With the rise in popularity of WordPress, there isn’t a doubt that the e-education world is warming up to it along with a LMS plugin as their choice of an LCMS.
But, the point of contention amongst users has always been about choosing the right LMS plugin for the task.
Now, there are several LMS plugins available on WordPress (hence the competition of course). Some are paid, some free of cost, but each packaging its own pros and cons.
A deep understanding of each plugin’s features, strengths and weaknesses, is what you need to help you decide on the best plugin for your requirements.
Today, I’m going to talk about two LMS plugin giants in the WordPress world: LearnDash and Sensei.
At the end of this post, I hope if you’re looking to choose one of these plugins- LearnDash or Sensei- for your LMS, I’ve helped you out here. If not, the comments section is always open!
So, here’s goes!
LearnDash v/s Sensei: Course Content Hierarchy
For any LMS plugin or a stand-alone LMS, the fundamental functionality is course content creation hierarchy. And this is the first feature you should think of.
The course content hierarchy is the levels of content that can manage using these LMSs.
LearnDash provides a three-level deep content hierarchy, we can manage:
The ‘Course’ is the topmost course content hierarchy provided by LearnDash. A ‘Course’ is generally the primary level of course content on any e-learning website.
The ‘Lesson’ is the next level of course content hierarchy, and can be associated as a subset of a course. In layman terms, a lesson is chapter, section or segment of a course. When a student -enrolled for a course- previews it, the student can see the lessons associated with the course.
And finally, LearnDash provides ‘Topic’ as the third level of hierarchy. A topic can be associated with a lesson, and you could consider it as a section of a chapter. So, when a student previews a lesson, the topics in that lesson can be seen.
Sensei provides two levels of content hierarchy:
The purpose of these content levels are similar to those provided by LearnDash.
The difference in both the LMSs is the admin interface settings for course content creation. In case of Sensei, courses can be created right from the lesson page. But at first glance the option to create a course is not as obvious.
The interface provided by LearnDash is fairly straightforward, but there isn’t an option to create a course from the lesson page.
If we purely look at course content hierarchy, LearnDash does provide an additional level of depth, and has an advantage over Sensei.
LearnDash v/s Sensei: Quizzing
Quizzing is an important and necessary functionality when it comes to learning because it helps evaluate students and track their progress. Quiz results are used to analyse a student’s performance and understanding.
LearnDash provides a powerful quiz module, with the possibility of awarding students certificates on successful quiz completion.
We can associate a quiz with a certain topic or lesson, and add multiple questions to the quiz. Each question can be weighted differently.
Quiz Question Types
LearnDash provides the following question types:
- Single choice
- Multiple choice
- Free choice
- Sorting Choice
- Matrix sorting
With LearnDash you can easily create a certificate and associate it with a quiz. A student receives this certificate by passing the quiz.
Quiz Creation Settings
Creation of quizzes in LearnDash can be a bit complicated because of the not so user-friendly settings. The quiz and question settings can be overwhelming because LearnDash draws these from the Wp-Pro-Quiz plugin.
Sensei provides a solid quizzing module as well. The advantage Sensei holds over LearnDash is the question types it offers and the quiz creation settings. Let’s look at each one at a time.
Quiz Question Types
The types of questions offered by Sensei are as follows:
- Multiple Choice
- Single Line
- Gap fill
- File upload
If we compare these question types to those provided by LearnDash, we notice that the question types provided by Sensei are common and have a wider appeal. Sensei also provided us the option to customize quiz question types, which is a huge advantage over LearnDash.
Quiz Creation Settings
The creation of quizzes in Sensei is pretty straightforward. We can create a question pool, and add questions to a quiz. We can set options such as the number of questions to be shown, the order of questions can be randomized, passing marks can be set, and so on.
But now here’s an important difference between LearnDash and Sensei in terms of quiz settings. In Sensei, we can set different quiz options per lesson which is not possible in LearnDash. In LearnDash the quiz options are common across all the questions, all quizzes and all lessons.
Another point of difference is that in LearnDash, quizzes become a part of the course content, which isn’t the same in Sensei.
LearnDash v/s Sensei: Grading & Reporting
Surely when we talk about quizzing, we can’t ignore grading.
For any LMS, along with quizzing, grading is a necessary functionality. Grading a student helps objectively evaluate their progress and performance, and can also be used as a feedback metric for the e-learning material.
So, let’s talk about the grading functionality provided by each LMS plugin.
LearnDash does not provide an independent grading system as such. A student’s performance can be judged by his/her quiz results.
If we have to talk about the details, LearnDash has the option to assign points for every quiz question. Each question can be assigned a different point value. At the end of the quiz, the student’s performance is measured in percentage with the help of these points.
In short, LearnDash grades the students automatically. The grades or marks can be seen on the quiz page itself, along with each students results. You can generate reports as well. Reports provide detailed results with question-specific information.
Sensei provides a competitive grading feature. But the options provided by Sensei differ from those provided by LearnDash to a great extent.
Sensei does not provide automatic grading. We have to enable the automatic grading option for quizzes in Sensei. One could say that the grading module provided by Sensei is a bit more user friendly than LearnDash.
Sensei lists all the students with all the quizzes attempted by the students in one table. There’s a filter to list down the grades lesson-wise as well.
LearnDash v/s Sensei: Group Management
Group management is essentially performing the same set of actions on multiple entities simultaneously. Managing multiple students part of a single course would be an example of group management.
Group management in LMSs also provides administrators the facility to group courses in one package and perform actions such as enrollment/unenrollment on group of courses at once.
LearnDash provides the group management functionality. We can create a group which has more than one course. LearnDash provides the ‘Group Leader’ user role with the capability to track student progress, export students reports, and so on. A ‘Group Leader’ can evaluate student assignments as well.
Although Sensei does not provide a group management functionality we can use an extension such as a BuddyPress integration plugin that allows us to create groups.
LearnDash v/s Sensei: e-Commerce (Selling Courses)
When we talk about monetizing an LMS, selling courses comes into picture. This is quite an important aspect and can’t be ignored.
LearnDash provides a feature to sell your courses online. It has a built-in PayPal payment gateway. Alternatively, it integrates with popular WordPress e-commerce and membership plugins to help monetize your courses.
By default, Sensei does not provide a course selling/purchase feature. We need to integrate payment gateways through custom coding. But since Sensei has been developed by WooThemes, it seamlessly integrates with WooCommerce.
What’s my choice?
Both of these plugins provide very good functionality. Both of them have some advantages over the other. It is really tough to choose one among these two LMS plugins.
- LearnDash provides deeper course hierarchy, however Sensei provides user friendliness in maintaining this course hierarchy.
- Sensei provides automatic as well as manual grading system but LearnDash provides a better and more accurate grading for question attempted by a student.
- LearnDash provides grouping of courses whereas Sensei provides modularization of courses.
Your requirements will help you decide the plugin you need. If e-commerce/membership is the point of focus, go for LearnDash; if quizzing is important to you go with Sensei.
Both these plugins are quite competitive and feature-rich to build a robust LMS. 🙂
Do you use either of these plugins or are planning on using one? Which plugin would you choose? Do you have any questions for me? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!
You may also like to read: WPLMS vs LearnDash: A Low-down