Empowered and Educated with Sensei

Written by Matty Cohen on September 24, 2013 Blog, Product News.


At WooThemes, education and empowerment are two ideals we hold dear. This has been ingrained within our company culture from day one, and is a lifestyle we all aim to practice- educate and empower others, and ourselves, in order to do more, better.

Over time, these ideals lead to the creation of Sensei, a product enabling the creation and running of online courses via your website; or, enabling the transfer of knowledge and empowerment to others.

Today, we’re proud to announce the latest incarnation of Sensei, version 1.4.0.

Showcase your successes

Often times, knowing your students (either personally or via data) helps in the education process. In addition, enabling students to view a history of the courses they’ve taken with you, and how far they’ve improved, can motivate students to do, and learn, more. To this end, we’ve integrated enhanced student profiles within Sensei. Each student now has their own profile for showcasing courses they’ve taken, social information about themselves and their learning experience with your online school.

My Sensei learner profile, showcasing the course I've completed.
My Sensei learner profile, showcasing the course I’ve completed.

Alongside a profile to showcase your successes to others, we’ve included a few additions to show students themselves a bit more information after taking a quiz. Once completed, a quiz shows each question’s grade, as well as an optional note from the lecturer, explaining perhaps why the student got 3 out of 5 for a question, or congratulating them on a 5 out of 5 for a difficult question.

A revamped grading interface, with answer notes from the lecturer.
A revamped grading interface, with answer notes from the lecturer.
Answer notes from the lecturer, displayed to the student when viewing their quiz results.
Answer notes from the lecturer, displayed to the student when viewing their quiz results.

Once a full course has been completed, the student will also see a full summary of their results for the entire course. Positive re-enforcement is a great way to motivate and encourage students to learn more and to empower themselves.

What’s under the hood?

This one’s for the developers out there, as well as those who appreciate the aesthetic.

Under the hood, Sensei 1.4.0 has undergone a rather significant update. Included in this update are a revamped quiz creation interface, a manual updates screen to assist with debugging for developers & support technicians and a slew of new hooks and filters, all documented in our comprehensive online documentation.

Purchase Sensei 1.4.0 today
Having trouble setting up Sensei 1.4.0? Please log a ticket at our help desk, where our friendly ninjas are available to assist.

Welcome, Sensei Extensions!

Today, along with Sensei 1.4.0, we’re proud to announce the first extension for Sensei; a connector plugin for BadgeOS. We’ve also got a taster of what else we’ve got lined up for you all.

Help students to earn achievements

sense-badge-badgeos2BadgeOS, the popular WordPress achievements system, enables website owners to create achievements (badges) which are awarded to users who complete specific tasks, or complete a series of tasks in a specific order. In partnership with Credly, we’re proud to release a plugin to connect Sensei and BadgeOS. When your students complete specific lessons, courses or a combination of achievements involving Sensei-related activities, make them feel great by awarding them achievement badges, using BadgeOS.

Purchase Sensei BadgeOS today

Coming Soon…

As always, we’ve got some exciting new developments in the works, which we’re sure you’re all eager to hear more about.

For now, we’ll leave you with the following taster:

Perhaps, Certificates?
Coming soon, to a Sensei installation near you…

Looking ahead

As mentioned above, we’re passionate about education and empowerment, at WooThemes. We see Sensei as the catalyst for furthering this passion, and are excited to share in your experiences running online courses with Sensei.

Do you have ideas for Sensei extensions you’d like to see? Empower other Sensei users to vote for your idea on WooIdeas.

Discount Coupon

Purchase Sensei today. To get $15 off the purchase price, use the coupon code SENSEI14 at checkout. Valid until 1st October 2013.


20 Responses

  1. allmyhoney
    September 24, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    Great to see the focus on the student profiles Matty and the fact the release has come, hopefully this will mean a steady stream of regular updates for Sensei. The Certificate is long awaited for sure. Hopefully all fields here will be customizable 😉 I will be testing this out shortly.

