But an LMS is also used to sell online courses, being able to train any interested person without geographical location limits.
Likewise, the need to train employees with new skills is constant. With an LMS platform, you can reduce costs and eliminate interruptions in work activity that result from face-to-face training, allowing employees to study the material online at their own pace.
These types of platforms also allow you to see the progress of each student through reports and access statistics.
What is a Learning Management System (LMS) plugin?
A Learning Management System (LMS) plugin is a software that integrates with the LMS to provide additional features.
The LMS plugin can be used for various purposes, such as adding quizzes and tests to the LMS, recording attendance and grades, or providing an audit trail of completed courses.
If you already have a blog or website on WordPress, you can easily integrate an LMS on this platform, being able to create, manage and offer content for training or online courses.
To configure an LMS in a WordPress, you have to install a plugin on this platform. For those unfamiliar with the term, a plugin is a software program that you download into WordPress and allows the author to add new functionality that isn’t built in by default.
There are countless plugins developed for WordPress, as it is a widely used platform, and one category is called LMS plugins.
With the LMS plugins you can create a closed space, only accessible by your students, where you can publish lessons, enable forums, take tests, generate certificates and even sell your courses if you wish.
When you install the plugin, new pages automatically appear in the WordPress administration interface, including Courses and Lessons, which allow you to define a course and assign lessons to it with the content you want (videos, text, images, links, etc.), just like you do with a blog post.
Installing and configuring a WordPress LMS plugin is not for beginners and requires familiarity with or learning how to use WordPress.
Remember that before installing a WordPress plugin, you have to check its technical compatibility with the version you have installed and make a backup to be able to restore it in case something goes wrong or an error occurs.
Learning Management System (LMS) Plugin for WordPress
In the last few weeks, I have been installing and testing different LMS plugins. In recent years many new ones have been appearing and here are 4 of the best plugins for your evaluation.
Each LMS has its strengths and weaknesses, but all the options I propose offer a satisfactory experience both for the teacher/administrator who configures the courses and manages the students, and for the students who access the courses.
Price: Free with paid add-ons
Theme: Compatible with any theme, but you can purchase LearnPress specific themes here or install this free theme
LearnPress is the free WordPress LMS plugin that integrates all the basic features you will need. It allows you to create an unlimited number of courses, lessons and three types of basic tests.
You can adjust the length of the course, the minimum passing grade, the number of times a test can be repeated, and set prerequisites for one course before you can move on to another.
You can also create discussion groups and questions for free, but you have to install the BuddyPress plugin or introduce gamification elements with GamiPress.
Also in its free version it allows you to sell any course through the PayPal payment gateway. If you want to integrate other forms of payment, such as credit card or bank transfer, you will need to pay for the LearnPress WooCommerce Integration plugin and learn how to configure this other plugin.
In case you need to extend these basic functionalities, LearnPress allows you to add the following plugins for a one-time payment of $69, which is very reasonable compared to other LMS plugins:
- Sequential access to content
- Delivery of activities
- Different types of tests
- digital certification
- Report card
- Several teachers per course
- A theme to personalize your online academy
- Integration with different payment systems
Unlike other plugins, LearnPress comes with a setup wizard that allows you to easily install and configure your courses, although I insist that it is not for WordPress beginners.
Being free, you don’t have access to fast technical support to solve doubts or problems, but in my tests I didn’t have any technical incident that it couldn’t solve.
Price: $159 per year
Theme: Compatible with any theme and also includes a free LMS theme in your license
LearnDash is the best WordPress LMS plugin for the number of features it includes. It does not have a free option nor can you try it without buying a license, but if you already have a student base for your courses, it is a very reasonable cost to assume.
The basic license already includes everything you need to create an unlimited number of courses, lessons, students, all kinds of tests and activities and create different learning plans within the same course. If you want to sell your courses, it integrates with various payment gateways such as Woocommerce.
LearnDash offers endless possibilities and a multitude of elements that you can implement in your courses: video tutorials, video conferences, gradable question tests, lessons that appear at the scheduled time, group users into groups or “classrooms”, etc. You can also create discussion forums and questions without the need to install additional plugins as in the case of LearnPress.
In addition, LearnDash is fully compatible with two widely used standards in the creation of eLearning content: the SCORM and Tin Can API packages.
Other functionality included in LearnDash is the possibility to send emails to your students as they progress in the course: when they complete a topic, pass or fail an activity, when a new module is opened, they earn a badge or they have been away for several days. they do not enter the course, for example. This monitoring helps the student to complete the course and feel supported at all times.
Also, as a gamification element, students can earn points as they complete a course and can use these points to unlock entry for others, motivating them to pass the tests.
LearnDash includes the awarding of Certificates and badges to students when they have completed the course and adding a series of free and paid plugins to further extend the learning modalities of the platform.
As an additional advantage, you have access to the developer’s technical support for any questions or problems with your configuration.
Price: $99/year with a paid add-on or $299 if you need additional add-ons.
LifterLMS is another alternative option to LearnDash with practically the same functionalities to teach courses but at a higher cost when you add plugins that you always end up needing. However, the possibility of being able to try it for 30 days before paying is interesting.
The most significant advantage of LifterLMS over LearnDash is its ease of use for beginners with a simple drag and drop course setup tool.
Its integration with WooCommerce and MailChimp stands out. If you are already using these applications in your WordPress, surely this plugin suits you better than the rest of the LMS plugins.
LifterLMS also has a greater integration with Divi and Beaver Builder and therefore if your WordPress theme is designed with one of these page designers, you will have greater flexibility to integrate and customize the aesthetics of the lessons and course pages with your current topic.
Price: Free with the option to upgrade to Plugin Pro for a one-time cost of US$69 which includes compatible themes and 6-month technical support.
MasterStudy is a new free LMS plugin for WordPress. An important advantage over LearnPress is that all the key elements are made with Vue.js, which speeds up the loading of course pages and lessons for a better student experience.
It allows you to easily create courses with all the features that I have mentioned in this type of plugin (forums, gamification, content sequencing, etc.). I was surprised by the modern aesthetic that it has and the variety of types of questions that it allows in its tests.
It highlights its integration with Zoom for videoconferences and its compatibility with SCORM packages, and also allows you to configure payments for recurring subscriptions with PayPal and Stripe integrations.
In the event that you want to create an online academy where you collaborate with several teachers, MasterStudy integrates an automated payment system for teachers with the most successful courses.
It also allows you to import classes you have in Google Classroom and integrate notifications with MailChimp.
If it seems difficult for you to decide between these options, my advice is to go to the demo links that I have left you above, where you can browse the pages of free courses, lessons, types of tests, teacher and student profiles and see the workflow they allow you.
You will also see different aesthetics in each of them, which can also help you to opt for one option or another.
Finally, keep in mind that if you already have students willing to purchase your courses online, LearnDash or LifterLMS allow you to get up and running quickly, with access to technical support to resolve any questions or difficulties.