Online courses have become a popular way for people to advance in life and their careers without spending too much money, especially during pandemic lockdowns. In addition, online learning allows you to learn new skills, such as coding or speaking a new language, all from the comforts of your home.
An LMS, (Learning Management System), combines a wide range of features to present a class setting online. It depends on the WordPress LMS plugin you choose, but in general, the tools let you create classes, share coursework, enroll students, and evaluate their work.
We use WordPress LMS plugins in schools and universities, and even in for-profit organizations that want to teach customers how to complete a task or gain more knowledge on a topic. For instance, Lynda.com and Udemy are known for their wide range of topics, although you can also find websites dedicated to just one or two topics.
What to look for in WordPress LMS Plugins?
Some of the basic requirements, along with the extras that you should look for, that will turn your learning website into something special:
- Course building with tools to upload different file types like videos, PDFs, links, and other content. This way, you plug your course content into a template and hit the Publish button.
- Course progress information to inform your students on how well they are doing. This keeps users motivated.
- Student enrollment and management to track how many students are in your courses and to collect payments based on memberships.
- Content dripping to gradually reveal some of the course materials as the student progress.
- Quizzes and tests for students to evaluate how much they’ve learned.
- BuddyPress and bbPress integrations for users to generate student profiles and interact with fellow students and teachers through chatrooms and forums.
- Financial marketing tools in the form of affiliate programs, commission systems, and coupons. The goal is to convince more people to sign up for your courses by giving out incentives and building trust.
- Automated emails to enhance the incentive by giving students a more tangible way to view their progress.
- Payment gateway support to add flexibility to your research process. You often find that one payment gateway might have lower fees or may not be offered in your region.
- Gamification and certificates to students whenever a certain activity is completed or when a course is finished. Badges and certificates are much better than email confirmations as people can print them out, or simply feel good about themselves when something is unlocked.
- Homework options that make the submission and grading process more efficient.
Be sure to go through the feature list outlined above and mark down the elements needed for your new course website. You may not need some of them, allowing you to choose a simpler WordPress LMS plugin that will cost you less. At the same time, you don’t want to miss out on important tools once you begin accepting enrollments.
Below are some LMS plugins for wordPress that we recommend, in no particular order :
Masteriyo is a one-stop solution for those who want to create as well as sell online courses. With its user-friendly and intuitive course builder, even a non-tech-savvy can add lessons, and quizzes without any hassle. You can add unlimited courses, lessons, and quizzes as per your requirement.
This WordPress LMS plugin offers both free and premium versions. Besides the free version, Masteriyo has three different premium plans. For 1 site license, you need to pay $199/Year. If you want a license for 5 sites, it costs $299/Year. Similarly, the 99 sites license will cost $499/Year. Also, a special introductory discount of 75% is available on all premium plans.
To add more, all premium plans include premium support via live chat and email, updates for 1 year, Stripe integration, WooCommerce integration, download materials, certificates, and many more features. Along with that, Masteriyo is fully compatible with any theme that has been created following WordPress theme standards.
- Easy drag-and-drop course builder built on React for faster loading.
- Includes the advanced quiz builder. You can create quizzes of different types
- The Question and Answer system allows students and instructors to interact.
- A progress bar displayed at the top right shows the students how much progress they have made in their course.
- The in-built order system allows you to effortlessly sell courses and accept safe payments.
- The plugin is highly customizable to match the vibe of your site. The courses you create will look great on all devices.
- Dedicated support team.
Fortune 500 companies and major universities use LearnDash for its overall speed, feature set, and impressive online course design.
The pricing is set on a yearly basis, where you pay $199 for the first year to support one website with all the features available. A 10-site license costs $399 per year, while a 25-site license reaches $799.
It’s also worth mentioning that LearnDash is mobile-compatible for those eager to learn on the go. Also, customer support is provided by experts through a sophisticated ticketing system.
- Option to create multi-tier courses where you break up the courses into more advanced experiences.
- Tools for drip-feeding your content based on a schedule. You can also add lesson timers to ensure that every student spends a fixed amount of time per lesson.
- Dynamic forums pre-built into LearnDash.
- Gradebook, certificates, and badges are displayed to your students along with course points earned throughout the course.
