Many choose WordPress for building their self-hosted e-learning sites. And with good reason. WordPress is a flexible platform with a huge community of supporters. It also provides educators with a vast selection of WordPress LMS plugins that allow them to create, manage and sell online courses.
Among these learning management systems, we find LearnDash and LearnPress.
In this article, our LMS consultants share a full LearnDash vs LearnPress comparison, giving you an overview of the two plugins to help you determine which is the best one for your online course, school, or employee training portal.
LearnDash LMS Overview
To start with the LearnDash vs LearnPress comparison, let’s explore LearnDash and its features.
LearnDash LMS is the eLearning plugin for WordPress chosen by big names such as the University of Michigan and Yoast Academy. Let’s take a look at what this online learning platform brings to the table.
Creating Courses – E-learning Features
First things first, let’s talk about course creation and LearnDash LMS.
The plugin is fully equipped to help you build an unlimited number of online courses using a simple and intuitive drag-and-drop builder.
Each LearnDash course is hierarchically organized into the following parts:
- Course: LearnDash allows you to create an unlimited number of courses on your learning site, allowing you to teach different classes, topics, and subjects. In fact, you can use LearnDash to host all of the courses within an online school. Each course has a course page featuring an outline of all of its content and other relevant information.
- Lesson: Courses are made up of several lessons, covering the different concepts and skills that make up the course curriculum. Lessons can contain text, images, link files to be used as resources, and embedded video.
- Topic: Lessons can be further broken down into topics, that allow you to delve deeper into the specifics of the matter in question. Just like lessons, topic pages can contain a variety of media including video.
- Quiz: You can create quizzes to evaluate students on a given topic or lessons or on the course overall, with multiple question type options available to you by default. For each quiz, you can set a passing grade, number of permitted attempts, and a time limit-
- Assignments: Each lesson or topic can include assignments that students will need to submit right on the platform
These elements can also be organized into different course sections.
There are many ways your students can browse through different course elements on this platform. One option is to allow students to browse freely through the different lessons, topics, and quizzes. However, you can also require students to progress through your course in a linear fashion or set specific pre-requisites that must be completed before accessing a given lesson, topic, or quiz.
Additionally, LearnDash LMS allows you to drip content, so that parts of the course are progressively unlocked according to your requirements, giving you more control over students learning schedules.
LearnDash also allows you to create course and quiz certificates that are awarded to students after successfully completing a course or evaluation.
Furthermore, LearnDash incorporates some of the social aspects of a classroom with their “LearnDash Groups”. You can create user groups to complete courses together and assign them a Group Leader to monitor their progress.
Selling Courses – Ecommerce Features
But, what about making money? After all, that’s the purpose of any eLearning business.
Sit tight. We’ll cover that next.
LearnDash comes with course monetization options built-in, allowing you to sell your online courses without having to install any additional plugins. Among the available options, we find the Stripe and Paypal payment gateways.
Furthermore, course pages, when built right, can act as excellent landing pages to help you market your courses.
If you’re serious about building up the e-commerce side of your site or even selling your courses through a membership plan, you can also integrate your LMS with major eCommerce solutions such as WooCommerce, ThriveCart, SamCart, and Paid Memberships Pro.
Online Learning Site Design
There are many WordPress themes created specifically for LearnDash, making it easy to create an attractive site for your online courses. Many of these themes come with customizable, ready-to-use website layouts and page templates for courses, lessons, and more.
Some of the best options include Astra’s LearnDash Academy starter template and WISDM Labs’ eLumine. However, if you prefer to use another theme that is not specifically designed for LearnDash, you’ll be glad to know that this LMS runs smoothly with many of the most popular WordPress themes, such as Divi, Kadence, and BuddyBoss
Support is an important aspect to consider in the LearnDash vs LearnPress debacle since it has a huge impact on your overall experience as an LMS user. LearnDash offers multiple support resources to its users including an extensive knowledge base with documentation and a support ticket system. They also create webinars and have a Facebook group where the Learndash community can interact and collaborate.
One of the best things about LearnDash LMS is its flexibility. Being a WordPress-based LMS and open-source plugin, you’ll find no shortage of LearnDash add-ons and integrations for customizing your site. Some of these add-ons are free, while others are sold as premium products.
Here are some of the many things you could achieve using LearnDash add-ons:
- Gamify your online course with game-like elements such as badges, ranks, and points.
- Add new question types to your quizzes.
