Dashboards are the command centre of any software system. For an admin, an intuitive dashboard speeds up accessibility and eases up management. More frequently used options like creating/editing a course or a lesson and managing user data should be available on a single click and not nested three menus deep.
Plugins like Sensei and LearnDash prefer opting for WordPress’ standard layout when it comes creating a new post type like Course or a Lesson, under the ‘New’ tab on the top left of the screen. You also head to their settings via the menu item in the sidebar and manage things from there. WP Courseware, however, does not use the post type made available by WordPress and lets users manage and create content from its own menu and sub-menus on the left sidebar.
LifterLMS does things differently, and has a visually appealing dashboard with a very modern feel to it. Along with listing the essentials like Courses, Engagement, Integrations and Memberships in a secondary menu, it also shows you statistics like New Course Enrolments, New Members and Total weekly sales. Very neat!
The easier an LMS is to use, the more it save you precious time and effort in day to day usage. A good measure of this is a low learning curve. You should be quickly able to map the ins and outs of the plugin, knowing exactly how to optimally utilize it to manage the content and the users. Ease of use is also an indicator of a larger shelf life; after all one is more likely to stick to a user friendly system than something that gives you a headache on a daily basis.
WP Courseware and LifterLMS stand out in this respect. The former because of the sheer ease and speed with which it lets you create Courses and Quizzes, and the latter due to an interactive and engaging interface. LifterLMS also has tips that pop up occasionally, and makes sure you don’t miss out on crucial steps. LearnDash keeps it old fashioned. An editor to create content and a long list of associated settings listed one below the other.
Are you going to have Courses that are open to the general public? Or would you just be manually enrolling users as and when the need arises? Do you want to keep the Course open only for a limited time and set an expiry date for the Courses?
Most LMS plugins give you the option to manually enrol users at your discretion. Additional features may vary as per the plugin; so while you can set an expiry date for the Course within LearnDash, WP Courseware has the option to automatically enrol any new user in a Course.
The ability to enrol users in bulk is a primary requirement for individuals or organizations dealing with a large user base. In such scenarios, one should swiftly be able to manage multiple users at one to save time and effort. Also extremely handy is the feature to let you import/export user data in the form of .csv files, where all you have to do is enter the user’s name and relevant details in a spreadsheet and have your LMS import and record the
data in the system.
WP Courseware lets you do exactly that. Along with the ability to import entire courses, there’s also an option import users into your system via CSV files. There’s also a column in this file file where you can specify the courses in which the users are supposed to be enrolled.
LearnDash does not support CSV import, but will let you enrol multiple users to a course via its Group feature. Both Sensei and LifterLMS are lacking in terms or bulk enrolment.
When you have multiple individuals teaching or managing the LMS, custom users roles are the best way to segregate the roles and responsibilities played by each user. Apart from admin, other possible user roles could be that of a Teacher (Sensei) or an Instructor (LearnDash), with the specific permissions of creating and editing courses. LearnDash takes it one step further (at the cost of an additional LD extension) with the user role of a Course Author, which lets designated users create courses right on the front end, without ever having to deal with the back end.
If you plan on sorting your learners into groups, LearnDash has just the right feature for you. LearnDash Groups adds the user role of a Group Leader to the ledger. A group leader has the ability to manage a Group – A bunch of learners enrolled in the same courses – add users, associate courses, view reports etc.
|Course Access Permissions|
|Group Leader Roles|