Any all-in-one LMS system out there makes bold claims, but few have the chops to back it up.
AccessAlly is one of the few that really stand out and practice what they preach, which poised us to investigate, delve deep, and review every little minor detail about them.
You’re in the middle of building your course and could change the path of your business as an online educator. You need nothing short of the best LMS out there, and when we’re done reviewing AccessAlly, you’ll know if you found it or not.
In this AccessAlly review, we’re going to cover pricing, features, streaming content, and how well the course, quiz, and website building portion of this LMS goes. You need to know absolutely everything before jumping in with both feet, so let’s get started.
What is AccessAlly?
AccessAlly is a two-way LMS system designed as a plugin for WordPress.
As a learning management software, it helps you create courses, in-house training materials, and structure everything to gather data.
On their website, AccessAlly calls themselves an integration-first LMS plugin, meaning they put heavy concern and focus on how integration works within their platform.
Your third-party apps and CRM systems can all connect to AccessAlly (it would be a very ironically named service if you couldn’t connect everything), so AccessAlly can gather data and then send it through to your CRM, allowing you to design new course elements to fit your needs.
Who Should Use AccessAlly?
AccessAlly can be used for multi-platform ecommerce sites, education sites, and even for corporations looking to make a user-friendly learning platform to train employees.
The sky’s the limit with AccessAlly.
Affiliate marketers have also enjoyed excellent success particularly through site migration. If you have a website and paid-for content that’s currently not in WordPress, you can even hire an expert through AccessAlly to migrate everything for you, set up courses, and more.
If you’re a business, educator, or major company, you should use AccessAlly to help manage everything that you need to manage important online content and educational material.
AccessAlly Ease of Use
AccessAlly does something that many plugins and LMS systems fail to do, and that’s bring in complex results with simple input.
You’re fed a very linear path to create the perfect course, you just have to follow the outlined steps.
Setting up a course has a lot of nerves that go with it. You want to make sure you’ve done it right, that it’s user-friendly, and AccessAlly takes most of that stress out of the equation.
Once installed, setting up courses and other material is fairly simple. All you have to do is begin a course, and walk through the path from course identity, six steps down to integration and testing. It’s all mapped out for you.
As a plugin, it doesn’t offer any hosting options, nor does it allude to being partnered with any hosting options. The course will be hosted through your WordPress site, but you cannot host a separate site or subdomain through AccessAlly.
While there is no domain setup that you can do through AccessAlly, if you’re porting over from a different domain or host, AccessAlly does help integrate all of your content and courses into your new site with ease. In fact, you can make it look like your site never switched hosts or went down in the first place thanks to AccessAlly.
Okay, now this is where things escalate quickly.
If you’re an individual user and you just want to make a simple course, get people to pay for it, and provide learning materials to them, then you can expect to pay $99 per month for a monthly plan, or just $82 per month if you pay annually, which ends up being $984 as opposed to $1,188 for the year. That’s for the Essentials package.
For the Pro package, it’s $129 per month on a monthly plan, or $108 per month if you pay annually, which ends up being $1,296 instead of $1,548 for the year. The Pro plan has enough benefits to justify the uptick in costs. For most online educators, this is more than enough for the year.
However, there’s the In-House Training plan, which is $2,500 per year—there is no monthly plan available. This offers the most benefits and gets you an absolute ton of support, but it’s still a lot to consider for the year.
Is their pricing system fair?
It’s average for a full-service LMS, but considering that this is a plugin, it’s definitely on the steeper side. AccessAlly offers a ton of features, and while they know what they’re worth, it doesn’t take away from the hefty startup cost for individual educators and first-time course builders.
You don’t get any full templates when you get AccessAlly, you only get templates for your popups.
To get full plugin templates, you have to download their Elementor templates, which you can implement quickly. While it’s a pain that they’re not built into the plugin, they look good and they’re easy to get, so no harm no foul.
The templates offer about a dozen or so ways for you to make your course appear to students, each of which has an intelligent UI. They’re definitely well thought-out.
How to Use AccessAlly
There’s a linear hierarchy to how everything goes.
You run the setup wizard to handle most of it, and either choose to import your existing members from a platform migration, or even course content from a different hosted site.
From there, you run the course wizard, which is a separate function. The course wizard begins putting the pieces together and helps build your course, but ultimately, you get to decide on the final placement of the course materials.
Prompts guide you the rest of the way. You can implement LMS features, WordPress themes, designs, opt-in forms, and finally set up a back channel to automate processes to your CRM, such as data and gathering emails. After you take the trip once, you’ll never have to set it up like this again.
