When you want to get people to pay for your elearning content, you could either have them pay for every course they wish to take, or on a recurring basis in exchange for continued access to your content. Or in other words, you’d have to choose between eCommerce vs Membership scheme of things.
E-commerce plugins like WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads let you sell courses as products; and in that sense your site becomes just like any other online store. A user looking for a course on a particular subject will visit your store and browse through your ‘product’ offerings and make purchases if he likes what he see. Such an approach is ideally suitable for when you have less-to-moderately high number of courses, and can be paired with marketing strategies like Course bundles, limited time discounts etc.
Providing access to your content based on membership levels is effective when you have a large number of courses listed, which also typically implies a large user base. In this approach, purchasing a membership level will grant a user access to all the courses associated with that level. Membership levels can be created as per course category, course difficulty level, or as per a specific number of courses.
Sensei will let you create membership levels with WooCommerce Memberships and WooCommerce Subscriptions, and LifterLMS has it’s own in built memberships module that’s quite effective at a base level.
However, LearnDash and WP Courseware are the winner here when it comes to the sheer number of integrations with e-commerce and memberships plugins, including all the big names like WooCommerce, EDD, PaidMemberships Pro, Memberium, iMember360 et al.
What do you do when you’re administrating a large number of learners and want to enroll all of them for a particular course? Manually buying courses x number of times again and again where x is the learner count is going to be tedious, what you would need is a feature that would let you buy access to a course in bulk.
LearnDash, with the help of its Group registration plugin does exactly that. An individual such as a teacher or corporate manager can easily purchase multiple licenses for a single course at once and enroll all his learners in a single go.
Support for multiple payment gateways is a must when your target audience is spread out over a large geographical area, adhere to just one payment gateway and you’re isolating a lot of people who prefer using another gateway. Paypal is perhaps the most preferred gateway for online payments, and most LMS plugins are readily compatible with it.
LearnDash, for one, has inbuilt support for PayPal, and also has add ons for Stripe and 2checkout. Sensei integrates seamlessly with WooCommerce, and WooCommerce supports virtually every popular payment gateway under the sun. LifterLMS provides built in support for PayPal and can be integrated with Stripe with the help of an add on.
Are you going to have multiple instructors creating courses for your website? Does your website lean more towards being a course marketplace as opposed to being a one man show? If the answer to either of those question is yes, you’ll need ways to track how the courses created by your peers are performing, and pay commission accordingly.
For an LMS to be able to inherently do that, a direct mapping between any such ‘instructor role’ and number of course enrollment for courses created by that instructor is necessary. Or optionally, one could always keep records manually, but it’s a lot better to have an affiliate-like system within to track things for you.
LearnDash, with it’s instructor role extension, lets you do exactly that. ‘Instructors’ can not only create courses without having to deal with the admin settings, but they also can keep track of the commission that they’re earning for every course and every user registered.