LearnDash is one of the most popular WordPress LMS plugins. LearnDash has a great course experience for students and a really simple drag and drop course builder. LearnDash has lots of add-ons and plugins to extend its features.
LearnDash starts at $159 for one site
- LearnPress core plugin is free
- The flexibility of adding premium add-ons
- Premium add-ons are priced competitively
- PayPal payment integration included out of the box
- Multiple instructors for one course
- Concerns with plugin compatibility with WordPress themes
- Certifications and some quiz options are paid add-ons
- Limited reporting
LearnDash is one of the most popular and highly reviewed WordPress LMS plugins.
Given its popularity, it’s widely used by course creators from companies of all sizes for creating their online courses.
But is LearnDash your best choice for creating, launching, and promoting your courses?
That’s why I created this guide — to help you get a clear understanding of what LearnDash is, what makes it unique, and who it’s ideally suited for.
I’ll also be covering some of LearnDash’s drawbacks or areas of improvement.
Finally, I’ll also be comparing LearnDash to some of the other popular WordPress LMS plugins (LifterLMS, Sensei LMS, LearnPress).
After reviewing this LearnDash review — you will have the knowledge and confidence to decide if LearnDash is the best WordPress LMS Plugin for your online courses.
Let’s get started.
What is LearnDash (And Who is LearnDash For?)
LearnDash is one of the most popular WordPress LMS plugins. The plugin is created, updated, and maintained by the team at LearnDash based in Ann Arbor, USA.
LearnDash is ideal for course creators, developers, and website owners who want to add courses (one or many) to their WordPress website.
It’s also suitable for those business owners and websites who want to create a full-blown Learning Management System (LMS).
LearnDash is used by Educational institutions, Training organizations, Online entrepreneurs, Course creators, and WordPress developers.
Some major brands and organizations that use LearnDash include the University of Florida, University of Washington, DigitalMarketer, InfusionSoft, WPElevation, etc.
What Do You Need to Know Before Installing LearnDash?
The most important thing to know before you choose LearnDash as your preferred LMS is that it is a WordPress plugin.
It means that it will only work on WordPress websites, and is recommended for self-hosted WordPress.org websites (and not recommended for free WordPress.com sites).
If your website is built using other CMS such as Wix, Magento, HubSpot, Drupal, etc. — then LearnDash is not suitable for you.
However, since WordPress is one of the most popular CMSs out there, powering more than 30% of the internet — it’s a natural choice for many new websites.
The primary benefit of having a self-hosted WordPress website is that you own the domain and all the content, as opposed to other LMS (Udemy, Thinkific, Kajabi, Teachable) where your content is hosted on their systems.
Another important point to consider is that there’s a bit of a learning curve that’s required to set up and maintain LearnDash. Since this is built on the same open-source framework as WordPress — LearnDash is ideal for developers.
However, if you lack the technical know-how, then LearnDash does provide support and documentation (which will cover below).
Also, LearnDash isn’t compatible with every WordPress theme. Be sure to check with your theme manufacturer to check if they have successful use cases of customers using LearnDash.
Here are the minimum technical requirements:
- PHP version — 7.3+. Memory-limit of 128MB or higher.
- Database — MySQL version 5.6 OR MariaDB 10.1.
- HTTPS — Yes required.
LearnDash offers three different pricing packages depending on the number of websites that you need to install the license.
- Basic Package —— $199/year —— (Single Site).
- Plus Package —— $229/year —— (Up to 10 Sites).
- Pro Package —— $369/year —— (Up to 25 sites).
All pricing is annual (not monthly).
The licenses renew automatically, unless you cancel your subscription. Unlike many WordPress plugins, LearnDash doesn’t offer a lifetime (one-time purchase) package.
There is no free trial available.
However, they do provide a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the product and choose to cancel your subscription.
Popular LearnDash Add-ons:
To build a complete LMS or to enhance your course experience — you might require the purchase and installation of LearnDash Add-ons.
There’s an extensive library of add-ons (some free and premium).
A few of these add-ons are built by the LearnDash team themselves, while others are created by 3rd-party developers.
Here are just a few popular LearnDash Add-ons to consider:
- Free Add-ons — WooCommerce, Stripe, Zapier, BuddyPress, Autocomplete courses, CartFlows, Dashboard widgets, LearnDash CSS, Memberful Integration, Salesforce integration, Zoom integration.
