Yoast, the company behind the popular Yoast SEO plugin, launched its free block editor training course today. The course is available to anyone by signing up for Yoast Academy, which also includes multiple other free and paid courses. Users can learn everything from SEO and copy writing to basic WordPress skills. The Academy team’s latest course promises to get first-time users up to speed on using the block editor.
“At Yoast, we are huge fans of the block editor,” wrote Marieke van de Rakt, CEO of Yoast in the training course announcement. “Admittedly -not right from the start-, but we’re now block-editor fanboys and fangirls. That’s why we created an awesome free block editor course! We hope it will help everybody to use the block editor to the fullest!”
Currently, the course on block editor training has at least two or three hours of content to work through, depending on how quickly users digest the content. The course offers three major sections:
- What is the block editor?
- Using the block editor
Each of these is further broken down between one and three sub-sections. At the moment, there are seven lessons in total, which range between 7 and 49 minutes based on Yoast’s estimated time.
The courses are similar to taking a school class. The Academy team provides short videos that cover individual topics around the block editor. The team also provides a PDF version of the lesson for those who prefer text over video format. At the end of the lesson, users take a quiz and move on to the next lesson. A score of 80% or more is considered a passing grade.
The team keeps each lesson digestible enough to complete in a short bout. Even if watching the videos, the PDF version of the lessons, which are high quality and have loads of useful information with links to third-party resources, are recommended reading.
The team has provided a preview of the block editor course via YouTube:
Moving to the Block Editor and Building Training Courses
Joost de Valk, founder and CPO of Yoast, said the team would continue building on the training course over time as new features are added to the block editor. There are no plans to update it on a strict schedule, but the team wants to keep it current.
Yoast, as a company, focuses on SEO. Therefore, some of the advice offered through the course puts focus on creating content that is useful for people and friendly for search engines. One of the primary topics the course touches on is publishing “resources” and how this is made better by the block editor. “Resources are larger articles, evergreen content or in our SEO terminology ‘cornerstone content’: the stuff you want to rank within the search results,” said de Valk. “You can’t just throw some words on a page and expect to rank anymore. You’ll have to try a bit harder. Gutenberg makes that extremely easy.”
The Yoast team has been moving its massive site to the block editor over time. “The post types I deal with regularly are all written with the block editor, but we might have some areas of the site that aren’t there yet,” said de Valk. “It’s a rather large site, with e-commerce, training, jobs, etc. all built into one giant WordPress multi-site install, so that was a bit of an undertaking. We always try to dog-food stuff though, so we moved everything over quite quickly.”
Getting the 11 million users who are using Yoast’s products to make the switch is not quite as easy. Not everyone has embraced the block editor. “The usage of the block editor is definitely improving, but it’s not going as fast as we’d like to see,” said de Valk. “We honestly think a lot of people don’t understand the chances the block editor brings yet, one of the reasons for releasing this course and trying to help more people to start using it.”
The team’s latest SEO course had over 10,000 signups within a week. While that number is a drop in the bucket in comparison to their full user count, it is promising. With a similar turnout for the block editor training course, it may convert more users from the older classic editor.
Putting together full training courses is a large undertaking, but these are the types of resources the WordPress community needs moving forward. “It’s a lot of work,” said de Valk. “We have four people in our Academy team, a crew that records our videos, and our design team designs all the PDFs and slides within the videos. It’s a non-trivial investment, but we’re happy to make that if it helps make more people enthusiastic for the block editor.”