- Tools for monetization like a shopping cart, subscriptions, course bundles, and licenses.
- Automated email notifications along with detailed reporting.
- Support for most media file types.
- Multisite enabled, just in case you’d like to run LearnDash on a network.
- Allows users to create their courses on your WordPress site using the premium Front-End Course Creation add-on.
LifterLMS is a well-known learning management system with a lot of reasons to recommend it. It is one of the more well-known LMS and is used by several eLearning websites
LifterLMS uses a smart drag-and-drop course builder to help build courses, making it a lot easier put the courses together and manage them. You can build multi-tier courses, add quizzes, and assessments, and generally make courses as interesting as you can.
You can add modules, lessons, multimedia sections, and online course prerequisites, building the courses up to degree level if you wish.
LifterLMS also has content drip tools, gamification elements, badges, certificates, marketing tools, and more. Extra plugins add more features like affiliate marketing, eCommerce elements, and email marketing.
Pricing starts at $180/year for a full LMS bundle. Additional add-ons are individually sold for $99. In addition, a $1, 30-day free trial is provided, so you can test Lifter LMS before paying the full price.
There are a few notable features that separate LifterLMS from the rest. For instance, LifterLMS includes a graphics pack with backgrounds and other design elements. You can also collect customer testimonials to help you sell the courses in the future. Another reason the Lifter LMS plugin appeals to beginners is because of its integrations with Divi and Beaver Builder. These drag-and-drop editors deliver a more visual design experience.
- Direct WooCommerce integration for selling your courses individually or as bundles.
- Drag-and-drop course-building tools and integrations offer course builders an easy design experience.
- The main plugin is free, so you can technically build a simple online course website for free. The only add-on you would have to pay for is the payment gateways.
- Customer support and free training courses.
- Support for most media file types.
- Course import and export tool.
- Create discussion areas and social profiles for your students to interact with each other and their teachers.
- Wide variety of marketing and monetization tools like recurring payments, multiple gateways, unlimited pricing models, and coupons.
Tutor LMS is a popular addition to LMS plugins. It ships with features like the frontend course builder, drag-and-drop course creator, certificate builder, and continuous development support from the parent company, Themeum.
The core plugin is free, while the premium plan starts at $199 for a single-site license. This gives you access to premium add-ons like Certificates, Course Previews, Multi-Instructor, Content Drip, and more. You can also integrate with Google Classroom for robust communication, Zoom for live video classes, and Elementor for a fully customized course-building experience.
Tutor LMS also boasts a secure platform with robust security and coding practices. It has a growing list of integrations with e-commerce plugins, as well as other popular page builder plugins like GamiPress, BuddyPress, and so on.
- With the Pro version, the frontend course builder enables a novice WordPress user to create courses right from the front end of the site.
- Separate the frontend dashboards for students, instructors, and admin to show different settings based on different role types.
- Drag & drop certificate builder lets you create certificates to award your students.
- Covers all types of course content media with support for text-only content, audio courses, and videos, as well as Live Classes with Zoom integration.
- 10+ question types in the Quiz Builder to create insightful quizzes.
- Q/A and Student Forums for each course to improve communication.
- Enable/disable customizable triggered emails to send to your students and instructors regarding events happening on your Tutor LMS site.
- Tutor LMS Notification add-on lets you send site-wide notifications for events that are based on your LMS site.
- Support for all monetization plans, including e-commerce plugins like WooCommerce and EDD.
- The admin and the instructor dashboard will help track and monitor earnings to give an overview of their LMS analytics, course details, earnings, statements, and more.
- Useful add-ons such as Certificates and Gradebook.
- One-click migration tools if you plan to switch platforms. They currently support LearnDash and LearnPress, but they have stated that the supported platforms list will grow steadily.
- Language support for 27+ languages.
- The event calendar provides an overview of all that is happening and helps users take necessary action.
Sensei LMS was developed by the same team behind WooCommerce and shares many similarities. It’s an extension of WooCommerce, so naturally it works in a very similar way to building a store. The basic premise is simple: you write lessons and add quizzes. It includes user registration, and it’s a simple process when adding other WooCommerce elements (like physical products) to the courses.