- Premium Add-ons — Infusionsoft integration, LearnDash Activity Feed, LearnDash private sessions, Ultimate member plugin integration, Moodle integration, Square payments, WPFusion integration.
LearnDash only offers support via the ticketing system for their help desk.
They don’t provide phone, video, or live chat support.
The Support Hours are from 0700 to 1600 Eastern Standard Time (Monday to Friday).
There’s also a comprehensive knowledge base — start-up guides, documentation, extensive video tutorials (LearnDash YouTube Channel), community forums, etc.
They also have a dedicated and active Facebook Group (nearly 100,000 members) exclusively for LearnDash customers.
LearnDash currently integrates with many popular WordPress plugins and a variety of 3rd party tools and software.
A few of these integrations are free, while others require the purchase of premium add-ons.
- eCommerce — WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, CartFlows, Upsell Plugin.
- Payment Gateways — Stripe, SamCart, 2Checkout, Square, PayPal.
- Email Marketing — MailChimp, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, InfusionSoft (Keap).
- CRM — HubSpot, Salesforce, Zapier, WPFusion.
- LMS — LearnDash, WP Fusion, Gravity Press, WP HelpDesk.
- Forums — BuddyPress, bbPress, Slack, PeepSo.
- Membership — MemberPress, Memberium, ActiveMember360, Memberful, iMember360, Groundhogg, Paid Memberships Pro, Restrict Content Pro.
- Gamification — BadgeOS, GamiPress, MyCred, WPAchievements.
- Design Customization — DesignUpgrade, Visual Customizer, BeaverBash.
- Mobile Apps — AppPresser, WisdmApp, learnerApp.
- Forms or Landing Pages — Gravity Forms.
Since LearnDash is open-source, you’re also able to extend its functionality using the developer tools (hooks and filters).
18 Pros of Using LearnDash (Best Features):
1. Own Your Content (and Domain)
When you use LearnDash to create your courses — you own the content entirely because you’re hosting on your domain (your self-hosted WordPress website).
You have the option to add it to either your existing domain or a new sub-domain (“yourwebsite.com/courses” or “courses.yourwebsite.com.”)
In many ways, it’s similar to when you run your blog on WordPress — it’s “yourwebsite.com/blog or “blog.yourwebsite.com”
That’s not the case if you choose an LMS platform such as Udemy, Teachable, Thinkific, or Kajabi. The courses are all hosted on their platforms.
2. Unlimited Courses
LearnDash gives you the freedom to create unlimited courses, lessons, quizzes, etc. Also, it allows you to add and manage unlimited users (students or customers).
Please make sure to check that you have adequate website hosting resources to support the content. As you keep adding more courses in the future — it might be useful to work with a hosting provider that allows you to scale quickly without any hassle.
3. Make Your Courses Interactive
To make your courses more engaging and to encourage student participation — LearnDash allows you to create quizzes and assignments.
LearnDash probably has one the most easy-to-use and comprehensive quizzing options (covered later in another section).
There’s also an option to create course certificates and badges (using 3rd party add-on or integrations such as BadgeOS) to reward your student’s performance.
Creating quizzes, assignments, certificates are relatively simple and easy. Once created, they’re also easy to assign to the appropriate courses or lessons.
You also have the option to notify your students about their course enrollment, progress, quiz performance, completion, etc. It can be done either using ProPanel (covered later) or using other LearnDash add-ons.
4. Transparent Pricing
You’re only paying for the LearnDash licenses (and potential add-ons). After that, you keep 100% of the course revenue and profits.
Comparative LMS solutions such as Teachable, start at $29 per month and charge an additional 5% transaction fees. Or you can upgrade to $99 per month to waive the transaction fees. Your annual investment for Teachable can easily range from $350 to $1200 depending on the package.
5. Multiple Payment Options
LearnDash comes with built-in PayPal support, which means you can start accepting payments as soon as you launch your course.
When selling your courses, you can also provide your students with an option to purchase in one payment, or through recurring payments. If you choose recurring, then you can set the billing cycle (either days, months, or years).
LearnDash also integrates with popular WordPress plugins such as WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads. If you want to choose to sell the courses and accept payments via other methods, and then provide students access to LearnDash — that’s also possible.
To enable and use other payment options such as Stripe or shopping carts (2checkout, Samcart,etc.) there are add-ons that you can purchase.
