Online courses are a great way to drive recurring revenue and deliver consistent high quality value to a large volume of clients.
…as long as you’ve got the right foundation laid for your online course students to succeed.
Sometimes, it's tempting to create really fabulous content, and assume that the quality of the material will be enough to keep your students engaged.
Humans learn best when we're able to see our progress and receive positive feedback for our efforts. It's something that happens very naturally in a physical classroom, but can be challenging to integrate in an online learning environment.
And that's exactly why Learning Management Systems (and WordPress LMS plugins!) were created. It's also why they continue to be such a powerful addition to any online course or membership area.
But it can be daunting to look through a list with hundreds of the available Learning Management Systems and wonder which one is going to get the job done.
So let's look at what really makes up the best Learning Management System for WordPress, and whether it's going to boost the success rate of your online courses.
Table of Contents
- Always Start With Your Own Website
- The Ability To Manage Your Student Learning With An LMS
- Which Is The Best Learning Management System For WordPress?
- So What Is The Best Learning Management System For WordPress?
- AccessAlly Pro Alternatives
- The Best Learning Management System For WordPress… Is The One That Works For Your Students
Always Start With Your Own Website
There are a lot of really popular platforms that will host your online course separately from your website. These platforms tend to be really appealing because they make it easy for you to just upload your content and hit “publish.”
But that’s their weakness, too.
Using a separate platform for your membership site means that someone else has the ultimate say on the appearance and experience of your online courses. This can be challenging for you especially if you’re using an online course or series of courses as a source of recurring revenue for your business.
On the flip side, it doesn’t take a lot of extra work to design and build an online course on your own site as opposed to hosting them on, say Kajabi, Ruzuku, etc.
The tradeoff: you can make your course look and feel exactly how you want it.
And you can tweak the flow as needed to help your students to succeed.
Staying in control and able to tweak your online course experience as needed is the main reason why we always use our own WordPress site to house our membership area.
The Ability To Manage Your Student Learning With An LMS
A Learning Management System plays such an important role in the success of your online course. It gives you the ability to use sweet learning tools like quizzes and notes throughout the course, which allow your clients and students everything they need to stay engaged and succeed.
An LMS isn’t just something “cool” that you throw in for the wow factor. It’s actually proven to change the way your students engage in online learning.
In other words, with a really good LMS, you can decrease your student dropout rate and increase the quality of education your students receive. Ultimately, this translates into happier clients and better sales.
It’s a sweet deal.
Which Is The Best Learning Management System For WordPress?
With an increase in interest over Learning Management Systems, it’s not really surprising that LMS plugins for WordPress are popping up a lot more frequently.
Many have really strong features, but some don’t.
In general, there are a few “musts” in terms of what features are really valuable in your Learning Management System plugin, including:
These are integral to determining how well a student is really grasping your course content. Quizzes also help you to gauge whether or not your students are ready to move onto the next lesson.
But it doesn't always have to be a graded quiz. You can also us personality-type quizzes with multiple outcomes to help students understand their strengths and weaknesses, as well as give them an idea of what the next best step is for them.
Have you ever been in the middle of a really challenging project and had no idea how long it was going to take?
That feeling can be really debilitating for students who are in the middle of an online course. It can prevent them from staying focused and motivated.
Using progress tracking is a great way to show them how far they've come – and how much of the material is still waiting to be tackled.
There is something so satisfying about being able to mark something “complete.”
Utilizing dynamic checklists in your online courses create a clutter-free environment so that your students can really buckle down and focus on the next task.
The Ability To Send & Receive Feedback
If a student is working through a particular module and is really hung up on one of the lessons, wouldn't it be nice if they could submit a quick question … and you (or whoever the course instructor is) could see exactly which page they were on when the question was asked?
This LMS feature can really provide a more personalized learning environment and lead to an increase in student success rates.
Progress Determined By Students’ Ability
If your courses are built progressively, where Lesson 2 is dependent on the information learned in Lesson 1, you'll need this feature to only allow students to continue through your course if they've mastered the necessary basics.
This is extremely helpful when you want to emphasize the importance of course material with your students.
Automated Rewards & Encouragement For Your Students
If students are struggling to finish the course, some Learning Management Systems will allow you to use the tagging ability of CRMs to automate encouragement or congratulatory messages to your students.
Automated rewards might also include a personalized certificate that's presented the moment your student has completed the final quiz.
So What Is The Best Learning Management System For WordPress?
After reading through the above features and seeing the value in each part of an Learning Management System, we can cross quite a few options off the list, and narrow it down to some of the top contenders.
AccessAlly Pro: LMS & Membership Plugin Wrapped Into One
The first plugin that contains all of the LMS features listed above and more is AccessAlly Pro.
AccessAlly Pro is a little different than most LMS plugins because it’s designed to work as a membership site solution, as well. As such, it gives you a deeper level of integration with your tag-based CRM systems.
It's also designed to be significantly more user-friendly than some of the other older options on the market. So even if you're new to the whole game, it's a great option to check out.
The features of AccessAlly Pro can be utilized in any WordPress post or page, making it extremely versatile to fit your needs.
(You can check out the full list of features here.)
AccessAlly Pro Alternatives
Of course, there are other alternatives on the market. The strongest contenders include:
This Learning Management System plugin for WordPress offers many of the same features as AccessAlly Pro.
It's greatest strength includes a set of extremely detailed quiz features, while it's weakness lies in a somewhat complicated setup area. (Read the full LearnDash vs AccessAlly Pro comparison here.)
The strengths of LifterLMS are that (a) the base features are offered for free, and (b) you can automate some emails to be sent to your students. The automated emails can be great if you're not able to invest in a more robust tag-based CRM like ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, Drip, Ontraport, or Infusionsoft yet.
Created by WooThemes, Sensei provides the basic framework for an online course. Purchasing this plugin will give you access to quizzes and course creation options. However, the rest of the LMS features (course progress, certificates, etc.) must be purchased separately through extensions.
The Best Learning Management System For WordPress… Is The One That Works For Your Students
What's the real deciding factor when figuring out the best learning management system for WordPress? Your students.
If you're able to provide your students with the tools and resources they need to succeed, the LMS plugin has done its duty.
(And if you need help figuring out a good place to start, there are some really talented instructional designers who can point you in the right direction.)
Best of luck as you create your online courses and prepare your students for success!