Scouring through the depths of the WordPress marketplace to find the perfect LMS plugin for your e-learning website is in no way an easy feat. You had to get yourself through literally hundreds of plugins to find the one ideal plugin that will essentially have the features you’re looking for. It is always possible to start from scratch and build your e-learning platform, but that will take a lot of manpower and expertise in multiple programming languages, which is impossible if you’re not from that background. So, the only feasible option is to use an LMS plugin on WordPress.
Such a plugin allows you to establish and run courses and manage subscriptions, course contents, and such. This particular article focuses on one such plugin i.e LearnDash LMS and will provide an in-depth review of this plugin. So, let’s get right on to it.
LearnDash LMS Review
LearnDash is one of the most popular WordPress LMS plugin that is also regarded as one of the best plugins to create a capable eLearning platform with ease. Multiple major companies and universities supposedly use it.
LearnDash allows you to create your eLearning website with intuitive drag and drop functionality that can include advanced features like quizzes, assignments, forums, subscriptions, and much more.
This is one of the reasons why LearnDash is preferred by many. It offers a huge list of features in an inexpensive and affordable price tag. We’ll further talk about it as this LearnDash review article progresses.
LearnDash Extensive List of Features
This list is no way near the complete list of all the features LearnDash offers, but it is all of the features worth mentioning and will give you a general idea about this plugin’s caliber.
- Intuitive drag and drop editor
- Lessons and topics
- Multimedia support
- Assignments and quizzes
- Course restriction and prerequisites
- Course completion certifications and badges
- Payment integrations
- Tons of addons
- Advanced course management
- Forums, and much more.
Building Your First Course with LearnDash
This is the part of the review that matters the most. LearnDash is an LMS plugin, after all. Let’s talk about the step-by-step process of getting started with course building and its elements and features. This will give you a general idea of how it feels like using LearnDash’s course builder and what you can do with it. Here we go.
Note: The test site I will be working on and showing you the screenshot of will use the Kadence theme, so the result on your end might look better or the other way around.
Right after you install LearnDash, you will find a new entry on the WordPress side panel marked LearnDash. This is where you’ll be able to access all the features the plugin has to offer. It also comes with an overview of all the features and informative tutorial videos to get you up and running with the plugin.
You can access the course creating dashboard through the WordPress side panel. Creating a course is pretty straight forward.
Click on the Add New button located in the upper right corner, and you’re good to go. If this is your first course (it probably is), you can also use the Add your first-course button located right in the middle.
Click on either of the buttons will take you to a sleek course creation page that looks like the image below. You can start by adding the course title and an informative description.
You can also perform additional actions here. You can add LearnDash LMS blocks if you see fit. The list of all the blocks at your disposal is huge.
When you’re done creating a course, you can go ahead and add content to the course.
This is done through the Builder tab. Clicking on it will take you to a new page. Since you’ve just created a new course, it will not have any content such as lessons and quizzes. However, adding such content is a piece of cake, and I can assure you you will have no difficulties. The Builder tab will allow you to add lessons, sections, and quizzes.
Adding a lesson is also as easy as it could be. All you have to do is click on the New Lesson button, write the lesson’s title on the text box, and then hit the Add Lesson button.
That’s it. The lesson you’ve just created will appear below the LearnDash Course Builder right away.
LearnDash also lets you categorize a set of lessons under a section heading. This is done through the New Section Heading button, where you have to write the name of the section and hit add simply. The image below shows what I’m talking about. If you need to edit the lessons and section’s order, you can simply drag and drop them in their appropriate location.
You can add quizzes from here too.
The 3rd tab is the Settings tab. Clicking on this tab will bring up a list of options you can configure. Here, you can set the Display and Content Options.
LearnDash gives you the option to display course materials on the course page. This lets you inform the enrolled or un-enrolled students to see what support materials this particular course requires. You can also add a course certification (more on this later), set the course content as visible to all, set course pagination, and toggle custom lesson order.
Furthermore, you also have the option to set the access mode. You can set the course as open, free, paid, closed, or with a recurring fee. If you set the course as paid (option: Buy Now), you will be asked to set the course price.
The same goes for the recurring fee option (Option: Recuring), where you need to set the course price along with the billing cycle. If the course is closed, it can only be accessed if the students are manually enrolled by the admin.
Other additional options include course prerequisites, course points, and access expiration.
You can also configure how the users progress through a particular course. You can either set the course as linear that requires the student to progress through the pre-determined path or select the course as free form with no particular progression order.
The final setting is the Course User that allows you to enroll students in this particular course manually. The list of users is shown on the left side, which you can move to the right side what contains the users you’ve selected for the course.
At this point, you’ve only created a course and added some lessons to it; but you haven’t added any content inside the lessons. Don’t worry about it though, it can be done easily, but you have to go back to the LearnDash Course Builder tab, aka the Builder tab. You can access the lessons configuration option through the small down-facing arrow on the right side of the selected lesson. This will reveal the hidden options – New topic and New quiz.
Adding the topic is similar to adding the lessons or the section – you click on the New Topic button, enter the title and click the Add Topic button. You can also configure the order of the topics as your preference.
You can also add quizzes the same way, but you have to use the New Quiz button.