6. Intuitive and User-friendly Course Builder
LearnDash’s drag-and-drop course builder makes it very easy for new course creators to launch their courses quickly. You can easily add new lessons, topics, sections, quizzes all in one window.
Image Source: LearnDash – Course Builder
The LearnDash course editor is the same as the WordPress editor. So, your learning curve is shorter.
There’s also a block-editor option that most WordPress users are now familiar with. If you have used Gutenberg, then you will be able to build your courses very quickly and easily using the block-editor.
7. Easy to Use Shortcodes
Most WordPress users are familiar with shortcodes — these are shortcuts that you can use to easily add elements to your WordPress posts or pages quickly (all without coding or technical know-how).
Shortcodes are useful if you’re still using the classic WordPress editor.
LearnDash has a library of shortcodes you can use for courses, lessons, quizzes, certificates, etc.
8. Simple and Beautiful Course UI/UX
The recent LearnDash update (LearnDash 3.0) has made it possible for you to create courses that are visually appealing and more polished.
LearnDash templates are built-in such a way that the end-product (your course) isn’t too flashy and distracting. Yet, at the same time, it’s just the right amount of polished to impress your students.
9. Your Courses on the Go (Mobile)
Mobile usage will continue to dominate desktop use in 2020 and beyond. It means your students (and customers) will spend more time on their smartphones than their computers.
Most learning platforms such as Udemy, Skillshare, LinkedIn Learning have a dedicated mobile app for their users.
Fortunately, you don’t have to create a dedicated iOS or Android app for your course website.
If you’re using LearnDash with a responsive WordPress theme, then you don’t need a new app. Your students will be able to view and access their courses on their mobile devices just as on their computers.
10. Registration and Login Forms
In the past, one of the drawbacks of LearnDash was its lack of a dedicated registration and login form. Your users had to use the standard WordPress login forms to access the courses.
That’s no more the case with LearnDash 3.0 (Launched May 2019).
The platform now comes with templated login and registration forms that you can create and customize based on your brand colors (and also upload a logo). This reduces the need to use another form plugin/software.
11. Free Astra Theme
Like most users, you will be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of WordPress themes out there (over 10,000+).
However, LearnDash isn’t compatible with every WordPress theme.
To ensure that your courses are hosted on a robust infrastructure, we recommend Astra for your LearnDash course website.
Astra is well-known for being a light-weight, fast-loading, and secure theme that comes pre-loaded with many free ready-made templates.
LearnDash’s relationship and integration with Astra allows you to launch a course website in record time.
As soon as you install your Astra theme, you’ll get:
- Home Page
- Course listing page
- Courses template.
- About us page.
- Contact us page.
- LearnDash specific theme settings.
This allows you to set up and launch a course website quickly, and best of all — it’s free!
Unlock the power of automation using Zapier and LearnDash.
The free Zapier add-on allows you to connect LearnDash to over 1500+ applications — email marketing software, CRMs, accounting systems, etc.
Connect all your software to LearnDash to convert your LMS into a powerful and full-blown marketing machine.
For example, when a new student enrolls in a course — you can create a trigger to create a record in your CRM.
Or add them to your mailing list.
Or create an invoice (via your accounting system) and email it to them directly.
13. Drip Content
Dripping content is the process of releasing your content (course lessons) over a specific period.
LearnDash allows you to control how your students can access your courses — either all lessons at once or drip-feed (set schedule).
For drip-feed content, you can choose either to:
- Release lessons after “X” days after enrollment.
- On a specific date.
To make sure your students don’t miss when the content is released, the LearnDash Notifications add-on (free) allows you to notify them when the new lessons are available for them.
14. Distraction-free Learning (Focus Mode)
A challenge all course creators face is making sure that they are able to maintain their students’ attention on the course content.
One study shows that the average course completion rate is 10% among online courses. Many factors contribute to such dismal statistics.
LearnDash (3.0) helps you improve your student user-experience and course completion rate by helping you create a distraction-free learning experience. Also known as Focus Mode.
You, as the course admin can choose to hide specific lessons, remove unnecessary buttons and navigation bars — to boost your student’s concentration on the lesson at hand.
Image Source: LearnDash – Focus Mode
15. Host Video Content
If you have noticed any online course or tutorial — you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that doesn’t use video to enhance the content.
LearnDash helps to embed videos to your lessons and topics seamlessly.
