LDX Design

LearnDash Design & Tutorials

LearnDash Design & Tutorials

How to Use & Customize the LearnDash Course Grid

You’ve decided to use LearnDash for your LMS (great choice¬†ūüĎĆ). And you realized that the default courses archive page looks pretty terrible. But thankfully, you’ve discovered the LearnDash Course Grid add-on. And now you want to take it to the next level.

This post will cover all the various ways you can customize the LearnDash course grid. There are around 20 different parameters you can use to make your course grid just right, along with various ways to improve your grid’s design.¬†Follow along as I walk you through each one, along with code samples.

ūüĎá jump right to the full list of grid options.¬†ūüĎá

Table of Contents

1. Install the Course Grid add-on

Make sure you have installed & activated the course grid add-on.

  1. Navigate to LearnDash LMS > Add-Ons
  2. The “LearnDash Course Grid” should be the first option
  3. Click Install, and then Activate
LearnDash course grid add-on plugin
Make sure you click “Install,” and then “Activate”

Now you are ready to use the [ld_course_list] shortcode to output a course grid.

2. Extra Course Grid Information

Once you’ve activated the course grid add-on, there are a few additional pieces of information you can add to each course. This info can be displayed when viewing your course grid.

  1. In your WordPress admin area, navigate to one of your courses
  2. Click “Edit”

Course Grid Short Description

The first option under “Courses” will be “Short Description.” This only appears when you have the Course Grid add-on active. It’s completely optional, but allows you to add a short description (just like an excerpt) to explain what the course is about.

LearnDash course grid short description field
Enter your course’s short description in this field

The only place this will be displayed is in the course grid.


If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you’ll see a section for¬†Course Grid Settings. Here you’ll find a few more options:

Additional LearnDash course grid settings
Additional course grid settings

Course Grid Video Preview

By default, the course grid will display the featured image you have set for your course. You have the option of showing a video instead.

First, you’ll need to check the¬†Enable Video Preview

Then, you’ll insert a link to your video in the¬†Video URL or Embed Code box. Simply grab the URL from the address bar of the video you’d like to use.

For YouTube, it would look like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLCkDWc8iLI

For Vimeo:

https://vimeo.com/275112402

NOTE: Currently, course grid video only supports YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia & native videos that you upload through the Media Library.

Course Grid Button Text

Each course can have it’s own custom button text displayed in the course grid. Keep in mind, however, that if you add custom button text here, it will¬†always be displayed in your grid, regardless of whether your student has completed the course, the course is free, etc.

Course Grid Ribbon Text

Just like the button text, if you add custom ribbon text in this field, it will be displayed in your course grid. Again, even if a student has completed the course, or you set the course as free, the custom ribbon text will always be displayed.


Simply leave these fields blank if you wish to use the default LearnDash language for your course grid buttons & ribbons.

3. Customize the Course Grid

Now let’s get into the fun stuff. Let’s talk about all the various options you have for customizing your LearnDash course grid.

Insert the Grid

Here’s what the basic shortcode looks like for inserting the course grid on your site:

[ld_course_list]

The default options for the course grid will display your courses in 3 columns, and include:

  • Featured image
  • Course title
  • Short description (if it exists)
  • Button
  • Ribbon

If that’s all you need, great. But we can do a lot more.

The following options are enabled by using parameters that modify the shortcode. You can combine as many parameters as you’d like in one shortcode.

Course Grid Columns

You can choose any number of columns from 1 to 7. Simply add col="4" to your shortcode. Change the “4” to the number of columns you’d like to display.

[ld_course_list col="4"]

Bug: There is currently a bug with the course grid columns. They don’t line up properly, and some courses wrap to the next line when they shouldn’t.

The easiest way to fix this is by installing our free plugin, Design Upgrade for LearnDash. It will not only fix this issue, but make your entire grid look more polished¬†ūüôĆ.

Show a Progress Bar

The progress bar is not shown by default. If enabled, it will be shown for current students only, and display a student’s progress in that course. To show the progress bar, add¬†progress_bar="true" to your shortcode.

[ld_course_list progress_bar="true"]

Limit the Number of Courses Shown

You can specify exactly how many courses you want to be displayed in your grid. Use the num parameter. As far as I’m aware, there is no limit here. Any integer should work. If you have more courses than the number used, pagination will be shown at the bottom of your grid.

[ld_course_list num="12"]

Change the Order in Which Courses Appear (Sorting)

By default, your course grid will be ordered based on the date your courses were published. You can change this with a handful of different options. Use the¬†orderby parameter to change your grid’s sort order.

