Whether you are trying to learn about sketching or planning to take your web design skills to the next level, online courses are becoming increasingly popular, and there are some good reasons for this heightened popularity.
Online courses are flexible. You can go for any time and access them from any part of the world.
Moreover, online courses allow you to make career progression without spending too much money. While online education is the new in-thing for professional growth, it is also an attractive personal development option.
If you are planning to learn French or delving deep into calligraphy, online courses allow you to do so without leaving the comfort of your home.
And along with being a fantastic learning opportunity for learners, it is an excellent income-generating activity primarily when targeted towards a niche.
If you know certain areas and want to make your knowledge available online, there is no better way than creating an online course. But how do you create an online system?
The process is not a complicated as it appears. You simply have to choose one of the best WordPress LMS plugins that you can find on the market, and you can get started.
And If you are looking for a learning management system (LMS) plugin for your WordPress site, you are in the right place.
Here we share insight on getting started with developing learning websites followed by nine essential features that you must look for when looking for an LMS plugin. Moreover, we compare the five best WordPress LMS plugins available on the market.
And lastly, we address some of the frequently asked questions that will further simplify the process of online content creation and course management for you.
But before we get into all these details, let’s have a quick look at what an LMS is and some of the advantages of creating a course website using a WordPress-based LMS.
What is a Learning Management System?
A learning management system, also known as LMS, is an application that allows you to create, manage, and deliver eLearning content in the form of online courses.
But almost all first-time content developers are confused about which LMS they should use, and given the overwhelming choice, this is a genuine concern, but we recommend going for a WordPress-based LMS.
Such an LMS will allow you to handle the documentation, administration, progress reporting, data tracking, reporting, and delivery of your content within your WordPress dashboard.
Why Word-Press Based LMS?
With a WordPress-based LMS, you can log in to your LMS and quickly revise, update, and distribute the content while managing all aspects of your student’s learning.
As an e-learner, you can log in to the LMS, participate, track your program, take advantage of gamification, and get a completion certification.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why going for a WordPress-based LMS is a win-win situation for both the educators and the learners.
It is Easy to Use
Content development can be challenging, and managing a course is even more difficult, but WordPress can help you solve this problem. It is super easy to use and offers unlimited flexibility in design and website management.
It makes it easier to develop and organize course content, but it also aids in managing all aspects of online learning without requiring any prior knowledge of coding.
Excellent User Interface
When you have a WordPress-based LMS, the front-end of your website, also known as user interface, can be designed in a way that navigating through the course is pretty straightforward for the learners.
With several thousands of themes, you can choose the one that makes your eLearning course website easy to use for your learners.
WordPress-based LMS has almost all course-related options, including lesson delivery, quiz, assignment creation, and course enhancement features such as progress tracking, performance comparisons, and gamification.
When it comes to extensions (features used to enhance the website), there were more than 51,000 plugins for WordPress, and the number is continuously growing.
With such a significantly higher number of extensions, WordPress-based LMS gives you the flexibility to modify a plugin as per your exact requirement.
For efficient e-Learning, customization is critical, and when it comes to content creation and course delivery, you need an LMS that offers options for extensive customization.
With endless customization options, ease of use, and never-ending extensions, WordPress provides a platform that can significantly improve your e-Learning experience.
In all, WordPress-based LMS are massive. You can find several plugins for almost every functionality you may need for content development, execution, and managing a Learning Management System course.
It is super easy to use, has numerous levels of customization, and many powerful integrations.
WordPress LMS Plugins
If you are a content developer and intend to offer an online course on your website, you will need an LMS plugin. A Learning Management System (LMS) plugins allow you to create and run online courses like Skillshare and Udemy with WordPress.
With a WordPress LMS plugin, you can create a more enriching learning experience for your students by using several gamification methods.
Gamification enhances the learning experience while making it exciting and fun rather than just managing the course and persuading the learners to take up a membership and get started. Moreover, it encourages users to take new lessons, which increases the likelihood of student retention.
Getting Started with Learning Websites Using a WordPress LMS Plugin
Here is how to get started with content sharing/course development using WordPress LMS Plugin.
- If you are a beginner, perhaps the first thing you need to do is sign up for a WordPress hosting account. Go for WordPress.org as it allows access to all the essential WordPress features that you may find useful.
- Once you purchase the hosting, you can create your WordPress website with a domain name such as xyz.com.
