Our Top 5 WordPress LMS Plugins to Create Your Own Online Course

Sven Scheuerle Updated on 23.10.2020
9 Min.
Last updated on 23.10.2020

In today's world, there is hardly a better way to use your knowledge and experience to make money onlinethan with creating and selling online courses or tutorials. Sven Scheuerle introduces you today to his top five WordPress plugins with which you can create your own online course.

To build up your own course area, you can choose from a variety of useful LMS plugins in WordPress. With the help of these you can create any kind of course content in no time at all and make it accessible to your target group. I will explain to you now what is behind the word "LMS" and which WordPress plugins you can use. 

Attention: Plugin-Update necessary

On April 30, reports include Threat Post about security holes in the LMS-Plugins LearnPress, LearnDash and LifterLMS. These security flaws have already been fixed. So if you use one of thesePlugins , you should update it to the latest version as soon as possible!

What is an LMS plugin and what can you do with it? 

The abbreviation "LMS" generally stands for the word "learning management system". Basically, it is a system or a teaching environment that is designed for the provision of learning materials.

The so-called LMS plugins offer you exactly such a teaching environment in which you can create your course content for your users and make it available to them – if required behind a payment barrier. In addition to individual courses and lessons, the plugins offer you further functions such as surveys, quizzes, forums, certificates, tests and much more. 

These are the functions you should be looking for

There are numerous good and comprehensive LMS plugins on the market. So it can be difficult to decide on the right learning management system. In the following list, I would like to introduce you to the functions that plugins this type of system usually provide – or should provide, depending on your requirements:

  • Course creation:
    The be-all and end-all of LMS plugins must of course be a simple course creation. In addition to a user-friendly editor, it should offer you the possibility to upload videos or even PDF files. 
  • Tests / tasks:
    With the tests or tasks, you can check the knowledge of your users after each course or lesson. For example, you can make sure that your content is understandable for every course participant.
  • Quizzes / surveys:
    With a quiz function you can easily include quizzes within your courses. This allows you to make your courses more fun and entertaining for your participants. With the help of surveys you can ask your participants for an evaluation after finishing the course. Of course you can also add polls at any time in between.
  • E-mail notifications:
    Every modern LMS plugin should have a function for automatic e-mail notifications (all the presented plugins do). This is because it informs course participants about their registration for the course, provides them with appropriate access data if required or keeps them regularly informed about their progress.
  • certificates:
    With certificates you can award your participants as soon as they have successfully completed your course.
  • Add-ons:
    Add-ons or extensions offer you the possibility to extend the functional range of your LMS plugins if required. So check carefully beforehand whether the corresponding add-ons are available and whether they are subject to a charge.
  • Sell courses:
    When you create a course, you probably want to sell it and earn money with it. Therefore, when choosing an LMS plugin, you should make sure that you can connect to the appropriate payment providers to carry out purchase transactions (all of the presented plugins offer this possibility).

WordPress LMS plugins in comparison

To give you a quick overview of the different LMS plugins for WordPress, I have compared a total of five of these learning management systems for you and will present them in more detail below. 

LearnPress

WordPress  LMS plugin "LearnPress"

LearnPress is one of the most popular free WordPress LMS plugins on the market. It is a comprehensive and feature-rich learning management system that can be used to create courses, lessons, tests and much more. The available export and import function allows you to export individual courses and import them into other projects if required.

If the functions in the free version of LearnPress are not enough for you, there are numerous add-ons available for a fee. For example for the creation of certificates, surveys or quizzes. 

Especially interesting is the WooCommerceadd-on because it allows transactions to be made directly through the payment methods of your WooCommcere account. In addition, LearnPress provides you with a WordPress frontend editor which allows you to edit your course pages directly in the frontend. 

In order to be able to make money with your online course, Paypal is already integrated in the free version of LearnPress. If you like to use other payment methods like Stripe or credit card, a paid add-on is necessary.

If you would like to get a first impression of the LMS plugin, it is best to watch the following video of the provider, where you can see how the plugin looks in both the backend and the frontend.

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Overview of the main functions:

  • Create courses
  • Lessons
  • Tests
  • Questions
  • Selling courses
Our Top 5 WordPress LMS Plugins to Create Your Own Online Course

In the LearnPress plugin preferences you can define settings for the course pages and of course for individual lessons. Here you decide what will be displayed on the profiles and set up your payment method and your automated e-mails.

