December 20, 2019

LearnDash vs LifterLMS – Which one should you choose?

LearnDash and LifterLMS are two of the best and most popular WordPress LMS plugins out there. Both the products are great at what they offer which is – create, manage and sell courses. 

So, are they the same?

Well, not really. Just like people, every plugin is different too!

Read on to find out the differences and understand which of the two is better suited for your needs.

Before we start, let’s look at the parameters we’d be using to compare the two giants:

Let’s begin!

1. Features/Benefits

Both the LMS plugins have tons of features that make them great and resourceful. We’re going to divide the features into three categories: For Admin, For Teachers/Instructors, For Students.

For Admin

FeaturesLearnDashLifterLMS
Drag & Drop course builderYesYes
Drip-feed (Schedule) contentYesYes
Course Options – quiz, lessons, topics, sectionsYesYes
Discussion forumsYesYes
Multimedia lessons – audio, video, imagesYesYes
Course analyticsCan access basic reports.
For advanced reporting, add-ons like TinCanny and ProPanel can be purchased
Yes, it comes built-in.
Flexible prerequisites – set rules to unlock future lessonsYesYes
GradebookRequires premium addonYes
Course protection – restricted access, members-only contentYesYes
Manage user accountsYesYes
Re-use contentYesNo
Customer testimonialsNoYes
Teacher/Instructor role approvalYesYes
Use any ThemeYes, works with any modern WordPress themeYes, works with any well-coded WordPress theme
Offer memberships – traditional memberships, course bundles, etc.Yes, may require add-ons for some types of membershipsYes

For Teachers/Instructors

You can add Teachers/Instructors to teach a particular course/lesson on your eLearning website using either of the two plugins.

With LearnDash, you will need to purchase the LearnDash extension – WISDM Instructor role to enable teacher/instructor functionalities.

Whereas, LifterLMS comes with a built-in Instructor role functionalities.

FeaturesLearnDashLifterLMS
Create/Edit/Delete courseYes, may require admin approvalYes, may require admin approval.
Teacher/instructor dashboardYesYes
Access to student reportsYesYes
Review Assignments and quizzesYesYes
Add Instructor role assistantNoYes
Student – Teacher communicationYesNo

For Students/Learners

FeaturesLearnDashLifterLMS
Frontend student/learner profile – view and track student activitiesYesYes
Edit personal informationYesYes
Access courses on mobile phonesYesYes
Multiple course enrollmentYesYes
Distraction-free learning mode – hide headers and sidebars Yes, if the admin enables focus modeNo
Retake lessonsYesYes
Flexibility to choose course subscriptionsYesYes
Earn & Download certificates YesYes
Assignment and quiz submissionYesYes

VERDICT

Both the plugins have an equally strong set of features for all users on your e-learning website. LearnDash might be more suited for an individual admin, whereas LifterLMS might be better for a multi-instructor platform. That’s because LifterLMS has an inbuilt Instructor Role, that’s added as an extension in LearnDash.

It’s best to list down the features you want, compare them with the features present in the two plugins, and go with the best option.

2. Gamification abilities

When it comes to gamification, you need to find ways to make the learning process fun and interactive to keep your learners engaged and motivated. Let’s take a look:

LearnDash

It allows you to reward points or badges to learners once they finish a quiz or a challenge. But, this is something that every other LMS plugin lets you do.

So, what stands apart is – LearnDash supports the use of branching scenarios to help make the learning process exciting in real-time.

These branching scenarios could be a storyline you can create or a simulation you can design in the course. For e.g: For a scuba diving certification course, you could design a branching scenario that’ll help learners form an appropriate response for an underwater crisis.

To incorporate these scenarios, you can use LearnDash add-on such as Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate.

LifterLMS

This LMS plugin enables you to reward points and badges as well.

But, what makes them different is –  You have the option to purchase a special graphics pack to add images and honors in badges to help learners stay engaged and flaunt their achievements.

You can also use 16 different colors in certificate backgrounds and make it appealing to learners.

Moreover, there are 18 notification icons that can be used to gamify your platform as per your style. 

LifterLMS badges
Image courtesy: LifterLMS

VERDICT

The nature of the courses you offer can determine your gamification requirements to a great extent.

If you have a complicated training plan, LearnDash and its extension might offer you better support.

But, for simpler scenarios, either of the two LMS plugins works perfectly fine.

3. Monetizing options

Both the LMS plugins come with several purchase models. The kind of payment options and costing models you offer on your eLearning website matter. And hence, a viable option for one may not be feasible for someone else.

LearnDash

This plugin offers several options like:

  • Memberships
  • Subscription model
  • Bundles
  • Shopping carts
  • License method
  • Free samples
  • Private lessons (requires add-ons)

It also makes it easier to sell courses and accept payments via multiple gateways like PayPal (built-in), Stripe, and 2Checkout.

LearnDash Payment Options
Image courtesy: LearnDash

LifterLMS

This LMS plugin offers a variety of powerful purchase options like:

  • Free courses
  • One-time payment
  • Subscription model
  • Bundle options
  • Bulk methods
  • Private lessons (requires add-on) 
  • Coupons and several other options.

LifterLMS offers the core plugin for free but the only drawback is – you have to pay for every additional functionality such as Payment Gateways (Stripe, PayPal).

VERDICT

Both the LMS plugins are designed to provide a good amount of flexibility in terms of offering purchase options.

