learner to a newer platform down the road?

    Also as it seems somewhat slow to load, is that something that can be addressed with a faster host or is that just due to the over built-ness of the theme?



    Andy Freist
    Mountain Guide

    Hey Yarrow,

    Based on your reply I agree, just going with Social Learner and it’s built-in functionality is the way to go.

    I would recommend you get a fast managed WP host – we use (formerly known as Traffic Planet).

    To keep things lean and fast, do your best to only use a minumum amount of WordPress plugins.

    It’s very easy to use a plugin here and a plugin there, and before you know it you end up with a slow and bloated (or broken) website.

    To answer your question – Social Learner is just the theme. All of your course content will be built on Sensei, and you can change your theme down the road as long as it works with Sensei.

    All the theme does is control how things look – it doesnt actually control WHAT it shown (thats what Sensei is for).

    I’d recommend you use Social Learner and keep customizations to a minimum to save time, money and headache.

    Let me know if you have any questions as you get going with it!



    Hello Andy, hello Yarrow,

    this conversation was very interesting to me because I was wondering the same thing about Social Learner.

    <span class=”handle-sign”>@</span>yarrow did you end up using Social Learner theme for your course?

    <span class=”handle-sign”>@</span>andyfreist if you were to start again what alternative to Social Learner would you go for?

    What I’m thinking is to go with BeaverBuilder theme and plugin, LearnDash, BBPress and that’s about it. I don’t want to overcomplicate things. The only thing is that some LearnDash elements are difficult to customize.

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