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WordPress LMS Comparison: 7 Amazing Solutions

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UPDATE 4/13/2016: This post has been updated with new options and additional information based on comments and feedback from readers since the original version went live.  There are now eight WordPress LMSs represented as opposed to the original seven, and several existing tools have had their descriptions changed to better reflect their current functionality.

What receives 14.7 billion pageviews every month, is responsible for 24.1% of all websites on the entire internet, and publishes 17 blog posts every second?

The answer, of course, is in the title of this post.

top wordpress copy

WordPress is far and away the most popular content management system on the planet.

Websites built on this versatile open source system range from blogs, to eCommerce storefronts, to corporate homepages.  Notable sites powered by WordPress include Time Magazine’s website, as well as TechCrunch’s.

This is all to say, WordPress is more than up to the task of hosting your future learning management system.

And there are quite a few solutions, themes, and plugins dedicated to turning WordPress into a smooth, effective LMS.

Below I’ve put together a WordPress LMS comparison so you can choose between these various options.

Academy Of Mine

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This WordPress-based learning management platform is marketed at people looking to sell their courses and content.  To that end it includes built-in eCommerce functionality, marketing and research tools, email marketing, and even the ability to create an affiliate program to help spread the word about your classes.

Academy Of Mine is more than a WordPress plugin, and includes hosting, custom domains, and built-in marketing tools.  That said, pricing starts at $199 per month for this tool.

LearnDash LMS

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Used by the University of Florida, Drexel, and others, this full-featured LMS is built as a premium WordPress plugin.  Functionality includes the ability to sell courses, mobile access, and the option to utilize the Tin Can (experience) API.  Integrations with add-ons like WooCommerce and BadgeOS are a plus.

LearnDash costs a one-time fee of $129-$299 for one to unlimited site licenses.

LearnPress LMS

LearnPress is a newer WordPress LMS by the folks over at Thimpress.  It’s offered as a free plugin and includes both free and premium add-ons and themes. With this plugin you can create, manage, and sell courses, as well as build course-specific forums for student-teacher communication, create quizzes, and track student numbers.  LearnPress really seems targeted at people who want to sell courses, and has payment support for PayPal, Stripe, and WooCommerce.

The basic LearnPress plugin is free, but premium add-ons, like the ability to offer certificates, cost anywhere from $20-$30 each.

LifterLMS

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Another LMS designed as a premium plugin, LifterLMS seems to be aimed at people looking to develop and sell courses online.  Features include built-in eCommerce, gamification tools like badges, and the ability to easily manage different member levels.  Integration with PayPal, WooCommerce, and Stripe makes monetizing courses easy.

LifterLMS is now completely free and open source.  The company makes money by charging for upgraded support, and offering premium add-ons.

Namaste! LMS

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This WordPress LMS plugin distinguishes itself by offering a free version, as well as the ability to upgrade to a paid, “pro” version.  Developed by Kiboko Labs, Namaste! LMS offers unlimited courses and students, and integrates with other free plugins from Kiboko including the membership plugin Konnichiwa.

The pro version includes a year of premium support and upgrades, and starts at $47 one-time.

Sensei

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This LMS plugin lets you create courses, write quizzes, manage student registration, and charge for content.  Optional extensions, some paid, some free, allow for certificates, media attachments, and course progress tracking.  Built by the same people behind WooCommerce, it seamlessly integrates with that plugin to allow for easy eCommerce functionality.  LMS WordPress themes like Guru also make use of Sensei and add even more eLearning tools.

Pricing starts at $129 for a single site license.

WP Courseware

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This LMS plugin powers over 7,000 eLearning websites.  Offering unlimited courses, quizzes, and students, this is another tool aimed squarely at people wanting to sell courses through their website.  Boasting a streamlined course creation process, certifications, and custom email notifications, WP Courseware also integrates with eCommerce tools like WooCommerce and the Easy Digital Downloads plugin.

Pricing starts at $99 for a two site license.

WPLMS

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Somewhat bucking the trend, WPLMS is a full WordPress theme, rather than a single plugin.  It includes not just styling and cosmetic options, but an amalgamation of different plugins, including eight built specifically for WPLMS, to turn your WordPress installation into an LMS.  Standout features include eCommerce through WooCommerce, compatibility with the Tin Can API, and custom badges and certificates.

Cost is $63 for a single site license.

Honorable Mention

Though not a full LMS built on WordPress, the Edwiser Bridge plugin allows you to integrate the popular (and free/open source) LMS Moodle with your WordPress instance.  It lets you import and sync courses, users, and categories, and also control student enrollment in a Moodle course from within WordPress.

More?

I’m sure I missed some great WordPress LMSs.  What else is out there?  Have you used any of the tools mentioned above?  Add your thoughts in the comments!

