If you’re not sure how Academy could work for you, I recommend that you pay a visit to Udemy.com and take a look at a similar site layout in action. Academy features a very similar layout to Udemy, in fact below I will discuss the similarities and differences between Academy and the Udemy website.
Are you looking to set up an online learning annex? There is, most definitely (and to steal a phrase from Apple), a theme for that. Today we’re going to take a look at the Academy theme from Themeforest, one of the most popular themes for creating membership driven educational forums online.
I admit that when I first looked over the Academy theme I thought “great, but I’m not looking to set up college classes online.” The more I look in to this theme however, the more I realize that it’s actually quite versatile in terms of what it can offer. Whether you are looking to set up a community that offers a variety of online courses for general education or whether you are looking to profit from your own specialized knowledge by setting up an online educational course, this is a pretty decent theme to turn to.
The Academy theme will set you back $55 for a regular license from Themeforest but in terms of the features it has to offer, I’d recommend it as a time saving solution for this type of theme set up. Sure, if you really want to spend the time you can cater your own theme to this type of set up, installing a membership plug-in, creating a number of templates and installing various plug-ins to provide “courses,” “lessons,” and “quiz” options…but I don’t recommend it. Even the most avid WordPress fan will benefit from avoiding the aggravation of setting an Academy type theme up themselves…and think about it, is all that time REALLY worth $55? Just spend the money and get the theme, you won’t regret it.
I will disclose that to date, I have never had a need (or desire) to set up my own paid educational type WordPress site, but after exploring this theme I have a few ideas that I can’t wait to set in to motion.
So, down to the nitty gritty…what do you need to know about this theme?
Academy Theme Features
The Academy theme has a number of features that, when they come together, make for a rather comprehensive theme.
● Academy doesn’t just set you up to “sell” knowledge like a product, but it provides a fully structured selling format that integrates a learning management system.
● Academy features a user profile set up that allows for users to track their educational progress; however, it ensures that this feature is separated from the admin area.
● Academy is a fully responsive theme – a MUST for any WordPress user these days.
● Built in contact forms mean no more outdated contact form plug-ins that can be frustrating to set up and quickly become “unsupported” by newer WordPress versions.
● Academy features a built in slider feature that can be disabled but does not rely upon an external plug-in for the slider feature.
Pro’s of the Academy Theme
● Setting up courses, lessons and even quizzes for users is as simple as navigating a pre-set menu in the admin dashboard. There is no setting up plug-ins or editing templates to do which is a huge time saver.
● Making general changes to the Academy theme (such as changing font color, adding a contact form, formatting sidebars, adding a header etc.) are all easily and quickly edited via the theme options panel in the admin dashboard menu. This is a far cry from the first generation WordPress themes that forced you to scour stylesheets!
● WooCommerce is swiftly integrated in to the theme so managing payments is a snap.
● Academy offers a shortcodes editor (if you’re not familiar with shortcodes, get familiar with them, they’re a lifesaver!)
● Academy features subscription offers that provide limited access to lessons and courses for a designated period of time.
● The Academy theme is translation ready which is a particularly useful feature for educational themes like this one.
● Academy theme creator Themex offers quite prompt theme support through the Themeforest system and frequently offers to assist in problem solving for users experiencing theme issues.
● As long as updates are made to the Academy theme, purchasers receive them for FREE.
Con’s of the Academy Theme
● Academy is a rather feature heavy theme and may not be conducive to a WordPress beginner’s success. If you are a WordPress beginner, this is the best theme available for its purpose, but I recommend seeking assistance in implementing it. If, however, you are moderately versed with WordPress themes, you should have no problem following the included documentation that comes with the theme purchase.
● A few small “nitpicky” details such as non-customization of the registration form, students cannot upload files etc.
How Does Academy Compare to Udemy’s Website?
If you are looking for a Udemy clone via the WordPress platform them Academy is as close as you’re going to get. The general layout of both sites is the same and simple functions such as “lesson search” that are present on Udemy and not on the Academy demo site, can be implemented quickly and simply. Academy also offers a more dynamic approach to the learning annex format by featuring a slideshow on the front page, designed to maintain dynamic content and attract consumers.
While the smaller layout format is slightly different between the two websites, the major functions are still present on both – take for example pricing information, students in each course and rating information. In fact, I find this information to be more visually appealing on the Academy layout rather than the more sterile formatted Udemy site.
If you are looking to recreate the Udemy website by yourself then the Academy WordPress theme is certainly a good place to start. If you’re looking for an exact clone of the Udemy website then you may find you’ll need to do a little tinkering but in my humble opinion, the small differences between the two sites are actually improved on the Academy theme.
So, when it all comes down to it, is the Academy WordPress theme worth your money? Yes, a million times yes. Coming from someone who has spent countless hours customizing themes to offer similar features before Academy was available, I recommend that you stop looking for free replacements or knockoffs for this theme option and just bite the bullet. The simplicity of the features of Academy combined with the streamlined integration of multiple “add on” features not only saves you time in installation and set up, but it also saves you time in the long run since it avoids outdated plug-ins and non-compatibility issues.
Academy is the ultimate resource for your needs if you are looking to create a clean, easily managed online learning system that relies upon WooCommerce for easy payment integration.
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