- Add live sessions to your online course lessons
- Manually mark attendance for your students and keep attendance logs
- Restrict course access or course enrolment to a given date range
- Collect and share course reviews and ratings
- Add a group chat to your online courses
There are also options for those looking for features or functionalities that aren’t available through an add-on. Even if you are looking for a very specific feature or unique user flow, working with a LearnDash developer can help you go the whole nine yards.
LearnDash LMS Pricing
Now the million-dollar question, how much does it cost?
Currently, there is no free version of LearnDash LMS. In order to use this plugin, you’ll need to purchase one of its annual licenses. There is also no free trial available, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee in case the plugin turns out to be less than expected.
The single site license is sold for $159 USD. The 10-site license and 25-site licenses are available for $189 and $329 USD per year, respectively, and give you access to LearnDash’s reporting tool “ProPanel”.
It is important to note that all of LearnDash’s pricing plans support unlimited courses and unlimited users and include a free demo site template.
Moving on with LearnDash vs LearnPress, it’s now LearnPress’s turn to go under examination.
LearnPress’s 266,645+ active downloads attest to its great popularity, but is it the right platform for you? Let’s find out.
Creating Courses – E-learning Features
LearnPress allows you to create structured online courses that are broken down into lessons and quizzes. All of these course elements can be grouped into different course sections for additional organization.
Students can take a look at the entire outline of course contents, as well as additional course information from the main course page (as shown in the image below).
Students and instructors each get a profile page from which they can goversee general information on the courses they are taking or teaching.
LearnPress gives course creators the power to deliver their course content in a variety of ways, including through a mobile app thanks to its LearnPress mobile App option. This tool essentially allows you to convert your WordPress site into a mobile app and offer it through the App Store and Google play store.
Selling Courses – Ecommerce Features
LearnPress comes with monetization features built-in allowing you to sell your online courses without any additional plugins. Payments are processed using the Paypal Payment gateway by default, but other options are available through add-ons and integrations.
Online Learning Site Design
Thimpress, the creators of LearnPress, also have their own set of WordPress. These themes are not only exclusively designed for LearnPress but are also very affordable. You can get any of Thimpress’ five LearnPress themes for as little as 44 USD, with the most expensive theme sold for 69 USD.
Thimpress offers documentation and forum support for LearnPress and its themes.
LearnPress LMS Pricing
In the LearnDash vs LearnPress battle, the price can be a determinant factor. Unlike LearnDash LMS, LearnPress is a free plugin. You can download it directly from the WordPress plugin directory and comes with a simple and practical installation wizard to help you get started.
However, we must note that LearnPress’ free core features are lacking in comparison to what LearnDash offers. In order to get the same functionality and features, LearnPress users would need to install several premium and free add-ons.
LearnPress is as simple and lightweight as an LMS plugin can get. However, it can be easily extended into a more robust platform using free and paid add-ons or even custom LMS development.
For example, you can get the following features for free using add-ons:
- Course reviews – You can collect reviews from your students and share them on your site with a free add-on.
- Course Prerequisites – If you want to set pre-requisites on your course like you would with LearnDash, you can do it by installing a free add-on.
- Course Wishlist – Using an add-on, you can allow your students to create a course wishlist from the offering on your catalog.
Among paid add-ons, you can get even more options, including the following:
- Assignments – Unlike LearnDash LMS, LearnPress doesn’t include assignments as a core feature, but you can incorporate them into your courses using an add-on
- Certificates – Certificates are not available by default, but they can be awarded using an add-on, which also provides you the tools for certificate design.
- Content Drip – If you want more control over how your students access course content you can use the Content Drip add-on and set a time when each lesson or quiz will be available
- E-commerce – You can integrate your eLearning site with WooCommerce, Stripe, or 2Checkout using paid add-ons
LearnDash vs LearnPress: How do LearnDash and LearnPress Differ?
Now the moment we’ve all been waiting for: who wins the LearnDash vs LearnPress battle?
No, but really, we can’t pick a definite winner for you. However, this is what you should keep in mind to pick a winner of your own.
Both LearnDash and LearnPress provide you with the basic tools needed to create and deliver courses online. They are both open source and run on WordPress. However, they are some noteworthy differences between the platforms we want to highlight.
While LearnPress is free, LearnDash is a paid product and as such has richer features built in. Users also have access to better support resources and a wider catalog of add-ons and integrations. However, the platform is also not as lightweight or simple as LearnPress.
Ultimately, the winner will be determined by how much you are willing to invest in your eLearning site.
Which platform would you choose for your online course? Let us know in the comments below. Need help making up your mind? Let our LMS consultants lend you a hand ( and mind). And if you liked this comparison, make sure you also check out our previous article comparing LearnDash vs Teachable.