Once you’ve chosen LearnDash as your choice of Learning Management System (LMS), the next step is to design your website using the tools available through WordPress and LearnDash.
There are two main ways through which WordPress allows you to customize the look and feel of your website – themes and page builders.
Themes are a necessity for any WordPress website, they dictate the whole theme and cohesiveness of your website.
Page Builders, on the other hand, are an optional plugin that allow you to change the look and feel of individual pages.
The key difference here is that themes are essential for your website; page builders are a great addition. Now that we have the building blocks established, let’s take a look at each of these in-depth.
What are Themes?
Themes are the base of any WordPress website. The LearnDash LMS is built such that it works with any theme, but that does not mean that all themes will allow for the exact design you want. Themes are very easy to install on your website, and there are thousands to choose from. What makes them even better is that they are all open-source, so if you know some coding and want to make changes, it is possible.
They are required for any website and come with their own pre-set customizations that make working with themes really easy and intuitive. For example, the twenty twenty-one theme by WordPress is the one that comes installed by default, and it has a great deal of customization available. Or you have eLumine, a LearnDash-specific theme that is designed to enhance the look and functionality of the LMS plugin.
Themes are a great way to set up your website in a jiffy and then spend your precious time building your course and its structure on LearnDash.
Although themes are necessary for working with LearnDash, there are many benefits of using them that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Pros of Using a Theme:
- Easy one-click install that completes in seconds
- An intuitive customizations page with WordPress
- Predictable functioning of your website
- Live preview of design is available before you implement it
- Some themes come with special building blocks that are very useful
Cons of Using a Theme
- Some themes can be limiting in terms of customization capabilities
- There are thousands of themes to choose from which can be time-consuming
- In-depth customization or child-theme building would require coding knowledge
If you’re looking to get a theme that is extremely customizable, is specially built for LearnDash websites, and makes your website look amazing, we recommend taking a look at eLumine. This LearnDash specific theme is packed with features that make your courses look amazing and allow you to customize almost every aspect of your website.
What are Page Builders?
Page builders are special plugins that allow you to change the page to your liking. They come with several page blocks that are easy to drag and drop and offer really in-depth customization that themes may not offer. Some popular page builders are Elementor, Divi, and Beaver Builder. They offer varying levels of customization that you can try on your website.
While page builders are a great way to customize your website, they can be complex to use and take quite some time to get used to. LearnDash has a lot of dynamic content that is oftentimes not customizable using page builders but depending on how you want your pages to look, page builders can be an awesome addition to your toolbox.
Page builders also have their own list of pros and cons that might be of interest to you.
Pros of using Page Builders:
- In-depth page customization that allows you to come very close to your ideal design.
- Easy to use drag and drop blocks
- Can implement specific features without affecting your theme
- They often have templates to choose from making your task easier
Cons of using Page Builders:
- A license needs to be purchased for advanced features
- Can be complex to use with several moving parts
- LearnDash blocks cannot be added while using page builders
- LearnDash widgets sometimes cannot be added using page builders
Considerations for E-Learning
When building an e-learning website, there are certain things to keep in mind. This first one is that themes should allow for student-specific pages as well as a good checkout system for course sales. Student-specific pages also need to be dynamic in nature, tailored to fit your requirements as well as improve the overall student learning experience.
LearnDash comes equipped with special blocks for WordPress that are very nice for arranging courses and course information. The visual tool needs to be equipped to be able to use these blocks, or else your course pages might not be user-friendly and might even lose some functionality.
Also, a LearnDash theme should have eLearning-exclusive features such as distraction-free modes, student-friendly navigation, clean design, and compatibility with other eLearning plugins which can help you develop a holistic learning environment.
Generic page builders, while great in terms of functionality, do not provide for aesthetics. Therefore it is vital to choose a theme or a page builder that is built keeping LearnDash as the primary use case.
Which is Better?
Like most answers, it is rarely a black and white situation. When you have the option and the funds to get both – a theme and a page builder, it makes sense to go for a mixed approach. The bottom line is, if your theme is not specifically built for LearnDash, you need a good page builder to offset that disadvantage and handle all your eLearning requirements.
On the other hand, if you use a special theme built for LearnDash, it gives you a better environment to design your website with tools that are already available on WordPress.
A theme is a minimum requirement for running a LearnDash website on WordPress. Because it serves as a base for your website, it becomes more important than a page builder. A good theme can provide most of the customizations that a page builder offers.
And that is why eLumine makes such a good LearnDash theme. It’s specially built for LearnDash users and allows you to make customizations without having to fiddle around with code. It has fast load times, over 900 fonts to choose from, and is completely responsive, so it’s ready to use for mobile devices. It has plenty of features like student profile customization, SEO-friendly pages, a night mode that makes reading easier, and a lot more.
To Sum Up,
Page builders are great for people who understand how they work and know what they want their pages to look like. They offer in-depth customization that adds to their value, but it is important to remember that these page builders work on top of pre-existing themes. If you’d like to learn more about how LearnDash interacts with page builders, we recommend you go through LearnDash’s support documentation.
A theme made especially for LearnDash is a good option for building a website that uses all features provided with LearnDash. Your best option though is a theme that allows for all LearnDash features and comes equipped with a lot of customization capabilities, like eLumine.
The final decision is yours. So, what would you choose? Drop a comment to let us know!