LearnDash Review (Feb 2023): An Introduction to Learndash
In this LearnDash review, we’ll be exploring why the WordPress plugin has emerged as one of the most popular tools for educators hoping to share their knowledge online. Though relatively streamlined and simple for beginners to use, LearnDash benefits from a huge variety of features intended to empower today’s online educators.
LearnDash is an award-winning application for the WordPress ecosystem, targeted at anyone who wants to publish a course online quickly and effectively. You can choose whether you want to add some simple educational resources to your existing website, or design a full learning platform with quizzes and immersive training experiences.
Because it’s a plugin for WordPress, LearnDash is a fantastic choice for those who have already begun to build their online presence using the world’s most popular CMS. What’s more, the diverse tool integrates easily with a range of tools already used by business leaders, including Slack, WooCommerce, Stripe, Mailchimp, ConvertKit and many others.
Let’s take a closer look at what LearnDash can do.
LearnDash Review: What is LearnDash
Let’s start by exploring what LearnDash actually is. Introduced in 2013, and created by the Liquid Web company, LearnDash is a comprehensive all-in-one tool for learning management, specifically designed to plug into your WordPress site. This means content creators and educators don’t have to build a new site from scratch if they’re already using WordPress.
The tool provides everything business leaders need to produce an online course, including a drag-and-drop builder, so you can quickly organize content without the need for any coding experience. LearnDash has a rich feature set, which focuses on producing a compelling and engaging learning experience for students, helping you market and sell your courses, and ensuring you can manage your entire workflow in one place.
LearnDash competes with other well-known course creation tools like Udemy, LifterLMS, Teachable, and many others, by giving creators the option to design unlimited courses with their own custom pricing plans, and unique components. You can even integrate with other tools if you want to link your website to webinars, email marketing tools, and other features for training organizations.
There are simple payment integrations with PayPal already available, as well as options to connect to third-party solutions for memberships, subscriptions, and discount courses. Plus, LearnDash also has a fantastic selection of “add-ons” available, so you can expand your functionality whenever you choose.
LearnDash Review: Features
As mentioned above, LearnDash has quite a comprehensive feature set. On the one hand, this means you should be able to create pretty diverse learning experiences using the platform. However, it could also indicate you’ll need to spend a little extra time learning to use all the features.
Let’s take a quick look at the various features you can explore:
LearnDash Learning Experience Features
The features offered by LearnDash to enhance the “learning experience” for students are intended to boost your relationship with your learners, and make it easier to engage online customers. Business leaders and educators can create comprehensive online courses using the drag-and-drop ecosystem within WordPress, and there’s no limit on how many courses you can create.
The drag-and-drop interface is fantastic for beginners, as it means you don’t need any coding or programming knowledge to get started. You can simply pull the modules and features you need into the right place, and add your content wherever you see fit.
LearnDash also allows content creators to build their own unique learning portal via focus mode, which means you can provide your students with a distraction-free environment for their education. Dynamic content delivery means you can drip-feed your lessons to students at the pace that makes the most sense, and even require certain videos to be viewed before someone starts a new section.
There’s the option to switch between linear and open progression options, and you can set prerequisites for your courses too. For instance, you might allow some students to only access one course after they’ve completed another.
Perhaps the most compelling feature offered to enhance the learning experience on LearnDash is the dynamic quizzing solution. The quiz and assessment components allow you to switch between 8 question types, create dedicated question banks, and insert video, audio and images to both question and answer choices. Other features include:
- Flexible question display, so you can show questions however you like
- Randomize to allow you display different questions in different ways
- Limits on the number of attempts a students can make to answer correctly
- Blocked progression so students have to pass one quiz to start another
- Time limits and tracking to see how long customers spend on quizzes
- Hints with video, text, and image inserts.
- Leader boards for gamification
- Certificates and levels upon quiz completion
- Answer statistics and dynamic results displays
- Question reviews and category scoring
- Email results
- Compatibility with any WordPress theme
The versatile feature set included with LearnDash also ensures you can keep your students engaged every step of the way. There’s the option to design your own discussion forum where customers can interact about courses, as well as various badges, certificates, leader boards, and course points for gamification among your students.