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Looking for Learning Management System software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Learning Management System software solutions.

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About the Author

JP Medved

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J.P. currently works as a Content Editor at Capterra, a privately held technology and online media company focused on bringing together buyers and sellers of business software. He is a graduate of Georgetown University where he founded The Georgetown Federalist. Follow him on Twitter at @rizzleJPizzle.

Comments

Academy of mine uses WPLMS, it is wplms plus managed hosting and dev team.

Good catch Oumz! I didn’t realize they were built on WPLMS (similar to how Guru is built on Sensei).

Nice article, and thank you for including LearnDash in your list. It has been quite rewarding to be driving innovation in the WordPress LMS industry. It’s exciting to see this segment of learning management grow! WordPress has proven to be a fantastic resource for online courses.

Kindly,
Justin
Founder, LearnDash

Justin, thanks.

We’re fans of WordPress as well (this blog is built on it) and also very much enjoy your honest take on industry happenings on the LearnDash blog!

Nice article. You should give this LearnPress WordPress LMS a try: https://wordpress.org/plugins/learnpress/, you will hate me not telling you sooner 😉

Thank you for including WP Courseware in your round up. It’s an honor to be included among these other great plugins.

Cheers!
Ben
Co-Founder – Fly Plugins

Thank you for including us at LifterLMS in the list. I’m looking forward to participating in more advancement in the WordPress LMS Community this year.

Hey JP,

Nice article put up there and thanks a ton for helping collaborate the information.

I have a differentiated requirement for an LMS and feel that I may not have got a complete answer for addressing some of my requirement by this blog and also on https://blog.capterra.com/top-8-freeopen-source-lmss/

I am looking for an LMS that is:

1. Allow creation of courses (as in Subject > Chapter > Exercise ) kind of hierarchy (nested hierarchy would be the best I assume)
2. Content management (uploading of video and other documents) and having provision for content security
3. Ability to create tests (there by having ability to add questions in the system and then pick questions and form tests and link them to courses)
4. Ecommerce to make a business
5. If possible web APIs would help me the best as I would want to make a mobile app by using these API.

Regards,
Naval.

Thanks JP – I just wanted to add an update your readers should know about.

LifterLMS is now available for free from the developers. Instead of charging for the plugin, they’ve moved to a business model by which they charge for priority support, and premium add-ons (Stripe, Mailchimp).

From experience I can tell you: out of the box, LifterLMS is amazing for anyone looking for an easy, affordable way to offer courses on their website. Like all of them, it won’t be perfect for every site. But having used almost all the plugins listed here, it’s one of my favourites. And free!

i have tried my level best to contact with Sensei and LifterLMS to use their services but they seems to be unreachable.

advice me please if you how i can get them.

Hi JP–

We are a nonprofit research and service institution. We need a free LMS that allows us to offer online courses, including video and audio, with great upload capability and options for payment. We’re working with WordPress now and like it– which of the WordPress apps (if any) would you suggest we try?

We re using senseI, while it is very good & easy to use , the particular (approved theme) we re using has a number of frustrating issues some of which were resolved by an upgrade. Still waiting on a fix for student profile not displaying & apparent integration issue with woocommerce where users cannot create ac at check out but must do this separately before purchase.

Hi JP – Just been going through all the options and although thorough – there are many choices which can be quite confusing. I am a educational specialist tutoring a few subjects for school and varsity students and I do this full time. I wish to extend my reach and teach more of my students online. Primarily I need a package that can be branded, all my information is secure and private, an interactive 2 way blackboard between myself and students for teaching, the ability to store documents online for download, the ability to provide videos which are secure and cannot be downloaded, the ability to set homework and track if homework has been completed, the ability to setup quizzes with automatic marking and tracking per student re: effort. For now those are my immediate requirements but as time goes on I may need more features and I may also with time start working with other tutors. Ideally I would like to try and use an LMS for free or pay a nominal fee or even better grow with a package – Is there any advice you can give me or point me in the right direction – I have also been advised to develop my own site using word press but I am not sure if it is worth the effort. Thanks a million appreciate your time if you can help.

Hi Charles Robert. Did you ever find a solution that met your criteria? If so, would you mind sharing it? Thx.

Nice Article. I think you have discussed just about all the LMS options that are out there with WordPress. We have just used LearnDash for a few projects recently and we found it reasonable, with a few glitches along the way. I really hope that they will make significant improvements in the next release. For our next project, we may be giving WPLMS a shot just because we have been hearing a lot of good things about it and also because it is completely different in that it is a built in theme as opposed to a plugin. 🙂

Nice article JP, thanks for including Edwiser Bridge in your round up of WordPress LMS.

