LearnDash vs. Teachable: a comparison
If you offer online courses or memberships, you may be looking for the best software to run your business. Finding the right learning management system (LMS) plugin can be daunting.
In this in-depth comparison of Teachable vs LearnDash, we walk through key software features and decision criteria, so you can select the best software for your unique needs.
Why we're creating this online course platform comparison
We’ve tested so many course software solutions for our business over the years.
When we couldn’t find a solution that would do what we needed, we dusted off our Software Engineering chops and developed AccessAlly.
And to this day, we continue to test and review the options on the market so we can share that knowledge.
How do LearnDash and Teachable Differ?
Teachable and LearnDash both offer the ability to build online courses, but this is where the similarities end, and where the differences begin.
All-in-one vs. Dedicated WordPress LMS
Teachable and LearnDash have different software philosophies. LearnDash has a primary focus on online course creation. Compared to Teachable, which provides an all-in-one platform for building and selling your online courses.
Teachable is a one-stop-shop for hosting your online courses: take payments, deliver courses, or send targeted emails for each individual based on enrollment, code redemption, and a few other filters.
If you’re just getting started online, Teachable can be a solution to keep costs low.
As you grow, you may find Teachable limiting because you don’t have full control over your content. Many people come to AccessAlly from Teachable because they want more flexibility.
LearnDash is a WordPress LMS plugin and focuses on the Learning Management System functionality. Learning management system (or LMS) features are those you commonly associated with online courses. Features like a drip-feed of course material, quizzes, progress tracking, video and audio bookmarking, and advanced reports just to name a few.
To expand on its core functionality so you can deliver a positive user experience from end to end, you’ll likely need to install additional plugins and add-ons. Fortunately, LearnDash has a robust marketplace of integrations and add-ons to make this possible.
That means you may need to purchase and integrate additional plugins to handle:
- payments and payment administration
- membership levels to run cohesive membership sites
- integration with your CRM for marketing automations
With Teachable, you sign up for one tool that seamlessly handles everything from payments, course creation, LMS functionality, and member management.
Pricing limits on members, courses, and products
Teachable offers a 14-day free trial for you to test out the platform, and begin your course setup. After your trial, you will be required to choose the plan that’s right for you.
Teachable offers three plans. Pricing starts at
- Basic: $29/month
- Professional: $99/month
- Business: $249/month
Each pricing tier allows course creators to enroll unlimited students and host an unlimited number of courses.
The Basic plan assesses a 5% transaction fee on top of your monthly investment with Teachable, but the Professional and Business plans do not withhold this additional transaction fee on your sales. If you choose the basic plan and enroll 100 students each month for a $100 course, Teachable will withhold $500 of your revenue on top of the monthly plan fee.
Teachable’s most popular plan is the Pro plan which unlocks a number of features most online course creators look for in a learning management system, such as affiliate management, graded quizzes, certificates of completion, and advanced LMS reporting for student progress and course data.
The business plan comes in at $249/month and includes bulk course enrollment, and allows for advanced theme customization.
On the other hand, LearnDash has the following tier options and site license limits:
- Basic: $199 / year – 1 site license
- Plus package: $229 / year – 10 site licenses
- Pro package: $369 / year – 25 site licenses
Extensibility and Ownership
With Teachable, you’re hosting your website and courses on their closed platform, with no easy way to take your content with you when you cancel or decide to move on. So, if they decide to raise their prices, or change their business model, it can feel like you’re stuck and have to adapt to their changes.
The Teachable system is closed, so you can’t easily extend its functionality by installing add-ons and additional plugins. If you wanted to add an integrated forum, gamification, or other features that could improve your courses, you’re limited to Teachable’s core functionality.
LearnDash is quite the opposite in terms of extensibility. They do provide integrations to extend on its core functionality and it’s not unheard of for LearnDash users to have 6 or more different plugins to make sure everything works together to create a functional learning experience. Be conscious about your tech stack though, because the more plugins you add, the more risk you assume for things to go wrong.
Another positive in our book is that you’re not building your site on rented land with LearnDash because it is a WordPress plugin.
However, when it comes to creating courses, LearnDash uses a proprietary Custom Post Type that allows you to designate modules and lessons. If you cancel your LearnDash license, your content isn’t usable anymore.
Fortunately, some plugins, like AccessAlly, can help you retrieve your content and migrate it if you decide to move away from this plugin.
LearnDash is a great plugin if you sell a few courses and don’t require a lot of additional functionality.
Looking for an Option with less restrictions?
Have full control of your content, members, and their experience on your site.
Spend your time doing what you do best, not struggling with frustrating platform restrictions.
With AccessAlly, you’ve got all of the power and flexibility of WordPress, and there are no limits on your business’ growth potential either.