[ld_course_list orderby="menu_order"]

orderby should be used in conjunction with the next option, order, to specify ascending or descending.

You can set orderby to any of the following options:

  • title – uses the course title
  • ID – uses the course ID
  • date – uses the original publish date
  • modified – uses the date the course was modified/updated
  • menu_order – uses the specified menu order that you provided
  • rand – displays your courses at random
  • …and several other, less used, options are available here

Course Order: Ascending or Descending

The order parameter will only take effect when used with the orderby parameter. order tells your grid whether to sort courses by ascending (lowest to highest) or descending (highest to lowest) values.

  • When ascending (ASC) is chosen for orderby="title", your courses would be displayed in alphabetical order from A-Z.
  • When using dates (date & modified), ascending will show the oldest content first, while descending will show the most recent content first.
  • For ID & menu_order, ascending will show the lowest number first (i.e. 1), while descending will show the highest number first.

[ld_course_list orderby="title" order="ASC"]

Hide the Content

By default, your course grid will display the course title, a short description (if you’ve entered one), and a button that links to the course. You can hide all of these things, and just show the thumbnail, using the¬†show_content parameter.

[ld_course_list show_content="false"]

Hide the Course Image/Thumbnail

By default, your grid will display the course thumbnail image. You can hide the image by using the show_thumbnail parameter.

[ld_course_list show_thumbnail="false"]

NOTE: Do not use both show_content="false" and show_thumbnail="false" as it will cause your course grid to display empty boxes with nothing inside.

Only Show Student’s Enrolled Courses

If you want to use the course grid on a student’s profile page, you can use the¬†mycourses parameter to only display the courses that the current user is enrolled in.

[ld_course_list mycourses="true"]

You can also choose to show only those courses in which a student is NOT enrolled:

[ld_course_list mycourses="not-enrolled"]

Filter by LearnDash Category or Tag

LearnDash courses have their own built-in category & tag system, just like WordPress itself. If you use LearnDash categories & tags to further organize your courses, you can filter your course grid by using the following parameters:

  • course_cat="10" – Only show courses assigned to the category with ID of 10
  • course_category_name="math" – Only show courses whose category slug is math
  • course_tag_id="10" –¬†Only show courses assigned to the tag with ID of 10
  • course_tag="math" –¬†Only show courses whose tag slug is math

NOTE: You can only use one category or tag per shortcode. Using multiple categories/tags will not work. This is invalid: [ld_course_list course_cat="1,2"]. It will show courses in the first category, 1, and ignore the 2.

Add a Dropdown Menu Filter

You can allow the user to filter the course grid by adding a dropdown menu to the top of your grid.

To allow filtering by LearnDash categories & tags…

[ld_course_list course_categoryselector="true"]

To allow filtering by WordPress categories & tags…

[ld_course_list categoryselector="true"]

Filter by WordPress Category or Tag

This works in the same way as the LearnDash categories & tags, only the parameters are different:

  • cat="10" – Only show courses assigned to the category with ID of 10
  • category_name="math" – Only show courses whose category slug is math
  • tag_id="10" –¬†Only show courses assigned to the tag with ID of 10
  • tag="math" –¬†Only show courses whose tag slug is math

Complete List of Course Grid Options

Here’s a complete list of all the options available for the LearnDash course grid. You can use as many parameters as you’d like. Here’s an example of how to use multiple parameters with the¬†[ld_course_list] shortcode:

[ld_course_list col="4" progress_bar="true" num="12" orderby="title" order="ASC"]
Feature Description Parameter Possible
Values
Grid Columns Number of columns your grid will have on large screens. col="4" 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Progress Bar A visual indicator of a student’s current progress in each course. progress_bar="true" true
Number of Courses How many courses will be displayed in your grid. num="10" any integer
Course Sorting How to sort the courses in your grid. orderby="title" title
ID
date
modified
menu_order
rand
…and more
Order of Sorting The sort order for the “orderby” parameter. order="ASC" ASC
DESC
Hide Content Hide the title, description & button. show_content="false" false
Hide Thumbnail Hide the thumbnail image. show_thumbnail="false" false
My Courses Shows only the courses in which the current user is enrolled. mycourses="true" true
Not-Enrolled Courses Shows only the courses in which the current user is NOT enrolled. mycourses="not-enrolled" not-enrolled
If using LearnDash categories & tags…
Course Category ID Shows only courses in the specified LearnDash category. Use the category ID. course_cat="10" any course category ID
Course Category Name/Slug Shows only courses in the specified LearnDash category. Use the category slug. course_category_name="math" any course category slug
Course Tag ID Shows only courses tagged with the specified LearnDash tag. Use the tag ID. course_tag_id="10" any course tag ID
Course Tag Name/Slug Shows only courses tagged with the specified LearnDash tag. Use the tag slug. course_tag="math" any course tag slug
Course Category Selector Adds a dropdown menu to filter the course grid by course category. course_categoryselector="true" true
If using WordPress categories & tags…
WordPress Category ID Shows only courses in the specified WordPress category. Use the category ID. cat="10" any WordPress category ID
WordPress Category Name/Slug Shows only courses in the specified WordPress category. Use the category slug. category_name="math" any WordPress category slug
WordPress Tag ID Shows only courses tagged with the specified WordPress tag. Use the tag ID. tag_id="10" any WordPress tag ID
WordPress Tag Name/Slug Shows only courses tagged with the specified WordPress tag. Use the tag slug. tag="math" any WordPress tag slug
WordPress Category Selector Adds a dropdown menu to filter the course grid by WordPress category. categoryselector="true" true