It’s as simple as using the URL of a particular video from your hosting option (YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, Amazon S3). You also have the option to upload a video to your WordPress media library and then add/embed that URL.
You can choose to play the video as soon as that content page (lesson or topic) loads.
Also, use the video progression feature to make sure the students watch the entire video before marking that lesson as complete.
16. Knowledgebase and User Documentation
The LearnDash knowledge base helps users with the common questions they might have during installation, setup, course creation, payment settings, etc.
You’ll also find the installation guide in the LearnDash Bootcamp as soon as you activate your license. It includes step-by-step video tutorials for helping create and launch your first course.
17. User Management and Reporting
The enrollment and the progress of your students are recorded in your WordPress dashboard. Once you open a user profile (student profile), you can see their course progress and quiz performance.
You also have the option to export all your course and quiz data in a CSV file.
You also have the option to group certain users into LearnDash Groups.
Groups can have any number of users in them. You can also auto-enroll users of a specific group into specific courses. All this makes user management relatively easy in LearnDash.
18. ProPanel (Enhanced Reporting)
If you’re starting with limited students and a few courses (one or two) — then the basic reporting might be enough.
However, as you scale your courses with more students and add more complexities (more lessons, quizzes, etc.) — you’ll outlive the basic reporting, and you’d need more.
The ProPanel feature provides enhanced real-time reporting in a visual dashboard. At any time, you can view:
- The number of students.
- The number of courses.
- Pending assignments.
- Pending essays.
This enhanced reporting allows you to proactively track and measure the success of all your courses. All of this reporting can be viewed in your LearnDash dashboard.
The ProPanel feature is not available for the Basic package. It requires the purchase of either the Plus or Pro package.
Image Source: LearnDash – ProPanel
The 9 Cons of Using LearnDash (Challenges):
1. WordPress-only Platform
We made sure to mention this early in this guide, but it’s worth repeating — LearnDash only works on self-hosted WordPress websites (WordPress.org).
If your website is built on any other CMS or framework (PHP, Laravel, Magento, HubSpot, Drupal), then LearnDash isn’t for you.
On the other hand — solutions such as Teachable, Kajabi, Thinkific, Udemy don’t require you to build a dedicated website. These solutions offer their own sales pages and landing pages to help you promote and sell your courses.
2. Requires A Compatible WordPress Theme
Even if you’re proficient with WordPress, it doesn’t mean that you’ll easily be able to install and use LearnDash.
LearnDash isn’t compatible with every WordPress theme out there. If you have a custom theme — then it might require further coding and development to ensure that you can host your courses using LearnDash.
3. Considerable Learning Curve
Though we covered many of the features that make LearnDash unique and compelling — one of the most significant drawbacks is that it requires a dedicated time investment to learn the platform.
There is tons of documentation; however, most of it is self-serve.
If you aren’t a developer and haven’t used WordPress before — you might potentially find the platform intimidating. There is a steep learning curve.
It isn’t a plug-and-play solution. It’s perhaps one of the reasons that might turn away some users.
4. No Structured Onboarding
As the case with most WordPress plugins — there isn’t a structured demo or training program. The plugins are usually built with the developer community in mind.
The limited support hours and the lack of live chat support mean that you’ll need to invest in self-learning or hire outside developers to help create and launch your course.
5. Technical knowledge Required
To build a complete marketing machine to promote, create, launch, and sell your courses — you’ll need to install additional add-ons and integrations (discussed above).
Some of them are straightforward, while others will require a little bit of development to ensure everything works smoothly.
Course creators and website owners tend to look for additional help in installing LearnDash and integrations. Here’s just a screenshot of the number of current jobs on seeking for assistance on “LearnDash.”
6. Limited Design Customization
LearnDash does provide you the option to build visually appealing and professional-looking courses that match your brand guidelines. However, there are limitations on how much you can customize the look-and-feel (UI/UX) of your courses.
LearnDash add-ons such as Design Upgrade, Visual Customizer, Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit, etc. allow you to customize your course design. However these are premium add-ons that require additional purchases.
7. No Course Sales Page
As a savvy course creator or entrepreneur you’re actively marketing your courses via social media, emails, ads to generate interest and sell courses. Then, you’re most likely sending prospects to a sales page or a landing page.
Unfortunately, LearnDash doesn’t allow you to create a dedicated course sales page.
You either need to create them separately on WordPress or use other landing page software (InfusionSoft, MailChimp, Convertkit,etc.). And there’s usually a cost to purchase and install these add-ons.