What AccessAlly Customers Are Saying...
"AccessAlly Is So Much Better Than Every Other LMS Solution I've Worked With
"AccessAlly is the better option, hands down
“Honestly, Teachable, Thinkific, or Kajabi would have been the *easier* option, but AccessAlly with my WordPress theme is hands down the *better* option. It’s going to grow and scale with me over time, and that’s unbeatable.
AccessAlly allows me to provide a dashboard for all members, and it also allows me to create a member-directory (great for forming that community), an editable profile, plus lots of gamification features that can help members track their progress and reward them for their achievements.
AccessAlly integrates directly with my ESP, which gives me the functionality to track progress, send reminder emails. That’s priceless.”
– Eden Fried, EdenFried.com
Onboarding and Customer Support
It’s imperative for SaaS and tech companies to have a strong customer support system in place to ensure the success of their users with their products.
In addition to their extensive KnowledgeBase, Teachable’s customer support team is available via email for all customers. Live chat is also available Monday-Friday 10 am – 5 pm EST for professional and business accounts. All paying customers also have access to TeachableU – their online course library.
Upon signup, you will also receive access to an onboarding webinar to quickstart your setup.
In comparison, LearnDash is available via email Monday-Friday from 7 am-4 pm EST.
Don’t let this deter you though. We have found that email support is very effective, especially when you have a more complex question to troubleshoot. It allows the support team time to sort through the issue and confidently provide you with a resolution.
Integration with your Email marketing automation platform
With Teachable, in order to integrate your chosen email service provider, you must use a 3rd party tool, Zapier. You can also set up webhooks to send notifications between your two systems, through Zapier or custom APIs.
With Teachable’s built-in email automation functionality, you do have the ability to send individual communications from within the platform based on users’ actions.
With LearnDash, you’ll also need a 3rd party tool such as Zapier or WPFusion to connect your online courses built on your WordPress site to pass information back to your CRM. In both cases, native integrations to email service providers like ActiveCampaign or ConvertKit don’t come built-in.
Looking for something that integrates both ways?
Marketing automation tools are here to stay.
Use your marketing automation tool to power your course and membership program by taking advantage of AccessAlly’s deep 2-way street integration.
It’s built to help you sell more, teach better, and engage with your students longer.
Learning reinforcements: quizzes, progress tracking, homework, and certificates
This is where LearnDash takes the cake in comparison to Teachable.
LearnDash allows you to add a quiz or assessment at any level throughout a course, whether it’s at the end of a course, a specific lesson, or a topic.
With 8 question types to choose from, timed assessments, and the ability to submit any type of media as an input field, your options are endless.
You can also require homework submissions after lessons or topics, and issue report cards and track homework and assessments with grade books.
LearnDash has even taken their progress-tracking to a new level in their most recent release, tracking course progress across all levels of the course, baked right into the layout.
You can also use LearnDash’s built-in certificates to reward your members as soon as they complete a course. This is a great way to motivate students to complete the material.
While Teachable does allow you to create assessments to reinforce the material and test student retention, your options for quiz and question types aren’t as robust. Their questions are limited to multiple-choice and true/false responses.
Like LearnDash, with Teachable you can use built-in certificates to celebrate your students’ success upon course completion. You can also assign and review homework submissions for your students with Teachable.
Membership site and course design flexibility
Teachable’s downfall for brand-conscious entrepreneurs is their limited theme customization on their basic plan, although it has come a long way since its early days and is evolving to keep up with the rise in popularity of WordPress page builders for their Professional and Business plans. One thing to keep in mind is the fact that you cannot remove the Teachable branding if you sign up for the lowest pricing tier.
It’s a great tool for beginners who aren’t very specific about the look and feel of their sites, but not ideal for those who want full design flexibility.
With Teachable, you have more customization options on the business and professional plans, and you can also achieve advanced customization if you want to dig into the Liquid programming language to edit templates by hand.
On the other hand, LearnDash is an LMS plugin for WordPress, so it integrates with any WordPress theme or builder plugin. Their built-in course layouts and focus mode are compatible with most page builders.
The built-in course builder has a drag-and-drop editor that makes it easy to add your content and re-use lessons or topics from existing courses. However, when it comes to the look and feel of your course pages, it’s lacking in flexibility. Aside from specifying a few colors, you won’t have full customization over the course layout and design.
If you want full design flexibility, AccessAlly is for you
Because AccessAlly is a WordPress plugin, you can use any WordPress theme or builder you like.
Or start with AccessAlly’s theme, which comes with all of the progress tracking and navigation menus integrated out of the box.