LearnDash Marketing and Sales Features
LearnDash doesn’t just make it easy to create your courses and engage your learners, it also ensures you can attract new students to your content too. With this plugin, course creators can choose exactly how they want to promote and sell each course. There’s the option to set one-time purchasing prices, and integrate PayPal, Stripe or 2Checkout into your course for an immediate transaction.
If you need help convincing your customers to buy, you can offer free samples of your content, to provide students with an insight into what they can expect. If you’re offering a range of educational content pieces, or you want to keep students coming back for longer, you can also create subscriptions with recurring payment options. You’ll be able to create course bundles, or apply subscriptions to each course individually, depending on your needs.
Other sales features include:
- Custom shopping carts: You can add a shopping cart to your online courses with a free WordPress integration like Easy Digital Downloads or WooCommerce. This allows you to use just about any payment gateway you like, as well as adding coupons, sales, course bundles, tax rules, sales funnels, and custom receipts into the mix.
- Memberships: For your most loyal customers, you can create membership accounts in different tiers. Different members will be able to access specific courses and resources. You can also choose to sell memberships for a one-time price, or charge a monthly subscription fee. This gives you more freedom on how you’re going to make a profit.
- Course bundles: If you have various courses available with related information, you’ll be able to combine them together into bundles. There’s also the option to run flash sales for different bundles, to give customers access to more tools, or provide them with a discount when they buy multiple courses at the same time.
Bulk access controls are also available, so you can allow customers to purchase licenses in bulk, and grant access to staff members. This is ideal if you’re going to be selling your courses on a B2B basis. There’s even access to built-in reporting, so business leaders can track the progress of their staff.
From a marketing perspective, LearnDash ensures you can attract and nurture your audiences through a range of integrations with leading tools. You can use MailChimp or Convertkit to send automated emails to your customers every step of the way. Plus, you’ll be able to create landing pages so you can collect as many contact details as possible for potential customers.
LearnDash Administrative and Management Features
LearnDash also makes managing your courses as straightforward and convenient as possible. A comprehensive backend environment means you can track all kinds of information about your learners and courses in one convenient place. You can segment users into groups and sub-groups, and even bring other members of your team into the ecosystem.
You’ll have complete control over how courses and assignments are distributed to each individual user. Plus, your students can log in and check out which courses they can access with their own unique member account. You and your team will be able to approve quizzes, comment on assignments, and even award points to different users based on their progress.
There’s also automated syncing with the LearnDash quiz and assignments tools, and manual grading functionality available for more complex lessons, though this does require users to pay extra.
Detailed reporting tools are also built into the back-end, so you can gather insights into things like how many people are enrolling in your courses, and whether they’re making suitable progress. You’ll also be able to see which of your students are making the most progress, and you can share reports with business leaders accessing your courses for their teams too.
LearnDash Review: User Experience
LearnDash is great for beginners and all kinds of course creators. First of all, the plugin works seamlessly with WordPress, regardless of what theme you’re using, so it’s easy to get your whole system up and running with no custom coding.
Once you’ve installed LearnDash, you’ll be able to find it within your WordPress sidebar, so there’s no need to jump back and forth between different tools.
There’s integration available with page builders like Elementor, Divi, and BeaverBuilder, so you can quickly customize components of your website and course experience. Plus, built-in editing tools allow you to choose the colors, logos, course display options, and lesson experiences most appealing to your audience. A REST API also allows those with developer knowledge to create custom functionality whenever necessary.
For true beginners, the LearnDash site is packed full of useful documentation, FAQs and guides to get you started. The instructional content will give you a better understanding of exactly how the plugin works and what you can do with it. The plugin also naturally embeds some tutorial videos into your WordPress dashboard to get you started too, and there’s a Facebook group if you want to discuss the experience with other users.
