Compare LearnDash to Competitors
Are you looking for a LearnDash alternative for your online course or membership site?
Read our in-depth comparison of popular competitors, their software features, and pricing.
Before We Dive into Our LearnDash Comparison
We're always curious about who writes reviews for products online, so I want to give you the full disclosure.
We are the creators of the AccessAlly LMS plugin for WordPress, and we are affiliates for some of the tools that we’re comparing here, which means that we may earn a commission if you buy from our reviews.
We never let an affiliate incentive sway us in our reviews, but this makes it possible for us to test and provide in-depth and hands-on experience with a lot of the course and membership tools you might be comparing.
Now let’s see how LearnDash compares, and why current LearnDash users might start looking for a LearnDash alternative in the first place.
Why People Choose LearnDash
Before we get into our list of LearnDash alternatives, let’s look at why you might consider implementing LearnDash for your online course or membership site.
- You want a simple course layout: If you’re just getting started online and don’t want a custom design or layout for your courses, LearnDash is a good choice. You can input your color selections and your content and your lessons are created with a preformatted layout.
- You’re already using a membership plugin: LearnDash focuses specifically on LMS functionality so it makes sense for some users to choose LearnDash as an add-on for their courses if they already have a solid tech foundation with an existing WordPress membership plugin running. Be cautious about having a large tech stack - the more plugins you add, the more likely you are to have conflicts and tech headaches over time.
- Your site needs to be SCORM or Tin-Can compliant: Content created with LearnDash is not SCORM compliant, however, they do provide add-ons that allow you to insert the SCORM content into your LearnDash courses. Note: this compliance is not required for most online courses and membership sites, however if your industry requires it, it can be inserted with LearnDash.
Why People Recommend LearnDash
You might have posted in a Facebook group asking people what they use for their membership site or to sell their online courses, and received a lot of “LearnDash” answers. Why is that?
- LearnDash has been around for a long time: If you see people recommending that you choose LearnDash, it’s likely because they’ve used it or seen it as a student on someone’s website. That’s because LearnDash has been used by universities and businesses since 2012, and people often recommend what they’re most familiar with.
- It’s a solid LMS and easy for users setting up their first course: Another reason online course creators recommend LearnDash is that it’s easy to set up and get started if your focus is on learning management. If you don’t need a lot of added functionality like advanced sales and checkout features, then LearnDash can help you get your course online fairly quickly. The core LMS features provide a solid foundation for course creators and are popular among educational institutions.
Why People Look for LearnDash Alternatives
If you’ve tried LearnDash and found it limiting, or you’ve outgrown the LearnDash system you might already know why you want to move. Here are some of the other common reasons why people look for LearnDash substitutes.
- Lack of design flexibility: LearnDash’s design options are limited because you must design your course layout within the LearnDash framework. This can be stifling for those who value custom designs and want to be able to put their unique stamp on their courses and membership area.
- Lack of functionality: Because LearnDash focuses on LMS functionality only, additional plugins are usually required to add additional functionality to your site - adding costs and complexity to your tech stack.
- Autogenerated Certificate set up is limited: LearnDash allows course creators to upload a blank Certificate of Completion that will be filled in with a student’s information when they graduate from a course. However, the interface for setting these up is difficult and depends on adding code for “new lines” until everything lines up. This is an error-prone process.
- Limited e-commerce options: LearnDash does not handle recurring subscriptions. If you’re selling courses for one-time payments, it can do this natively, however, if you’re selling subscriptions or offering payment plans, an add-on or additional plugin is needed to achieve this functionality.
- Increasing Costs: LearnDash’s pricing is covered more below, but it is not the most economical option on the market if you need to extend your functionality outside of LearnDash’s native features. Some people might look for a LearnDash alternative when their costs start to add up with the addition of new plugins and add-ons.
- Ownership: While LearnDash is a WordPress plugin which provides you with more ownership of your content than you have if you choose a hosted solution, 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.
- Marketing Automation and CRM integration: With LearnDash, you’ll 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, adding one more piece of complexity to your setup to achieve a seamless user experience.
One Client's Story About Finding A LearnDash Alternative..
ACCESSALLY IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN EVERY OTHER LMS SOLUTION I'VE WORKED WITH
"I manage a site that uses LearnDash and was not impressed or inspired by it.
When I had to rebuild one of my own sites with an LMS solution I went with AccessAlly and have been blown away by their system. So much better than every other LMS solution I've worked with or tested out.
I'm on Ontraport, but can't speak to the specific setup you’re looking to implement... But can speak to AccessAlly's support and quick response to get answers to my questions.
I've been setting up some pretty advanced stuff and they've been able to do what I want to do every time."
- MIKE DEIURE, ROCKGUITARPOWER.COM
Compare LearnDash Pricing
LearnDash’s pricing can be a bit deceiving. At first glance, the price seems reasonable and competitive compared to other tools on the market.
But, let’s say you want to add subscription or payment plans to your offers, then you’ll need an e-commerce plugin. Most common builds require a membership plugin, and other add-ons like affiliate management, and groups. Before you know it your costs have skyrocketed and you’re spending more money than if you chose a premium plugin with all the features and functionality you need built into the software.
While cost is not the only thing to look at when you’re considering what membership software or LMS to choose, it does factor into the equation.
I know you really just want to know, "How much does LearnDash cost?".
Here is the cost breakdown for some of the most commonly compared LearnDash substitutes:
|MemberPress + LearnDash||
No course or student limits, basic functionality
Includes group licensing, affiliate functionality
Includes only 3 products, and limit of 10,000 contacts
100 Products, 100,000 contacts, limited email sending
Unlimited courses and students
Additional features and groups
Plus 5% transaction fee
No transaction fees, includes bulk student enrollment
No memberships or affiliate functionality
Includes 3rd party code and embedded checkout forms
Community forums only, no online courses, plus 3% transaction fee
Includes online courses, plus 2% transaction fee
Ecommerce and CRM addons included
Quizzes, groups, and social learning
Unlimited courses and students, affiliate, and bulk courses
All LMS functionality
In-Depth LearnDash Replacement Comparisons
Now that we’ve looked at all of the reasons why someone might choose LearnDash, or switch from LearnDash to another LMS solution, it’s time to compare LearnDash alternatives!
In these in-depth comparison pages, you'll see where each tool shines and where it falls short so you can make the best decision for your particular business and online teaching needs.
Your LearnDash Substitute Might Include Several Tools, Software, and Plugins
Now because LearnDash handles the LMS functionality of your online courses and membership, you’ll likely need to add additional plugins to achieve your desired functionality for membership management, subscription payments, team accounts, and affiliate management to name a few.
How you decide to construct your tech stack depends on your requirements, and what goals you’re trying to achieve. For instance, you might need:
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
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.
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