In this LearnDash Review, I look at one of the most popular WordPress LMS plugins available and provide a complete overview of its key pros and cons. Is it right for your business? Let’s find out.
As a course developer, I have personal experience with platforms like Teachable, Kartra, Thinkific, and ThriveCart. Having used these services, I now better understand what it takes to launch a profitable online course business.
In this review of LearnDash, I will discuss why I believe this platform is best suited for a certain sort of course and why it is not the ideal option for most business owners. And I’ll explain why I think the other systems I’ve tried are superior in most cases.
With any luck, you can utilize this data to make an educated choice on which platform is best for your course company.
Who uses LearnDash? 😍
Companies and individuals need a way to keep their employees and customers engaged and always learning.
As more companies and individuals turn to technology for learning, they need a way to keep up with the latest trends in education.
Is LearnDash any good?✅
LearnDash is a light-weight, flexible LMS built on WordPress that is powering learning programs for Fortune 500 companies, major universities, best-selling authors, and ‘solopreneurs’ worldwide.
I went hands-on with LearnDash to offer you a genuine look at how it operates and what it does effectively to help you make your decision.
At the end of this article, I want you to feel sure whether LearnDash is the correct tool for your needs.
To that end, here’s how I’m going to organize this LearnDash review. Depending on your level of knowledge of the plugin, you may want to skip forward to one of the more detailed parts – the choice is yours!
- Introduction to LearnDash and a list of features
- A hands-on look at how the LearnDash dashboard works –
- LearnDash PROS and CONS
So let’s start with the LearnDash review in detail.
LearnDash Review 😍
LearnDash’s outstanding capability and adaptability may not suit everyone. If you don’t have time to examine learndash’s capabilities and options or have simple online course design requirements, this plugin may not work for you. LearnDash is expensive, and there are cheaper and free alternatives.
LearnDash should work for most eLearning initiatives, from simple courses to online learning systems. Despite training videos and other tools, some users may struggle with the learning curve and many settings.
If you require Learndash’s functionality and don’t mind exploring the options, this plugin is hard to beat.
You may probably skip to the following part if you’re already familiar with the LearnDash feature list and want a more hands-on look.
But, in case you haven’t already spent some time on the LearnDash website, I’d like to start with a quick overview of the plugin’s features to get you up to speed.
Who Uses LearnDash in the Real World?
LearnDash is used by a variety of large educational institutions and businesses, as well as several smaller websites and teachers.
You have large stakeholders on the enterprise/institution side, such as:
- University of Florida
- University of Michigan
And on the smaller end, you have sites like:
- WP Elevation
- Mindful Life
Building A Course With LearnDash
Okay, now comes the part of the LearnDash review where I use the plugin and demonstrate how it works. This isn’t a comprehensive tutorial; my goal is to give you a sense of how LearnDash works on the backend.
Then, in the following section, I’ll go through some of the things I appreciate about LearnDash…as well as some of the things I don’t.
To get a feel for it, I created a test site including LearnDash integration. Unless you use a theme with a dedicated LearnDash integration, your courses may not look as polished immediately if you use a different theme.
You’ll see a massive new LearnDash LMS section in your WordPress dashboard menu after installing LearnDash.
This is where you’ll spend most of your time.
Developing A New Course
Because LearnDash uses simple custom post types, navigating the LearnDash interface is simple. To create your first course, for example, go to Courses Add New (just like you would an ordinary WordPress post):
The top of the Add New Course interface resembles the ordinary WordPress editor. However, scrolling down will reveal a new Course meta box where you can customize key features.
The question mark icons are quite useful since they explain how each setting works:
You’ll notice this question marks all throughout the interface, and they usually do an excellent job of explaining what’s going on.
The drag-and-drop LearnDash Course Builder is located further down the page.
It’s a lot easier to set up and arrange your courses with this visual, drag-and-drop interface:
You must drag the available classes, subjects, and quizzes from the left to the right.