Pricing starts at $149 and goes up to $349, which depends on how many sites you want to implement it on. This price is limited to one year, so you have to upgrade annually. The seamless WooCommerce integration is the selling point of Sensei, especially since it is made to work with all WooCommerce themes. Overall, Sensei is built around the intuitiveness of WordPress, so the beginner user shouldn’t have any problems designing a course.
It doesn’t include payment gateways or many other advanced features, but these can be supplemented with WooCommerce plugins for a price.
If you’re familiar with building a WooCommerce store and managing products, managing online courses with this plugin will feel very similar. Simple to use, easy to populate but not the most advanced options in the world.
- Works well with WooCommerce and WordPress.
- The majority of WordPress themes on the market integrate well with Sensei.
- User registration is done through WordPress.
- WooCommerce integration allows you to instantly charge for a course, either as a subscription or on an individual basis.
- Simple course analytics provide information on grading, course completion, and students registered.
- The quizzes are simple in terms of design, but several templates are offered for things like true/false, single line, file upload, and multi-line tests.
- Sensei displays random quizzes based on a bank of questions you set before launch.
- Quiz grading can be set to automatic or manual.
WP Courseware is among the more promising WordPress LMS plugins for a few reasons. First and foremost, the pricing is far less complicated than some of the competition. You receive a bonus of a two-site license for the least expensive package starting at $129 per year. The on-site demo is the closest thing you will get to a free trial.
WP Courseware is also used by some of the top universities in the world, such as the University of Illinois and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. You will also find WP Courseware tools on some enterprise training sites.
WP Courseware supports multi-tiered courses, quizzes, course pre-requisites, content dripping, grading, usable teacher and student profiles, and an excellent visual course designer.
A standout element of WP Courseware is the vast collection of integrations you can choose from, like WooCommerce, OptimizePress, BuddyPress, and Visual Composer.
- The affordable pricing package allows for two sites at $99 per year.
- The member portal allows you to speak with active users who also make online courses for money.
- Visual designer works with drag-and-drop elements and offers essential tools like course protection, drip content, and email notifications.
- Gradebooks can be viewed and exported for managing your student’s progress.
- Sell through WP Courseware by integrating with your preferred eCommerce plugin.
- The plugin allows for a multi-instructor system where you assign roles for the teachers for creating and managing the courses they teach.
- Quizzes offer multiple question types and even question tags.
LearnPress serves as the simplest and cleanest choice among LMS plugins. It is free to use, but you may have to pay for a LearnPress-compatible theme. One downside is that the dedicated customer support isn’t as dedicated as you might find with a premium LMS, although email support responds to you within 24 hours. That being said, most of the basic LearnPress add-ons are free. You can also opt to pay for premium add-ons for features like certificates, co-instructor support, and WooCommerce support.
Each LearnPress course can be created with quizzes and lessons as the students move through the curriculum. You may have to activate a few add-ons according to how advanced you need to make your online course. For example, there are add-ons for bbPress, BuddyPress, course reviews, wishlists, importing/exporting, and prerequisites to courses.
- The landing page template for linking ads and talking about course descriptions, curriculum, and more.
- Support for a large collection of payment gateways including 2Checkout, Authorize.net, and Stripe.
- The core LMS plugin is free, so you have the opportunity to make a simple, yet in-depth online course. You might spend some money on a theme and a payment gateway integration. The upside to this is that you won’t be stuck paying a yearly recurring fee.
- Allows for multiple instructors, where two or three teachers manage one course.
- A badge and point system is available to gamify your courses.
- Content dripping is provided, along with paid memberships and a WooCommerce add-on.
Good LMS has features from creating and selling courses to implementing quizzes and awarding certificates. The CodeCanyon page includes several demos (student backend, instructor backend, transaction backend) for a full overview of what to expect.
The design process is managed a lot like a regular WordPress blog post, wherein you create quizzes, courses, and certificates straight from the WordPress dashboard. The course process meter provides insight into student achievements, and setting a commission rate for instructors allows you to manage the people who work on your team. Course ratings are also available, so Good LMS is a smart choice for those who want to sell courses online.