8. No Membership or Forum Module
As you build a thriving online course business — your students might want to communicate with each other to support and learn from one another.
You might also want to make specific announcements, perks, benefits, features, deals to your students.
LearnDash doesn’t have a membership module where you can easily do this.
9. Pricing Model
The annual pricing for the LearnDash module isn’t expensive compared to other course creation software (Teachable, Kajabi, ClickFunnels, Thinkific).
However, to build a marketing system —you will need to purchase additional add-ons (landing page, email marketing, shopping cart,membership software, etc). As you install each add-on, your costs can go up.
Also, if you aren’t tech-savvy and you need to invest in development resources — that also could increase your costs of launching and maintaining your course.
LearnDash Review — How to Create New Courses:
LearnDash Installation and Activation
Similar to any WordPress plugin — installing and activating LearnDash is straightforward.
Once you purchase one of the three packages (Basic, Plus, or Pro), you will receive the installation files in a .zip format.
- Head over to your WordPress Admin Dashboard (yoursite.com/wp-admin).
- Go to “Plugins” and “Add New”.
- Once you are in the “Add Plugins” page, next click “Upload Plugin” and upload your license (.zip format).
- Click “Install Now“.
You will now notice LearnDash is now added to your WordPress dashboard, along with a slew and options and settings.
The first step is to enter your license. Once you enter your Email and the license key — your LearnDash account has been activated.
Customizing LearnDash and Updating Settings
The next step is to customize your LearnDash site, layouts, payment settings, etc.
Under LearnDash LMS you will see Settings as the last option.
Once you click on Settings it will give you all the options to customize your LearnDash instance.
- General — You have the option to customize the colors (main layout, course progress bar, certificates, notifications, warnings, etc.). You can also enable Focus-mode for distraction-free learning. There’s also an option to upload your logo.
- Custom Labels — Instead of using the generic nomenclature, you can replace the names of all the labels (course, lesson, topics, quiz, questions, etc.).
- PayPal — Setup your purchase and payment options by entering your PayPal credentials. Also, set up your country and prefered currency.
- Translations — For websites and businesses who want to sell their content in multiple languages — add your preferred languages, right within the LearnDash dashboard.
3) Creating Courses on LearnDash
LearnDash makes it easier for new course creators and customers by guiding them through the entire platform.
All instructions and tutorials are available right within the LearnDash LMS module in your WordPress dashboard.
Click on “LearnDash LMS”, and it will open the “LearnDash Bootcamp” which will help you quickly get up to speed with the platform.
Creating Courses in LearnDash is relatively easy with the help of their visual editor (drag-and-drop builder).
Under “LearnDash LMS” click on “Courses“.
You will see all your existing courses.
To create a new course — Click “Add New”; and it will open up the course builder. Here’s where you can add, edit and update all the information about your new course.
The course editor is similar to any WordPress page builder or block editor.
In the same window, you have the option to add or update more information:
- Course status (published or draft).
- Permalink or URL.
- Featured Image.
At any time, you can get a real-time preview of your course page —so you know how it will look on various devices (desktop, tablet or mobile)
Create Lessons and Topics:
Creating individual lessons and topics (options) are also simple using LearnDash.
Under the LearnDash LMS dashboard, click Lessons, and it will give you the option to add new lessons or edit existing lessons.
The editing options are very similar to creating a course — add information, description, categories, tags, shortcodes,etc.
Once you have added the content for the Lesson, you’ll have to add the particular lesson to the appropriate course.
LearnDash Lesson Options:
- Lesson Materials — Option to display all the support materials for the lesson.
- Video Progression — Option to make watching of the full video mandatory.
- Grading Type — Option to auto-approve lesson completion, or allow students to add their assignment files for review.
- Forced Lesson Timer — Option to ensure that the lesson is completed only when the set time has elapsed.
- Video Preview — Add a featured image of the lesson video.
Quizzes allow you to test your students’(or customers’) understanding of a particular lesson. LearnDash has many options for course creators to create quizzes.
To add or find quizzes – under the LearnDash LMS dashboard click on the Quizzes option.
You can use the Quiz Builder to create your questions for each lesson. You will notice that this feature also uses a visual editor.
LearnDash offers one of the most comprehensive quizzing options amongst its competitors.
You have the option to choose the type of response or answers the students can provide. The quiz answer options include:
- Single choice.
