I’ll tell you the feeling you get, when you spend a considerable amount of time building a premium plugin, only to then receive news that another developer is in the process of building a similar plugin and releasing it for free – NOT GOOD!
The idea of integrating BuddyPress and LearnDash was certainly not a new one. But a solution occurred to us when BuddyPress seemed to fit the requirements of a client project. We then decided to work on the solution, so as to make it generic, and present it as an extension plugin to LearnDash.
That was a while ago.
On 6th June 2015, we received news that BuddyBoss was in the process of building a free BuddyPress add-on for LearnDash. By then, we had completed development on our BuddyPress extension for LearnDash and had shipped it to the testing phase.
Of course, with no knowledge of the features incorporated in BuddyBoss’ add-on for LearnDash, we feared the worst.
After all – ‘why would anyone choose to pay for a plugin (which “apparently” functioned the same) rather than download a free one?’
At that point, taking into consideration the plugin development effort, support, and marketing- offering our plugin for free, wasn’t a viable option for us. We instead chose to focus on keeping the plugin feature rich while offering customers more bang for their buck.
So, we decided to go all out, and get our plugin out to the market and keep on improving it based on user feedback.
We did receive the benefit of an early-launch and got our first sale within a week.
On 30th June 2015, Justin and BuddyBoss launched the BuddyPress add-on for LearnDash. To tell you the truth, our reaction was better than expected. On comparing the features, we came to the conclusion that both plugins- BuddyBoss’ LearnDash-BuddyPress integration, and the LearnDash-BuddyPress Integration by us here at WisdmLabs- were quite different.
And as far as LearnDash users like you are concerned, it is just a matter of comparing the plugin features, to decide which plugin best suits your requirements.
BuddyPress-LearnDash Plugins: A Feature by Feature Comparison
So, to give you an account of the differences between the two plugins, take a look at the table below:
|Feature||BuddyPress Integration for LearnDash by WisdmLabs||BuddyPress add-on for LearnDash by BuddyBoss|
|BuddyPress Group per LearnDash Group||YES||NO|
|BuddyPress Group per LearnDash Course||YES (if a LearnDash group is created for the course)||YES|
|LearnDash Group leader as BuddyPress Group admin||YES||NO (site admin is BuddyPress group admin)|
|LearnDash Group Notification in the BuddyPress Group activity stream||YES||NO|
|Course Progress view in BuddyPress||YES||YES|
|Option to view Achievements and Badges view in BuddyPress||YES (for each user profile)||NO|
|Option to download Certificates from BuddyPress profile||YES||NO|
|BuddyPress Activity Stream on:||YES||YES|
|BuddyPress Activity Stream on:||NO||YES|
|Facebook sharing option on course completion||YES||NO|
|Forum created automatically||NO||YES (if bbPress is installed and forum creation is enabled)|
If that hasn’t given you a fair account of how each plugin works, let me shed light with more details.
WisdmLabs’ BuddyPress Integration for LearnDash
The BuddyPress plugin we’ve built for LearnDash is focused on LearnDash GROUPS. So, for each LearnDash group created a corresponding group is created in BuddyPress.
- The students in the group are added as members in the BuddyPress group
- The LearnDash group leader is set as group admin in the corresponding BuddyPress group
- Course related activities are updated in the user’s activity stream
- On each student’s BuddyPress profile, course progress activity is displayed and the student’s badges are certificates are displayed as well
- There is an option to directly download the certificates a student has obtained from his/her BuddyPress profile
An additional feature the LearnDash BuddyPress integration plugin provides is an option for students to share their course completion status on Facebook
BuddyBoss’ BuddyPress add-on for LearnDash
The BuddyPress plugin for LearnDash by BuddyBoss is focused on LearnDash COURSES. So, for each LearnDash course created a corresponding group is created in BuddyPress.
- With BuddyBoss’ plugin, students enrolled for a particular course get added to the corresponding BuddyPress group
- And the website admin is added as the BuddyPress group admin
- Course-related activities are updated in the user’s activity stream, and the course progress status is displayed for each student under the BuddyPress member profile
- A bbPress forum is automatically created for the BuddyPress group if the bbPress plugin is installed and forum creation option is enabled.
Quite obviously there are two major points of contention. And these two points- as I see them- are quite crucial in helping you decide the plugin you need.
#1 Plugin Focus
The LearnDash BuddyPress add-on by WisdmLabs- is focused on LearnDash Groups, so you have the flexibility of creating groups for courses as well or a group of courses, by creating a LearnDash group for the course or courses. The rules which apply to LearnDash groups, apply to the BuddyPress group as well.
For example, if a student is removed from the LearnDash group, he is removed from the BuddyPress group as well.
The LearnDash BuddyPress add-on by BuddyBoss on the other hand – is focused on LearnDash Courses. While it saves you the effort of creating a LearnDash group for each course, I believe a feature that’s missing is the possibility to set a relevant admin for the BuddyPress group.
For example, using WisdmLabs’ plugin, the LearnDash group leader is set as the BuddyPress group admin.
So, if you create a group in LearnDash for the course and then set a group leader accordingly, that leader can act as the group admin in the associated BuddyPress group. But with BuddyBoss’ add-on, the admin is set as the BuddyPress group admin.
#2 Plugin Price
The LearnDash BuddyPress integration by BuddyBoss is free.
The LearnDash BuddyPress add-on by WisdmLabs is priced based on your requirements – and includes prompt support.
Which Plugin Should You Choose?
I’m not going to tell you that you MUST to choose the LearnDash BuddyPress add-on by WisdmLabs. That it’s simply better, blah blah blah!
Choose the plugin that bests suits your requirements.
If you want to create a social network for LearnDash courses – use the BuddyPress add-on by BuddyBoss.
If you want to create a social network for LearnDash groups, and want to include custom features- go for the BuddyPress add-on by WisdmLabs.
Make an informed decision. Choose a plugin because it suits your purpose, not merely because it’s free.
What are your thoughts? Are you looking for a BuddyPress add-on for your LearnDash LMS? Or are you using either of these plugins? I want to hear what you think. Which plugin will you choose?
Be sure to leave your thoughts and comments in the comment section below!
Wow, I’ve already created all this stuff, courses, badges, etc. Will switching plugins cause a big mess? I’m using the Buddy Press plugin but I’m frustrated because I can only add one group to a course.