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Comparing the best WordPress LMS Plugins

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WordPress as a platform for eLearning has evolved exponentially over time and gained a lot of popularity owing to its powerful functionality, flexibility, and economical value.

Today, there are dozens of LMS plugins available, with robust and customizable features that accommodate your requirements in no time. Although this does create the problem of plenty occasionally, I believe it’s better to have more options than none!

From Video content creation to Gamification, WordPress has come a long way allowing people and businesses to emerge with several eLearning business models and execute them with LMS plugins at a budget-friendly price.

So, in this article, I’m going to tell you how you can use WordPress and choose a perfect LMS plugin to start your eLearning business.

But first, let’s…

Explore eLearning opportunities with WordPress

Do you know that the global online education market is projected to grow to US $320 billion by 2025 from US$187 billion in 2019?

This clearly indicates the incredible opportunity and the demand for eLearning in the future. Having said that, the next major question that is bound to pop in your mind is regarding the platform that should be used to build your eLearning business.

Even though there are different platforms available but, WordPress stands out simply because of its advantages and scalability.

Here’s a quick look at the most important benefits of using WordPress:

  • Huge community support – WordPress, being an open source platform has a HUGE active community of users and businesses who are extremely helpful and can guide you if you run into any trouble. Its community, infact, can provide solutions for your LMS quicker than any other platforms since WordPress doesn’t rely on customer support.
  • Library of plugins and themes – With its grand library of plugins and themes, WordPress makes it possible for you to add almost any functionalities for your LMS.

There are several LMS plugins available to help you get started with your eLearning business. Moreover, you can also customize the plugins and themes owing to its open source code.

  • Full control and ownership – Since security is integral to any business, unlike a cloud based solution, WordPress gives you complete control of your data and security with a complete ownership at all times.

While there are other benefits, however, these stand out when compared to a cloud-based or a SaaS platform.

When it comes to starting your own eLearning venture, WordPress has a range of powerful LMS plugins and chances are you will be thrown into a dilemma when it comes to picking the perfect LMS plugin.

How to Identify the Perfect LMS Plugin

Naturally, the most basic functionalities you’d expect from an LMS is being able to create course content, manage students, accept payments and evaluate student performance.

Now, all of the LMS plugins provide these basic functionalities, but does it mean they’re all the same?

Nope, which means this only further adds to the confusion.

But, don’t you worry!

I’m here to help you get rid of this confusion by comparing the top 3 powerful and popular LMS plugins (LearnDash, LifterLMS and Tutor LMS) which will give you a clear understanding of the plugin that is better suited to your needs.

I’ll be comparing the 3 plugins on the following parameters:

  • Features/Benefits
  • Gamification
  • Monetizing options
  • Support & Documentation
  • Pricing

Let’s begin!

Comparing LearnDash vs LifterLMS vs Tutor LMS


1. LearnDash vs LifterLMS vs Tutor LMS – Who’s got the features?

Everybody wants a strong set of features that can enhance your LMS to the next level and most importantly, make it stand apart from the rest. And quite rightly so. What’s an LMS without its features?

Here, we take a look at some important features our three competitors have to offer:

LearnDash LMS

LearnDash - WordPress LMS Plugin

LearnDash is the oldest LMS plugin which has constantly developed its features over time to become one of the most powerful LMSs. It has an extensive list of handy features, but I’m going to mention only a few that make LearnDash so powerful:

  • Robust Course builder – LearnDash comes with a powerful Drag & Drop course builder making it easier to create courses and break up courses into create topics, lessons, quizzes, etc. Plus, it is the only LMS that lets you re-use your content for other courses.
  • Drip-feed content – You can set a predefined schedule and choose to deliver content in a specified amount of time and even set prerequisites for students to access content in a particular order.
  • LearnDash Focus mode – This is a feature that stands out which focuses on enhancing the learning experience for your learners by eliminating all the distractions on the page allowing learners to concentrate leading to increased retention and completion rates.
  • Integration abilities – Has capabilities to integrate smoothly with BuddyPress, WooCommerce, GamiPress, etc. to enhance the learning experience.
  • Detailed Reporting – Provides all the important details about your learners and courses in the form of reports. You can check reports on your learners course progress, quiz performance, time spent on courses, etc.
  • Dynamic forum – This makes LearnDash stand tall as it adds a course specific forum to your courses enabling your learners to interact and guide each other.

LearnDash has a huge list of comprehensive features and is easily the most user-friendly LMS’s out there to manage your online learning courses with ease.

LifterLMS

LifterLMS - WordPress LMS Plugin

LifterLMS is another powerful plugin that comes with great features to create and sell your online courses. Here’s a look at some of the most important features of LifterLMS:

  • Drag & Drop curse builder – Comes with a simple course builder that allows you to build multi-tier courses with lessons, categories, training modules, etc.
  • Multimedia lessons – Add multi-media lessons like audio, video, text, images to make your courses more appealing and create dynamic quizzes to improve learning experience.
  • Multi Instructor platform – Allow multiple instructors to create courses and turn your website into a multi Instructor platform with its in-built Instructor Role.
  • Integration abilities – Enables you to integrate seamlessly with Mailchimp, WooCommerce and all the modern themes. You might have to pay for the additional add-ons.
  • Content dripping – You have the flexibility to make lessons available over time instead of overwhelming learners with the whole content at once.
  • Course Reviews – Comes with a built-in reviews system that allows you to collect honest reviews about your courses from your learners leading to increase in sales.