- If you think WordPress is charging a lot of startup money, we recommend using Bluehost, a cost-competitive hosting provider recommended by WordPress.
- Once your website is ready, you will need to install WordPress on your website. A step-by-step guide on how to do it is going to make the process simpler for you.
- Next, you have to choose the right WordPress LMS plugin for your website. An LMS plugin is an all in one solution for comprehensive course management.
- You will then update information about your payment settings and license before you can move on to the final step.
- Lastly, you are in a position to create your first ever online course. Once you have completed your first course, you can add or revise lessons and use all the features that will allow you to efficiently manage your course while making money.
9 Features that an LMS Plugin Must Have
Now that we have already talked about why you need a WordPress based LMS and how to get started with creating online courses using an LMS plugin, now is the time to discuss 9 features that should you eye for when researching the best WordPress LMS plugins.
Let’s get started with some of the essential features followed by a few extras that can transform your e-Learning website into something special.
Structured Course Building
It is best to go for an LMS that offers structured course building and possess tools and features that allow for uploading several different learning files, including PDF, videos, links, and other misc. content.
LMS plugins that have a structured approach to course building have built-in templates that you can use to plug in your course, and once you do that, all you have to do is hit the Publish button, and you are good to go with your eLearning course.
Another must-have feature for an LMS plugin is progress tracking. Make sure you choose the plugin that integrates all the student performance information and gives you a complete picture of how the learners are doing.
Progress tracking is not just important to keep the learners motivated. Still, it is also critical for the course developer to know about student performance to modify the course if required.
And you cannot track progress until you evaluate your student’s performance. Assessments and quizzes are a way to gauge how much your students have mastered the content.
And apart from measuring individual mastery of learning objectives, performance evaluation also acts as a benchmark for the educator.
It shows the course creator as to when they must add more lessons or content to the course. So make sure that the LMS plugin you choose must-have features to assess performance.
Database Management for Students
You need to know how many students are signing up for your course, but you cannot do it unless you have a database management system. Always choose an LMS plugin that comes with the feature of managing student information.
With student database management, you will stay on top of all the information regarding the number of courses students are signing up for and the payment collection.
Again another critical feature that is essential for LMS plugins is content dripping. With this feature, you get a chance to reveal the course content depending upon students’ performance gradually.
Integrations for Better User Interaction
An essential feature of eLearning is the interaction between course participants and course instructors. But not all LMS plugins offer this feature.
Therefore, it is best to go for plugins integrated with software such as bbPress or BuddyPress that allow interactions between students and teachers by providing conversation forums and chat options.
By adding these interactions, you are likely to add a humane element to your online course or training program.
Built-in Features for Better Responsiveness
Students enrolled in an eLearning course often feel they are missing out on essential course details, but by installing an LMS plugin that has built-in features for better responsiveness, you can easily overcome this problem.
It is always best to invest in an LMS plugin that has features such as automated emails for sharing all important details with the students, including information pertaining to the course and also about their progress.
Gamification and Course Completion Certificates
Features such as badges and certificates add more to enhancing the learning experience for your students.
Therefore, you must always look into the gamification feature of an LMS plugin. Go for plugins that offer certifications and badges which students can print and make them feel better about taking your course.
Ease of Home Assignment Submission
Home assignments are often an essential feature of online courses.
Still, when homework submission is a tedious job, it may discourage students from completing their work on time, which can affect their learning. Therefore, make sure you choose an LMS plugin that allows easy home assignment submission and grading.
There are several other features such as payment gateway support and financial marketing tools that can make an LMS plugin more desirable, but the above highlighted are some of the must-have features that will help you choose the right LMS plugin for your course.
Now that you are fully aware of a WordPress LMS plugin and why it is essential and some of the essential features that a WordPress LMS plugin must have, let’s compare some of the best WordPress LMS plugins available on the market for the year 2020.
Best WordPress LMS Plugins – Reviews & Buying guide for 2020
Best Overall: LifterLMS
The best pick of the year is the LifterLMS, an all-in-one, respectable WordPress LMS plugin that comes with a starting price of $299. However, it gives you the flexibility to include the add-ons separately.
The WordPress LMS plugin offers unique integration with WooCommerce, AffiliateWP, and MailChimp. Moreover, it provides a $1, 30-day trial so you can get to thoroughly get to know all the features of this plugin before you finalize your purchase decision.
With excellent customer support, the team is always willing to offer technical and non-technical support, along with several free training courses. So this is a perfect choice for educators who may not be very tech-savvy but have all the content ready for delivery.
