WordPress is a powerful blogging and course-building platform that helps users connect with audiences of different niches. Selecting a hosting company to host an online course is the first step; however, finding a good WordPress learning management system (LMS) plugin is a decision that you need to make.
Two of the most popular LMS plugins on WordPress are LearnDash and LifterLMS, which come with powerful features to help course creators and educators.
In this article, I’ll compare both LMS platforms and highlight their features, ease of use, pricing, and other metrics to help decide the best choice for you. So, buckle up and witness the ultimate showdown.
Brief Overview of WordPress LMS Plugins
WordPress LMS plugins are designed to transform your site into a versatile e-learning platform. The plugins allow you to efficiently create, manage, and sell your online courses with the utmost efficiency. They provide you with features like course creation, content management, progress tracking, and integration with powerful gateways.
By making use of these plugins, you can easily create and organize course content, track student progress, and even monetize your courses using different payment options.
Below, we’ll compare LearnDash and LifterLMS plugins and learn what they have to offer.
LearnDash is a powerful WordPress LMS plugin designed to efficiently create and sell engaging online courses. The company calls itself the #1 choice of Fortune companies that can provide training to organizations, major universities, and entrepreneurs for creating and selling their online courses.
It has an intuitive drag and drop course builder having customizable quizzes and assessments with robust reporting and analytics features. All these features work wonders to engage with your audience. If these features are not enough, then you can use third-party plugins to integrate with other compatible plugins. You can easily launch it on perfect WordPress hosting for a seamless experience.
LifterLMS is a user-friendly WordPress LMS plugin that allows users to build and sell engaging online courses, bundles, memberships, and other digital products. The platform is a complete e-learning solution for your WordPress site designed to create your course content in the classic WordPress environment.
The LMS is a great fit for non-technical users who don’t have any technical or coding expertise. Its powerful course builder, advanced quizzing options, and integrations make it a popular gateway for marketing tools. Further, it supports multimedia content such as video and audio while also having advanced reporting tools.
LearnDash vs LifterLMS
1. User Interface and Ease of Use
The interface and ease of use of any platform are important for users, especially if you are a beginner and new in the space. Both the plugins are easy to use without needing any prior experience.
LearnDash is a premium plugin, which makes it really easy and fun to work with. The plugin lets you build your course with a dedicated dashboard, which allows you to create course materials, quizzes, groups, etc. The plugin lets users easily create certificates, badges, assignments, rewards, etc. It also lets you export your courses and quiz reports on any platform of your choice.
If you purchase the advanced plans, then it has a ProPanel that allows you to magically transform your admin experience. At the front end of LearnDash, you get a seamless user experience for students, having a beautiful layout with several features that allow you to engage students and enhance your learning experience.
The LifterLMS plugin is also easy to use and has quite a user-friendly interface. The tool provides options that allow users to test the results based on their enrolment, membership, quizzes, and others, which is something you don’t get with LearnDash. The plugin isn’t as sleek in terms of its front-end experience. However, it has a basic interface that you need for your eLearning site.
Overall, both the plugins are very easy to use for its users. However, the ProPanel included with the higher variants of LearnDash takes the simplicity and ease of use to a whole different level altogether.
2. Course Creation
The primary function of LMS plugins is to create courses, but which amongst LearnDash and LifterLMS offers a simple way to create courses and get going for beginners and experts in the space? Let us find out.
LearnDash has a powerful course-building capability to create your course content from the WordPress admin panel. After you have downloaded and activated the LearnDash WordPress plugin, you can get access to its course creation section from the WP dashboard.
If you don’t have existing courses, you can click Add new in the courses section. You can also access the course builder for an existing course. The course builder is based on the default WordPress editor environment. It has a drag and drop interface to create and organize your course content.
The course creation consists of Sections, Lessons, and Topics.
The sections are modules of the course, while lessons will carry all the content of the course. Topics are optional divisions that you can access under lessons to better organize your content.
The course builder makes use of a drag and drop interface, allowing you to move different elements of your course without any hassle. As mentioned above, the course pages use the default WordPress editor, and you can use it to give it a course title, or description, set a featured image, or assign categories and tags.
