If you’ve decided to set up an e-Learning site using WordPress, you’ve made a good choice. The next choice you need to make, however, is that of a Learning Management System (LMS) plugin so you can manage your site in an easy way.
Now, that’s not a very easy choice because of the various plugins available in the market. However, we’re here to make it easy for you. In this article we’re going to compare two popular WordPress LMS plugins, LearnDash vs. LifterLMS, so you can make your choice.
A complete understanding of both platforms is necessary to compare two LMS plugins. So we’ll compare both LearnDash vs. LifterLMS based on 7 different criteria to get a holistic view of how they stack against each other.
#1. LearnDash vs. LifterLMS – Features
Features are the most important thing in tech, so first of all let’s talk about the features of both these LMS plugins. If we do a side-by-side comparison of the features included in both LearnDash and LifterLMS, we find that both offer almost the same set of features with a few minor differences.
Here’s a quick look:
|Multimedia support (including support for video lessons)||Available||Available|
|Drip feeding of content||Available||Available|
|Drag and drop Course builder||Available||Available|
|Gamification features (i.e. quizzes, certificates, assignments, awards, badges)||Available||Available|
|Support for one-time as well as recurring payments||Available||Available|
|Course Groups and Bundles||Available||Available|
|Focus mode||Available||Not available|
|Free version||Not available||Available|
The way these features work is a little different on both platforms.
For instance, the type of quizzes you can create in both these platforms is different, the course builder is also a little different, only a paid version is available for LearnDash while LifterLMS offers both free as well as paid options, and so on.
But overall we can say that both LearnDash and LifterLMS come with almost identical sets of features and provide you the necessary functionality to get started.
#2. LearnDash vs. LifterLMS – Course Builder
The Course Builders included in both these plugins are drag-and-drop course builders, and they offer similar ease of use.
The LearnDash Course Builder helps you create multi-layered courses, and it also allows you to easily reuse your content by cloning it (the only LMS in the market to do so). It also allows you to rename every section of the course to make it look more fun and vibrant, for eg, Renaming ‘LESSONS’ to ‘VIDEO ILLUSTRATIONS.’
The LifterLMS Course Builder is also easy to use and makes your work fun. Though it’s different in appearance and experience from LearnDash (which is obvious), it includes all those necessary course building features that you may need to create a great course: sections, topics, lessons, quizzes, assignments, everything. Lessons and Quizzes are both detachable elements in the LifterLMS Course Builder.
While comparing LearnDash vs. LifterLMS for Course Builders, you’ll learn that they are more or less the same: user-friendly and convenient to use!
#3. LearnDash vs. LifterLMS – Extensions and Themes
When it comes to extensions and themes supported by these plugins, LearnDash seems to have a serious upper hand.
The extensions and themes supported by the LearnDash LMS plugin are endless, and they can make doing everything related to your e-Learning site much easier. Some popular extensions include WISDM Instructor Role for LearnDash, the Uncanny Owl Toolkit, the LearnDash Essential Add-Ons Pack, etc. It also supports a large number of themes that can help you create your site easily (i.e. Astra theme and eLumine).
The LifterLMS plugin too supports various extensions such as WooCommerce, MailChimp, bbPress, Affiliate WP, BuddyPress, etc.
However, the library of supported extensions and themes for LifterLMS is much smaller in comparison to LearnDash. The same goes for compatible themes too – while it will work with most well-coded themes, the number of officially supported themes is less than LearnDash.
So, the applicability of these two plugins for your site totally depends on your requirements. If you need minimal add-ons, LifterLMS will work for you, but if you need sophisticated features that require multiple add-ons, then LearnDash is your best bet.
#4. LearnDash vs. LifterLMS – User Interface and Ease of Use
The LearnDash plugin is a premium one, so obviously it is easy and fun to use. When you start building your course, it provides you a dedicated dashboard that lets you create course materials, lessons, topics, quizzes, groups, etc. It also helps you create certificates, assignments, badges, and rewards, etc.
Heck, it even allows you to export your course and quiz reports to any other platform you like! If you purchase the Plus or Pro plans, it also gives you a ProPanel that can magically transform your admin experience.
At the front-end, LearnDash has a seamless user experience for your students, with beautiful layouts and tons of features that engage students and enhance learning.
The LifterLMS plugin is also moderately convenient and easy to use, and quite user-friendly. It also provides options to test the reports regarding your enrollment, membership, quizzes, etc., something that you don’t get with LearnDash. The LifterLMS plugin is not very sleek in terms of the front-end experience. It is minimalistic with the basic interface you need for your eLearning site.
Overall both plugins are easy to use, but the ProPanel included in high-end variants of LearnDash takes ease of use to an altogether different level.
#5. Payment Options
The LearnDash plugin comes with a default payment option in the form of PayPal. You can include your currency, email addresses, country, and every necessary detail in the provided areas to start accepting PayPal payments on your store. This default payment gateway makes it effortless to start receiving payments on your site from day one.
LifterLMS, on the other hand, doesn’t include a default payment gateway. You need to select a payment gateway supported by it from the add-on directory and then add it as an add-on.
Needless to say that it will increase your expenses. If you want to get started without that, you can also accept payments manually(online or offline). That makes LearnDash a more convenient choice in terms of payment options.
#6. LearnDash vs. LifterLMS – Documentation
There’s no doubt about the solid documentation of LearnDash – it has got unarguably the most detailed documentation of any LMS in the world. From tutorials to explanatory videos, everything is available to help you understand anything that you want to understand about it.
Moreover, the popularity of LearnDash has also led to the creation of several forums and blogs that explain everything related to this plugin.
LifterLMS folks have also tried to put up thorough documentation for their plugin in the format of “Knowledge Base”, but it mostly consists of text content. And since it’s also nowhere as popular as LearnDash, you don’t find a large number of forum posts and blog posts about every subject related to its functionality.
Finally, let’s talk about pricing for LearnDash vs. LifterLMS.
As we have seen above, LearnDash is a Premium-only plugin that can be used only after you’re purchased it and paid its license fee while LifterLMS comes in both free as well as paid versions. Coming to the paid versions of both these plugins, LearnDash seems costlier than LifterLMS as its pricing starts from $159 per year, but that’s not the case.
If you look at LifterLMS, you’ll find that they’ve structured their pricing in such a clever way that you can’t get away without paying them at least $299. Their core plugin may be free, but the price that they’ve set for individual add-ons is $99 for each add-on.
Now, you’ll need at least one add-on to accept payments, another one to integrate it with your email marketing service, and 1-2 more for some other purposes. Even if you get started at a bare minimum of 3 plugins, the $99 price for each of them brings you to $297.
On the other hand, if you purchase their $299 plan, you can get all e-commerce, CRM, and design add-ons along with the package, which is obviously a better choice. So LifterLMS may look cheaper than LearnDash on the surface, but it actually isn’t and you need to spend almost double what you would spend with LearnDash to get started.
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Based on the comparison above it’s pretty evident that both LearnDash, as well as LifterLMS, are good enough for an e-Learning site, but LearnDash wins hands down in some major criteria like ease of use, payment options supported, documentation, and pricing.
Therefore, we’d advise you to choose it over LifterLMS when you set out to build your course site. It’s a crucial choice when it comes to choosing your LMS, and LearnDash will help you grow without a hitch as you scale.