You can also use the drag-and-drop builder to create new classes, subjects, and quizzes if you want to. You’ll have to go back and edit them afterward, of course. When you’re simply laying down the skeleton for your course, however, it’s handy to be able to quickly add them.
In addition, the drag-and-drop editor in LearnDash features a button that opens the edit screen for a lesson, topic, or quiz in a new tab. This makes it very simple to alter a particular item when needed.
Setting Up Course Topics And Lessons
Lessons serve as the foundation for your courses. Each lesson can also be subdivided into different subjects.
So here’s the order of things:
Course > Lesson > Topic
You can design lessons and topics using the aforementioned visual builder in the course interface. You can also use the sidebar’s dedicated menus.
You can choose the associated course for a lesson when editing it, as well as execute other activities such as:
- I’m going to upload an assignment for that lesson.
- The lesson is being fed to you in small doses.
- Video advancement is now possible (makes it easy to embed video content as part of your lesson)
Similarly, when editing a single topic, you can select which course and lesson it belongs to and a few other similar options.
Any changes you make in these different interfaces will seamlessly sync to the visual course builder, making it simple to transition back and forth.
Shortcodes for Embedding Course Content On The Front End
I have a couple more items to show you…
But, for the time being, I have a working, albeit barebones, course.
So, let’s take a small detour and look at how LearnDash displays front-end material.
That response? There are shortcodes!
LearnDash provides a long array of shortcodes in the Courses area to display a variety of content:
You have a lot of options, which is great (though also a bit overwhelming).
To make it easier to manage, click the new LearnDash Shortcodes button in the WordPress editor to select from a wide range of options:
But let me give you a simple example. All you have to do to display a single course is use the [course content] shortcode along with the course ID.
Adding the shortcode to an ordinary WordPress page like this, for example…
On the front end, it creates your complete course structure. Take a look at the hierarchy once more:
Other course topics, such as:
- a complete list of courses
- Profiles of users
- Course categories, advancement groups, and so forth.
You’ll use the same shortcode strategy.
Creating Quizzes And Assignments
Returning to the WordPress dashboard now to demonstrate a couple additional LearnDash features.
You have a couple of options if you want to torture your course participants by making them, gasp, really perform work:
Let’s begin with the quizzes. There are an absurd number of alternatives available here. You have a lot of choice over how your quizzes work (though I know some people are frustrated by the restricted number of question type
It would be a chore to set up all of these options for each and every quiz. LearnDash, on the other hand, thought of it and incorporated a useful feature that allows you to save a set of settings as a template, allowing you to easily spin up pre-configured quizzes and save a tonne of time.
You’ll go to the Questions tab to start creating your questions, where you can:
Enter your question’s text here.
Select a question type (e.g. multiple choice, essay, fill in the blank, etc.)
You create assignments in the Lessons or Topics interface (you already saw those). In the Assignments section, you may then handle any assignments that have been submitted:
Settings, Reports, And Groups
Three more options are available in the LearnDash LMS sidebar area to fill things out:
Groups — This feature allows you to assign group leaders to a group of members.
Reports – allows you to keep track of statistics for your courses and students.
Settings — This section allows you to customize basic settings such as translations, PayPal settings, and more.
Seven features of LearnDash that you’ll like(Pros).
Hopefully, the foregoing gives you a good idea of how LearnDash would be used on the backend at a high level. Now I’d like to point out a few features of LearnDash that I believe you’ll enjoy.
1. The Visual Course Builder Is Exceptionally Beneficial
Laying up your course and visualizing how everything interacts is a lot easier with the Visual Course Builder. I can’t see ever using an LMS plugin that doesn’t include a drag-and-drop builder.
Moreover, the ability to quickly add additional lessons, subjects, and quizzes directly from the course builder makes it simple to lay out everything at once and then update as needed.
2. Drip-Fed Content And Prereqs Are Drip-Fed Is Convenient
The built-in drip content option for classes is quite useful if you want to keep people coming back to your course (or simply prevent them from binge-watching it in one sitting).