The plugin also lets you configure whether students can freely access the lessons from any module or have to follow a fixed sequence where you are required to complete a lesson or assignment before you get access to the next lesson.
Once you are ready to install and activate the LifterLMS plugin on WordPress, you can start by creating your course sites directly from the WordPress dashboard. The default editor allows you to add a course description and other necessary instructions for your students. Users get control of their course visibility from the settings bar on the right side of your screen.
To create course content, you have to launch the course builder directly from the course admin section on the right side. The courses are organized into Sections and Lessons. Efficiently use the drag and drop builder to easily create new sections and arrange different lessons in them. The lessons support multiple content formats, like video, audio files, quizzes, or an assignment.
The content in the lessons can be configured from its individual setting area. You can easily embed video and audio files, design quiz assignments, and have other settings, like drip courses and other perquisites. Finally, there is an option to offer a free lesson, set mandatory passing grades, or assign lesson weights based on their importance.
The course creation features offered by LearnDash and LifterLMS are similar, and both have good user experience, so you can say that there is no clear winner in the section.
3. Course Website Builder
A website and landing page plays a very important role in driving sales and converting traffic into leads for your course website. See how site-building features like LearnDash and LifterLMS are offered.
LearnDash doesn’t come with an in-built site builder tool, but it recommends using Divi, Elementor, or Beaver Builder. However, it comes with five free course website themes, which are designed using WP Astra. You can customize the themes to your brand’s requirements or utilize the page builder to create your course site.
Similar to LearnDash, LifterLMS doesn’t have a native site builder tool. It integrates with powerful tools like Divi Builder, Beaver Builder, and Elementor. This lets you build your course website and landing pages. You can also utilize WordPress Gutenberg to create your landing page or course site.
LearnDash and LifterLMS don’t have a native site builder, but the free templates offered by the LearnDash plugin give it a slight edge.
4. Templates and Design Options
A WordPress LMS plugin must have a good selection of design and template options available to the user. If you have pre-designed layouts available, it is a game-changer, saving you plenty of time and effort.
LearnDash has versatile templates that allow you to build your course platform with the utmost efficiency. These templates are created using Astra and KadenceWP, which are two of the popular third-party WordPress themes. However, if you have an existing WordPress website, you may encounter clashes when you create a LearnDash course platform.
LifterLMS lacks quite a lot in terms of design and template customization. It doesn’t come with ready-made design tools, courses, or lesson templates. They rely on an existing WordPress theme and may pose a risk due to compatibility issues.
Overall, LearnDash has exceptional template and design options if you want to create an intuitive and versatile course platform.
5. Student Experience
The learning environment that students experience is very important when selecting a plugin that can attract customers. Selecting the plugin is essential to get the desired results.
LearnDash has a clean and modern student experience with minimum distractions. It will give a complete list of lessons on the left side of the screen and get navigation buttons at the bottom screen of every lesson. Students also have access to the progress bar of the course on the main course page of the website.
LifterLMS has a sleek modern interface where the course content is in the center, and the rest of the lessons are located on the right-hand side of the screen. Below the main course video, you can access additional links for your students, and there are navigational links at the bottom to move between the lessons. The appearance can be customized, and you can utilize a page builder to structure the lessons.
LearnDash has a slightly better interface for students due to its modern outlook and can be customized to fit your brand identity.
6. Teacher Features
Evaluating your students is critical to understanding whether they have understood what you are trying to outline in your course. This can be done by setting quizzes, assessments, and other prerequisites to check their knowledge.
LearnDash has a wide range of student evaluation and assessment options that come with the paid plans without any add-ons.
Let us start with the quizzes section.
The plugin supports 8 different types of quizzes, which are created utilizing a variation of the WordPress editor. It supports content and media types from standard WordPress pages. Answers support media and HTML that allow you to build impressive multimedia question banks. But you will need to be styled with a customizable CSS to be very presentable.
Navigating through the quiz builder of LearnDash is confusing, and you’ll have to set aside some time to become familiar with the different steps in the WordPress Editor. Confusion interface aside, LearnDash offers a powerful quiz engine that is built into the course-building tool, making it easy to assess your students.
Teachers can also make the quiz mandatory with a minimum passing grade. You can also set limited attempts and time limits or randomize questions for each attempt.
