In 2020, we saw the “e” enter everything – be it e-learning or e-shopping. With schools shifting to online learning, a need to manage educational content online came to the forefront.
This is where an LMS Plugin comes in. They offer a way to host online classes while tracking students and offering reports. With LMS plugins, schools can host classes on their own domain! Not to mention, it is used by many sole e-learning sites across the world.
What is an LMS Plugin?
LMS or Learning Management System plugins can help one develop and share educational courses on their WordPress site. Essentially, you could run a site similar to Coursera or Udemy with these.
LMS plugins thus allow a way for you to track student progress, along with creating content, dropping courses, and managing other types of admin work.
They allow you to structure content and make it easily available to someone who has subscribed to it.
This can also be done by membership plugins, but learning sites have multiple features like quizzes, peer reviews, discussion boards, different levels of paid subscriptions and so on that membership plugins cannot provide.
Essentially, LMS plugins will help you with the following:
- Creating content
- Content dripping
- Tracking student progress
- List management of students
- Dropping quizzes and tests
- Gamification by adding points and incentives
- Peer discussion
- Homework review and grading
Best LMS Plugins for WordPress
LearnDash is a paid LMS plugin that pretty much checks all boxes when it comes to content creation and student management. When it comes to payment modes, LearnDash is flexible enough. Students can opt for a one-time bundle payment, monthly subscription, singular sales and more.
This type of flexibility combined with over 300 types of payment gateway support makes LearnDash an exemplary choice for running an e-learning site.
One can choose to remind students of payment times. Scheduling content is easier with the LearnDash drip-feeding feature. One can schedule content release dates and times for students groups. Another thing is the great sub-listing management LearnDash allows.
One can segregate students based on their skill or learning level, these can again be sub-divided and each group can be targetted by different courses and drip feeds.
They can also be enrolled or removed in bulk, and their course access can be restricted as needed. You can also add prerequisites for courses.
LearnDash allows extensive levels of gamification. One can divide a single course into micro-courses, and add discussion boards for different student cohorts. They also allow quizzes with 8 types of supported answers (multiple choice, essay type, checks, etc.).
Online learning can take its tool, hence LearnDash offers multiple engagement triggers for students – these are mainly encouraging messages. Other than that, one can award various badges and points as encouragement.
For a content creator, LearnDash offers a Drag & Drop Course Builder so you can easily structure your content. The LearnDash Focus Mode is a customised dashboard for a student that removes distractions.
Finally, LearnDash allows integrations like Slack, Zapier, MailChimp and more. The basic package starts at just 159USD per year, which is a great place, to begin with, an LMS!
MemberPress is essentially a membership plugin, however, it has many features that allow one to create an LMS with it. Their courses support all types of content including PDFs, PPTs, videos and more.
One can create a Classroom with students in it, and create a course using the drag and drop builder. The course can be sub-divided further using the WordPress block editor.
A great feature of MemberPress is the ability to create forums and discussion boards for peer reviews. MemberPress also allows users to use coupons to get discounts on their courses.
The MemberPress management system is extremely easy, and even beginners can get accustomed to it. The site admin gets all overviewing and editing rights.
They can access student profiles, discussion boards, add or remove students from Classrooms, and more. All courses can be seen in one place, similar to the WP editing page, and one can change the status of a course from free to paid with a single click!
As for payment, MemberPress comes with the same level of flexibility as other plugins allowing subscription and one-time payments. There is also level-based access.
For example, you can mark courses as beginners and sell an all-access pass for beginners allowing them access to all these courses. MemberPress supports multiple payment gateways and can integrate with Zapier, Drip, MailChimp and more.
However, MemberPress has its own Email Automation that sends reminders and notifications to students. Unlike many platforms, MemberPress does not charge any transaction fee from students, though they might still have to pay their credit companies.
The Basic plan starts at 179 USD per year, for 1 site that supports unlimited members and courses.
The LifterLMS course builder supports all types of multimedia. Students can get the option to download courses as PDFs. Their drag and drop builder allows one to build and release these seamlessly along with notifications to enrolled students.
To aid course building, LifterLMS has its own graphics pack that includes stock images and footage, along with free certificate backgrounds. One can create short-tiered courses or even proper degree programs!
If you are shifting from somewhere to LifterLMS, you can easily import your entire set of courses. Similarly, LifterLMS allows single-click exporting of courses built on the site as well. Moreover, LifterLMS allows one to display testimonials for enrolled students and gain trust.