Power, flexibility, and beauty all in one course platform.
bulk course enrollment and umbrella accounts
If you want to offer “bulk licenses” or the ability to have umbrella parent/child accounts, where a group leader can assign sub-accounts, say for a corporate training team or family accounts.
Teachable does not offer the ability to “license courses” to groups of people, which is also called Umbrella or Team accounts.
However, you can sell courses in bulk by creating an offer for the number of people the buyer is purchasing for and provide each individual with an individual coupon to get access to the course.
Alternatively, LearnDash will allow you to sell courses in bulk or to teams, but an additional plugin that is developed by another company is required.
E-commerce and affiliate functionality
Teachable has built-in Stripe and PayPal integration with single-use and universal coupon codes. You can also create and offer upsells on the thank you page at the time of checkout.
Teachable also offers integrated affiliate marketing functionality in all of their plans. Affiliates have access to an affiliate dashboard to review their referral reports and retrieve their unique links.
LearnDash has limited built-in e-commerce functionality, however, if you have a simple setup and only offer one-time payments for courses, no additional plugins are needed and it natively integrates with PayPal, Stripe, and 2checkout.
If you’re using LearnDash and selling subscriptions or offering payment plans, an add-on or additional plugin is needed to achieve this functionality. The same holds true for affiliate features.
This is where the costs and complexity start to add up for LearnDash.
The biggest difference financially is that Teachable takes a 5% transaction fee on their lowest tier, while LearnDash does not.
your workflow on learnDash vs. Teachable:
- Install the plugin on your WordPress membership site
- Install a payment plugin or purchase an additional shopping cart tool (and possibly an additional affiliate plugin)
- Install a membership plugin, and configure it
- Install or set-up CRM integration plugin, team licensing add-ons, member directory add-ons, etc.
- Dig into your site’s CSS and hack the LearnDash design to match your branding
- Use the LearnDash course builder to design your course structure
- Set up your quizzes, link them to lessons
- Name your Teachable school
- Create your first course structure
- Directly upload your videos, text, and course information to Teachable
- Edit the very basic look and feel (change colors and fonts)
- Figure out how to use your own domain (to brand your school)
- Set up payments and the terms of purchase
- Set up Zapier zaps to integrate with the other systems you’ll need to achieve the functionality
- Or, wait for Teachable to release the features you want to add to your courses
See How LearnDash and Teachable Features Compare
We’re a digital marketing software company built by marketers and software engineers. With our particular background and expertise, we’ve designed our membership management and LMS plugin AccessAlly, to give you everything you need in an easy-to-use, powerful package.
See where LearnDash and Teachable fall short or shine in comparison to AccessAlly.
|Protected course content|
|Built-in Recurring Stripe and PayPal payments|
|Course builder for modules, lessons, and topics|
|Automatically creates tags, pages, and menus||No tags|
|Deep 2-Way Integration with Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, and Drip|
|Multiple currencies, automated expiring coupons, and order bumps|
|Cart abandonment automation|
|Progress tracking, and progress-based unlocking content|
|Multiple types of quizzes, and auto generated certificates of completion|
|Course Licensing with Teams or Umbrella Accounts||With add-ons|
|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|
|Built-in affiliate tracking with multiple tiers, links, and reporting|
Researching course platforms on your own is great, but if you want to talk to someone, we're here to help!
If you’re wondering whether you’re on the right track or not, we can help you sort out all of the different options.
We’ll let you know if AccessAlly is a good fit or not, too. Not sure what AccessAlly is? Watch the video to find out now, then book a call to discuss further:
The true cost of LearnDash vs Teachable
These pricing models will give you an idea of what you can expect when comparing the cost of Teachable vs. LearnDash but it’s not the whole picture.
If Teachable has all of the functionality that you need, and you don’t mind all of your content is tied to the platform then Teachable is the more economical option.
On the other hand, with LearnDash, which only handles your Learning Management System (LMS), you’ll also need to add a payment processor, order forms, membership plugin, website hosting, video hosting, and other add-ons – like groups for forums.
Keep this in mind as you’re comparing pricing so you’re being mindful of your true investment.
LearnDash might be right for you if...
- You are open to a larger tech stack, and using a lot of different plugins to achieve your goals
- You absolutely need SCORM or Tin-Can LMS integration
- You’re not picky about the look-and-feel of your course
- You don’t need deep CRM integration to create more personalized customer experiences, but you do need a lot of quizzing options
Teachable might be right for you if...
- You need a bare-bones course website, with no plans for added functionality down the line
- You want to have your site up and running quickly, so you can test your ideas without worrying about design
- You don’t use a CRM like Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, or Drip to do your email marketing automation
- You don’t mind giving up full control to have your courses hosted for you on a 3rd party platform that you can’t easily export or leave
Continue your search for the right solution