Moreover, this WordPress LMS plugin includes a graphic pack that comes with several background designs and elements.
Furthermore, its integration with Beaver Builder and Divi offers a more visually appealing experience to the learners. And finally, LifterLMS allows you to collect learner testimonials that can help you sell your courses in the future as well.
In all, its graphic designs, ease of use, and enhanced learning experience for students make LifterLMS the best pick of the season.
- Individual add-ons are available for $99 per year.
- The most popular Universe Bundle can be purchased by paying $299.
- You can also go for the most extensive option, known as the Infinity Bundle that costs $999 per year.
Some of the key features that distinguish LifterLMS from other plugins available on the market include the following.
- Maximize learner’s progress,
- Enhanced learner satisfaction through gamification and progress tracking.
- End-of-course certificates and achievement badges for an enriching learning experience.
- Automated emailing for better communication,
- Graphic pack with endless background and design options.
- Provides direct WooCommerce Integration that allows you to sell your courses individually or collectively.
- Free main plugin.
- Plenty of customer support.
- The course import, and export tool allows a smooth transition between platforms.
- Integrates with social media websites such as Facebook.
- Most desirable features come with the paid version.
- A little pricey compared to other WordPress LMS plugins.
- Price adds when you purchase individual add-ons.
Content developers who want an LMS that is accessible and caters to the unique needs of smaller groups.
Almost every list of best WordPress LMS plugins is incomplete without LearnDash.
After all, it is one of the best WordPress LMS plugin that you can find on the market that is convenient to use and offer features that make your course content more engaging for the learners.
With its intuitive drag-and-drop design, anyone can create the course material, including quizzes, training programs, and assessments, by merely clicking a button.
This WordPress LMS plugin allows you to create customized courses that can meet your learners’ unique needs.
Whether you have to set pre-requisites for your students or you want to organize content using its built-in drip feed feature, LearnDash makes it easier to optimize learner engagement at every step. Moreover, it is one of the very few WordPress LMS plugins that support SCORM.
Another significant feature of LearnDash is the optional Course Points setting that allows students to earn points by completing tasks and lessons.
And when you collect sufficient points, you can use these points to unlock new courses. While it is a great way to enhance learner engagement, it also works as a motivational tool that encourages students to continue to perform at their best.
- LearnDash’s Basic pricing starts from $159 every year but it also offers other packages with varying prices.
- Plus Package is available for $189 annually that includes 10 site licenses and a lot more compared to the basic plan.
- You can also get the Pro Package for $329 per year.
- Course completion certificates.
- Allows you to add a timer to your lessons so the users can stay more focused.
- Students can track progress, get certificates and do a lot more using their front-end profiles.
- Automated emails and thorough reporting.
- Is multisite enabled which allows you to run LearnDash on a network.
- You can also use free and premium add-ons to add extra features to your site.
- When associated with WordPress, LearnDash can integrate with it.
- Courses can be featured in any desired way.
- Built-in video progression that makes it an excellent feature for video courses.
- Features several course management tools.
- Gives you the flexibility to choose between one-time pricing, subscription and membership.
- Compatible with the most popular gateways.
- For accepting payments, you need a separate, third-party plugin.
- No guidance for starters, which may make it a little less user-friendly for beginners.
- Casual users might find it difficult to use, especially in the beginning.
Educators striving to provide premium quality by creating customized courses with deep functionality.
An extension of WooCommerce, Sensei is a practical addition to any e-Commerce store that wants to sell online courses. This simple and pocket-friendly LMS plugin allows you to create a great looking website along with easy course management.
Moreover, it is integrated with WooCommerce, which enables you to sell your content in multiple ways. Using Sensei, you can use WooCommerce for selling coursework, but you can also sell individual courses using various marketing channels.
Perhaps the most interesting Sensei’s feature is its excellent reporting and analytics. All core areas of reporting are interconnected, which gives a holistic view of both the business and the student’s performance.
Moreover, its built-in notification system keeps all students in the loop regarding the coursework, upcoming lessons, and class schedules. And lastly, Sensei allows you to transform the look and feel of your website. With a host of theme options, you can easily customize your site.
- The starting price is $129 per annum for a single site license.
- Integrates with both WooCommerce and WordPress and works well with almost all WordPress themes.
- When integrated with WooCommerce, you can easily charge for a course (both subscription and on an individual basis).