While these are impressive sets of features, it’s important to note that the core LifterLMS plugin comes for free but to access lots of the above-mentioned features, you will need to purchase their premium version.

TutorLMS

Tutor WordPress LMS Plugin

TutorLMS is a relatively newer LMS on the block but comes packed with powerful features to enhance your WordPress eLearning platform. Let’s take a look:

  • Drag & Drop Course builder – It offers a simple drag & drop functionality to create courses with unlimited customization.
  • Advanced Quiz creator – Enables you to select from 10 different quiz question patterns, set time limits, randomize questions and automate quiz results to provide a better learning experience.
  • Frontend Course builder – This is a function that makes TutorLMS unique as it allows you to add multiple Instructors, create quizzes, add video and multimedia attachments, create courses, etc. right from the frontend of your dashboard.
  • Reports & Analytics – Analyze your courses, its performance, evaluate course popularity, etc. with its filterable stats to gain insightful details.
  • Course prerequisites – Set courses as prerequisites that your learners need to complete before moving on the next one in order to get the right students for your course.
  • Integration abilities – Integrates easily with several add-ons like WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, etc. to provide enhanced functionalities.

A simple yet power Tutor LMS comes with a plethora of great features to scale your LMS.

The plugin also offers a Free version but most of the above functionalities are available with the PRO version only.

Our verdict?

All 3 LMS plugins come with an equally strong set of features however, I recommend LearnDash.

Since both LifterLMS and Tutor LMS come with functionalities like Multi Instructor and Course Reviews in-built, it makes the overall plugin heavy with codes and slows down your website.

In case of LearnDash, you can purchase Multi Instructor or Course Reviews functionalities as add-ons if needed and can easily remove the feature when not required whereas, in case of other two plugins, you don’t have an option.

. LearnDash vs LifterLMS vs Tutor LMS


2. LearnDash vs LifterLMS vs Tutor LMS – Who’s got Better Gamification?

Given the constantly dwindling attention spans, nobody wants to attend boring lessons or quizzes especially when one is learning online.

You need to find ways to make your courses interactive, fun and engaging by including elements of Gamification in the learning process to keep your learners motivated.

Let’s take a look at how our three LMSs measure up when it comes to keeping students hooked on to the course:

LearnDash LMS

With LearnDash, you can award Points, Badges or Certificates to a learner when they complete a particular course or achieve a milestone. But, these gamification elements are too common!

So, here’s what makes LearnDash different – LearnDash leans towards interactive course content and supports plugins that allow you to use stories and simulations in your courses to make the learning experience exciting and real.

With its integration capabilities with Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate, you can design your own interactive storylines. For e.g: For a Firefighting course, you can design a simulation drill that can help learners gauge appropriate responses during a Fire situation.

Implementing these gamification abilities might be slightly expensive however, LearnDash also offers some budget-friendly options like H5P integration which allows you to create interactive content with:

  • Flashcards
  • Games
  • Memory games, etc.

All in all, LearnDash easily lets you create a solid gamified content to engage and motivate your learners.

LifterLMS

LifterLMS also lets you offer Points and Badges.

However, there is one Gamification element that makes this LMS plugin unique – It offers a Graphics Pack that you can purchase to design certificates with different background colors and use Images for the achievement badges enabling learners to boast about their success.

Moreover, there are tons of notification icons that you can use to style the icons adding to the gamification experience of your learners.

Tutor LMS

When it comes to gamification, Tutor LMS integrates with GamiPress and provides basic and simple gamification abilities to reward Points, Badges or Certificates to learners.

However, it does allow you to create custom certificates and offers Image type questions in quizzes which can make it interactive for your learners.

Our Verdict?

Since Gamification is an important element in today’s competitive market, I recommend LearnDash LMS because of its immense focus and support towards gamification elements which can lead to creation of engaging content and motivate learners to study and complete the course.

But, if you wish to incorporate only basic gamification elements then LifterLMS works just fine.


3. LearnDash vs LifterLMS vs Tutor LMS – Who’s got better Monetizing options?

For you to sell courses and scale your eLearning business to greater heights, it’s important to have different kinds of payment options and offer pricing packages on your  LMS.

Let’s explore which LMS does this best:

LearnDash

LearnDash offers tons of powerful purchase options like:

  • Memberships – Offer different membership options to your customers. For e.g: Offer a gold, silver, platinum memberships with different benefits and price in each plan.
  • Subscription models – Charge recurring payments and subscription on a monthly or yearly basis for your courses ensuring that learners will continue getting access to courses only if they renew their subscriptions regularly.
  • One-time Payment – Charge a one time fee for your course and provide a lifetime access.
  • Course Bundles – Provide more than one course in a bundle and give learners the access to the entire bundle after charging a one-time fee.
  • Licenses – This is a more commonly used method to charge organizations wherein, you allow them to purchase course licenses in bulk enabling them to grant access to their staff. However, this requires you to purchase a Group Registration add-on.