- Multiple choice.
- Free choice.
- Sorting choice.
- Matrix sorting choice.
- Fill in the blank.
- Assessment (survey).
- Essay (open answer).
LearnDash Quiz Options:
- Passing Score — Option to set a score which the student has to surpass to complete the lesson.
- Restrict Quiz Takes — Set the number of times a student can retake the quiz.
- Time Limit — Option to choose a pre-set time that is allowed for the student to complete the quiz.
- Auto Start — Start the quiz automatically as soon as the lesson is complete.
- Result Messages — Reveal the quiz scores immediately to students.
- Quiz Statistics — Show the student the overall score, number of correct answers, time spent
- Email Notifications — Choose whether the quiz scores are emailed to either the course admin, the student or both.
If you want to award your students with badges or certificates towards their course completions — you can definitely do that with LearnDash.
To create a certification:
- Find Certificates under LearnDash LMS
- Click Add New.
Once you create a new certificate, you can associate it with a specific quiz.
There’s also an option to automatically issue a certificate if a student reaches the preset passing score.
LearnDash Reporting and Administration:
Each time a new student signs up for your course — LearnDash creates a WordPress user profile. Their individual course history, progress, performance is all stored on their user profiles.
For getting a snapshot of all your students, you have the option to export all the courses and quiz data via CSV file.
The basic package only provides limited reporting.
The Plus and Pro package includes the ProPanel which includes additional reporting. We’ve covered what’s included in the ProPanel reports in one of the sections above.
Let’s compare LearnDash with some of the other popular WordPress LMS plugins:
LearnDash vs LifterLMS
LifterLMS is another WordPress LMS popular plugin that can be used to create, launch, and monetize courses.
There are many similarities between LifterLMS and LearnDash — create courses, drip content, quizzes, etc. However, there are a few significant differences as well that make them different.
Let’s review those in detail:
|Total WordPress Installations||N/A||10,000+|
|Customer Showcase||No||Catalog of LifterLMS course websites|
|Freemium Option||Not provided||Yes, there is a free plugin. The free plugin only allows you to sell courses manually and enroll students. You cannot accept payments using LifterLMS.|
|Demo/ Free Trial||N/A||30-day demo of the premium platform for $1|
|Pricing||Starts at $199 per year Basic — $199 (1 site)Plus — $229 (5 sites)Pro — $369 (25 sites)||Premium pricing starts at $99 per year FreeIndividual — $99 (1 site)Universal Bundle — $299 (5 sites)Infinity Bundle — $999 (Unlimited sites)|
|Integrations or Add-ons||Available||Available|
|Premium Add-ons||Average pricing —$39 per add-on||Average pricing —$99/year per add-on|
|Bundled Premium Add-ons||No, only individual purchases.||Included in the Universal Bundle and Infinity Bundle|
|PayPal Integration||Yes, included as a default option||Not included, requires add-on purchase of $99/year|
|Additional Payment Gateways||No, requires add-ons (WooCommerce, Stripe, SamCart)||No, requires add-ons (WooCommerce, Stripe)|
|Content Creation||Unlimited courses||Unlimited courses|
|Users||Unlimited users/students||Unlimited users/students|
|Course Builder||Yes, drag-and-drop builder||Yes, drag-and-drop builder|
|Drip Content||Yes, included||Yes, included|
|Student Interaction||Yes — quizzes, certificates, assignments||Yes — quizzes, certificates, assignments|
|Badges||Requires integration with BadgeOS||Included|
|eCommerce||Needs WooCommerce add-on||Included|
|Membership Modules||No. Requires other add-ons||Included|
|Reporting||Limited reporting in Basic Package. Advanced reporting in Plus and Pro Package (ProPanel)||More comprehensive reporting available in all packages.|
|Knowledgebase and documentation||Blog postsYouTube tutorialsModule tutorials||Blog postsYouTube tutorials.Webinar trainingsLearning Academy PodcastsSlack GroupsFacebook GroupMastermind(Infinity Bundle)|
|Support||Helpdesk via Ticketing system||All premium plans included help-desk support (Guaranteed 12 hour response time). Universal Bundle or Infinity Bundle includes priority support.|
To summarize, both LearnDash and LifterLMS have similar feature sets, and both allow you to launch and support unlimited courses. The features are comparable.
