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How to create a digital workbook

Digital workbooks are a collaborative and customizable way to boost student learning online. Learn how to create a digital workbook for your online courses.

By Wobo TeamDecember 7, 2022

How to create a digital workbook for online courses 

It’s easy to memorize facts, but it takes more effort to understand how to apply them to real life. When your online courses and workshops include a digital workbook, students get to practice and apply their newly learned knowledge, increasing their comprehension of your course material.


Educators have long used worksheets in their in-person curriculum. But with the recent popularity spike in online courses, many educators struggle to provide the same interactive experience online as they can in person. Digital workbooks fill this gap.


In this article, we’ll look at how you can create a workbook online and use it to boost interactivity and learning comprehension in your students. We’ll cover the following: 


  • What is a fillable PDF workbook?
  • How to use an interactive workbook for your course
  • Interactive workbook examples
  • How do I create a fillable digital workbook PDF?
  • How do I create a student digital workbook in Canva?
  • How do I make an editable PDF workbook with Wobo?
  • What’s the best way to create a fillable workbook?

What is a fillable PDF workbook? 

A fillable PDF workbook is a book or series of worksheets and activities where students practice or test their knowledge. It’s delivered and viewed electronically rather than printed in hardcopy like “traditional” classroom handouts. Fillable PDF workbooks create a more interactive experience for those taking classes or workshops online.

Digital workbooks can be as simple as a PDF file with fill-in-the-blanks sections where students can answer questions. They can also be more comprehensive and interactive and include various media types and ways for the students to interact with your course content. 
Why create a digital workbook?

There are many reasons you would want to create a digital, interactive workbook for your course:

Saves paper: Rather than asking participants to print their 50-page student practice book, they can interact with a digital copy on their computer or tablet. No more wasting paper on printed copies. 

Helps interpretation of content: When your students are engaged with you through their digital workbook, their comprehension of the material is heightened. They can better visualize and apply the course materials in different ways through open ended questions and interactive elements. 
Students can keep their work in one place: Digital workbooks can be saved on a local device so your students can view their completed work (or work-in-progress) at any time. Students can also download and save their workbook responses anytime for future reference. 

Instructors can view workbook responses: With comprehensive online workbook software, you can view the content your students input in their workbooks. It can help you see where students are struggling so you can adjust future learning content to compensate for or reteach specific skills. Coaches can take advantage of this visibility to provide feedback and guidance to their clients.  

How to use an interactive workbook for your course

An interactive workbook is usually offered as an included supplement to your online course. You might teach your course live through a platform like Zoom or have your course content and modules hosted on a Learning Management System (LMS) like Thinkific or Teachable. Your workbook can be an optional or required activity, but strongly encourage learners to use it, as it could enhance their learning experience in a highly customizable way. The opportunities are endless for learners with digital workbooks including:


  • Reflecting on their current state and setting goals for the future
  • Performing a self assessment
  • Answering open ended questions about course material
  • Acting as a template for learners to create a marketing, sales, or business plan


For coaches, opportunities could look like:


  • Offering opportunities for journaling and self-reflection
  • Including a weekly schedule or monthly planner
  • Providing a list of linked resources

Interactive workbook examples 

There are many interactive elements you can include in your workbooks:

Your interactive workbook can include GIF animations to visually illustrate key concepts or processes. Moving images in GIF format helps those with a visual learning style.

In the past, if you wanted to share a link to an educational resource in your course, you would write the link on their worksheet, which they'd have to manually type into their web browser to view. With hyperlinked text in an interactive workbook, students can click on the link, and the resource will open directly on their device.

You can use links in your interactive workbooks to link to additional reading, videos, and resources that your learners will find valuable.

Sliders, radio buttons, checkboxes, drop-down lists
In a regular PDF, you wouldn’t be able to add these interactive elements. Learners would need to print their PDF out, then fill in check marks or select radio buttons with a pen. With digital workbooks, these interactive elements are simple to add and use, opening up a world of options for the types of questions that can be asked.  