LearnDash gives you the option of:
After you sign up, make the content available for X days.
Set a deadline for the content to be available.
Similarly, the prerequisites functionality is useful if you want to ensure that people have the necessary core knowledge before enrolling in an advanced course.
You can use requirements to establish a series of courses that serve as prerequisites. Then you can assess whether a prospective student needs to have:
Completed ALL of those courses
Completed at least one of those courses
3. An exclusive video progression feature
If you utilize videos in your courses, learn dash’s Video Progression feature makes it simple to embed films that are either self-owned or hosted elsewhere.
You may even be more inventive and:
- After the viewer has finished watching the video, automatically mark the lessons/topics as complete.
- Send students to the next video as soon as the previous one finishes.
- Hide the play bar (to minimize skipping), set videos to autoplay, and much more.
4. Automated Engagement Triggers
Engagement triggers are a valuable feature that allows you to do “something” automatically in response to a certain action taken by a learner:
That’s a little hazy… However, because the instrument is so versatile, it must be imprecise. You can choose from a variety of triggers, such as when a user:
- Becomes a student in a class.
- Finishes a lesson
- Failure to pass a quiz
- creates and submits an assignment
- Hasn’t logged in in a specific amount of time
And so on.
You have a few options for what you can do on your side after you’ve triggered an event. To begin, you can send the user a personalised email. That is already beneficial.
But it’s LearnDash’s Zapier integration that’s actually cool. If you’re unfamiliar with Zapier, it’s a service that allows you to link a variety of apps.
You can use learndash’s triggers and Zapier to automate tasks like:
As soon as a user enrolls in a course, add them to a specific segment in your email marketing program.
When someone fails a quiz, create a help desk request or start a live chat.
When someone enrolls in a course, send yourself a text.
There are a lot more
5. There are a variety of official and third-party add-ons available for increased functionality.
If you require additional functionality beyond that provided by the main LearnDash plugin, there is a large marketplace of both official and third-party add-ons that can assist you:
- Other plugins can be integrated.
- Notifications via email
- Incorporate badges into your classes.
- Improve the design of your courses
6. Simple Localization Translations
LearnDash makes it simple to translate and localize your course content without the need for a separate plugin if English isn’t your site’s original language:
And you can also download/upload the PO file if you want more control
7. Much less expensive than SaaS alternatives
Finally, there’s the question of cost. When compared to SaaS products like Teachable, one of the major advantages of LearnDash is the amount of money you may save.
Teachable’s basic subscription, for example, already costs $39 per month plus a 5% transaction fee! If you don’t want to pay transaction fees, you’ll have to pay $99 per month.
LearnDash, on the other hand, costs $159 for a year’s worth of support and updates (for a single site license). That is a significant price difference.
LearnDash has a few flaws (Cons) that you may not like.
While LearnDash has many positive features, it also has a few drawbacks to consider before making a final decision.
1. If you’re serious about accepting payments or providing membership functionality, you’ll need a third-party plugin.
Ok, LearnDash does provide some rudimentary course-selling capability. However, if you’re serious about accepting payments, you’ll want to pair it with a plugin like WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads.
In the same way, if you want extra membership-type capabilities, you’ll need to use a separate membership plugin.
LearnDash has specialized integration plugins thus none of these are a big concern. However, this means you’ll have to learn and use a new interface besides LearnDash.
2. There is no onboarding – this is a missed opportunity.
I was expecting some sort of setup wizard when I first loaded LearnDash. This is what LifterLMS does, and it makes the “Day Zero” experience a whole lot less daunting:
The dashboard provided no assistance.
This isn’t a significant concern in the long run because you’ll figure it out. However, I believe that LearnDash might be more beginner-friendly if the onboarding process was improved.
3. In general, LearnDash will be challenging to use for casual users.
The scope of Learndash’s capabilities is impressive. If you’re not a power user, though, I believe you’ll have difficulty learning out LearnDash.
