When you are beginning to teach online and are hunting for an LMS, you will first come across the usual suspect – Learndash. Most find it easy and accessible as it operates within the WordPress ecosystem. The goal of Learndash is to make learning and teaching online easy with straightforward and navigable courses. But, so are the goals of other LMS tools.
Gone are the days when Learndash would be your go-to option. There are a lot of other newer and better options that you can choose from. As a teacher, you always need to keep yourself updated. Today, let us tell you why you should move on from Learndash and how. Hop on!
Why Not Learndash?
Let us first be clear that Learndash is popular for a few reasons. The core Learndash plugin provides all basic LMS requirements, including a PayPal gateway add-on. There are free extensions for Stripe, WooCommerce, and Zapier add-ons as well. All this, along with some free plugin options. Other key features include the new Focus Mode UI for students, the new course builder, Astra theme integration, and some new essential add-ons.
So, what does Learndash NOT have? Quite a few things.
- Difficult Learning Curve: There is no day-zero onboarding, which is a basic need. As per Colin Newcomer from aThemes, “Learndash pretty much throws you to the wolves.” The lack of an introductory tour makes things very difficult for the first few days or weeks, at least. Sure, the internet is flooded with ‘How To’ articles. However, that’s not what an excited teacher wants to spend their initial course-building days doing.
- Need for Third-Party Plugins: Learndash only features basic functionality for selling courses. You will most certainly need a plugin such as WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads for serious sales. Even for membership enablement, you need a new plugin. True, there are dedicated interaction plugins. But, it still means going outside Learndash and educating yourself in other interfaces too.
- Too Much Going On: With the numerous plugins, free and paid, and a plethora of options, Learndash does not live up to its promise of making things easier for teachers. The deep functionality provides too much choice, which means too much confusion. You will eventually build your course with Learndash once you build your patience and resistance to frustration.
5 Solutions to The Learndash Problem
Like we said before, Learndash is not your go-to online course creator anymore. There are many more to explore. Here are our top 5 picks.
FreshLMS is a no-code platform that allows you to build your online school and sell them with high levels of flexibility and personalization. It puts you in charge at every step of the way. Essentially, FreshLMS is a canvas for teachers to paint and let their powers unleash into their online school!
- One-click functionality for uploading videos, embedding videos, creating and adding documents, creating quizzes, and adding audio.
- Connect to Stripe or PayPal on Day Zero itself.
- Quick enablement of membership.
- Assessment types: Single-choice, multichoice, video, audio, and much more.
- Fully Whitelabel branding scope right from brand colors to landing pages to URLs.
- Choice of worldwide languages.
- Easy creation of coupon codes.
- Dripping course content.
- Smart third-party integrations.
- Free plan available.
- Paid plan prices starting at $29/month.
- Create an online course and sell it on your personalized online storefront within 60 minutes.
- Entirely personalized branding for the smallest of elements to make your course truly unique.
- Smooth and quick technological processes to let you focus on content and creativity.
- Capability to embed videos from Amazon S3.
- Zero commissions. Your money is entirely yours.
- Translation in virtually any language for worldwide reach and appeal.
- Convenient integrations such as HubSpot, Mailchimp, Google Analytics, and much more make your job even easier.
Teachable notably has a design meant to flow with the course content, making creation smoother. It is streamlined and organized to a great degree but does not check all the boxes in the journey. It makes you go for the age-old technological compromise of consuming a product that’s closest to what you want and adapting to cover up the rest.
- Linking of an existing website to Teachable under a custom domain.
- A power editor to add multimedia and make your online class lively.
- Exhaustive list of integration partners.
- Comprehensive dashboard for tracking sales and insights.
- Scope for authors, team members, etc., with customized permissions and payment methods for each.
- Unlimited students on all paid plans.
- One-on-one sessions with easy call hosting features.
- Affiliate marketing tools.
- Multi-currency payment options.
- Four pricing options for flexibility.
- Upselling features.
- Dripping course content for easy course implementation.
- A smooth affiliate program with payouts.
- No capabilities for personalizing or automating emails.