When you hop into the course builder, it’s during the course wizard portion of your setup. Here, you’ll get to make titles of your courses, designate what type of course (standard vs. stage release model), page numbers, sales pages, and more.
The AccessAlly course builder takes you on a linear path from one portion to the next so that by the end, you have a comprehensive course with no missing pieces.
Because AccessAlly is a WordPress plugin, there is no website building. You would need a full service LMS system to run that.
Everything is cloud-based, so when you build elements of your course (basically the portion of your WordPress site that you will use AccessAlly on), the process is intuitive, but it’s not going to build an entire site for you.
This one was a bit of a let-down. You can only have one quiz on an individual page, and while you can get crafty and make separate sections of that quiz to segregate topics and such, you shouldn’t have to do that.
The quizzes are attractive and responsive, but there is a limit on the number of items in the quiz (it notifies you when you hit that limit).
You can’t host and stream from AccessAlly (which is a good thing, because your bandwidth limitations would go through the roof), but instead they found a way to game the system.
You can embed YouTube live streams directly through AccessAlly, so you can gobble up YouTube bandwidth (of which, you have no limit with any YouTube account), and use that instead.
Gamification is the method of turning coursework into a game. While you spent time on your courses, learning skills out of necessity can be boring as opposed to learning a skill out of passion.
You can turn it into a game and create your own digital currency strictly for your users. Upon completing assignments, quizzes, and finishing modules, they can receive a digital currency to use to unlock exclusive content on the site. You have to think of what that content is, but this option is huge.
How to Sell and Market Your Courses via AccessAlly?
There are tons of tools such as cross-sells, coupons, discounts, and one-click upsells that you can use with AccessAlly.
The benefit of this also being something that’s used by major corporations is that AccessAlly needs to make this appetizing for multiple user types, and marketing is a buzzword. Fortunately, you and I get to benefit from their amazing marketing features.
What Makes AccessAlly Stand Out From the Competition?
AccessAlly is an all-in-one LMS plugin for sure: manage analytics, video content, membership payments, automation, cross-selling, you name it.
There are a lot of LMS systems or plugins out there that claim to be the next all-in-one solution, until you realize they’re more like the 60%-in-one solution. AccessAlly actually covers everything you need; you can run an online education empire with this.
Analytical data drives businesses, and with AccessAlly, you’re going to go places with the right insights and fine tweaking.
Thankfully, they offer full analytical data, and allow you to export it to your CRM.
Split-testing, members-specific countdowns, and user management all allow you to collect data such as session time, course completion, and more. This way, you can see what works, what your students aren’t using, and adjust accordingly.
AccessAlly Customer Service
In our experience, after contacting customer support for an issue we caused to kind of see how they’d walk us through it, they did alright.
There was nothing stupendous about their customer care, but they knew how to walk us through the problem (and we had to pretend like we were just learning about it along the way).
I wouldn’t go ahead and give them any awards over it. The tone wasn’t exactly cheerful, but we received help nevertheless, so can you really complain about it?
Pros and Cons AccessAlly
- Unlimited Courses: There’s no limit to the number of courses that you’re allowed to have. Within bandwidth reasons, you could create an entire online learning empire through AccessAlly.
- Gamification: Point-earning and point-spending perks for students. It helps lock them into their studies and give tangible payouts for them without costing you anything.
- Team Accounts: You’re able to have multiple admin members, so when your educational content becomes an archive and your student numbers grow, you can have someone help you manage everything properly.
- Payments: PayPal and Stripe are acceptable forms of payments, but also multiple currencies, methods, and subscription payments outside of that. AccessAlly automatically applies taxes based on the state as well.
- Video Content: Courses need video content, and AccessAlly gives you a unique and quick way to integrate videos without being disruptive. It comes in handy more than you’d think.
- No Mobile Support: It’s a plugin, so there’s no real mobile support. If your students are mobile and on-the-go, they’re not going to be able to access anything through an app. While it’s annoying, they can still go through their smartphone or tablet internet search browser and access your mobile-friendly WordPress site and log in there.
- You Can’t Host Webinars: Yes, you can host live online courses, but webinars are meant for engaging with your students and audience head-on. You’ll have to use a third-party text-based chat feature, which at this point, you’d might as well just be live-streaming from an unlisted link to a YouTube stream. The live video function just falls flat.
Going With the Right Platform is a Big Decision
Is AccessAlly an all-in-one like they claim?
They sure are. Among all of the different LMS systems that we’ve covered, AccessAlly is basically what they claim they are with little to no deviations.
You’re not really hit with any hidden fees, and you don’t end up with features you don’t want or don’t need; everything is thought-out. We could easily see someone using this as their only LMS system for life and being completely happy with it.