- Excellent documentation which is perfectly interlinked to give a complete overview.
- Super easy to use.
- Grading can be automatic and manual.
- No third-party integration required.
- You can separately use free and premium add-ons for enhancing the scope of this plugin.
- Quiz designs may not be very special.
- Does not offer much beyond a basic LMS tool when not integrated with WooCommerce.
Sellers already operating a WooCommerce store and are looking for a basic LMS plugin for running simple and short courses and training programs.
Teachable has almost everything a user could wish for when building a learning environment.
It offers tools for an enhanced visual learning experience for the students and allows you to create engaging visual content for your learners. And while it is a powerful online course creator, it is not a WordPress plugin. However, you can use it on a sub-domain.
Offering features such as built-in email notifications, analytics, and a massive number of marketing tools, Teachable is highly recommended to attract and grow your customer base.
You can use Teachable’s advanced pricing options, whether you want to sell a single course or sell courses collectively.
You can also take advantage of the built-in coupon and promotion functionality. Moreover, it allows you to set up an affiliate system and sell course content using your affiliates or to other third-party vendors.
Last but not least, Teachable gives you a complete picture of your business. It provides a full set of reports and analytics so you know precisely which students are ahead and which ones are falling behind on the payments.
- The Basic price structure is offered at $29 per month, billed annually, which includes unlimited students and a 5% transaction fee for every transaction.
- Other price structures include Professional for $99 per month, billed annually and Business for $249.00 per month billed annually
- A comprehensive course creator.
- Provide complete tools for creating and managing a highly interactive course.
- Built-in email notifications, marketing integration and analytics.
- With Teachable, students can learn using any device.
- Higher-level graphical learning environment.
- Variety of payment options are available.
- Users often experience problems with the built-in email notification application.
- Not a WordPress plugin but can be used on a sub-domain, or by adding your school’s page link. (which is a confusing process)
- More expensive compared to other WordPress LMS plugins.
Users looking for a stand-alone platform where you don’t have to worry about backups and updates.
Alternate: WP Courseware
Lastly, let’s take a look at one of the most popular WordPress LMS plugin, WP Courseware.
The drag and drop course creation tool allows you to create your online learning website easily and conveniently. Offering several features for creating and managing online courses. WP Courseware offers content drip and course pre-requisites features.
Moreover, it supports instructor profiles, customized emails, student grade books and several other features that can allow you to create an engaging learning experience for the users.
It also offers a question bank using which you can create quizzes for several courses and modules.
It comes with powerful monetization features that allow you to sell courses on your website. Additionally, there is a built-in shopping cart option where you can directly sell your courses after connecting with PayPal or Stripe.
- The pricing structure starts at $129 per year for two sites.
- You can choose Professor structure for $149 annually and Guru that is available for $199 per year.
- Personalized performance based emails sent automatically to the students.
- Grade books allow you to take a look at the progress of each student.
- Downloadable certificates.
- Free courses to attract customers.
- Extensive features for enhanced learning experience for the students.
- Simple to use.
- Offer endless flexibility.
- Great customer support.
- No built-in payment support option.
- Security may be compromised.
Users looking for a convenient LMS plugin that is also user-friendly.
WordPress LMS Plugins FAQ
With a detailed insight on some of the best WordPress LMS plugins that you can find in the market, now is the time to take a look at some of the frequently asked questions regarding WordPress LMS plugins.
What is a WordPress LMS Plugin?
This brings us back to the basics. To thoroughly understand the term, you need to break it down and start from scratch.
An LMS, learning management system, is a software application that allows you to manage your entire online course including the basic course content, student database management, and performance evaluation.
If you have ever signed up for an online course, you would have done it using an LMS.
Now let’s dissect the second part “What is WordPress?”
WordPress is perhaps the most popular content management system worldwide that allows you to arrange and publish your content on the worldwide web. And because WordPress is easy to use, and simple to install, people around the world, love it to develop their websites.
A WordPress LMS plugin is a simply a combination of WordPress and an LMS for developing and executing online course content. Using a WordPress LMS plugins, you can manage students, their information, allow them to enroll (and even pay) for your course automatically.
Moreover, for an educator, an LMS plugin is added convenience. Using the plugin, you can upload your course content at predefined speed, develop sales pages for your course, and track your student’s performance.
In all, a WordPress LMS plugin allows you to manage your online course smoothly and efficiently.