LearnDash

WordPress  LMS plugin "LearnDash"

The LMS plugin LearnDash is ideally suited for entrepreneurs, universities and educational organizations that want to sell their online courses over the Internet. With the help of this plugin, professional training can be carried out and the progress of individual participants can be tracked. 

Furthermore LearnDash offers a number of additional functions such as the Focus mode. This helps the participants to work through the course lessons with even greater concentration and without distractions. In addition, LearnDash can be combined with the forum plugin bbPress or membership plugins like MemberPress integrate.

A drag and drop editor is also available for creating individual courses as well as individual lessons. For individual course groups you can even create forums where participants can exchange information.

To get an idea of what a finished course in LearnDash can look like, it is best to watch the demo video of the provider:

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Courses can be purchased by participants individually or as subscribers. Payment methods available include Paypal, Stripe and also 2Checkout. 

Overview of the main functions:

  • Create courses
  • Lessons
  • Tests
  • Quiz
  • Questions
  • Forums
  • Selling courses

LearnDash is with costs and is available for you in a total of three licenses. The licenses differ only in the number of pages. The functional range is the same in all packages.  

Our Top 5 WordPress LMS Plugins to Create Your Own Online Course
  1. BASIC: 1 sites -License, unlimited courses, unlimited users, certificates / awards
  2. PLUS PACKAGE: 10 sites -license, unlimited courses, unlimited users, certificates / awards
  3. PRO PACKAGE: 25 sites -license, unlimited courses, unlimited users, certificates / awards

Sensei

WordPress  LMS plugin "Sensei"

At Sensei it is a very simple and free LMSPlugin - from Automattic, the company behind WordPress .comwhich is also known for WooCommerce and many more WordPress -Plugins among others.   

The Sensei-Plugin offers all important functions you need to create an online course including lessons. Some additional functions include a question area in the backend and the creation of quizzes.

Our Top 5 WordPress LMS Plugins to Create Your Own Online Course

Sensei also offers you some extensions, among other things for the administration of memberships of individual participants or the creation of certificates. So that you can sell your course afterwards also with costs, you have the possibility WooCommerce to integrate. 

Moreover, Sensei is very easy to use in any WordPress -Theme use. Recommended by the supplier are above allThemes Divi, Generate Press or perhaps Flatsome

In the following example you can also see how Sensei looks like in the frontend, once you have created WordPress a course page with corresponding lessons within. 

Our Top 5 WordPress LMS Plugins to Create Your Own Online Course

Overview of the main functions:

  • Create courses
  • Lessons
  • Quiz
  • Questions
  • Selling courses
Our Top 5 WordPress LMS Plugins to Create Your Own Online Course

Within the settings of the Sensei-Plugins you can define your sites lessons you have created as well as the settings for user profiles and e-mail notifications.

LifterLMS

WordPress  LMS-Plugin "LifterLMS"

LifterLMS is an all-in-one solution for learning management systems, which is optimally suited for courses and training. Online courses and lessons can be created simply and easily. A flexible course builder with drag-and-drop function is at your disposal. Individual courses can be easily exported with this LMSPlugin and imported into other projects if required. 

Our Top 5 WordPress LMS Plugins to Create Your Own Online Course

You can also use it to create Plugin individual member areas. This means that course contents are only visible for certain users. LMS-Plugin also has its own affiliate program, which your partners can use to promote your courses. 

LifterLMS also offers you a variety of additional add-ons. Among other things you can WooCommerce to process your payment transactions. Also the integration of MailChimp for sending by e-mail or WPForms for the creation of forms is possible. In addition, you can of course use LifterLMS to create certificates, coupons and much more. 

In the following picture you can see how a course page could look like in the frontend for your students. 

The main functions at a glance:

  • Create courses
  • Lessons
  • Questions
  • Quiz
  • Forum
  • Selling courses 
  • Affiliate program
Our Top 5 WordPress LMS Plugins to Create Your Own Online Course

In the WordPress backend you can of course make various settings. Among other things, you can define your course pages and e-mail notifications as well as manage memberships, accounts and integrations. 

The LifterLMS-Plugin is subject to a fee and can be used in three different licenses. The licenses differ in the number of usablesites , support and the number of available add-ons. 

