A question I have been fielding for quite some time from within the organization as well as outside of it, is ‘which online LMS to use between WPLMS and LearnDash?‘. (Well, of course, there are others learning management systems which we work with, but just somehow these two always seem to always be a difficult choice)
Frankly, I have been quite confused myself too! With the awesomeness both the systems provide I sometimes feel like I want to have the best of both worlds.
So, the question to be answered here is what makes each of these learning management systems a winner in its own right.
Winning Features in WPLMS
1. Instructor Role
Here’s what a reader had commented on one of my previous articles on WPLMS.
While LearnDash is now integrated with bbPress, the one major point of contention end users have, and which Ludovic has rightly pointed out is that LearnDash does not have an instructor role. It is a feature that users are often looking for and that’s where WPLMS often makes a clean sweep.
Not Anymore (An Update – 26 May 2015)
When I had written this post in January, the Instructor Role was definitely a winning feature for WPLMS. While nothing has changed on the WPLMS front, the scenario at the LearnDash end is quite different. While the core plugin has not changed there is now an add-on available to include the Instructor Role to your LearnDash website.
So, as far as Instructor Role is concerned the two eLearning systems are pretty much even now!
2. Front End Course Creation
Another area where WPLMS scores brownie points is the front end course creation option provided to instructors, making the process straightforward and effortless for instructors.
(Update – 26 October 2015)
With the Front-end Course Creation plugin, LearnDash admins can allow certain users to create courses from the front-end.
3. Integration with BuddyPress
Due to its distant nature communication becomes an important aspect in online learning management systems. Considering this requirement, a social networking site for your eLearning website becomes essential. That’s where the integration with BuddyPress is a plus point for your LMS as the integration provides a comprehensive list of features offered by BuddyPress, one of the most popular social networking plugins in WordPress.
4. Complete Solution
Last but not the least, WPLMS is a ‘THEME’ which means it covers the looks as well as the functionalities without you having to go scouting for a separate theme to meet your graphical interface requirements which means the ride to building an online learning management system just became simpler.
Winning Features in LearnDash
1. Integrated with Multiple eCommerce Systems
The makers of LearnDash have gone to great lengths to make this plugin feasible for the users, and making it compatible with several eCommerce systems is one of their many efforts towards doing so. LearnDash has been made compatible with WooCommerce, Jigoshop, and Easy Digital Downloads thereby allowing users to pick their choice of eCommerce system instead of restricting them to a single eCommerce system like in WPLMS. For that LearnDash definitely gets a thumbs up
2. Elaborate Quiz Module
Another winning feature of LearnDash is its elaborate quiz module. And when I say elaborate, I am not exaggerating even an ounce! With 7 different question types, option to add any media, option to limit time spent on the quiz by students, certificate and levels……well the list goes on an on. Why don’t you take a look at the LearnDash quiz options yourselves!
3. It is ACTUALLY Plug-n-Play
When the developers of LearnDash say the plugin is plug-n-play, they mean it. Having worked on several LearnDash customizations for clients with different themes, the last thing we have had to worry about is compatibility issues with the theme. Kudos on that one!
4. Comprehensive User Reports
With the recent LearnDash ProPanel version, LearnDash has paid heed to the many requests from users and released this comprehensive reporting feature which allows users to generate various reports based on courses and students through the use of easy to use search filter.
WPLMS vs LearnDash: The Common Ground
While each system has it’s winning features, it is the commonalities that make it a difficult choice between the two. Each system allows users to create courses, enroll students to these courses, drip feed content to enrolled students, set up quizzes, view progress reports etc etc etc (*sigh*). Further, both have been made compatible with bbPress, BadgeOS, Tin Can API, and Paid Membership Pro making life extremely uncomplicated for the users. On the costing front, both are quite reasonably priced.
WPLMS vs LearnDash: Using the Two Together
The reason for this entire post to have started in the first place is the following question from a client.
“I want the instructor user role from WPLMS and the quizzes from LearnDash. So, can I use both the systems together?”
While at first I was stumped by the question, I started looking out for the answers leading me to find this resourceful thread on the WPLMS support forum.
In this thread, what Mr. Vibe essentially says is that while both are compatible you will end up losing a few functionalities in WPLMS, leading to it becoming mostly becomes a graphical interface. As for my client, the answer was a clear NO as his primary requirement remained unfulfilled.
WPLMS vs LearnDash: Final Word
Here’s my final take on the two systems.
- For those with already existing websites, you can go with LearnDash as you are not looking for a complete solution but just functionalities.
- For those starting out with a new website can take either path based on which winning features are important for you!
The important thing to remember while making the choice is that the system should fit your needs and not vice versa. Also, there’s always room for customization based on individual requirements right?
Is there something that is still unclear to you? Have I missed out on something? Do you have a specific query pertaining to the systems? Get in touch with me through the comments section and I shall get back to you with answers!
Until then, Adios!