If you’re looking to offer your courses for free, you can go with LifterLMS. The thing is, you’ll have to make an initial purchase for a payment gateway add-on for your paid courses. But that’s a choice you need to make.

With LearnDash you have purchase options built-in, but the plugin itself comes at a higher cost.

4. Integration abilities

You will need to develop your eLearning site as you expand and grow. To keep the learners engaged over a course of time, adding extra functionalities becomes quite vital. For this, It’s important your WordPress LMS plugin is able to support and integrate with other add-ons.

LearnDash

The LMS plugin integrates seamlessly with:

LearnDash also has a dedicated integration with a fast and responsive theme like Astra which can help in boosting conversion rate.

LifterLMS

With LifterLMS, you can increase its core functionalities by integrating it with robust extensions like:

You may have to pay for these extensions to avail additional functionalities.

Like LearnDash, LifterLMS also integrates seamlessly with the Astra theme to improve course layouts and designs ultimately enhancing learners’ experience.

VERDICT

Both the WordPress LMS plugins offer a variety of add-ons for integration. Some add-ons are free, especially for LearnDash while some, you need to purchase.

If you don’t really require more than a few add-ons, LifterLMS works perfectly. But if you wish to use an LMS plugin on a bigger scale and require several add-ons, LearnDash would be a feasible choice.

5. Support options

When you purchase a new product, you often need a guide or a handbook to set up/install that product quickly. Once you start using that product, you may sometimes run into problems or issues and its best if the support/solutions are resolved instantly, isn’t it?

LearnDash

It provides an extensive guide that can be accessed on their site to help you set up and familiarise yourself with the nuts and bolts of the plugin.

You can also reach out through various mediums to receive instant support.

  • Email
  • Facebook

LifterLMS 

They not only provide you with an installation guide, but they also have a Tutorial on their site to help you understand creating courses quickly and in a better fashion.

You can also reach out to them via:

  • Emails 
  • Facebook

VERDICT

LifterLMS provides tutorials making it simpler to understand course creation steps.

Overall, Both the LMS plugins have an excellent support system adding a personal touch to user experience.

6. Pricing options

Pricing is an important factor when it comes to making a decision. Selecting a WordPress LMS plugin in line with your budget and functionality requirements makes sense.

LearnDash

A premium LMS plugin that comes in three packages:

  • Basic pack – $159/year for a single site.
  • Plus pack – $189/year for 10 sites.
  • Pro pack – $329/year for 25 sites.

You can access all the functionalities with all three packages. However, the ProPanel feature is not available with the Basic Pack.

LearnDash pricing
Image courtesy: LearnDash

LifterLMS

The best part – offers the core plugin for free

However, to add extra functionalities you can purchase individual add-ons as per your requirements for $99 each. 

Apart from that, there are two bundle options available:

  • Universal Bundle – $299/year which includes everything except the advanced add-ons. 
  • Infinity Bundle – $999/year

It also gives you an opportunity to use the plugin for 30 days at just $1 where you can try all the functionalities and tools that come with the Infinity Bundle. You can then purchase it if it suits your requirements.

LifterLMS Pricing
Image courtesy: LifterLMS

VERDICT

If your level of offerings are met with the core functionalities offered for free and require only a few add ons that are in line with your budget, we recommend going with LifterLMS.

If your functionality requirements and add-ons are too many based on the scale of your business/eLearning website, then we recommend considering one of the LearnDash packages.

7. Customer base

This parameter will give you an idea of who is using these LMS plugins and what scale. If you’re operating in a similar line of business, this point of comparison can help in shaping your decision.

LearnDash

It is a very popular LMS plugin and its customer base consists of:

  • Fortune 500 companies
  • Top Universities – University of Florida and University of Washington
  • Training organizations
  • Entrepreneurs around the world.

You can create a professional eLearning website just like the top companies and organizations.

LifterLMS

This is a powerful plugin making its way to the top and is being used by:

  • Fitness experts
  • Musicians
  • Leadership trainers
  • Education entrepreneurs.

In terms of scalability, with LifterLMS, you can start small with the free plugin and purchase add-ons as you grow.

VERDICT

Well, there’s no winner here. Depending on the scale and the nature of business you can choose the plugin that fits your requirements the best.

Other Alternatives

LearnDash and LifterLMS are the giants, But, you can also check out other LMS plugins alternatives and see if they fit your requirements.

The Final Takeaway,

Both the LMS plugins are great warriors and prove to be a great choice for your eLearning website. Your choice may totally depend on the parameters you prioritize the most.

LearnDash is a mature plugin, has a larger community and several extensions to boast about. Its interface needs a bit of getting used to and despite a great support system, documentation is a bit lacking.

With LifterLMS, you have a free base plugin which offers you a good deal of features and competes with LearnDash neck-to-neck. It’s a fairly new plugin and does not have huge community support but is upcoming and offers several extensions similar to LearnDash.

The product you choose might depend on your requirements, but if you have used either of these, we’d like to know your views. How did you find LearnDash? What was your experience with LifterLMS? Let us know.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this blog post might be affiliate links. When you purchase through a link on our website, we receive a small commission, at no added cost to you, which helps us run Epitrove and keep producing great content. This does not influence our recommendations; we only recommend products we work with or love. Thank you for your support!

Love Shah
Love Shah

I can't function without tea, books, and movies. When not working, you'll find me weaving stories.

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