4. Style Your LearnDash Course Grid

The default LearnDash course grid just doesn’t look that great. The rows are not all equal heights. The spacing is off. And if you use a theme that also uses the Bootstrap framework, your grid might look really wonky.

The best solution to fix all these issues, as well as bring an updated set of styles to your course grid, is to install the free Design Upgrade for LearnDash plugin. This will not only improve your course grid design, but all the other areas of LearnDash will benefit from improved styles.

If you want even more design control over your LearnDash course grid, check out the pro version. In addition to 20+ specific course grid options, you’ll get 60 more design options to customize the look & feel of other LearnDash elements on your site. Here’s a quick preview of the course grid features:

The Design Upgrade Pro for LearnDash plugin is great for…

  • custom border color & thickness
  • add a drop shadow to each course
  • add effects on hover
  • full-width course grid buttons
  • custom ribbon colors
  • improved progress bar

Now I’ll share a handful of CSS snippets that you can use to customize the course grid in various ways.

All of the following code should be placed in the Additional CSS area of the Customizer (Appearance > Customize).

BuddyBoss / Social Learner
Most of these snippets WILL NOT work with the BuddyBoss theme. They customized the HTML output for the course grid, so the class & ID names are different. Sorry¬†ūüôĀ.

How to Center the Course Title

Center-align the course title in your grid using the following CSS:

.ld_course_grid .thumbnail .caption .entry-title {
	text-align: center;
}

Adjust Font Size of Course Title

You can adjust the font size of the title in the LearnDash course grid using the following CSS:

.ld_course_grid .thumbnail .caption .entry-title {
	font-size: 20px;
}

NOTE: If you want to make multiple changes to the course title, you should combine them all into one declaration, like this:

.ld_course_grid .thumbnail .caption .entry-title {
	font-size: 20px;
text-align: center;
color: #000;
}

Adjust Font Size of Short Description

You can adjust the font size of the course grid description using the following CSS.

.ld_course_grid .thumbnail .caption .entry-content {
	font-size: 20px;
}

Change Color & Style of Ribbons

There are several different types of ribbons, and the code to style each type is a little different. For the styles I’m going to provide, see the code below for how to structure the CSS.

  • General Ribbons: a ribbon showing a price, or any ribbon that does not fall into one of the other categories. Use:
    .ld_course_grid .thumbnail.course .ld_course_grid_price {
  • “Free” Ribbons:¬†displayed on free courses that the user has not enrolled in yet. Use:
    .ld_course_grid .thumbnail.course .ld_course_grid_price.free {
  • “Enrolled” Ribbons: displayed if a logged-in user is enrolled in that course. Use:
    .ld_course_grid .thumbnail.course .ld_course_grid_price.ribbon-enrolled {
  • “Custom” Ribbons: displayed if you’ve provided a custom text label in the Course Grid settings of the admin. Use:
    .ld_course_grid .thumbnail.course .ld_course_grid_price.custom {

Now that you know which type of ribbon you need to target, here are some styles you can use for various effects.

NOTE
Everything that starts with /* and ends with */ is just for commenting purposes. When you add these examples to your CSS, you can omit those lines. Use as little or as much of these lines as you’d like, and feel free to add more of your own if you know CSS.

