Whether you know about cooking, coding, or anything in between, you should consider selling courses to monetize your expertise.
Learning Management Systems (LMS) are platforms for e-Learning and a great way in which anyone can do that.
Two of the most popular LMS out there are LearnDash and LifterLMS. At first glance, they look pretty similar, and deciding on one over the other can be really hard.
That’s why today, we’ll review them, talk about their specific features and see, once and for all, which one is the best.
LearnDash vs LifterLMS
LearnDash is a learning management system launched in 2013 and powered by Nexcess.
It’s also available as a premium WordPress plugin.
Thanks to its very powerful tools, you can create complex courses and monetize them.
Simply by looking at the companies that trust LearnDash, you can tell it’s special. Some big online training courses that use LearnDash are none other than the University of Michigan and the Yoast Academy.
So if you join LearnDash, you’ll be in good company.
If you want to have a more in-depth analysis of LearnDash, check out our LearnDash review and tutorial.
LifterLMS is a WordPress learning management system that was launched in 2014 by Chris Badgett and Thomas Levy.
LifterLMS has all the bells and whistles you can think of. Excellent course management tools (including inventory management, asset tracking, and assessment tools), thorough reporting features, outstanding integrations and the ability to manage course files on your local WordPress site using FTP.
Both platforms have drag-and-drop course builders that are super user-friendly. You’ll work with the WordPress block editor for building the course and its lessons.
And if you wish to edit LearnDash dynamic content, you can use their Elementor compatibility integration.
Besides structuring the courses into lessons, they also let you have course sections to provide an additional way to organize your content.
Since they don’t require any technical skills, LearnDash and LifterLMS’ builders are quite even and you’ll have fun using any of them.
Extensions and themes
This might be the point at which LearnDash and LifterLMS most differ.
Well, LearnDash list of plugins is endless. You’ll find the WISDM Instructor Role for LearnDash, the Uncanny Owl Toolkit, and the LearnDash Essential Add-Ons Pack, among others.
LifterLMS doesn’t have as many extensions, although it does have some very popular ones, such as Mailchimp and WooCommerce.
The same goes for themes. LearnDash has numerous officially supported themes, which is excellent if you need sophisticated features that require multiple add-ons. LifterLMS are fewer.
Both LearnDash and LifterLMS are very competent in this field. They’ve created their own shortcodes to insert content into page builders, which means you won’t have to use third-party plugins.
And they’ve programmed these shortcodes to be 100% compatible with every theme or plugin on the market, including WordPress visual editor themes.
LearnDash also offers blocks, which provide an easier interface in which to insert content and customize the options. However, they can only be used in Gutenberg.
LearnDash and LifterLMS have quizzes, certificates, assignments, awards and badges. LifterLMS does this through a GamiPress add-on.
LearnDash, on the other hand, although it also recommends using plugins, already counts with a toolbox to quickly get started with gamification.
LearnDash helps you keep students engaged by giving drip-feed lessons, showing people’s progression and setting access to courses based on some prerequisites.
Moreover, if you connect LearnDash to Zapier, you’ll access engagement triggers. These triggers allow you to automate responses to a learner’s specific action. For example, once set, LearnDash can open a live chat when someone fails a quiz. Or you can automatically send a specific email as soon as someone completes a lesson.
LifterLMS, on the other hand, recommends using AutomatorWP for automation. The plugin is free and it allows you to set different triggers and actions. For example, rewarding students for certain achievements or activities, such as posting in a discussion.
The plugin also integrates with other third-party services, such as Google Sheets, Slack and Zendesk.
LearnDash lets you offer private coaching or tutoring sessions with a premium add-on.
LifterLMS, on the contrary, includes private coaching on its plans, so you don’t have to pay an extra fee.
Learndash’s quizzes include a wide variety of questions, from multiple choice to essay upload and assessment.
LifterLMS has three basic questions on their free plan: multiple choice, picture choice and true or false. Advance questions include code, scale and file upload, but still aren’t as many as Learndash’s.
LearnDash has a ProPannel add-on that deeply improves your admin experience, including access to advanced analytics. You’ll see your student’s real-time activity, the assignments pending, the number of courses and more.
LifterLMS’ reports include the number of students and courses they are enrolled in, as well as attempts on quizzes.
Both LearnDash and LifterLMS let you offer free courses to generate leads as well as sell your courses and accept payments via PayPal and Stripe.
You can also integrate with WooCommerce to handle payments and use its flexible coupons.
Here LearnDash has, once again, more options, since it gives you ten built-in gateways and eCommerce platforms to process payments. LifterLMS only has four.
LearnDash has a pretty cool feature called Focus Mode that removes the main navigation and footer elements, so your students have 0 distractions. It’s also mobile-friendly, so no matter the device they use, the option will be available.
LifterLMS doesn’t have a similar feature.
Both platforms also have a Groups feature that lets you offer your courses and memberships to groups with additional group management features. LifterLMS even lets you assign a group leader role.
LearnDash is available only in English. However, they have user-donated translations for multiple languages, from Arabic to Swedish. For those interested in other languages, they recommend using free translation tools such as poEdit or Loco Translate.
Similarly, LifterLMS supports English and requires translators for other languages.
Support and resources
As a learning plugin, LearnDash gives its customers all the resources to quickly learn how to start using its tools. They have guides, video tutorials, live webinars and clear documentation.
And if you visit their demo site and create a free account, you’ll get access to multiple videos guiding you through LearnDash.
They even have a Facebook Community where you can discuss ideas with others and post questions.
LifterLMS has a super active YouTube channel, a podcast, community events and an Academy full of super useful courses like The Official Quickstart Course for LifterLMS.
You can contact them by submitting a ticket.
All of LearnDash’s plans come with a copy of their entire demo site so you can use it as a template and get started quickly. And LifterLMS lets you install a sample course and replace it with your content.
LearnDash doesn’t have free trials, but their free 48-hour demo lets you have a sense of all you can do with the LMS.
Besides credit cards, they also accept PayPal, and they have a 15-day money-back guarantee. Now let’s see why they have won Capterra’s #1 Most Affordable LMS:
- One site: $199 per year. It includes updates and support for one site.
- Ten sites: $399 per year.
- Unlimited: $799 per year.
If instead of their WordPress plugin, you prefer a fully-hosted course website, you will have to pay $29 per month. And for a $50 value, you’ll also get the ProPannel.
LifterLMS, on the other side, has a 30-day money-back guarantee. They also let you test all features for $1 for 30 days.
LifterLMS offers bundles, so all the add-ons you might need are already included in the price.
- Earth Bundle: $149 per year. It includes one active site and ecommerce add-ons.
- Universe Bundle: $360 per year. Includes 5 active sites as well as marketing and CRM add-ons.
- Infinity Bundle: $1200 per year. Includes unlimited active sites, private coaching and social learning features.
They also have a free plugin that lets you create unlimited courses with unlimited student capacity.
LearnDash Pros and Cons
- Easy to use.
- Tons of extensions.
- Focus mode.
- Doesn’t have a trial or free plan.
LifterLMS Pros and Cons
- Flexible course options.
- It has a free plan and a trial of 30 days.
- Not as many integrations or extensions.
The choice is hard. Both LearnDash and LifterLMS are very attractive LMS and user-friendly.
Ultimately, the choice between LearnDash and LifterLMS will depend on your specific needs and goals.
If you require advanced course management features and are willing to pay for them, LearnDash may be the better option for you.
But if you are just starting out and want a simple, user-friendly solution, LifterLMS may be the better option.
Have you got any experience with LearnDash or LifterLMS?
Tell us in the comments!