The plugin also allows you to create certificates, awards, badges, display leaderboards, and other features to reward your students. The core LearnDash plugin requires you to make use of the WordPress editor for certificates. It has an optional Certificate Builder plugin that lets you use the editor to create certificates. It is also difficult to preview your certificate design without completing a short test course, making the process more difficult. However, it allows customization, but this is not an intuitive process.
LifterLMS is packed with several student evaluation and management features. But all the features are not free. The plugin supports multiple-choice quizzes, picture choice, and True or False. You can add them to any course lesson and utilize them to lock the progress until it is completed.
If you want advanced quizzes for your courses, you can select its top-tier plan or get add-ons, which are extremely inconvenient for users who are starting out on a budget.
The plugin has a user-friendly certificate builder, allowing you to create certificates in different sizes, colors, background images, etc. The certificate has dynamic fields for name, completion dates, and more. It doesn’t have pre-designed certificate templates, and you’ll be required to customize the default template yourself. LifterLMS supports certificate personalization by merging codes that help automatically replace student data.
Overall, LearnDash offers some exceptional student evaluation features, may it be its quizzes or other methods. Its certification part lacks a bit, but it is not a big issue as you can use other integrations to ensure that you get the best result.
7. Course Marketing
Marketing your course is a crucial component for driving traffic to your course website and converting the leads you get into customers. Let’s analyze the sales and marketing features that are offered by both plugins.
LearnDash doesn’t have a dedicated email marketing feature, but it has integrations with popular email marketing channels, like MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, and other email services. You can also use Zoom, YouTube Live, or webinar services for efficiently hosting and recording webinars for your course pages. There is also an option to offer discount coupons, product bundles, and other features to drive your sales.
Similar to LearnDash, LifterLMS is a learning management system plugin for WordPress designed without any native marketing and sales features. However, you can integrate it with email marketing services. Webinars can be hosted on landing pages using Zoom, GoToWebinar, or other popular webinar tools. Finally, you can upsell and offer discounts on your course.
In short, both LearnDash and LifterLMS have the same marketing features, and there is no clear winner in this space.
8. Payment Options
How are users able to pay for their courses in LearnDash or LifterLMS? Well, let us look at the different ways individuals can pay and accept payments on the platforms.
LearnDash supports full, partial, and recurring payments for online course and membership programs. The plans come with PayPal and Stripe integration, so you can accept credit card payments as well. You can also get access to WooCommerce, 2Checkout, and several payment solutions by purchasing the add-ons. The default payment gateways makes it effortless to easily receive payments on your site from the very first date.
LifterLMS also supports full, partial, and recurring payments as LearnDash. On the plugin, you can accept payments through Stripe, PayPal, Authorize.net, and WooCommerce. You may have to purchase a payment gateway add-on if you use the free plugin separately. However, the premium plans give users access to PayPal and Stripe integration.
The best way to charge for both courses is via WooCommerce rather than the in-built payments functionality. If you don’t want to start by paying for an add-on, then LearnDash is something you can look at. Overall, it is cheaper with its different payment solutions.
Integrations are important for any product or plugin as they help enhance the functionality of the item. LearnDash and LifterLMS offer some great integrations that users can select from.
LearnDash has an extensive library to add more functionality to your online courses. You can get access to 21 free, 15 premium, and 4 featured integrations. If you are looking to get great themes, then it connects and gives users endless possibilities to get an upper hand in the design and uniqueness of your course site.
LifterLMS also has some great integrations that save you valuable time and get more resources than what is already present. It has 28 integrations for different niches needed for your online courses.
The library of supported extensions and integrations that you get with LearnDash is quite long when compared to LifterLMS. The same can be said for the available themes with well-coded themes and other resources. If you require multiple add-ons with sophisticated functionality, LearnDash is a clear winner and will help you get the best results in a short time frame.
10. Reporting and Analytics
You cannot build a successful online course without data and a reporting engine to make data-driven decisions to improve your course performance. Let’s take a look at what each plugin offers when it comes to reporting and analytics.
LearnDash doesn’t possess a reporting dashboard where you can get access to the course analytics. To access analytics, you may have to purchase the ProPanel add-on for an additional $49 per year. Paying another fee after making a purchase of the plugin is not convenient.