/* Change ribbon styles */
.ld_course_grid .thumbnail.course .ld_course_grid_price {
	/* background color */
	background: #ffa500;
	/* text color */
	color: #000;
	/* add curved edges to inside of ribbon */
	border-radius: 0 5px 5px 0;
	/* remove text shadow */
	text-shadow: none;
	/* change font size */
	font-size: 18px;
	/* remove ribbon shadow */
	box-shadow: none;
}

/* Change color of the ribbon's shadow. Colors should match. */
.ld_course_grid .thumbnail.course .ld_course_grid_price:before {
	border-top-color: #d68b02;
	border-right-color: #d68b02;
}

/* Remove ribbon shadow */
.ld_course_grid .thumbnail.course .ld_course_grid_price:before {
	display: none;
}

Hide All Ribbons

This will hide every type of ribbon on the course grid. It could be updated slightly to target only “free” or “enrolled” ribbons. See the section above.

.ld_course_grid .thumbnail.course .ld_course_grid_price {
	display: none;
}

If you’re looking to change the border radius (square vs. rounded) or colors for all ribbon types (free, enrolled, custom, etc.), try the Design Upgrade Pro for LearnDash plugin.

LearnDash Course Grid FAQ

A handful of common questions & answers about the course grid.

Can I display lessons in a course grid?

Yes. Make sure you have the course grid add-on plugin installed, and use this shortcode: [ld_lesson_list].

Can I display topics in a course grid?

Yes. Make sure you have the course grid add-on plugin installed, and use this shortcode: [ld_topic_list].

Can I display quizzes in a course grid?

Yes. Make sure you have the course grid add-on plugin installed, and use this shortcode: [ld_quiz_list].

Can I use course grid on more than one page?

Absolutely. Use it on as many pages as you’d like. You can use different parameters each time. Some examples include:

  • Show only courses that the user has registered for using [ld_course_list mycourses="true"] on an account page
  • Use it again on a custom course listing page with show_content="false" to just show an image gallery of courses
  • Create unique pages that show a grid only for courses in specific categories using category filters¬†course_cat="10" or cat="12"

Course Grid Bonus Tips

Here are a few things I do to improve the look of my course grid.

  • Use the same exact image size for all featured images (course thumbnails)
  • Write consistent short descriptions that are all around the same length

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The Complete List of LearnDash Shortcodes and How to Use Them

11 Comments

  1. This shows how to add a custom field to a course (CEU) and add it as a ribbon on the top right. This adds both functionality and symmetry.

    • Thanks for sharing, Patrick. Nice work! I may write a separate article about CEUs and how to add them to a course, in which case I’ll be sure to reference this.

  2. Hi, is there a way to change the URL that the ‘see more’ button points to? May be using CSS.
    I’m using the xPro theme and have set up a custom course page. I’ve installed the course grid and all works fine except when I click on the button it takes me to the learndash course page and not my custom one.

    • Hi Moira — Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s possible. At least not that I’m aware of. And you can’t change links with CSS. CSS is for styling purposes only.

      If you want your buttons to link elsewhere, I’d recommend creating your own grid with a page builder, or something similar. The default LearnDash Course Grid add-on is somewhat limited in that regard.

    • Farooq

      Hi Moria,

      You can add below snippet to your active theme functions.php file to change the button URLs for the grid layout.

      /**
      * Update grid course URLs
      */
      function change_course_grid_urls( $button_link, $post_id ) {
      $button_link = dynamic_url( $post_id );
      return $button_link;
      }
      add_action( ‘learndash_course_grid_custom_button_link’, ‘change_course_grid_urls’, 10, 2 );

      Note: dynamic_url is not a function, Please replace this with your course URLs. $post_id (course id) will help you to get the dynamic URLs for courses.

  3. Fermin June Alegro III

    Can we have a global settings for the course grid button to change the “See More…” text? And it will only be different when someone places a different text inside the course itself.

    • Hi Fermin. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any way to set that globally. It can only be changed within each course.

      Technically, you could modify the code in the course grid plugin itself, but I do not recommend that.

      Your other option is to use a page builder and create a custom grid of your own. These give you a lot more flexibility.

  4. I chose a different theme instead of generate press. Now my grid doesn’t work anymore. Is there some specific CSS styling that is missing, and can i add this to my own yootheme template?

    • Hi Sandra — There are some known issues with the course grid. Because the grid uses Bootstrap (a CSS framework), themes that also use Bootstrap can cause some issues.

      Is this page the course grid you are referring to? What are you seeing as the issue? It looks like the standard course grid layout to me.

    • yes indeed that page. I think it was someting with caching, because it’s look alright now.

  5. Mike

    It annoys me that the course title is not clickable – I feel like the entire container for each course should be clickable. Do you know a way to make that happen?

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