In our ever-changing world, one of the few things that remains constant is education. Adapting to the demands of business in the 21st century means staying on the cutting edge of your field by continuing to learn, and elearning is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to continue education.
To facilitate that learning, a learning management system has become incredibly popular. LearnPress from Thimpress and Learndash are both leading developers of LMS software, and many entrepreneurs and educators turn to one of these companies for building out their courses.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at two of the best WordPress LMS Plugins to help you decide on LearnPress vs. Learndash.
LearnPress vs. Learndash: The Similarities
Both Learndash and LearnPress are plug-ins for your WordPress site that allow you to build out online course modules. To that end, the two platforms are quite similar. There’s also a few key similarities between each WordPress LMS plugin.
Plug-Ins and Add-Ons
Most users find themselves needing to expand on the core functionality of either LearnPress or Learndash during the course development process. To facilitate this, both providers offer a robust library of plug-ins and add-ons to help you accomplish those goals.
Keep in mind that many of these plug-ins come with additional costs. Plug-ins that allow you to process recurring payments, set up course user profiles and membership levels, or integrate your existing technology stack with your LMS course often come at an additional expense.
Whether you opt for LearnPress or Learndash, you’ll need to add a third-party tool to connect your course and CRM.
The tool applies a tag and passes the information from the LMS to your CRM, which will trigger whatever automation you have set up, such as email notifications. Keep in mind that it’s not a two-way street. While you’ll be able to feed information from your LMS to your CRM, there’s no way for information from the CRM to be automatically synced to your LMS.
LearnPress vs. Learndash: The Differences
While both companies provide an LMS platform allowing you to build out online courses, the similarities end there, for the most part. Below, we’ll take a look at the key differences that separate these popular platforms.
When it comes to design flexibility for building your course content, the two platforms differ significantly.
The LearnPress plugin allows you to use the theme of your choice with their free plan and top-tier Pro Bundle. But, you’ll need to use the LearnPress theme template when using their most popular mid-level offering.
On the contrary, LearnDash allows you to use any WordPress theme or page builder to design your LearnDash course. LearnDash uses a drag-and-drop course builder for course creation which does hamstring the amount of flexibility you have with the look and feel of your course material. Still, they offer significantly more design flexibility than LearnPress does.
From a front-end flexibility standpoint, LearnDash is the premier course website plug-in.
When it comes to LMS, customer support is critical. Most of the entrepreneurs and professionals building out an online course aren’t experts in course building, and there are bound to be roadblocks along the way that require expert service from the support team.
Getting started with LearnPress is usually quite easy, and their interface is exceptionally user-friendly. For the basics, you’re unlikely to ever need technical support. But, for advanced integrations and plug-ins, things get a bit hairy, and there may be instances where you need help.
Unfortunately, LearnPress misses the mark in this case. Their customer support is spotty at best. Response times can be long, and there aren’t many self-help options, which makes for a mediocre user experience.
Meanwhile, LearnDash provides exemplary support, with thorough documentation and tutorials to help you through each step of the setup process. LearnDash also offers email support during business hours Monday-Friday, and their team is helpful, knowledgeable, and responsive.
Being able to reinforce coursework is critical for keeping your students engaged and accountable to the course.
In the case of LearnPress, there’s limited support for quizzes and learning reinforcements. Most of the available options are paid 3rd-party plug-ins and add-ons, so you’ll want to keep that in mind if you’re concerned with the costs of building out a course.
Meanwhile, this is an area where LearnDash shines. LearnDash allows you to add quizzes, assessments and gamification anywhere in your course. There are eight question styles to choose between, and lots of flexibility to create the perfect custom assessment for the class material.
There’s also support for homework submissions, report cards, and grade books. LearnDash also bakes their progress-tracking tools into the site layout, so you’re able to enjoy a holistic view of student performance.
eCommerce & Affiliate Management
Both platforms offer limited eCommerce management tools for handling payments and allowing you to sell courses.
LearnPress offers shopping cart integrations with PayPal for accepting one-time payments while LearnDash allows you to accept payments with PayPal, 2checkout, and Stripe.
Neither platform offers native support for recurring payments or billing plans, and these features are handled with 3rd-party plug-ins. So, if you need to integrate with other eCommerce or payment gateways, such as Woocommerce, you’ll need additional add-ons.
Both platforms allow for affiliate management through premium add-ons, but neither offers a robust solution for managing affiliates. If you’re looking to drive enrollment and monetization through affiliates, neither platform is ideal.
These two platforms differ significantly when it comes to pricing.
On the surface, LearnPress offers a far more compelling pricing model. After all, they offer a free version that allows you to create and sell your course for $0. But, in order to build out an engaging course and monetize it, you’ll require several add-ons which can become costly.
Learnpress offers two paid programs, too. Their affordable middle-tier offering provides significantly more features from the core plugin and free plugin library. However, there are still many plug-ins that still require you to pay for them, and they limit you to a single theme. The mid-tier plan is available for $49-69.
The LearnPress Pro Bundle allows you to use any theme you choose and provides some additional upgrades, including providing three licenses instead of just a single site, and it’s available for $249.
LearnDash offers Basic, Plus, and Pro packages and they range from $159-329. Each package provides tons of features and access to a robust plug-in library at no additional cost. The Plus and Pro packages offer access to the LearnDash ProPanel, which simplifies course management and teaching. These packages also provide 10 and 25 site licenses respectively, compared to just one for the basic package.
When it comes to LearnDash vs LearnPress, both platforms provide a solution to LMS management for your WordPress website. Depending on your needs and budget, you’re likely to find that one platform is a better fit for you than the other.
If you’re looking for a bare-bones course builder and you’re the type who likes to troubleshoot issues on your own without the help of technical support, LearnPress could be the ideal option for you. But, if you need a solution that’s more full-featured and offers comprehensive support each step of the way, LearnDash is likely to be the best WordPress platform for your needs.