One can float quizzes, surveys, signup forms and other data collection forms. LifterLMS’s most interesting feature is how much students can interact with their instructors.
Apart from public discussion boards, they can ask for private discussions, coaching and private group mentoring. For payment, students can opt for bundles, all-access passes, subscription-based models or group memberships.
The team at LifterLMS provides extensive pre-sales and post-sales support starting from organization webinars to individual chat and software demo sessions.
It can integrate with various email automation tools. But LifterLMS can send abandoned cart notifications to those with items added in their shopping cart as well!
If you’re working with a team of affiliate marketers, LifterLMS allows for easy coupons and affiliate programs for commissions. The basic package starts from 120 USD per year, for managing 1 site.
4. WP Courseware
WP Courseware is a great option for e-learning platforms with its customisation options and monthly payment scheme. However, it also comes at a much steeper price than its contemporaries.
This is in part due to the extensive training resources it offers. WP Courseware allows every course to be sub-divided into four segments starting from the top section to its smallest section – the quizzes.
These courses can be created easily using their Drag and Drop Builder. The courses can be released before completion using their drip feed system.
A grade book is maintained for each student, including their performance and quiz results. WP Courseware allows one to not only host quizzes, but also take surveys, allow signups, and more. The quiz can be time-bound and options for retakes can be offered.
Along with setting course requisites, one can also offer students PDFs for course completions and other types of certificates. As of now, WP Courseware only offers Stripe or PayPal as their payment gateway. They allow shopping cart integration along with flexible payment schemes.
This includes yearly, monthly, lifetime or one-time buy access. A recurring payment mode can also be set up for automatic deductions.
While most LMS plugins offer quiz templates, WP Courseware goes a step ahead to offer templates for emails, surveys, and course content as well! If you are managing a team of instructors, WP Courseware offers a workflow where you can add instructors to a project, or remove them.
You can also limit their access to editing or deleting courses.
Customised dashboards and themes (including your own WP theme) can be added. The student management system allows mass enrollment and grading but no grouping option is present, other than dividing them into Classrooms.
WP Courseware starts out at 129 USD per year.
Provided by WooCommerce, Sensei is a great LMS plugin that allows seamless WP integration. Sensei comes with a WooCommerce extension with which one can sell their courses on WooCommerce as well!
Sensei integrates itself with your existing WP theme so that the dash does not look out of place.
The plugin offers most of the basic things one looks for in an LMS. One can create classrooms, award certifications and badges, float quizzes and offer grades.
However, for any other action – such as for drip content, checking student course progress, adding media attachments, sharing enrollment numbers publicly and so on, Sensei needs extensions. These extensions are provided on the Sensei platform itself and are available for free downloading.
This is an interesting tool structure as it allows one to add precisely those things which they will be using in their LMS. Students will greatly benefit from these plugins, including the Course Completion plugin. This allows them to see their completed and ongoing course along with the overall progress at a glance.
However, not all of these extensions are available worldwide. Sensei allows courses to be sold individually or via a membership. Each membership plan can be assigned different courses.
You can also add prerequisites and restrict videos until users finish the earlier one. On the whole, Sensei offers fewer features than MemberPress or LearnDash, but still has all the makings of a great LMS Plugin.
6. Namaste! LMS
Namaste! LMS is a WP plugin that allows one to manage unlimited numbers of students and courses. Course restriction is pretty great with Namaste! LMS.
One can restrict students based on prerequisites. One can provide three types of multimedia content. Students can get enrolled automatically or given access after manual approval. One can even limit the total number of users in a course on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The flexibility within a course a great. While you can assign certain courses within a degree, you can choose to make some of them optional for course completion!
Students are managed using individual Gradebooks which the site admin can access. They can be awarded grades and can leave feedback in return. Using extensions like Watu or WatuPRO, students can take time-bound exams.
There is complete gamification with badges and even a Leaderboard! Similar to gaming platforms, Leaderboard denotes the top-ranking students.
Where Namaste! LMS excels in that it allows one to sell the course to schools. So, one can allow mass enrollment for entire student segments from an institution. Discounts and coupons can also be offered at this stage.
Finally, one can access reports for individual students which in the case of a school can be of great help to teachers. These reports document the complete user history of courses taken. Moreover, one can manage multiple teachers and assign certain courses or bundles to them.
