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Sensei LMS 4.0 Introduces New Block-Based Learning Mode Course Theme

Full-site editing has come to Sensei LMS in the plugin’s latest 4.0 release. The headline feature of this update is Learning Mode – a new block-based theme that gives course authors the ability to customize the learning experience in ways that were not possible before.

This version also updates the nine-year-old plugin’s menus and admin screens to make things easier to find, reducing the number of top-level menus.

“Until now, all course content was displayed in your regular WordPress theme, like any post or page,” Sensei representative Ronnie Burt said. “However, this is not always the best learning experience for students, as the site header, sidebars, and other content can be distracting. We developed Learning Mode to solve this problem — so your courses are the students’ main focus.” 

Learning Mode is bundled in the plugin and brings the full-site editing capabilities launched in WordPress 5.9 to lessons and quizzes. It does not apply to the whole site – only the LMS content URLs. The rest of the site uses the regular, active WordPress theme.

Learning Mode is free, not a paid add-on, and it is also optional. Sensei LMS users who update to 4.0 can continue having their course content displayed directly in their WordPress themes as they have been.

Sensei is one of the first plugins to offer this kind of separate, in-app FSE-enabled theme. It enables course authors to make their own customizations to courses and templates using blocks. Things like extra instructions, announcements, advertisements, links, are now much easier to insert. The colors and design can also be further customized to match the site’s branding.

This particular implementation highlights the potential of FSE where these kinds of template changes might have cost site owners hours in custom development before template editing was within reach. Many other types of plugins that introduce their own templates could benefit from a similar approach. It will be interesting to see how FSE opens up WordPress customization beyond just themes.