Hundreds and thousands of e-learning specialists and course designers all over the world swear by WordPress as the de facto system to effectively teach and deliver online courses. Here’s why:
- Easy To Use: WordPress is extremely easy to use as an LMS. Designed to be user friendly for anyone from a developer to a person with minimal or no technical background, WordPress lets you set up a fully functional online course in literally a matter of minutes, given the right plugins and soft tools.
- Limitless Flexibility: What good is an LMS that can’t adapt to changing needs and step up its game every time you need to add a new feature? With over 20,000 plugins listed in the WordPress plugin directory, there is no feature or functionality that you can’t incorporate into your system, no matter how personalized it is. Can’t find the right plugin? You can always build or have one built for you!
- Low On Maintenance: If less demanding and low maintenance are two must haves on your LMS priority list, WordPress is probably the safest bet! It’s lightweight and requires no special hardware to operate, along with being extremely scalable. In short, you could be the administrator of an LMS spread out over an entire university and still could manage all of it remotely from you Mac. University Example
- Multipurpose Environment: Want to monetize your courses and sell them online? Check. Want to set up a multi-level membership site with content restricted to members only? Check. Want to set up a MOOC and let others do the teaching while you manage things behind the scenes? Check. WordPress powers over 250 million unique websites on the Internet, and each of those websites has its own feature set. And NONE of the feature sets on those sites are something you CAN’T incorporate to your own. It’s all up for grabs.
- It looks GOOD: WordPress also doubles as your own personal web designing playground. Some of the most beautiful and well designed sites are on WordPress, and there’s no reason why your site can’t be on the list. What you have at your disposal is thousands of brilliant themes, hundreds of page building plugins and virtually limitless CSS customization to add visual appeal to your courses and please the learner’s eye.
Plugins and themes are two ways that you can adopt to transform your WordPress installation into a fully functional LMS. A WordPress plugin is a plug-and-play peice of code designed to augment the capability of the system, by adding extra features and functionalities. Whereas a theme styles the various UI elements on your website as per its own specifications, occasionally adding extra features that work only when the theme is applied.
Which begs the question: Which route should you take?
Like most other choices you’ll face through the course of this guide, the answer is variable and is purely subjective to your needs.
- Plugin based LMS are highly flexible and leave you room to migrate your data. Themes, on the other hand, limit your movement from one system to another.
- Plugins based LMS can have several other plugins and integrations adding to the features of your system, themes based LMS can be a little tricky to customize.
- Theme based LMS are relatively easier and quicker to set-up, given the uniformity of the various options and settings.
- A plugin will often conflict with the theme in terms of styling and layout, and you have to spend some time and money on custom developments.
If you need an LMS that blends in perfectly with your website, an e-learning theme is your best bet. If you’re more of the kind to play with features, updates and customization, choose an LMS plugin.