It also supports multiple gateways like PayPal (built-in), Stripe or 2Checkout to sell courses and accept payments.

LifterLMS

LifterLMS also offers similar purchase plans like Subscription, One-Time payments, Bundles, Private coaching (add-on), Coupons, etc.

You can set up credit card payments but, when it comes to payment gateways, you will have to pay for common gateways like PayPal or Stripe.

Tutor LMS

Tutor LMS offers great monetising options like Shopping Cart (Offer shopping cart like experience), Free Courses (Offer free courses to increase popularity) Lifetime Access (Offer a lifetime access to any student for a one time fee), etc. which are slightly different from the rest of the LMS’s.

It supports popular payment gateways powered by WooCommerce and EDD.

Our Verdict?

All 3 plugins provide a great deal of flexibility in facilitating different kinds of purchase models however, I’d recommend going with LearnDash LMS or Tutor LMS when it comes to monetizing your courses since LifterLMS requires you to pay additional fees for extra payment gateways.


4. LearnDash vs LifterLMS vs Tutor LMS – Who got better product support?

Whenever you purchase a new product and run into trouble while setting it up or face an issue during the working of its course, what do you do?

You reach out to that product’s support team or look for detailed documentation or a guide to find solutions and get the issue resolved ASAP.

When it comes to LMS plugins, let’s see which of these 3 vouch for a good support system when you run into a problem with either of them:

LearnDash LMS

LearnDash, being the oldest and the most popular LMS has developed a great amount of user base and community which is easy to find on social media. You can reach out to one of these LearnDash based groups on Facebook to seek guidance or help with your LMS.

Moreover, you can also access a detailed extensive guide available on their website to install or set up your LMS.

In case you need to reach out to them for support, you can do so via email and Facebook.

LifterLMS

Apart from an installation guide, LifterLMS also has a tutorial video on their website to walk you through a step-by-step process of setting up the LMS making it more convenient for you.

For further support, you can also reach out to them via email or Facebook.

Tutor LMS

You can find an extensive set up guide on Tutor LMS website in case you need support or run into trouble while setting up the plugin.

Besides, they also have a dedicated Facebook group which can be useful in case you need any support with your LMS.

Our Verdict?

The support system for all 3 LMS plugins are excellent however, I will recommend LearnDash when it comes to support as it is one of the oldest plugins and has a good active community of seasoned users which makes it easier for you to find solutions instantly.


5. LearnDash vs LifterLMS vs Tutor LMS – Who’s most Expensive?

Pricing is an important aspect that can influence your decisions and it makes sense to pick up a plugin which provides the functionalities you need and is within your budget.

Let’s take a look.

LearnDash

LearnDash is a premium LMS plugin which is priced fairly for its vast features and benefits it has to offer.

It comes in 3 packages:

  • Basic pack – $159/year for a single site license.
  • Plus Package – $189/year upto 10 site licenses.
  • Pro Pack – $329/year upto 25 site licenses.

LifterLMS

The core plugin for LifterLMS is available for free. However, for every individual functionalities or add-ons that you need, you’d have to pay $99.

Having said that, there are two more bundles available as well:

  • Universal bundle – $299/year
  • Infinity Bundle – $999/year (includes all add-ons)

Tutor LMS

Tutor LMS offers the basic LMS plugin for Free. However, for added functionalities, you’d need to purchase a PRO version which comes in three packs:

  • Single site License Pack – $149/year
  • 5 site License Pack – $199/year
  • Unlimited License Pack – $299/year

Our Verdict?

Even though LifterLMS provides a Basic version of the LMS for free, however, paying $99 for every extra add-on needed makes it even more expensive over a period of time.

While Tutor LMS also offers a Free version and provides the PRO version for a fair price, I’d still recommend going with LearnDash simply because of the features, trust and the support it has built over the years. Plus, the pricing is similar to Tutor LMS 🙂


LearnDash – The ideal choice for a perfect LMS!

Now that you’ve gone through the detailed comparison of the top 3 plugins, I believe the ideal LMS plugin for you to start your eLearning venture should be LearnDash LMS.

LearnDash comes through in all departments that are essential for an eLearning business and this is largely due to its dedicated efforts, continuous developments, great track record and the experience it brings to the table when compared to the other LMS plugins.

Today, it’s not just schools and universities, LearnDash is also being used by several corporate, Health practitioners, Lawyers, Real Estate, etc. all over the world to train their employees/students.

If you’re someone who’d like to teach or share your knowledge or skills that you’ve acquired with the world, LearnDash supports and lets you conduct and teach various art forms like Yoga, Dance, Martial Arts, Painting, Music, etc. with LearnDash and also monetize it successfully to start your online eLearning website.

The scope and opportunities for you to practically start any eLearning business online using LearnDash is plenty. If you have a great idea, LearnDash is a perfect WordPress LMS to give wings to your business!


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