    • Matty Cohen
      September 24, 2013 at 5:44 pm #


      We’re looking forward to launching our little teaser over there as well. It’s definitely an exciting piece of functionality. 🙂

  2. Tevya
    September 24, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    Great new features! And the BadgeOS integration looks pretty cool too. Wasn’t familiar with BadgeOS and Credly previously. I also like the pricing. Much better than some of the WooCommerce Extensions. But then Senseig isn’t free, so that seems appropriate. Will probably be implementing it in one of our Sensei sites.

    I’m curious if the feature you’re “teasing” is going to cost extra (plugin like BadgeOS) or if it’ll be built-in to Sensei?

    • Matty Cohen
      September 24, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

      Hi Tevya. 🙂

      While Certificates will be an extension (and not in core), we do understand the investment customers, such as yourself, have made in Sensei. Therefore, we’re working on a few ideas to ensure development costs are covered adequately, while also ensuring benefit for your pocket.

      I’d advise keeping an eye on our blog for the release of Certificates. 🙂

      • csfalcao
        September 25, 2013 at 4:23 am #

        Maybe a “basic” certificate feature in the core (basic html style, or a full image for background, name of the student and course’s name), and a “plus” paid one (some certificate themes included, custom fields for grades, achievements, courses’s lessons, other student info) and a certification validation number.

      • csfalcao
        September 25, 2013 at 4:27 am #

        Good to see the first Sensei extension. I just feel it’s development is a little slow. And please, fix woo support (not the software, the attitude )

      • allmyhoney
        September 25, 2013 at 10:08 am #

        Il be honest here Matty, if someone is building something I need for my projects I would expect to pay for it. If it means the extension is much more advanced because someone is sitting down working on it night and day then I am happy to pay for it. Simple really. I think Aaron who comments a little further down the page shows where Sensei needs to be and this is not going to happen from giving away free extensions! Someone needs to build Sensei each and every day and therefore those of us who find this very very helpful should be willing to pay really. This really has nothing to do about grandfathering etc which was the hot topic a few months back, this is about the future of course 😉

        • fiddlerstudios
          September 26, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

          I’m not against paying for stuff. But some kind of a course completion certificate seems like something that should be included, especially since Sensei itself is not free. WooCommerce is free, so I can see why you’d want to charge for as many upgrades as possible. That’s not the case with Sensei.

          However, I like @csfalcao’s suggestion of some more basic integration for free, with a paid extension upgrade. I’ll be interested what you guys come up with @Matty.

  3. Aaron
    September 24, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    Very nice to see Woo is investing in this product! The improved user profiles are a big step.

    The certificates are a must have in our field (healthcare).

    Add SCORM and/or TIN CAN support with some basic reporting from course completions and you’ll free my company from the expensive long-term contracts associated with traditional LMSs. I’ll buy the plug-in plus lots of other software the day that happens. Please hurry!

    • allmyhoney
      September 25, 2013 at 10:10 am #

      I couldnt agree more. Sensei needs all these features to really compete and when it does it will be massive in my humble opinion. he features you mention Aaron and critical to be honest.

  4. mgudhka@osteoporosis.ca
    September 24, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

    Just adding a few mediocre features and making minor changes after several months doesn’t make any sense to me. I was hoping that this update would be bring the many missing features but that’s not the case. On the other hand competition is providing far better features and much more regular updates and was only waiting to see what 1.4 would be bring. Now that I have seen I will count as the amount I paid for this as sunk cost and move elsewhere.

    • Hugh Lashbrooke
      September 24, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

      If there are features that you feel are missing then please post them on our ideas forum: http://ideas.woocommerce.com/forums/191508-sensei. We keep a close eye on the forum and are always looking at ways we can implement the best ideas.

      • mgudhka@osteoporosis.ca
        September 27, 2013 at 2:10 am #

        And I did. several months ago. I can’t wait for eternity. I found another product elsewhere with features I need now and I am making a switch. I paid for Sensei which was a steep amount going to waste and that was the only reason I waited so long to see what 1.4 has.

