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Migrating from LearnDash

Online courses built with LearnDash can be migrated to AccessAlly with the help of the Course Creation Wizard and the Migration Tool.

Why Careful Migration Is Necessary

LearnDash course content uses a “special” WordPress page format to create courses, lessons, and topics. Because of this, your course content will simply disappear the moment you deactivate your LearnDash plugin.

Although you can certainly do manual course re-creations (copy + paste) if you choose, AccessAlly includes two built-in tools that will save you a lot of time in the migration process: the Course Creation Wizard and the Migration tool.

The tutorial on this page shows you how the steps will look when you’re migrating a course (or series of courses) from LearnDash to AccessAlly.

The Difference Between LearnDash and AccessAlly Course Format

Before you begin the migration process, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the difference in how LearnDash and AccessAlly are designed to work.

LearnDash includes a 3-tier course format: Courses, Lessons, and Topics.

With AccessAlly courses, the focus is not on the tiers (since you use regular WordPress pages, you get to decide how “deep” the course goes). Rather, the focus is on the access permission tags, and whether you want to release all course content at once, or “drip” it out slowly over time.

With this in mind, you’ll be moving your courses into one of two formats:

  • Standalone – where the entire course has a single permission tag. Choose this option if you want to release all the course content at once.
  • Stage-Release – where you split your course up into modules. Each module can have its own permission tag, so that you can release the content within each module separately from the others.
The AccessAlly Course Wizard, which you’ll use for the initial migration, uses the Standalone and Stage-Release course formats as a way to auto-create permission tags for your course. However, please keep in mind that it is always possible to get more granular with your permissions, and edit them on a page-by-page level in extremely advanced use cases.

How to Migrate Your Courses From LearnDash to AccessAlly


Before you get started, we recommend that you create a backup of your site, and then create a staging site to perform the migration on. This way, if anything “goes wrong”, you’re not sacrificing the live site.

With a staging site, you’re free to make changes and ensure everything is working properly before the site goes live. If you’re unfamiliar with this process, please read our guide here and consult a developer for assistance.

Step 1: Install AccessAlly

First, follow this guide to ensure your AccessAlly plugin is installed and integrated properly: Your Guide to Setting Up AccessAlly.

Step 2: Convert LearnDash Course “Pages”

Once AccessAlly is running on your site, you can begin re-building your courses using AccessAlly’s Course Creation Wizard.

The full step-by-step guide for this part of the process can be found here: Your Guide To Creating Courses With AccessAlly.

Cloning Your LearnDash Pages
Migrating from LearnDash

When you get to the course content part of the setup, you have three options:

  1. Create a new page – this will simply create a blank page with the appropriate course permission tags
  2. Use existing page – this will add the appropriate course permission tags to a page that already exists on your site
  3. Clone existing page – this will create a cloned copy of a page that already exists on your site and add the appropriate permission tags

It is important to select the CLONE EXISTING PAGE option when migrating your LearnDash course pages.

The cloned copies of your LearnDash pages will be in the “regular” WordPress page format, so when you deactivate your LearnDash plugin, the new copies won’t disappear.

Before moving onto the next step, please review your newly-created courses and confirm that all content has been moved over properly.

Step 3: Sync Users With AccessAlly and Your CRM

Once your course content is cloned into AccessAlly courses, it’s time to make sure your users are synced and will have the proper permissions.

To do this, you’ll follow this tutorial: How to migrate to AccessAlly from another plugin or CRM with the AccessAlly Migration Wizard.

Please take your time with this step, and keep a careful record of what permission tags need to be applied to which users. Some manual work or bulk updates may be required.

Step 4: Review All Changes

Before deactivating the LearnDash plugin, please ensure that the following steps have been taken and work successfully:

  1. AccessAlly plugin is set up and integrated with your CRM
  2. All AccessAlly “key pages” (login, dashboard, logout link, etc.) are configured and working properly
  3. LearnDash courses are all “cloned” into AccessAlly format, using the Course Wizard.
  4. If using AccessAlly Pro: All quizzes, progress tracking, and certificates are configure.
  5. AccessAlly order forms are in place to allow courses to be purchased by future users
  6. All CRM automations for course access and release are configured and working properly in your CRM
  7. All current course users are migrated into your CRM and have the proper permission tags so they don’t lose access to course content
  8. AND MORE: Even though this list covers the basics of a membership site/online course area built with AccessAlly, we cannot anticipate all “custom” needs you might have. Please consult with your developer to ensure every part of your course setup is re-configured properly with AccessAlly, so you don’t lose any functionality when LearnDash is deactivated.

Once you’re satisfied, deactivate the LearnDash plugin, and re-check all items listed above.

When LearnDash is deactivated and everything is working properly, create a second backup for your live site. This way, if something goes wrong when making your staging site live, you can simply restore the backup.

Please dedicate additional time to re-checking the new live site for any possible errors.

Updated on September 28, 2018

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