It’s not that a non-technical user can’t utilize LearnDash to create a functional course. However, there are so many small options and peculiarities to learn that it will take some time.
I think you’ll be able to figure it out – but you’ll have to fight through some aggravation until you’ve gotten through the learning curve.
To be clear, you do not need to be a programmer to use LearnDash. I’m not – and though sorting through all of the choices took some time, once I got the hang of it, I had no problems utilizing the plugin.
LearnDash Review Pricing
There are three different pricing plans to purchase and install the plugin on your WordPress site.
All three plans offer the same features — the only difference is the number of sites upon which you can use the plugin:
- 1 site – $199
- 10 sites – $399
- Unlimited sites – $799
LearnDash Cloud is an all-inclusive solution that may be used for $29 per month.
For your $29 monthly payment, you get:
- Internally hosted
- 15+ already-made layouts
- All of LearnDash, including ProPanel Useful add-ons like Kadence Blocks
- That’s $348 yearly, with the extra $149 going toward hosting in addition to the cost of the plugin. Alternatively, you can pay an extra $99 for a year of hosting if you want to use ProPanel.
Most reliable WordPress providers charge more than $10 monthly, so you get an excellent deal there.
LearnDash is super easy to use and virtually no learning curve for total beginners.
The learning experience is immersive and interactive
Bit expensive for beginners
LearnDash LMS is an affordable, easy-to-use, and fun way to train your employees or students with a modern and effective training program.
LearnDash Testimonials by Real users
Frequently Asked Questions For LearnDash
Does LearnDash offer free trials?
LearnDash dont offer any free trial for now but they have generous 30 days money back guarantee.
Will LearnDash be compatible with my WordPress theme?
Yes, Learndash is compatible with many top WordPress theme available in the market. If you have issues using LearnDash you can ask help in the support and they will help you at best.
Do I need a membership plugin for LearnDash?
No, you dont need any kind of membership plugin.
Does LearnDash support live training events or webinars?
Yes, LearnDash offers live training and webinars, they have best e-learning experts. They have webinars every month and members of LearnDash can learn and get more insights how to make their courses great and useful for their audience.
What type of support does LearnDash offer?
LearnDash have great support for their members and they are always available via email. They have indepth video tutorials for their members.
Does LearnDash offer any kind of refunds?
Yes LearnDash have honest refund policy, if you are not happy while using LearnDash you can ask refund within 30 days.
Is LearnDash easy to use?
Yes, LearnDash is easy to use because it is 100% code-free and you could use a simple, drag-and-drep editor to build your lessons. Because it has so many features, there may be a slight learning curve in figuring out how everything works. LearnDash, on the other hand, does not necessitate any special technical knowledge.
Is LearnDash a scalable platform?
Yes, LearnDash is a highly scalable platform. That is, in fact, one of the features that distinguishes it from other LMS plugins. LearnDash can easily scale to a large number of students and courses thanks to its more robust features (such as ProPanel). Of course, you'll need high-quality hosting to go with it, so don't expect to run a LearnDash setup on a budget shared hosting account.
Conclusion: LearnDash Review 2023
As a course creator, I like LearnDash’s drag-and-drop builder. It enables me to envision the arrangement of my course as I develop it, allowing me to be confident that my courses are well-organized and simple to traverse. I like how easy it is to add new lectures and tests, allowing me to easily update my courses as required.
LearnDash’s video progression tool is another feature that I appreciate. This enables me to simply integrate self-hosted or externally hosted movies in my courses and set up automated progress monitoring so that students are only recorded as having finished a lesson or course after watching the entire video.
I particularly enjoy the ability to conceal the play bar and schedule the movie to start before or after completing a few simple tasks.
Overall, I believe LearnDash is an excellent choice for course makers seeking a comprehensive and versatile LMS platform with a wide range of capabilities. The drag-and-drop builder, video progression tool, and other tools simplify creation and management of interesting and successful online courses.
In my opinion, I truly believe that this WordPress LMS plugin is one of the best options available.