Learning Management System Comparison
We've done the research for you, and created an assortment of in-depth comparisons for the top LMS and membership tools. This information is meant to help you make the right decisions for your business, right now.
How to approach your LMS software comparison
Before we dive into the different LMS software solutions on the market and how they compare to each other, you need to get clear on what hosting approach is best for you and your needs.
There are two main ways to set up an LMS for your business or school:
What matters most in online learning for 2021?
With the global pandemic in full swing, it's time to make the most of online learning in 2021.
It's important that any LMS software you choose gives you the ability to get started quickly and to be flexible enough to meet your needs as things continue to change.
There are also ongoing updates to privacy laws like CCPA, GDPR, CalOPPA, that are on every digital business owner's mind.
Finally, the best part: the focus needs to be on improving students' experience, so they can learn better and stay engaged longer.
LMS comparison methodology
Now let’s look at what most of us naturally do when we start comparing LMS options.
The first two things that many of us who are in the market for an LMS look at are the features and pricing.
These absolutely are important to consider, but it’s also good to look at other less tangible things that can impact your use of the LMS software long term. For example, customer support and ongoing development can make a huge difference in your experience with a product.
The same goes for how a tool integrates with your existing tech stack, and the values of a company and what they stand for.
Let’s take a closer look at all of these considerations:
Let’s face it: if an LMS tool doesn’t do what you need it to do, then it’s not a good solution for your needs.
But feature lists can be confusing, because your understanding of a feature might be different from someone else’s.
For example, if you need to white label your courses and sell bulk licenses, you might think that “groups” will handle your needs. Yet different LMS platforms might not give you the exact way you want to sell to groups, so you need to dig in, try a demo, or ask questions before you buy.
Choosing an LMS based on your budget is important, because no software tool should break the bank. That being said, it’s hard to compare pricing boxes because there are often other costs involved with setting up an LMS or membership site.
Sometimes you’ll end up paying transaction fees on each sale, or you’ll be required to invest in additional integration software or other tools to make it work.
It’s also important to consider the cost of switching down the line, if you end up requiring more features of growing out of the first LMS you pick.
Often it can cost you more to move from a cheaper solution than it would have to have paid a bit more for a long term LMS option from the start.
This is a big one: how you’re treated when you ask questions or need help with the LMS software matters!
Some software companies outsource their support to other vendors, some offer chat support, phone support, or email support.
Then there’s the health of the user community around a Learning Management System.
- Is there an active Facebook group you can go to for extra inspiration and support?
- Are there are trained experts you can hire to help you get started with this new tech tool?
- Can you jump on a call with someone at the LMS company for extra help if you get stuck or want to talk through your strategic questions?
This is an often overlooked aspect when comparing LMS apps.
Depth of Integration
Another important consideration in your LMS search is whether the integrations available will work the way you need them to.
Essentially, will your LMS integrate deeply with your existing tech stack and reporting tools?
For example, you might see that an LMS lists your email marketing platform on their integrations page. But does it has two-way integration, where both systems can send data to each other — or is it a one way push integration?
These are the types of questions to ask before you buy and start implementing, and feel stuck in the LMS you picked.
It can be hard to tell from a learning management’s company website how actively they are developing their software.
Some companies have built out their core features and have moved onto other projects or development priorities, while others are actively adding new functionality on a regular basis.
While you might not need additional features right now, you don’t want to get stuck on an LMS platform that isn’t evolving and growing with the market as online learning continues to mature.
Finally, an often overlooked aspect of buying software is looking at what kind of company you’re supporting with your hard earned dollars.
It might feel like all LMS companies are interchangeable, but there are real humans at the other end of the screen who are passionate and care about things beyond their software work.
Look for a company that aligns with your values and has a mission you can get behind.
Now that you know how to compare LMS software, let’s get into the side-by-side comparisons!
WordPress LMS Comparison Table
If you’ve decided that you’d like to build your membership portal on your own land, using WordPress as your content management system then you’ll love taking a look at our WordPress LMS comparison pages.
There’s one thing you’ll quickly notice that happens in the WordPress ecosystem: there are a lot of different plugins and some of them might require other plugins to handle your needs.
There are cases where it makes sense to use multiple plugins, if they come with solid integrations with tools you’re already using, for example. Other times, it can be a better idea to go with one WordPress LMS plugin that handles everything you need so there’s no chance of a breakdown between add-ons.
Here we’ll see how some of most popular WordPress LMS systems stack up and you can click through for even more in-depth comparisons.
|Protected course content|
|Built-in Recurring Stripe and PayPal payments||Via Infusionsoft||Via Ontraport|
|Course builder for modules, lessons, and topics||Add-on required|
|Automatically creates tags, pages, and menus|
|Deep 2-Way Integration with Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, and Drip||Infusionsoft & ActiveCampaign only||Ontraport only||Infusionsoft only|
|Multiple currencies, automated expiring coupons, and order bumps||Partial|
|Cart abandonment automation||Via Ontraport|
|Progress tracking, and progress-based unlocking content||Partial|
|Multiple types of quizzes, and auto generated certificates of completion||Add-on required|
|Course Licensing with Teams or Umbrella Accounts||Add-on required|
|Searchable member directories and editable custom fields through profiles|
|Gamification where members can earn points, and activity-based automation, login tracking|
|Media player, video bookmarks, tagging automation on quizzes|
|Cross-selling dashboards, with 1-click upsells||Via Infusionsoft|
|Built-in affiliate tracking with multiple tiers, links, and reporting||Infusionsoft only|
Compare Specific LMS & Membership Plugins for WordPress
Already using WordPress? AccessAlly is designed to help you sell more, teach better, and engage longer with built-in payments, LMS, and membership management. This creates a powerful automated membership experience built on the extendable WordPress platform.
See how we compare with other WordPress plugin solutions:
PilotPress vs. AccessAlly
I'm transferring an existing membership site to AccessAlly, and can't believe how much more robust and efficient my site is. There's so many opportunities to nurture and engage my membership through all the little things built into AccessAlly. So glad I made the move!
Compare SaaS LMS Vendors
AccessAlly is a WordPress plugin that handles course delivery and full Learning Management System functionality. So how does it compare with software-as-a-service "hosted" learning platforms?
Compare Wild Apricot
Your LMS Comparison isn't complete until
you see AccessAlly in action.