LifterLMS has a versatile course reporting dashboard that offers excellent insights into your courses. They offer insights into the students enrolled, average progress, total sales, and more. It also has excellent student reporting functionality to enhance the offering.
Overall, if you want a solid set of reporting options to help understand how the course is performing, then LifterLMS is a clear winner, as you don’t have to purchase any add-on, and it comes with pre-built reporting and analytics functionality.
Course creators require support through the process of providing intuitive courses to their users. Choosing a plugin that offers good support is very much a necessity in the long run.
LearnDash gives users access to documents, community forums, start-up guides, and FAQ sections. You also get access to a free demo that is accessible for the LearnDash site. There is a blog of the plugin that gives you answers to all your questions. You can also get support using LearnDash’s help desk between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday Eastern Time. However, you don’t have access to online chat or phone support. There is no doubt of the solid documentation available with the LearnDash tool.
LifterLMS has a rich knowledge base and FAQs where you can resolve all your issues. There is also a community forum where you can get in touch with other members and resolve any issues with their expertise. The tool also gives you access to a blog and podcasts that have information about common issues faced by users. Finally, they have a support ticket where you can contact the team and get all your answers.
LearnDash and LifterLMS both have quality support; however, LearnDash is the best among them. It offers detailed tutorials, explanatory videos, and everything that is needed to understand anything you want to know about it. The popularity of LearnDash has also led to the creation of several forums and blogs that have answers to everything related to the plugins. LifterLMS also comes with adequate documentation, but it mostly consists of text content. So, if you are new and want more support, then LearnDash is something to choose from to get the desired help and output.
The price of the course platform is important in determining the overall profitability of your course. Let us look at how LearnDash and LifterLMS will charge for their services.
The WordPress plugin of LearnDash can be installed directly on your site, giving you complete control of your courses and site functionality. The plugin doesn’t have a free plan, but you can choose from its three license options.
- 1 site license for $199 per year
- 10 site licenses for $399 per year
- Unlimited site licenses for $799 per year
The plan doesn’t come with a ProPanel for reporting and management add-on. But you can get the feature for $49 annually to get better insights into your courses and learners.
LearnDash Cloud is the big sibling of the tool with additional features and benefits. It operates as a full-fledged online course platform and not just a plugin. You can start using it starting at $25 per month.
The core WordPress plugin LifterLMS has a free plan and has all the online course-selling features except for a payment gateway integration that can be purchased as an add-on. However, it has three premium plans if you want advanced features and functionality.
- Bundle- $199 per year
- Universe Bundle- $360 per year
- Infinity Bundle- $1,200 per year
You can also purchase add-ons separately, like choosing the core LMS plugin with a payment gateway starting at $120 per year to set up an online course.
When you compare the pricing of both the plugins, there is no clear winner. LifterLMS has a cheaper plan for multiple websites; however, the features offered by LearnDash are worth every penny you pay.
LearnDash vs LifterLMS: Which Plugin Should You Choose?
LearnDash and LifterLMS are modern e-learning plugins on WordPress. While LearnDash is a comprehensive plugin designed with excellent course creation tools, website builders, and integrations, it is a premium plugin. Each aspect of your course site can be customized to fit your brand identity.
On the other hand, LifterLMS has a free core plugin; it also has its own eCommerce and engagement tools that are built into the tool. This leaves you with less room for customization of your sites.
Choosing the right plugin is all up to your requirements; however, LearnDash is intuitive, robust, and affordable compared to LifterLMS. In addition, its premium plans are very affordable and allow you to sell courses without needing any add-ons.
LearnDash vs LifterLMS FAQs
1. Which LMS plugin is best for WordPress?
There is not a single WordPress plugin that offers a complete solution for your needs on the platform. However, LearnDash and LifterLMS are two of the powerful tools that have earned recognition in the industry.
2. Is LearnDash scalable?
LearnDash is a highly scalable product that will enhance your offering of e-learning features for businesses of all sizes.
3. Which is cheaper between LearnDash and LifterLMS?
LifterLMS and LearnDash have similar price points to start. However, LearnDash is cheaper, but if you need multiple add-ons with advanced features, then the price of LearnDash increases and becomes affordable in the long run.