- A percentage of sales charged as commission.
- No membership features.
- Need to duplicate courses for resetting, leading to a cluttered backend.
A popular online course platform, Thinkific is quite similar to Teachable in terms of advantages and features. Popular brands such as Hootsuite use Thinkific for their online academy programs. It allows for rich media and text in high-quality courses and membership sites. It comes with an easily navigable drag-and-drop backend curriculum designer, too, which is one of its most popular features.
- Drag-and-drop course builder
- Live lessons
- Cohorts, communities, and memberships
- Product flexibility with standalone courses, bundles, and memberships
- Coupons, subscriptions, monthly payment options
- Customizable website themes
- Integration-ready interface
- Cloud hosting
- Open API and automation
- A free pricing option
- No transaction fees
- Regular and priority on-call support as per plan
- Voice-over PowerPoint presentation tool
- Flexible payment options for students
- A high degree of customization and scope for branding
- Unlimited courses, unlimited students
- Intuitive and much easier to use than Learndash
- No chat support
- Need to code for complex HTML and CSS tweaks
- No marketing support
- Costly for beginners
- Heavy transaction fees even for the ‘Free’ plan
- Hefty transaction fees for the ‘Essentials’ plan
- Poor quality checkout as per online reviews
- Limited customization options for the crucial ‘Thank you’ page
“Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
- Mark Twain
An online teaching enterprise is no less risky than any other enterprise, and Kajabi knows that. Its core quality is inspiring and supporting e-learning entrepreneurs. It promises to put all your goals, processes, and tech requirements on one dashboard to save you the logistical frustration, giving you more significant space to create and grow. But does it actually deliver? Let’s find out.
- Online course, membership site, and coaching program builder
- One-click templates
- Customizable pricing, delivery, and packaging
- Stripe and PayPal integration
- Data analytical features
- Visual builder for customizable emails
- Kajabi Pipeline (for automation)
- Comprehensive website building tool
- Highly integrated online teaching platform
- Plethora of tools
- User-friendly interface
- Large number of customizable themes
- Wistia as a video host
- In-built sales funnel software
- Community platform
- More expensive than most other online course creator platforms
- No certificate creation tool
- Limited customization for assessments
- Need to code for editing site posts
- Small marketplace with limited filters and features for students
5. iSpring Market
iSpring Market’s entire proposition is ‘Start selling online courses in one day. This sounds amazing. (Only until you find a platform that can enable you to teach online and start selling your courses in just an hour!) It does offer quite a few flexibility and customization options and even a smooth learner’s portal. But does iSpring Market stand the test of LMS quality and ease?
- Sell your courses 24/7
- Immediate payment with no hidden fees
- Multiple content formats
- Flexible course pricing options
- Adaptive content across devices
- Gamified learning design
- Lead magnets and coupons
- Zapier integration for multiple marketing functionalities
- Actionable reports for traffic, sales, promotions, etc.
- Get rid of the technical challenges of eCommerce systems
- Intuitive, modern interface
- Mobile app with functionality of a desktop version
- Gamification with leaderboards and badges
- Integration-ready API
- Pricing plans based on the number of users
- True discussion boards missing
- Limited integration scope
- No custom reporting facility
- Suitable for other businesses but not for individual online teachers
Why FreshLMS Ranks The Highest
Each of the other four options illustrated above gives a specific advantage or proposition. Each of the other three platforms lacks in one aspect, which is customization and personalization. It’s been a long time since online teachers have been waiting for an opportunity to conduct classes the way they do in physical classrooms — entirely on their own terms. Moreover, the base pricing of FreshLMS is so significantly lower that it simply trumps all other platforms out there!
It is ultimately up to you to decide which LMS you want to go for. But remember one thing.
“My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long University education that I never had — every day, I’m learning something new.”
- Richard Branson
As a teacher and an entrepreneur, you need to keep learning all the time. Only when you take each small step of the way at your own peril will you be a master of all the tricks of the trade. This is exactly what FreshLMS offers you – an opportunity to teach yourself, so that you can teach the world better.