Building an online Learning Management System (LMS) may seem like a daunting task at first.
But, it shouldn’t be!
WordPress – the most popular CMS in the world – is equipped to publish all kinds of content, including your educational materials.
There are a host of great plugins and themes available to you that are going to make creating your eLearning website far more simple.
This means that you can create a Learning Management System using WordPress as your content management system, and have all the flexibility you need.
Whether your business or website is:
- A repository of written guides (like whitepapers, slideshows, case studies, infographics, and ebooks),
- A provider of online courses,
- A training system that includes written, video, and/or live tutorials,
- A support portal for a real-world educational counterpart,
- Or something else educational in nature…
…WordPress makes it easy to create a system that allows for user registration and login, and provide the educational environment right from within the platform.
There’s no need to send them out to an external site, such as YouTube to watch a tutorial or to invest in a third-party learning management system outside of WordPress. You just need the right combination of themes and plugins to create a powerful eLearning system.
Best WordPress LMS Plugins
What’s nice about educational platforms is that a lot of what they aim to accomplish can be borrowed from the other tools that are aimed at social community websites or other sites that need to host interactive content.
Communication between the educator and students is usually a top priority, so there’s a lot you can leverage from community plugins to build out your educational resource.
Here are some of the best WordPress LMS plugins that you can use to amplify your web presence, content, and add education-specific features to your website.
LearnDash is a premium plugin for creating courses and selling them online. But, it does a lot more than just that.
You can build a fully functioning online education system with just this one plugin.
In addition, there are features built into this plugin that empower you to motivate and reward users for advancing through the program. LearnDash is currently the most popular LMS for WordPress and used by businesses in a range of industries to provide their eLearning solution.
Price: $159 for a 1 site license, with higher-end plans available too.
The base plugin for LifterLMS is a smart and powerful choice for building your learning management system.
Create and manage courses with ease while keeping students fully engaged in your program.
Part of what makes Lifter LMS so good is how well it integrates with eCommerce plugins, so that you not only get paid for your learning system, but you can systematize it with subscriptions and memberships, too.
“LifterLMS is a great fit for launching your online course MVP because the free plugin allows courses to be created and sold with no initial investment in premium LifterLMS products.
You can validate your business idea using Lifter’s manual payment gateway, thus validating demand, then invest in one of the fully automated LifterLMS payment gateways to help you accelerate your business growth.”
Chris Badgett, CEO of LifterLMS
The best place to get started is with the free LifterLMS Quickstart course.
Price: Free plan available. Paid-add ons available, starting at $99/year.
Use this to create online courses, design and publish your own curriculum, provide users with custom lessons and quizzes, and sell it all using your ecommerce plugin or payment gateway of choice.
Price: Free, plus option paid extras.
Sensei, built by WooCommerce is a powerful and flexible LMS plugin for your WordPress website.
If you need to create courses, write lessons, distribute quizzes to your website members, you can.
Sensei also handles user registration and because it’s built by WooCommerce also offers an easy payment gateway if you want to change for your content or course access.
Price: Single site for $129
WPLMS is one of the most popular WordPress LMS plugins. It’s an ideal WordPress LMS theme for selling your educational courses online, and growing your business. It has capabilities that include course management, instructor and student management, and more.
It’s packed with features that should help you get your online course up and running in no time, whether you’re creating an educational training courses, corporate training courses, university courses, MOOC platforms or anything else you can think of!
Price: $69 for a regular license. $3600 for an extended license.
Namaste LMS is another popular learning management system plugin for WordPress.
You can decide if it’s the right one for you by checking out their customer showcase page.
Much of the functionality is similar to the previous WordPress LMS plugins I’ve already mentioned, but Namaste LMS pride themselves on their great customer support and relative affordability compared to other LMS plugins on the market.
Price: Free to start, PRO plans starting from $47/year.
For a simple training system based solely on video uploads, try the YouTube Embed Plus plugin.
You can more effectively embed a single video, a gallery of video clips, or even live-streamed video into your WordPress site.
