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I am looking to create a basic website right now. I have been considering setting up in WordPress or Jimdo but am unsure if these platforms will be able to support future, and more complex iterations of the website. I wonder whether WordPress is capable of supporting a more complex website for the future redesign or if I need to a custom website.

Right now I’m using Weebly. I understand that this is not the right platform. I don’t know if WordPress is the best way to go or Jimdo or if a straight up from scratch website would be the way to go, or if there is another platform.

The specifications that I require for the future website are as follows:

  1. It needs to be content management system (CMS) so that I can update it.

  2. I need to control user access to the content through a stepped process (e.g., content in one lesson must be completed before gaining access to the next). This means that the site should allow user subscriptions and access restrictions.

  3. A test will be given at the end of each lesson. The website should have the capability to score the papers.

  4. I would like the ability to set up automatic emails that can be sent out on completion of the lessons and tests. For instance, “Congratulations on complete lesson 1” , etc.

Will either WordPress or Jimdo support the above or will I need to build a custom site?

  • so you need something like a learning/course-platform...? - then i would suggest Moodle. – DJCrashdummy Jun 14 '16 at 20:41
  • You look for something which you can host yourself, correct? May it cost something? – unor Jun 14 '16 at 22:26
  • @DJCrashdummy - Great suggestion. Do you know of any Moodle developers? – Jeff Jun 15 '16 at 18:53
  • @unor I am planning on hosting it at webhostinghub.com. Yes, I'm trying to gain an idea on cost now. Thanks – Jeff Jun 15 '16 at 18:55
  • @Jeff: no, definitely not... why do you ask? - i just know what it is... i also don't use it, therefore only a comment and no complete answer. – DJCrashdummy Jun 16 '16 at 6:25
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What you're actually looking for is not a CMS, but an LMS, or "Learning management system".

This is a fairly well-established sector, quite separate from the CMS sector.

The most popular product I can recommend is Moodle. It does have a fairly high learning curve, but that will apply to any similar product as well, as the functionality required for creating and running online courses is considerably more complex than for running a simple CMS.

The other thing about products like Moodle is that they're typically not aimed at producing a page-driven website like a CMS would be. If you have a need for a good-looking site with CMS pages for your site as well as the learning content, then you may need to consider having a CMS as well as an LMS.

In this case, there are a number of LMS products that have been written as extensions/plugins/modules for the various popular CMS platforms. You may want to investigate some of these. Alternatively, you may want to use a well-established LMS product like Moodle for the course material on your site, and integrate it with a CMS for your front-end website. For this kind of scenario I have used Joomdle with good success in a recent project, which integrates Joomla CMS with Moodle LMS, providing single sign-on and various other integration features. However you will need to get yourself familiar with both of your main platforms before attempting to integrate them together.

Creating course material. This is the difficult part for any online learning provider - indeed, there are many companies that specialise in just this and do nothing else.

If you want to create fully interactive course material, you will need to look for tools that support the SCORM format. SCORM is the industry standard platform for online course material. It is basically a file structure and JavaScript API that is understood by all the major LMS platforms (including Moodle). There are many tools that will allow you to create your course material as SCORM packages, which can then be imported for use into any LMS platform of your choice.

The choice of tool for creating your SCORM packages is too broad for me to go into here; there are lots of them, depending on your budget, your needs, and your skill level.

It is also possible to create course material directly within your LMS platform. For example Moodle allows you to create multiple-choice quizes. Your course could be a case of hosting a video and then asking a bunch of questions about it. Or your course could require coursework to be submitted, in which case you would need to set up users as teachers within Moodle, with permissions to give marks to students.

I hope this goes some way toward helping you understand what you need to do. It is a very large topic though, and I've barely scratched the surface. But googling for 'LMS', 'SCORM' and related terms will give you a lot more to work on.

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