What is LearnDash?
LearnDash is one of the most popular Learning Management System (LMS) plugins for WordPress, created in 2012.
It's also an open-source software, which means that the code is open for developers and other techies to modify at their own wishes, if they want to mess with it!
Just as a quick reminder: and LMS plugin for WordPress means that this will be something you add onto your current hosted WordPress site to manage your course's access, build out the course's content and layout, and take payments.
It's also interesting to notice LearnDash seems to be emphasizing the fact it caters particularly to big fortune 500 companies and large corporations or educational institutions.
But would it be a good choice for you as a course creator? And how does it compare to other WordPress LMS?
Let's find out and break down this tool!
Features: What Can You Do With LearnDash?
Simply because of the fact that LearnDash is an open source tool on WordPress, there is a LOT you could do with it.
But building and selling your course with an LMS is confusing enough so I'm going to highlight and review the most important and most interesting features so you can actually make an informed decision on this tool.
Building a course on LearnDash:
The process of building a course on LearnDash is rather intuitive. The contrast that I'll make here is the one with another plugin like Memberpress.
On Memberpress, the way you'd be using the tool is essentially by building out the course pages and content with your favorite page builder, and then organizing it behind a paywall which Memberpress allows you to do granularly.
With LearnDash on the other hand, you'd be able to use page templates for your course with several useful elements (index, course progression, sidebars, Next And Prev buttons,...) and simply add the content part (text, image, video) for each module:
It's essentially what a theme is to your overall WordPress site: a framework (header, footer, menu, sidebar) to be adding your course content to.
The cool thing is that you could use the free LearnDash templates or simply buy one already professionally made!
Once you've designed this template, you can now create your course in the back-end, add your content and organize it in categories however you want...Something worth noting: just like every WordPress LMS, you will need a 3rd party video hosting tool such as Vimeo or Wistia if you want video content in your course. You'll then be able to embed these in your LearnDash modules.
The learning experience tools
LearnDash offers a lot of tools to make the learning experience a world class one!
Some of these are: quizzes to test your student's knowledge, grading assessments.
But also gamifying the learning and making it something engaging with badges and certificates of completion - very useful for professional trainings.
You'll be able to set up advanced dripping and restrict access very flexibly, based on dates, previous course completion or graded assessments results!
Access & Cart
As part of your funnel and on-boarding process, you'll of course need to be able to take payment and give proper access to deliver the product you've promised!
This is what a cart/checkout is for, and LearnDash makes this somewhat easy. You'll have a native cart you can directly hook up Stripe or Paypal to process payments
Other features to notice
You have the ability to create a bit of a forum-like community hub for your members. These look rather basic to be honest but it could be an easy way to keep everything in the platform. If you want a more advanced and stylish kind of tool for this, you'd probably want to checkout something like BuddyPress.
Another useful feature is the Course licensing capability of LearnDash. This usually caters to B2B training or large entities wanting to have multiple access and users. You'll be able to make available bulk buying for these with discounts.
User Experience: Is LearnDash Easy To Use?
The user experience for LearnDash is really something that stands out compared to other LMS.
Indeed one of the major drawbacks for some people to use such plugins instead of an out-of-the-box solution, is the fact that they can get techie.
But LearnDash has really made this a painless process with easy to understand menus and functionalities:
Living directly in the back-end of your WordPress site, the LearnDash dashboard is rather simple to navigate and to understand, no fluff!
You'll have everything in one place to create your course, checkout student's results, sales and manage content.
On the front-end of things for the end-user experience, you'll have great flexibility over what the layout and design of the course looks like with the templates previously mentioned.
This allows you to customize the student's flow however you want!
One last interesting feature to notice is the fact that users will be able to access a fully fledged front end user profile, where your learners can see which courses they have access to, their progress, quiz performance, and print any earned certificates.
Super useful and a great enhancement to the experience!
Pricing: How Much Is LearnDash?
LearnDash has a very competitive and straightforward pricing:
You'll get access to pretty much all features on any plan. Note that some advanced or specific features might need some addon plugin to be installed.
This is an affordable one-off purchase, but keep in mind that as a course creator, you'll still need to pay for a few things to have all you need to market your courses: video hosting, email software,...
Hosting the course on your WordPress site also means that you might need a more robust hosting plan than you have right now.
So take that into account when deciding whether this is the best decision for you!
How is the Support & Community for LearnDash?
LearnDash has been around for a little while, and that always shows when it comes to support and community.
The tool has a private Facebook group for users of almost 14,000 people!
This is the kind of tremendous advantage you get when joining a software that's widely used. You'll be able to interact directly with the LearnDash team and other users to share the best tips & tricks to sell your digital courses.
For support, there are several ways you can get help, all very useful in their own way!
You can either get help directly in the group, read through their knowledge bank and articles or join one of the regular Q&A webinars they're hosting.
No live chat but we wouldn't really hold that against them as support tickets get answered rather quickly during weekdays.
Our Overall Rate: 4.5
Community & Support Rating:
LearnDash is one of the leader industry for a reason! It's very affordable and really has everything you could ask from a WordPress LMS plugin.
The only thing to ask yourself if you're a small course creators is whether or not you need all the bells and whistles such tool can provide!