Course Access Settings

The course access settings allow you to define a set of criteria for how a user gains and maintains access to your course. We’ll go through all the options, some of which include a one-time payment, recurring payments, free access, prerequisites and more.

Locating Course Access Settings

  1. Navigate to LEARNDASH LMS > COURSES
  2. Click on the course you want to edit
  3. Click on the Settings tab at the top of the page
  4. Locate the section titled “Course Access Settings”

Access Mode

Access mode is how you determine the way in which someone can gain access to a course (completely free, free with registration required, one-time payment, recurring subscription, etc.). LearnDash has 5 course access modes to choose from.


The following rules apply to Open courses:

  • Free & open to anyone visiting your site
  • No registration, login or payment is required for access
  • Must be registered/logged in to track course progress

If you have Open courses on your site, as soon as someone registers an account, they will automatically gain access to all Open courses.


The following rules apply to Free courses:

  • Must be registered/logged in to access
  • No payment is required
  • “Take this Course” button is shown to users not yet enrolled. They are sent through the registration process. If you’re using LearnDash’s customized login & registration, the button will say “Login to Enroll.”

The Free access mode is a good choice if you want an administrator to manually enroll students into the course.


The following rules apply to Closed courses:

  • Must be registered/logged in to access
  • Allows you to sell your course
  • Enables a custom Button URL field, which sends users to a custom sales or checkout page (a button is only shown if you enter a URL)
  • Manually enroll users into the course, or add them via group enrollment

When you choose Closed, you also need to create a product and link it to your course. If the user purchased your course product, the user will automatically gain access for your course. You can also add users to the course via group enrollment.

To redirect the Take this Course button to a custom URL:

  1. First, select the Closed access mode
  2. Then, enter the URL where you’d like the button to go. Your button url format should be<product_id>

To get the product id, follow the guide here.

Course Prerequisites

Prerequisites allow you to choose another course (or courses) that a user must complete before taking this course. When selecting a course(s), you have two options:

  • Any Selected (default)
    If a user has completed any one of the selected courses, they will be able to access this course.
  • All Selected
    The user must complete all selected courses in order to access this course.

To add a course prerequisite:

  1. Next to Course Prerequisites, toggle the setting on
  2. Choose either Any Selected or All Selected
  3. Click in the box to search for a course. Add as many courses as you’d like.

To remove a course prerequisite:

  1. Click the x next to the course name

Course Points

Course points are a simple way to incentive your users. They can also be used as a prerequisite for another course.

To enable course points:

  1. Next to Course Points, toggle the setting on

Required for Access

This is the number of points a user must obtain before gaining access to the course.

For example, let’s say you have a few beginner-level courses that each award 50 points upon completion. You might also have an intermediate-level course. If you want the student to complete at least 2 beginner-level courses (2 courses x 50 points/ea. = 100 points) before taking the intermediate-level course, you could set the required for access setting to 100 points.

Awarded on Completion

This is the number of points a user will receive for completing the course. In the above example, all of your beginner-level courses would set this value to 50.

The provided examples are just to explain how course points work. You can use any numbers you’d like, and customize the course points to fit your learning curriculum.

Course Access Expiration

With course access expiration, you can choose to provide access to a course for a limited time period, based on the user’s enrollment date (aka: when they signed up for the course).

  1. Next to Course Access Expiration, toggle the setting on
  2. Enter the number of days the course will be available for
    • This will automatically count that many days from the user’s enrollment date
  3. Choose whether or not you want the user’s course & quiz data to be deleted when access expires

Once data is deleted, it is gone forever. If you choose to enable the Data deletion setting, we recommend you make a backup first.

Alter Course Access List

We do not recommend manually updating the course access list as it can have unintended negative consequences.

The course access list displays a list of enrolled users by user ID. Each user ID is separated by a comma. Due to a wide variety of add-ons & third-party plugins that affect course enrollment dynamically, this list might not always reflect all enrolled users.

The recommended way to add or remove a user from a course is from the user’s profile page in the WordPress admin area. See user management to learn more.

If you need to alter the course access list:

  1. Next to Alter Course Access List, toggle the setting on
  2. In the box that appears, add or delete the user IDs you want to change. Remember to separate them with commas.