        • _web_services
          October 1, 2013 at 10:41 am #

          I’ve got to agree. A lot of the great ideas were submitted ages ago. Was really hoping for a lot more with this update after a long wait for it.

          Unfortunately we have invested money in this project and don’t want to go elsewhere now, although we may have to re-think that if basic features are going to become further paid extensions.

          • Ryan
            October 2, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

            We’re in the same position. My Idea votes were exhausted long ago and we’re disappointed with Sensei’s progress. The comments and questions I sent in about 1.4 last week have also gone unaddressed. We’re looking at alternatives for future projects now.

  5. Wes
    September 26, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    The addition of badges is very impressive! I’ll be getting the badge extension asap!

  6. Jeff
    September 29, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    Hello Everyone,

    I’m happy to hear about the recent updates with badges and certificates on the way. I am struggling to completely understand how the Sensei updates and BadgeOS/Credly will integrate together. I’m hoping that as users earn badges, these badges will be viewable in their student profiles. This way people can see courses that were completed and badges that a student has earned in one simple interface. Will this be how everything is integrated?

    If users have to go to a separate website (i.e. Credly.com) to see badges that they (or other students) have earned on my website, then I think it may be a little confusing. For instance, if a student has completed a course on my website (www.sample.com), but their badges are all shown on another website (www.credly.com), I may have the following questions:

    1) How are these two websites related?
    2) What if I want to earn badges from http://www.sample.com, but I don’t want this information shown to the world at http://www.Credly.com?
    3) Do I have to create two different user accounts (one for sample.com and one for credly.com)?
    4) If the answer to question 3 is ‘yes’, then how does the Credly account link to the student account on sample.com? By username, email, etc?

    I found the following page on Credly that discusses their upgraded accounts: https://credly.com/upgrade. They talk about a feature “Custom Badge Assertion Location for Issuers – Redirect issued badges to your own web site” but this feature costs $200 per month! Does this mean that I have to spend over $2,000 per year to get badges displayed on my own website? If that’s the case then I think these features are prohibitively expensive for the vast majority of Sensei users.

    If someone can explain how this will all integrate together, that would be greatly appreciated. I feel that this could be a great solution for a project I’m working on, but if the badges can’t be displayed on the student’s profile on my website or if it costs over $2,000 per year to do this, then I don’t think this is the solution to our needs.


  7. Jeffrey
    September 29, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Thanks for the information. I’m struggling to understand if the badges that my students earn in my website will be viewable on their student profiles (which will be displayed on my website). Or, will students have to view their badges from my site by visiting a completely different website (i.e. Credly.com)? If that’s the case, I think that’s a little confusing for the student. A lot of my site users do not use Credly and do not want their information displayed to the public in this way. They’d prefer to keep their badges private to the users of my website only.

    I saw that Credly has upgraded accounts (https://credly.com/upgrade) and there’s a feature “Custom Badge Assertion Location for Issuers – Redirect issued badges to your own web site”. This is for “Premium Accounts” which cost over $2,000 per year.

    Do I need to spend an extra $2,000 per year to get this feature?

  8. orgspring
    October 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    certificates will be a welcome addition. I purchased an add on to accomplish that recently and it worked well – but needed heavy customization.

    I also did some editing to put custom meta boxes inside lessons to display attachments for course transcripts and other resources.

    Loving sensei.

  9. Solt Becker
    October 11, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

    I am looking for an online teaching/membership solution and Sensei looks great.
    I have a question which is a decision factor.

    I will publish different products: A, B, and C. The customer will pay/subscribe for tutorial videos and support.
    These videos and materials would be in the online teaching section.
    I want the clients to see only the tutorials they are subscribed for.
    For example:
    01. a customer pays for the product A and C, so he/she is not allowed to see the pages and posts related to product B after login, just the pages related to A and C product (and the normal, non-resricted pages).
    02. a customer pays fort the product B, so he/she is allowed to see the course pages related to product B only (and the normal, non-resricted pages).

    Is it possible with Sensei?
    Thank you very much in advance.