Our Top 5 WordPress LMS Plugins to Create Your Own Online Course
  1. Individual Add-Ons: 1 sites license, standard support, individual add-ons
  2. Universe Bundle: 5 sites -license, priority support, selected add-ons (design, e-commerce, marketing, form) included
  3. Infinity Bundle: Unlimited sites -License: Priority support, all available add-ons included

Teachable

Teachable" learning management system

At Teachable it is not a classic LMS-Plugin. Nevertheless, I would like to introduce you to this all-in-one platform for creating and selling courses in this comparison. Teachable is one of the most used providers when it comes to providing and selling knowledge and experience online. 

A pagebuilder with drag-and-drop function is available for course creation. Course materials can also be easily uploaded via PDF, Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive. Teachable also offers you the possibility to create quizzes, tests or certificates for your course participants. 

Furthermore, the all-in-one platform offers an integrated email marketing system as well as an affiliate program that you can use as a tutor for yourself. You can also promote your courses with your own coupons. Payment methods are Paypal, Stripe, Visa and Mastercard. 

The difference to the LMS plugins I already presented is that Teachable can not directly be installed as a WordPress plugin. All course content is hosted on the platform itself and made available to your users. You can choose between a free domain or use your own domain. 

However, you have the option of integrating or redirecting your course URL from Teachable to your WordPress hosted website via subdomain. A direct integration into WordPress is unfortunately possible. 

Would you like to see a sample page created with Teachable? Then I recommend the Course page of Jessica Spraque. Here you can see quite well, how professionally such site a thing can be implemented with Teachable

Our Top 5 WordPress LMS Plugins to Create Your Own Online Course
Source: https://jessicasprague.teachable.com/

In the following YouTube tutorial by Chris Winter you will also see in detail how Teachable is structured in the backend, which functions are available and how easy it is to create a course or lessons there. 

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Overview of the main functions:

  • Create courses
  • Lessons
  • Tests
  • Questions
  • Quiz
  • Selling courses
  • affiliate program
  • Coupons

Teachable offers you a total of three different price models. The individual packages differ in the transaction fee, user access, support and other individual customization options such as coupons, certificates and much more. 

Our Top 5 WordPress LMS Plugins to Create Your Own Online Course
  1. Basic: Unlimited students, 5% transaction fee, 2 admin users, product support
  2. Professional: Unlimited students, 0% transaction fee, 5 admin users, priority product support
  3. Business: Unlimited students, 0% transaction fee, 20 admin users, priority product support

Feature comparison of all 5 LMS plugins

LearnPressLearnDashSenseiLifterLMSTeachable
Create course
Lessons
Testsno
sell ratesOnly with costly WooCommerce
Extension
Certificates/ badgeswith costsnowith costs
Quiz Questionswith costswith costs
Theme independentno Plugin
Add-onswith costsfree & fee requiredfree & fee requiredwith costs
Pricefree of charge159 – 329$free of charge99 – 999$39 - 299§ (monthly)
29 - 249$ (annually)

Final thoughts

LMS plugins offer you a great and easy way to create course content quickly and easily and earn money online. 

For your start with an LMS- I clearlyPlugin recommend a free Plugin one like Sensei. Because as mentioned above, Sensei really "only" limits itself to the most important functions for course creation. The only disadvantage, if you want to sell your courses with Sensei, you have to use the paid WooCommerceextension, which does not cost the world. 

If you already have experience with LMS plugins or if you want to set up your course pages very professionally from the beginning, I can recommend an LMS plugin like LearnDash. This one is not free, but it offers you everything you need for a professional course site. It is also the right plugin choice if your courses are used by a large community. In other words, if you expect hundreds or thousands of users. 

If you are not a WordPress user or if you want to WordPress create and host your courses outside of Teachable, then I clearly recommend Teachable. With Teachable you get a mega comprehensive and very professional LMS system, which you can use completely independent from other services. 

Your questions about LMS plugins

Do you have questions or feedback regarding LMS plugins? Please use the comment function below. If you'd like to stay informed about new articles about WordPress, online marketing and co, please follow us on Twitteror Facebook , or subscribe to our newsletter.

Sven Scheuerle – Independent freelancer and passionate affiliate marketer has been working in online marketing for many years. He is also a blogger and regularly posts on his blog BLOGGiraffe.de about self-employment in online business.

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