LifterLMS has a free option that allows you to take it for a test-drive. The free version will enable you to create courses, lessons,etc.however you cannot accept payments.
There’s a 30-day demo/trial for $1 for the premium solutions. Both these options give you more time and flexibility to test out the platform.
LifterLMS is a complete solution that extends beyond just being an LMS. It has built-in features for eCommerce, membership management, etc.
LifterLMS has much more documentation, user guides, and support guides for users. Also, they provide all premium customers with access to the support desk (with a guaranteed 12 hour response time).
There’s also an extensive customer showcase on their website which allows you to visualize how a successful course website should look like.
However, LifterLMS’s pricing model makes it cost-prohibitive for most course creators. Even though the lowest premium package is $99/year, each additional add-on is $99/year. It can add up very quickly.
The all-in-one infinity bundle is $999/year which would price many new course creators out of the market.
LearnDash beats LifterLMS in terms of more favorable pricing and value for the platform.
LearnDash vs LearnPress
LearnPress is a WordPress LMS popular plugin used to create, launch, and monetize courses. Let’s review those in detail:
|Total WordPress Installations||N/A||70,000+|
|Freemium Option||Not provided||Yes. However, you can only sell individual courses. No subscription or recurring payments.|
|Demo/ Free Trial||N/A||Yes|
|Pricing||Starts at $199 per year Basic — $199 (1 site)Plus — $229 (5 sites)Pro — $369 (25 sites)||Freemium and premium options Free — $0 (1 site)Theme Bundle — $49 (1 site)Pro Bundle — $249 (Unlimited sites)|
|Integrations or Add-ons||Available||Available|
|Premium Add-ons||Average pricing —$39 per add-on||Average pricing —$39 per add-on|
|Bundled Premium Add-ons||No, only individual purchases.||No, only individual purchases.|
|Additional Payment Options||Requires premium add-ons WooCommerce, Stripe,2Checkout.||Requires premium add-ons WooCommerce, Stripe,Authorize.net.|
|Content Creation||Unlimited courses||Unlimited courses|
|Users||Unlimited users/students||Unlimited users/students|
|Course Builder||Yes, drag-and-drop builder||Yes, drag-and-drop builder|
|Drip Content||Yes, included||No, requires premium add-on|
|Student Interaction||Yes — quizzes, certificates, assignments||Yes — quizzes (limited), certificates|
|Badges||Requires integration with BadgeOS||Requires integration with BadgeOS|
|eCommerce||Needs WooCommerce add-on||Needs WooCommerce add-on|
|Membership Modules||No. Requires other add-ons||No. Requires other add-ons|
|Reporting||Limited reporting in Basic Package. Advanced reporting in Plus and Pro Package (ProPanel)||Limited reporting|
|Knowledgebase and documentation||Blog postsYouTube tutorialsModule tutorials||Limited|
|Support||Helpdesk via Ticketing system||No 1-on-1 support. Only provides access to a user forum.|
To summarize, LearnPress provides a free plugin and an affordable pricing model that’s ideal for new course creators and those with limited budgets.
LearnPress is compatible with most WordPress themes and needs less technical requirements, which makes it easier to install and use.
You can create unlimited courses and can enroll unlimited students. However, it’s not as intuitive and feature-rich as LearnDash. Also, the reporting options are limited.
The support, documentation, and knowledge base is limited. So, if you’re not a developer or lack technical knowledge — there can be a steep learning curve.
LearnPress is ideal for tech-savvy course creators who want basic features to create and launch courses. It can be expensive as you purchase individual add-ons; however, the overall pricing is still lower than LearnDash.
LearnDash vs Sensei LMS
Sensei LMS is a WordPress LMS popular plugin that was developed, maintained, and supported by Automattic (the team behind WordPress, Tumblr & WooCommerce).
Sensei LMS provides a simple and no-frills LMS plugin that allows you to create courses on WordPress.