While Good LMS offers some extensive features, it’s among the more affordable WordPress LMS plugins. A permanent license costs $32, including automatic software updates and customer support for six months. If you would like to extend customer support and updates for another six months, it will cost an additional $10, but even then, it’s one of the most affordable options.
- Lets you make a simple course marketplace (like Udemy,) with course ratings and teacher commission settings.
- The plugin costs far less than some of the premium suites.
- Modify quiz settings so that all students have multiple opportunities to take the quizzes.
- Course badges and certificates are shown in the student backend along with progress reports.
- A simple coupon code generator helps you make and share the codes to gain more students.
Namaste! LMS flies under the radar, and with limited reviews, it’s easy to feel put off. However, Namaste! LMS is an easy-to-use plugin with a free version and lots of features.
As an example, Namaste! Pro offers options for awards and badges, along with file and course protection. You can also enable shopping carts for premium courses and connect with the WooCommerce or WP Simple Cart plugins.
Namaste! LMS offers a basic version of the plugin for free, and you do get a fair amount of features with this, although some of the most valuable tools are behind a paywall. The pro version comes in three packages, depending on the number of domains you need licenses for.
The packages run between $67 and $137 for a one-off fee. While your license won’t expire, you only get support and updates included for one year. After this, you have the option to pay 40% of the original price to access updates for another year.
The highlight of Namaste! LMS lies in the simplicity of the core plugin, but it’s not going to be enough for most online course webmasters. After all, you don’t get basic features like delayed course material or a teacher assigning unless you pay for the premium package.
- The integrations strengthen the overall functionality of your course website while also catering to niches. For instance, the Watu integration satisfies the need for quizzes and exams, while the MoolaMojo connection works wonders for giving out points and letting students buy more courses with the points earned.
- Creating and editing a course is similar to making a standard WordPress post. Simple and intuitive enough for beginners, although you can still access more advanced customization options.
- Monetization options to collect money and manage subscriptions for individual videos or packages.
- Security tool for protecting your files from unwanted intruders.
- Gamification features press users to work harder on the lessons.
Lastly, we have the MasterStudy LMS plugin, the newest LMS plugin on our list, but one that is packed with features! It comes with a smart course builder, lots of demos with sample courses to try, promotion tools, and a built-in LMS theme to get you started.
You can download the plugin for free and it will work with any WordPress theme, but if you want to save time, the MasterStudy premium WordPress theme will help you with that. The theme starts at $25.
A unique feature of MasterStudy LMS is that all the key elements are built with Vue.js, which gives you faster page loads and smoother page transitions.
- Easy-to-use UI.
- Easily set up payment for recurring subscriptions with PayPal and Stripe integrations.
- Features a message board that creates a social network-type environment for students to get answers and help from course creators.
- Create quizzes, real-time questions and answers, and use countdown timers.
- Built-in course ratings.
- Generate certificates for students who have completed courses.
Another option to consider: WPLMS
WPLMS is a social learning management system for WordPress that boasts a huge list of features that are virtually non-existent in the entire market. It runs on the Resilient Progressive Web App (RPWA) framework which is capable of handling server crashes, as well as internet issues.
The WPLMS Progressive Web App (PWA) can be easily converted into an app that can be hosted on App stores and installed on mobile devices. The PWA automatically recognizes Administrators, Students, Instructors, and other member types which you can configure, and shows them different dashboards, app items, and functionalities.
The One App framework has plenty of features like Course creation and management, Reports generation, xAPI, Community features, Forums, Messages, Live chat, Notifications, Video recorder/editor, and Gamification.
Pricing starts at $75 which is a one-time payment with 20-50% support services every 6 months after the initial 6-month free support period.
Also, we at Low Cost Web Agency are experts at using WPLMS to build courses for our clients. Here is an example of an online course built by us using the plugin.
Due to the vast number of features available, WPLMS might overwhelm users who are not used to working with Learning Management Systems. So if you need an online course that is loaded with features to help you teach your students efficiently, we recommend WPLMS. And if you need help building a website to host your online course, contact us today.
So which WordPress LMS Plugin is right for you?
You can’t go wrong with any of the WordPress LMS plugins on this list, so it’s more about honing in on which features you would like to see in your online classroom. After that, think about the price–but not too hard since a quality learning website can make up the monthly fees easily.