As a teacher, you want the best for your students… and also your economy. You might’ve already heard about some of the best platforms to create online courses but don’t know which one is more suitable for you.
Today, we’re going to help you choose one by focusing on two popular tools: LearnDash and Teachable. We’ll compare its features, pricing, pros and cons and see which is the best.
LearnDash vs Teachable
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.
Teachable is an online course platform that has existed since 2015. Its predecessor, Fedora, a place to sell online courses, was born in 2013 when a recent graduate of UC Berkeley decided to build his own course platform.
Teachable is currently home to more than 100,000 creators that use it either to sell courses, coaching sessions or digital downloads.
While LearnDash is open-source, Teachable is a closed system. So, you don’t have the flexibility to add all the extensions you want. Although you might not need it.
Both platforms have drag-and-drop course builders that are super user-friendly and come with multiple customizable templates.
Teachable has page revisions, so every time you save, a revision is created and you can take a step back if you don’t like where you’re heading.
It also has Unsplash integrated into its page builder, so you can access its whole library and use it on your online course.
If you don’t have the time to build your sales page, you can get in touch with Teachable and let them build one for you. The process typically takes a week.
As to LearnDash, it counts with hundreds of compatible plugins and themes to present your content. You can even use their Elementor compatibility integration to edit dynamic content.
Here it’s safe to say that LearnDash excels in its control over course creation and management thanks to relying on the CMS capabilities of WordPress.
As a WordPress plugin, LearnDash has shortcodes and blocks, which offer multiple customization options.
The shortcodes let you insert content into page builders, which means you won’t have to use third-party plugins. Besides, they are 100% compatible with every theme or plugin on the market, including WordPress visual editor themes.
Blocks, on the other hand, provide an easier interface in which to insert content and customize the options.
Teachable has neither blocks nor shortcodes.
As we know, gamification is a key aspect of any online course. Being online is distracting, so adding gamification features is important to keep your students engaged.
LearnDash counts with a toolkit to quickly get started with gamification. They have quizzes, certificates, assignments, awards and badges.
Their quizzes are quite complete, they include a wide variety of questions, from multiple choice to essay upload and assessment.
Teachable, however, has a problem in this area. They are almost completely devoid of this functionality.
Since both platforms integrate with Zapier, you can access different automation, for example, engagement triggers, which allow you to automate responses to a learner’s specific action.
Once set, LearnDash or Teachable can open a live chat each time someone fails a quiz. Or you can automatically send a specific email as soon as someone completes a lesson.
LearnDash lets you offer private coaching or tutoring sessions with a premium add-on. Teachable, on the other hand, includes coaching sessions on all its plans.
It also comes with in-built video conferencing functionality, which means you don’t need to rely on Zoom or any other external tool to teach your students. As a part-time Spanish teacher myself, I know how life-saving these built-in video communication features are.
On Teachable, on the Pro plan and up, schools can access course reporting tools. They provide detailed information about students’ lecture completion rates, quiz scores, video stats and student leaderboards.
You can also filter course reports by using tags. This allows you to segment your reports by specific cohorts or groups of students.
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.
Both LearnDash and Teachable let you offer free courses to generate leads as well as sell your courses and membership subscription plans. They also let you accept payments via PayPal and Stripe.
Teachable, however, also has two native payment getaways. One is teachable:pay, which automatically handles US sales taxes, EU VAT tax and other digital content taxes outside of US and EU. The other is called Monthly Payment Gateway.
Schools that are unable to set up teachable:pay are eligible for the Monthly Payment Gateway.
This means, although LearnDash has more flexibility than Teachable, the latter’s built-in features make it a much more straightforward option.
Teachable, unlike Learndash, lets you sell digital downloads. You can create, upload and sell podcasts, newsletters, customizable templates and even music.
LearnDash has a Focus Mode that is applied on all screens whenever your students want to avoid distractions. When they enable this mode, the main navigation and footer elements are removed from the page.
Teachable integrates with Mailchimp, Zapier, ConvertKit, Google Analytics, Segment and more. They also have a public API.
LearnDash integrates with Mailchimp, WooCommerce and GamiPress, among others. It also has multiple plugins such as the Some WISDM Instructor Role for LearnDash, the Uncanny Owl Toolkit and the LearnDash Essential Add-Ons Pack.
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.
Teachable supports English and lets you translate text fields.
Support and resources
Learning Management Systems have the most complete and diverse resources to help you get started.
LearnDash has 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.
Teachable, on the other hand, has workbooks, checklists, a blog and a podcast. They also have a Community but it’s not on Facebook. You’ll have to pay a membership to be a part of it.
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.
Teachable has a free plan that lets you have unlimited students but it has a transactional fee on sales of $1 and 10%.
Then it has three premium plans:
- Basic: $59 per month. The transactional fee is 5% and it comes with unlimited coaching and unlimited digital downloads.
- Pro: $159 per month. No transactional fees, a public API and affiliate marketing features.
- Business: $665 per month. Includes 20 admin users, advanced theme customization and migration services.
LearnDash Pros and Cons
- Tons of gamification.
- WordPress plugin.
- Shortcodes and blocks.
- Doesn’t have a free plan.
Teachable Pros and Cons
- Built-in ecommerce features.
- Built-in video conferencing features.
- API available.
- Doesn’t have gamification features.
So we’ve seen what LearnDash and Teachable can do.
Teachable is certainly the best option if you want to have live lessons, besides a course, your students can take at their own pace. It’s also great if you’re just starting since it has a forever-free plan and everything is super straightforward.
However, LearnDash gamification features and its custom flexibility make it a tool really hard to beat, and so it stands as the most powerful online course builder and therefore our winner.
What do you think about these course builders?
Which one is your favorite?
Tell us in the comments!