You also gain more control over how the videos are displayed and played.
Here’s why Tay at YouTube Embed thinks you should try out YouTube Embed:
“Given YouTube’s massive reach, it’s common to see businesses of any size have a channel filled with videos of product introductions and illustrations.
Our plugin provides clean, easy, and efficient ways for businesses to present all of this content on their own sites and keep potential customers engaged.”
They also have a YouTube channel, that highlights some of the features of the Free version, and a page explaining the popular gallery plugin if you want to learn more.
Price: Free plan available. Paid options start at $29.99.
Best WordPress LMS Themes
When designing your Learning Management System, your WordPress theme of choice should include most of the tools you need to create a proper learning environment.
While this may differ based on the kind of education your site provides, a traditional educational theme should equip you with tools like course creation templates, grading systems, student management, and more.
Let’s look at some of the best options:
Course Builder is touted as a theme made for schools and educators, which can be used by anyone who wants to conduct and share courses online.
There are a number of templates included in the theme that allow you to tailor the design and features to the types of training you intend on doing, too, so there’s no need to repurpose something meant for one type of educator for your own purposes.
“Course Builder is a solid theme for creating an educational website as the theme comes with the bundled Visual Composer plugin and many pre-built demo layouts allowing you to easily create and edit your LMS website!”
– Tracy from Thimpress
The best place to start is with Course Builder is this step-by-step guide on how to install and customize Course Builder.
Price: $64 for a regular license
Education WP is a multipurpose theme that can be used for a variety of educational projects.
Starting a new educational program in your local area? Teaching online courses? Providing language learners with an educational app? Whatever type of learning environment you want to create or promote, you can do it with the Education theme.
The Thimpress team described the Education WordPress theme to us like this:
“Education WP has a streamlined, practical design that your website visitors will love. No coding or programming knowledge is required to edit and set up the theme either!”
They also have a step-by-step guide to help you install and customize Education WP.
Price: $69 for a regular license
LMS is a theme that enables users to build entire learning management systems within a website.
Because it integrates with ecommerce, scheduling, quiz systems, video hosting, course progress trackers, and other educational features, you won’t have to look too far outside this theme to get your site up and running.
Price: $59 for a regular license.
Because this was built specifically for video content, it’s optimized for performance so you have less to worry about when it comes to loading speeds, and it supports content from all of the major video providers such as YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion and more.
Bojan from Meks told us why their theme is perfect for sharing video content with your audience:
“Vlog WordPress theme is created with websites that need t post lost of video content in mind. It features a seamless integration with many popular video platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, etc… Its specific video-oriented design will definitely take your videos to the next level!”
Price: Try Vlog for free. Buy it for $69.
Create a LMS Mobile App!
Learning doesn’t only happen on a desktop. Providing a mobile learning solution should be a key pillar of your strategy.
Some of the benefits of mobile apps include:
- 70% of eLearning course participants report improved motivation if their materials are available in a mobile app
- More than two thirds of mobile learners feel more engaged on mobile than on other mediums
- Smartphone learners complete course materials 45% faster than those using other mediums
- Apps are ideal for people learning on the move (i.e. while commuting)
These reasons alone should be enough to convince you that your eLearning business is going to be more successful if you embrace mobile and create an app to complement your desktop presence.
However, the decision to build a mobile app may seem complicated and daunting, potentially taking time away from time working on other important parts of your business. But, it doesn’t have to be!
MobiLoud Canvas is the ideal solution to turn your WordPress LMS website into a mobile app.
We created a detailed guide on how you can easily get a mobile app for your LMS with MobiLoud Canvas. Click here to read it here!
Starting your LMS using WordPress doesn’t have to be difficult – these plugins and themes should help you start creating your LMS easily, and provide all the functionality you will need to grow your eLearning business in the future, without having to switch tools.
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Want to learn all about building and launching mobile apps for your WordPress site? If you liked this article, you’ll love the Mobile App Strategy Handbook. Click here to download it for free.