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If you’ve got a lot of content, you can use topics to create even more hierarchy in your course. Some course admins might only create section headings, and add lessons to each section, but topics give you one additional level of organization.

Topics must be added to lessons. You cannot have a course with only topics. If your course only requires one level of hierarchy, simply uses lessons instead.

Just like lessons, you can add many different types of course material to your topics—text, images, video, PDFs, presentation slides and more. You’ve also got a few additional display settings for topics. There are a few distinct differences between lessons & topics, all of which we’ll cover in this section.

Lessons vs. Topics

In LearnDash, there are a lot of similarities between lessons & topics, but there are a few important distinctions. If you find yourself unsure about the difference between lessons vs. topics, let’s clear things up.

  • Lessons are listed above topics in the course hierarchy
    • You can have a course with only lessons, but you cannot have a course with only topics. Topics can only be added beneath lessons.
  • You can offer sample lessons, but not sample topics
  • You can only drip-feed & schedule lessons for a later date. There are no direct scheduling options for topics.
    • However, topics do inherit the schedule of their parent lesson. If a lesson is scheduled for January 1, 2020, all the associated topics will be released on January 1 as well.

Sections are very different from lessons & topics. To learn more, see our article explaining course sections.

Here’s a visual overview of lessons & topics compared.

Add Content
Text, images, video, links, PDFs, slides & more
Video Progression✅✅
Add Materials✅✅
Upload Assignments✅✅
Force Minimum Required Time✅✅
Sample Content✅❌
Schedule for Future Access
Topics inherit the parent lesson’s schedule
Lesson Content
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