As soon as you launch LearnDash, you’ll gain a link to a mini boot camp, which guides you through the key steps of configuring the plugin and creating your first course. There are videos available to help you understand the features of LearnDash, as well as tips on how to access customer support.
LearnDash Review: Creating and Configuring Courses
The LearnDash course builder makes it as simple and straightforward as possible to start teaching students in the digital world. You can organize your course content however you choose with the drag-and-drop builder, and add e-learning lessons into the mix whenever. It’s even possible to create the structure for your course then add the lessons later.
Users on LearnDash can use site-wide course creation tools to apply specific settings to every course in their library. For instance, you can decide whether all of your courses require users to have a membership before they can access them.
It’s also easy to implement specific settings for different courses. For instance, the Learndash plugin allows you to define course prerequisites for each lesson, choose who can access the course, and even assign certificates to those who complete the experience successfully. The course points feature also means you can distribute points to customers every time they take a new lesson. The points your users earn can dictate their enrolment options for other courses, so you can ensure people finish certain topics before taking the next step in their online learning journey.
If all this seems like a lot, there’s also the option to allow free access to all of your courses, regardless of your user’s existing points or subscriptions. Other control options include tools which allow you to set how long a user will have access to a course after their enrolment date, and whether their data will be deleted after a certain time.
The lesson-building tools are extremely user-friendly too. You can choose a template for each lesson, give it a description, and start configuring it through the settings tab, using the same tools you would use for managing your course. Because everything is designed to work with your WordPress website, it only takes a matter of minutes to add new lessons to courses. While building your lessons, you can add all kinds of content, from written text to video, and more.
Plus, you can configure how users move through your courses, by adding forced timers to pages to prevent customers from moving on too quickly, and drip-feeding new lessons to members at specific times, with automated email notifications.
Overall, the various Learndash features available within the plugin, combined with the drag-and-drop course builder ensure anyone can jump into creating an online course with minimal effort.
One of the best ways to enhance any LearnDash course is with quizzes. As mentioned above, Learndash gives you a number of options for how to set up and deliver your quizzes. You’ll be able to choose from a range of quiz types, then access the “settings” tab to define how the quiz will work.
Aside from setting prerequisites for who can access the quiz, you can also set a passing score, and define whether users will receive points and certificates when they finish a new course.
Each quiz template comes with its own set of questions, and you can choose between multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and essay-style answer options. The LearnDash membership plugin also makes it straightforward to rapidly publish your courses, quizzes, and lessons to your WordPress site, with minimal effort, so you can update your system as often as you like.
LearnDash Pricing: Your Options
To create a LearnDash course, you’ll need to access a subscription package. There are two options available. You can either purchase the LearnDash WordPress plugin, or use LearnDash “Cloud” to design an entire website with LearnDash already built-in.
LearnDash Cloud is $29 per month with a 15-day money-back guarantee, and comes with domain and hosting included, as well as 15 templates for your website, with various customization tools. The package also includes ProPanel, so you can monitor enrolment and student progress with advanced reporting capabilities. This could be an excellent option if you want to access all the best features of WordPress and LearnDash at once, without paying separately.
If you already have a WordPress site, there are 3 packages available for the LearnDash plugin. All of these also include the 15-day money-back guarantee:
- 1 Site: $199 per year (access to all features)
- 10 sites: $399 per year (access to all features)
- Unlimited: $799 per year (access to all features)
LearnDash Review: Verdict
If you’re looking for a convenient way to create your own courses online, while still accessing all the benefits of WordPress for custom site creation, LearnDash is a great choice. The LearnDash LMS environment is brimming with easy-to-use functionality, making it easy for people from any background to start sharing their knowledge online.
New features are also constantly being introduced, so you’re sure to see updates to how LearnDash works to help you engage and empower your learners in the years to come. For full educational institutions, standalone teachers, or freelancers, Learndash is one of the best WordPress plugins around. Thanks to an amazing range of features, you can design a custom front-end experience for all of your students, without much of a learning curve.
However, do keep in mind that while LearnDash does boast excellent ease of use, its varied capabilities could take a while to get used to.