The courses can be sold using PayPal and Stripe gateways, and also across WooCommerce using the respective integrations.
The best part of Namaste! LMS is that there is a free version that allows a lot of flexibility and options. Sure, you might not be able to enable shopping carts or assign instructors, but it has everything that a new LMS service needs.
WPLMS is a unique LMS plugin that was made with mobile UIs in mind and offline learning in mind.
In fact, it comes with a singular WPLMS mobile app that has sections for students, admins and developers. Using JWT and a browser-oriented approach, WPLMS works on Android and iOS and is one of the fastest loading platforms.
In more ways than one, WPLMS aims to emulate the existing offline school structure. As such, it offers courses with multiple start dates, assigns grade books, tracks student progress, offering course variations, certificates, quizzes and a section for parents to monitor.
Moreover, it understands that students are unique, which is why it offers the option for Creative Learning Paths. Based on their learning path, students can get reward points and badges.
There are various micro-interactions to keep them encouraged along with extensive gamification. Parents can control certain segments for students like their fees and access their reports.
Similar to Sensei, it allows corporate and school level selling with batch enrollment. Students can also book instructors based on a calendar slot for one-on-one or small group tutoring. For these, WPLMS allows integrations with Zoom, BigBlueButton, Jitsi and Microsoft Teams.
Instructors will also enjoy the WPLMS workspace that allows easy course creation and drip content release. There is also a question bank from which one can draw questions – including special characters and shortcodes for those pesky Chemistry formulas and Physics equations.
WPLMS also allows data tracking, which means if someone has purchased a course, it will remain on their account.
Created in 2014, GoodLMS allows quick and easy creation of courses and quizzes. GoodLMS integrates with the WP site theme and allows one to create courses in a manner similar to creating a blog.
Students can be enrolled for courses after payment via Paypal, Stripe, Paymill, Authorized.net or a direct bank transfer. As of now, course-wise payment is the only option available. They can avail discounts while signing up.
Courses can be created with sections, sub-sections and inclusive quizzes. Quizzes can be auto-graded and time-bound. Course certificates can be awarded along with badges. The student profile will contain a complete overview of their course history along with these badges.
It also shows their quiz tests and retakes left. Instructors can set a retake limit on the quizzes. Along with this, there is a sidebar where students can track their progress during the course.
GoodLMS also sports individual instructors. The instructors work similarly to freelancers who can set a commission rate and engage in private tutoring.
The features of GoodLMS are limited, but it’s a great option for corporates and schools to use. All in all, GoodLMS is a great cheap alternative to the other plugins on the list. It costs only 32 USD for a standard license that will last for 6 months. After this, you can get it extended with just 10.13 USD for another 6 months!
9. Course Builder
Course Builder is a WP plugin that comes with its own theme and UI. Their page states that their UI is specifically developed keeping readability and SEO in mind, to encourage students to complete courses.
Course Builder offers a drag-and-drop course builder along with advanced quizzing options (multiple answer types).
Moreover, one can introduce Course Builder courses using Udemy or Coursera links. This is a great way to build a user base.
Course Builder offers some exclusive features not seen in other plugins. This includes the ability to organise online webinars that can be marketed. Tickets can be sold for these for restricted access. It also sends out emails and notifications for such events (and new course announcements).
One can host their school classes on it with the option to add new instructors to courses.
Quizzes are available both online and offline. Similarly, along with PayPal and Stripe, Course Builder allows offline payment, Here, a receipt will be needed to be manually verified. Using an extension, one can sell these courses across WooCommerce as well.
With BuddyPress integration, one can easily chat with their peers and instructors.
Course Builder encourages trust with open student and instructor profiles and public ratings and reviews for their courses. The cost is 64 USD which is compatible with the latest WP versions.
With so many e-learning websites available, LMS plugins are a must to stand out and make your site approachable and easily accessible. Things like grade books and personalised profiles make the experience relatable.
Whereas things like offering badges and scores encourage healthy competitive learning among peers.
Moreover, discussion boards and mentoring sessions are a great way to emulate offline classes and offer some much-needed interaction to students.
LMS plugins allow instructors to sift and look at multiple student profiles and grades easily – in a way that a regular site or paper entries can never. With this list, we’ve looked at plugins – each with its own limitations and excellent points.
If you’re starting new in this sphere, you could opt for the Namaste! LMS plugin. However, if payment flexibility is your concern, then LearnDash could be a great option. Find out what works best for your institute!