Let’s review what makes LearnDash different from Sensei LMS:
|Total WordPress Installations||N/A||2,000|
|Freemium Option||Not provided||Yes|
|Demo/ Free Trial||N/A||Yes|
|Pricing||Starts at $199 per year Basic — $199 (1 site)Plus — $229 (5 sites)Pro — $369 (25 sites)||Free for Sensei LMS. To sell paid memberships or courses, it needs WooCommerce Paid Memberships ($129).|
|Integrations or Add-ons||Available||Limited.|
|Premium Add-ons||Average pricing —$39 per add-on||WooCommerce extensions|
|Bundled Premium Add-ons||No, only individual purchases.||No|
|PayPal Integration||Yes||Requires PayPal for WooCommerce plugin|
|Additional Payment Options||Requires premium add-ons WooCommerce, Stripe,2Checkout.||Limited|
|Course Builder||Yes, drag-and-drop builder||No|
|Drip Content||Yes, included||No|
|Student Interaction||Yes — quizzes, certificates, assignments||Quizzes (limited). No assignments|
|Badges||Requires integration with BadgeOS||No|
|eCommerce||Needs WooCommerce add-on||WooCommerce|
|Membership Modules||No. Requires other add-ons||No. Requires WooCommerce memberships ($199)|
|Reporting||Limited reporting in Basic Package. Advanced reporting in Plus and Pro Package (ProPanel)||Limited|
|Knowledgebase and documentation||Blog postsYouTube tutorialsModule tutorials||Limited|
|Support||Helpdesk via Ticketing system||Standard forum-based support similar to WordPress or WooCommerce|
To summarize, Sensei LMS is suitable for course creators who have simple requirements and want to launch just a handful of courses.
Sensei LMS is compatible with most WordPress themes and needs less technical requirements, which makes it easier to install and use.
You can create unlimited courses and enroll in unlimited students. However, to accept payments — you need premium WooCommerce extensions (discussed above).
The support, documentation, and knowledge base is limited. So, if you’re not a developer or not well-versed with WooCommerce — there can be a steep learning curve. Also, there is limited reporting and user management options available.
Sensei LMS is ideal for course creators who want to launch simple courses on their WordPress website that don’t need many features.
LearnDash Frequently Asked Questions
LearnDash Review Conclusion — Should You Invest in LearnDash?
LearnDash is a complete WordPress LMS plugin that allows you to create a comprehensive and immersive learning experience for your students (and customers).
Built for WordPress users — it piggybacks on many of the elements of the WordPress classic-editor and block-editor to ramp up your learning curve.
Its visual course builder makes it easier for you to build, edit, and customize your course content. Enhance your student experience and improve their engagement with the help of the quizzes, assignments, certificates.
Its many add-ons (and integrations) gives you the ability to build a marketing machine, thus enabling you to launch and promote your courses and boost your revenues.
Finally, the straightforward pricing gives you peace of mind knowing that once you build your course infrastructure — you can then focus solely on acquiring and servicing customers.
My final verdict — LearnDash is one of the best and most viable WordPress LMS plugins out there. Course creators like you can benefit from its robust features.
Did I miss anything in this comprehensive review of LearnDash?
Let us know in the comments below.
- What is LearnDash (And Who is LearnDash For?)
- What Do You Need to Know Before Installing LearnDash?
- LearnDash Pricing
- LearnDash Support:
- LearnDash Integrations
- 18 Pros of Using LearnDash (Best Features):
- 1. Own Your Content (and Domain)
- 2. Unlimited Courses
- 3. Make Your Courses Interactive
- 4. Transparent Pricing
- 5. Multiple Payment Options
- 6. Intuitive and User-friendly Course Builder
- 7. Easy to Use Shortcodes
- 8. Simple and Beautiful Course UI/UX
- 9. Your Courses on the Go (Mobile)
- 10. Registration and Login Forms
- 11. Free Astra Theme
- 12. Automation
- 13. Drip Content
- 14. Distraction-free Learning (Focus Mode)
- 15. Host Video Content
- 16. Knowledgebase and User Documentation
- 17. User Management and Reporting
- 18. ProPanel (Enhanced Reporting)
- The 9 Cons of Using LearnDash (Challenges):
- 1. WordPress-only Platform
- 2. Requires A Compatible WordPress Theme
- 3. Considerable Learning Curve
- 4. No Structured Onboarding
- 5. Technical knowledge Required
- 6. Limited Design Customization
- 7. No Course Sales Page
- 8. No Membership or Forum Module
- 9. Pricing Model
- LearnDash Installation and Activation
- Customizing LearnDash and Updating Settings
- 3) Creating Courses on LearnDash
- Learndash Alternatives
- LearnDash vs LearnPress
- LearnDash Frequently Asked Questions
- LearnDash Review Conclusion — Should You Invest in LearnDash?
I highly recommend LearnDash. I think it’s the best and most viable WordPress LMS plugins on the market.