Edwiser Bridge and its extensions give Moodle LMS users a platform to bring and sell their courses through WordPress. And WordPress users the power to use Moodle as their LMS.

Regards,
Rajiv Sathian

Great article, JP!

I am looking for an LMS that works on a question level, and not a quiz level. That would help students create customized quizzes on-the-go.
I currently use LearnDash and am unable to do this there.

Any help/ point in the right direction would be much appreciated.

Thanks!

Hey Anish,

You might do well using the filtering tool on our directory, here: https://www.capterra.com/learning-management-system-software

You can do a quick, free filter to help find you a system that matches.

Thanks JP. For now, I have gone ahead with getting custom changes in LD. I am pretty excited about it.

I have bookmarked the phone experts link. I’m sure I’ll need help sooner than later.

Thanks again.

p.s.: my website url is ‘testcafe.co’. I got error message on submitting with that website link. Think the website field might not allow for .co domain names?

Very informative article JP.. 🙂

While I hope all the plugins you mentioned must be good enough ( That’s why they made their way to the list ) but we mostly use LearnDash for our clients ( and most of the times clients come asking for LearnDash themselves ). We’ve worked with single course sellers to consulting firms working with multiple companies with thousands of employees.

We may try other plugins in the future but right now LearnDash is kind of fit-for-all plugin for us so far when it comes to LMS within WordPress.

Regards,
Arsalan

Don’t, whatever you do , use Sensei. It may work with WooCommerce and a WooTheme but I had a nightmare trying to get it to integrate with WLM, MemberMouse and DAP on Genesis. In the end, I happily spent a few hundred dollars to get rid of it. Terrible support as well.

A very nice comparative article on LMS. It certainly helps to chose the best fit out of so many LMS plugins available .

I would add that an article on extensions available for these LMS plugin should also be published , beacuse many developers are creating extremely helpful plugins for these LMS.

For example , there is new extenstion for LearnDash that lets you create various types of quizzes on excel spreadsheet and then directly import it .

I would suggest you to watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-Z1GSdPsKA

Thank you so much for writing about us. We have recently upgraded our platform and would love to show it to anyone interested. Our demo website is at:

https://demo.academyofmine.com

Thx
Jay

My advice is don’t use WPLMS i use it . It seems to be good features but the truth is it has many bugs , crucial bugs. And when i made refund request , they still negotiation 3 weeks and after that money not refunded but took as a credit in there website plus they are very late support and sometimes no response. Very bad try

Hello I was hoping to learn the difference btw using a LMS (like litmos) as opposed to a WordPress plugin

[…] of different LMS plugins for WordPress, I refer you to this article by Chris Lema or this comparison by […]

Hi Linda,

Functionally there shouldn’t be much of a difference; both an LMS built on a proprietary platform and one built on WordPress can provide learners courses, quizzes, social learning etc.

The main difference will be on the back-end and how you implement it. Especially if you’re already familiar/comfortable with WordPress, an LMS built within WordPress can be easier to get up and running, though many non-WP LMSs are also very intuitive and user friendly.

Do you know if any of these solutions have the functionality to make a course whereby the user only has one chance to explore the content of a lesson.

Once they are done with that lesson, they click some kind of FINISHED button which ONLY THEN lets them subsequently advance to the next lesson.

However, they are warned they CAN’T go back to that lesson once they click the FINISHED button.

Once they verify they are finished, that lesson disappears or becomes dormant and they can only move forward in the course.

Thanks

Hi Jake,

I believe most of them will have some type of functionality for this.

For instance, Learndash has a “drip feed” feature that can make content visible only after certain pre-requisites are met, that I assume you could use the other way around too, to make content invisible after it’s been completed, though I’m not 100% sure on that: https://www.learndash.com/wordpress-course-plugin-features/

Can you also include ProgressAlly in your LMS review. They claim to be even better than LearnDash, and have interesting Marketing Automation features. Thanks.

Clemens,

Thanks for bringing ProgressAlly to my attention. Looks like it’s a good candidate to be included the next time we update this piece!

I wouldn’t touch Lifter LMS if I were you. The plug-in has a terrible install/uninstall process and it will leave countless of trash on your database if you decide not to go for it. The author believes that creating a uninstall script is not a priority because his customers don’t need it.

I’m still waiting for the “comparison” part. This is a list, with no conclusions about which solution is best for whom, or features-vs-price grid, or anything else of the sort. Also, you missed out CoursePress (https://wordpress.org/plugins/coursepress/), which deserves a mention even though I don’t like it.

I use LearnDash & it’s a 2 out of 10 when it should be a 10 out of 10! The certificate creation process is a nightmare and CS is slow! I should be screaming it’s praises from the rooftops but the frustration drowns out the happiness!

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