Text and notes areas
In your digital workbook, you can create spaces for learners to make their own notes as they progress in your course, instead of compiling notes in a notebook or separate document. This allows everything to live in one place, making it easy for learners and coaches to reference.

How do I create a fillable digital workbook PDF? 

Until Wobo came along, the best way to make a digital workbook was to build it  using a word processor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, or design something more snazzy using Canva or Figma. There are a few main things to keep in mind with whatever you choose: the technical skills of your students, how much you care about the design of your workbook, and how smooth you want the experience to be.

Share a Google Doc

You could set up your workbook as a Google doc or other online word processor and even automate sending it out with Zapier. This allows you to use tools you’re already familiar with and you can have decent control over the design of your workbook. One main drawback of this option to be aware of is that Google docs and other similar tools have permissions for either read or write, meaning students could delete a question if they don’t like it!

Creating a Fillable PDF in Adobe software

If you have advanced Adobe Acrobat skills, you can upload your PDF or existing Docx file to Acrobat and add fillable fields using text boxes. Fillable forms make it easy for students to fill in content, but aside from clickable hyperlinks, this method doesn’t work well for including other interactive elements and anything beyond text-entered data. Keep in mind with this option, students will always need to open this file in a different window; they can’t fill it out within your course experience. Updates are also a pain since they require several steps, and this document won’t be easy to access on phones.

How do I create a student digital workbook in Canva? 

Canva is a free online design software that helps organizations create everything from social media and website graphics to book covers, videos, and presentations. You could create your student workbooks in Canva with interactive fields and export them as PDF Files.

While easy to use, there is a learning curve to set up Canva to create a workbook. Additionally, if you have students viewing the workbook on a smaller-screen or tablet, a PDF doesn’t have an adaptive, unique layout that automatically optimizes based on the device used to view the PDF. 

How do I make an editable PDF workbook with Wobo? 

Making your online workbook editable with Wobo is easy when you start with a premade template. They’re easy to customize to your brand and make it easy for you (the instructor) to update and change in the future. 

Wobo for live edits
When you need to edit the workbook in the middle of a course, your changes are pushed live to all workbook students (great for fixing typos or making more substantial changes quickly when needed). 

Wobo for Collaborations
Wobo is also a great tool for collaborations. You can easily invite coaches, teachers, and other team members to help you edit and update the workbook. The editing process is easier as you can provide partial or full access to your team members. 

Editing a workbook for accessibility
More businesses are ensuring their published content meets certain accessibility standards, including support for learners with special requirements. Wobo has accessibility editing features built-in. You can add alternative text to images (for screen readers) and include easy usability for keyboard-only navigation. 

Editing and IP Protection
Another great editing feature of Wobo is you can invite fellow educators or co-workers to edit your source file, yet it remains protected for users. You can choose a security option to prevent learners from copy and pasting text into the workbook as well as adding watermarks for additional IP protection. You can also manage how much, or how little, students can download from your workbook.

What’s the best way to create a fillable workbook? 

When you create an interactive digital workbook, you’re enhancing your students' learning experience. With these advanced visual aids possible, you can boost student interaction and learning, ensuring they fully understand even your most difficult concepts.

Wobo is the interactive digital workbook for online learning. It was designed to help students reflect, react, and retain your important course content. You can start with a free trial and template to customize your own workbook for your brand by changing fonts and colors.

Wobo makes it easy to meet all online course and student engagement best practices including:

  • Fillable forms that don’t feel like a test
  • The ability to break up the text into bite-sized chunks to keep students’ attention easier
  • Including different formats like tables, sliders, diagrams, and selection options to suit learning styles
  • Formatting that is dynamic to ensure high-quality experience no matter your device


Start a free trial of the Wobo interactive workbook software today. It’s the professional software you need to create a workbook that’ll take your students' learning to the next level. 

More students and sales await.

Empower students to take notes, complete structured exercises, and best of all, retain all their work once the course is complete. Sign up for email updates or book a demo to learn more.