However, an LMS plugin is typically not free, and you have to pay to avail some or all of its desirable features. But perhaps the best part about using a WordPress LMS plugin is that you don’t need to know coding.
When WordPress’ ease of use combines with the efficiency of an LMS plugin, what you get is an enhanced learning experience for your students and more value in terms of sales for you.
How Do I Add LMS to WordPress?
To build in an online classroom, you need a WordPress LMS plugin and if you are not sure about how to add an LMS to WordPress, here is how to do it.
Step#1: Identify the Focus of Your LMS
You know that an LMS allows you to develop and manage your online course, but what exactly is the focus of your online course? Is it to offer free education to online learners? Or are you hoping to make some money out of your online courses?
You can go for either of the two options, but you can also have a mixed approach, such as offering some free while charging a premium for the rest. Once you have this focus, it will be easier for you to map out step # 2.
Step#2: Devise a Structure for Your WordPress
Keeping the above information in mind, you can formulate the structure of your WordPress. Simply put, it is a breakdown of contents in your main menu. Typically, the basic system includes but is not limited to
- Home page
- About Us
- List of Courses
- Actual course pages
- You may include student forums and testimonials as part of your website’s structure.
Step#3: Choose a WordPress LMS Plugin
There is a huge variety of LMS plugins that integrate with WordPress.
You can try out some of the best WordPress LMS plugins from our recommended list or make a choice you desire. In either case, make sure that the WordPress plugin you choose best meets your requirements.
What to Look For in an LMS for WordPress?
When choosing an LMS for WordPress, here is what you need to look for
An LMS for WordPress should be focused on ease of use. A simple LMS that is easy to navigate and offers flexibility to its users is what you should look for, especially when looking for an LMS for WordPress.
Compatibility with Devices
Gone are the days when people will stay glued to their desktops and complete their online courses on their desks. Today more than 80% of eLearning users are on the go and use several devices to complete their coursework.
Therefore, it is best to go for an LMS compatible with several tools, including mobile phones, tablets, and laptops.
Moreover, they should also have companion apps for iOS and Android, so student learning is not compromised. Furthermore, it will give you an edge to tap both the iOS and Android markets.
Multiple Payment Options
A good LMS for WordPress should include multiple payment options such as
- one-time payment for individual courses.
- Subscription for continued access to courses.
- Discounts and coupons.
- Bundle offers multiple courses.
Another critical feature that you must look for when choosing an LMS for WordPress is how well it can integrate with software you are already using, such as Mailchimp or PayPal. Ideally, your LMS for WordPress should be able to integrate with
- accounting software,
- CRM software,
- payment gateways including Stripe, or PayPal,
- email marketing systems such as Mailchimp and,
- eCommerce plugins such as WooCommerce.
Offer Multi-Language Support
Perhaps the biggest advantage of online courses is its far reaching accessibility to people around the world.
Unfortauntely, people in different parts of the world are proficient in different languages and if you want to tap that market, it is best to go for an LMS for WordPress that offers multiple-language support.
When bugs are left unattended in an LMS for WordPress, they make your system more vulnerable to attacks so make sure you go for an LMS that updates regularly and ensures the safety and security of your system.
Reviews from Users
Don’t forget to check what other users have to say about the LMS. Since word of mouth is an important marketing tool, make sure you use it and then make an informed choice about the right LMS for WordPress.
And lastly, how can you forget about the price. Since there is a monetary value attached to every purchase decision, the cost is one of the key considerations when looking for an LMS for WordPress.
You can find WordPress LMS plugins that are more affordable (ranging less than $150 per annum), but you can also go for more expensive options that can charge you as high as $30 per month.
In either case, how much you are willing to spend on depends upon what you wish to accomplish using your LMS plugin.
If you have a far-reaching audience and several courses and training programs to offer, then you might be willing to invest in a more expensive LMS plugin but if only have a few short courses and training programs catering to limited audience, it is best to go for a more pocket-friendly option.
In either case, only you can decide on how much you are willing to spend on your LMS plugin for WordPress.
We are confident that by you are in a better position to understand what a WordPress LMS plugin is and how it can help you improve your online courses.
Moreover, you are also aware of the nine essential features that every LMS plugin must have to ensure efficient content delivery and course execution.
With that, we have highlighted five best WordPress LMS plugins that you can use to manage your online courses and develop an enriching learning experience for your students. But if you feel you need something extra, you have all the information to make a more informed choice.