Adding content to these topics requires you to go to a different page that can be accessed through the small Edit button that will reveal itself when you hover the cursor over the topic’s name. Once you’re on the topic editing page, you can drag and drop blocks to add content of your topics.
Here, I just added video as example to be shown as a content of our topic.
Similarly, you can change the topic settings the way you like them. You can adjust the header, title, layout, content style, padding, and featured image.
The Settings tab within the topic’s configuration page allows you to do the following:-
- Announce required materials
- Add video progression (the student will require to watch the full video to progress through the course)
- Autostart video content when the page loads
- Display video controls, pause the video if the user switches to a different window, and remember video position
- Assignments uploads
- Topic timer
- Topic access settings (associate the particular topic to a course and lesson)
Similarly, you can configure settings of individual lessons too. Apart from adding necessary blocks and configuring how the lessons are shown (just like on topics), you can configure additional lesson specific settings that include the following:
- Display and Content options
- Show lesson materials
- Video progression that requires students to finish the whole video to progress through the lesson
- Autostart video when the page loads
- Video controls, pause on window switch, remember video position
- Assignments upload
- Forced lessons timer
- Lesson Access
- Course association
- Set as sample lessons that are visible to all
- Release schedule
Quizzes, Questions, Certificates, and Groups
You can either add quizzes while you’re creating courses, lessons, and topics or use the Quiz settings from the side panel. The Quiz page looks similar to the course, lessons, and topics page. It includes the same three tabs with different settings inside.
The quiz page is where you edit the quiz title, add a description or anything you want through the LearnDash blocks.
The builder tab is what you’ll need to add questions. You click on the New question button, type in the question, and hit the Add question button. The question can be arranged as per your requirement.
To configure the questions, you need to click on the small down-facing arrow. This will reveal and let you add a question and its answer. You can also add a message for the correct or incorrect answer and add hints.
You can configure various aspects of the quizzes too. All the configuration options are neatly organized inside the Settings tab. You will have access to many settings including Quiz access, Progression and restrictions, certificates, time limit, email notification, etc.
Certificates can be added to all the courses and the lesson on your website; and is granted to the students that meet specific criteria or progress through a certain milestone (finish a course, lesson, etc.) LearnDash has a separate space to let you create certificates. This can be accessed through the side panel.
To get started with your first certificate, you can click on the Add New buttons on the page’s upper right corner. If this is your first certificate, you can also start by clicking on the Add your first certificate button located in the middle of the screen.
The certificate creation page lets you add a title and a body. The body can include text as per your preference and come with various formatting options. You can also add custom fields, edit the slug, assign an author, and choose to give out the PDF certificate.
After you’ve created a certificate, you can add it to any course through the course settings to achieve the students.
We found the certificate creation process little complicated compared to other LMS plugins. There are also no premade certificates that you can use.
The primary function of groups is to make it easy to track the progress of students and provide content and course material based on the group. Through groups, you can assign a group leader and make the group leader track the users’ progress and performance in a particular group.
You can add a new group through the Add New button located in the upper right corner. If this is your first group, you can also use the Add your first group button on the page’s middle.
Group creation is similar to course creation. All you have to do is add a group title and customize it. the customization settings include the following:
- Group materials
- Who sees the group content?
- Content course order
- Group access settings (free, paid, recurred billing, or closed)
You can also add the course that can be accessed by a particular group and enable auto-enroll.
Finally, you can add users and group leaders to the group.
LearnDash makes it easier for you to control every aspect of your eLearning WordPress website through a neatly organized general settings area.
Through this setting that can be accessed through the side panel, you can select the template for your site’s front end. You can also select the accent color, progress color, enable focus mode, notification color, upload a logo, and enable video responsive CSS for all videos.
Furthermore, you can alter the overall website’s pagination settings, customize various admin user settings, and customize REST API settings.
The PayPal Settings is where you add PayPal credentials.
Similarly, you can integrate Stripe with your course. However, Stripe comes as an additional add-on.
How does it look in the Front End?
The front end with the right theme will look beautiful as well as organized. The image below will give you an idea of what I’m talking about.
LearnDash comes integrated with a vast number of add-on plugins from eCommerce to payment gateways including WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, stripe, buddyPress, bbPress, membership Pro, gravity Forms, Zapier integration and more.
LearnDash LMS offers reasonable pricing structure alike other LMS plugins. The cheapest package, i.e., Basic, will cost you $159, and comes with features such as unlimited courses, unlimited users, and more.
The Plus package, which will cost you $229, and supports up to 10 websites and comes will all the features that the basic plan has with the addition of ProPanel.
The final package plan is the Pro Package that supports up to 25 websites and has all the Plus package features and more.
Final Thoughts – Should You Buy LearnDash or Not?
I’m sure you’re convinced about LearnDash as your preferred LMS plugin for WordPress. The galore of features and customizations it comes with grants you total freedom to create courses and publish them just the way you want to.
Also, its integration with such a vast number of addons and other WordPress plugins makes sure that you do not have to opt for any other LMS plugin along the way. All you have to do is install the required add-ons, and you’re good to go. Although certificate creation is bit complex in comparison to other alternative LMS plugins such as Lifter LMS or Tutor LMS.
What do you think about the LearnDash? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.