LearnDash is a learning management system (LMS) plugin for WordPress. It gives you the ability to add a course to an existing WordPress site. Since a lot of websites have traditionally been hosted on WordPress, adding a course with a plugin seems to make sense.
But in 2023, the world of online courses has changed. WordPress plugins are clunky, glitchy, and you often need to hire a developer to get the look and feel you want.
And, since many online course platforms come with an app plus are intuitive, customizable, and super easy to connect to an existing WordPress site, LearnDash isn't the best way to build an online course anymore – even for WordPress users.
In this article, we'll walk you through five great LearnDash alternatives for your online course.
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1. Mighty Networks
Mighty Networks is a cultural software platform that brings together content, courses, community, and commerce. And it's comprehensive, giving you all the features LearnDash has and more.
With flexible Spaces that bring features like pre-recorded or live teaching, easy event integration, custom course communities, messaging all members, and Q&As with each course module, it packs a punch. Add to this that your course is attached to an amazing community platform where you can run discussions and polls, create articles, share photos, videos, and more, and you've got the recipe for a course your students will love.
And unlike LearnDash, which requires a different plugin for monetizing and selling your course, Mighty Networks gives you the power to sell your course in currencies from around the world and to bundle course and community together if you want.
Kajabi is another course platform that gives you a lot of the same features as LearnDash. It has an integrated LMS that works well for building courses, you can add videos (posted on the third-party site, Wistia), quizzes, and you can deliver content in different ways (e.g. dripped).
Kajabi's best-known feature is probably its marketing tools, which are extensive. Kajabi’s marketing engine lets you build landing pages, funnels, and email sequences. It also comes with triggers and advanced marketing features like upselling.
The downside to Kajabi’s extensive marketing features is that they don’t come cheap. Kajabi is really expensive, costing almost twice what others on this list cost. And, its community option is extremely basic, essentially a simple forum that goes with the course.
But, if complex marketing features are most important to you and you’ve got a solid budget, Kajabi is a good alternative to LearnDash.
Podia is another LearnDash alternative that comes with some similar features to Kajabi. It costs less than Kajabi, but it’s also much more basic. Like Kajabi, it does have email functionality built-in and the options to create some basic marketing funnels. These can come in handy when selling your courses – and did we mention that it takes care of checkout too?
The downside with Podia is the LMS itself. It’s pretty basic, lacking some of the features LearnDash gives you for delivery and evaluation. But it does give you a simple design that’s pretty easy to use, as well as options for different products including digital downloads or coaching sessions.
Teachable is an LMS with many similarities to LearnDash, including a WordPress plugin. Teachable gives you an interactive, intuitive course builder that pretty much replaces LearnDash. It has good organization options and lets you add a variety of different content including video, text, assignments, and quizzes. Teachable also has a good affiliate marketing program, meaning that you can get your former students, fans, or influencers in your niche to help market your online course and share the profits with them.
There are a few drawbacks to Teachable. One is that, although it replaces some LearnDash features, it lacks a lot of the functionality of a modern all-in-one course platform.
It doesn’t really do live streaming or events – short of trying to embed live YouTube streams into your course. It’s missing elements that make a course shine, most notably a community function which gives your students a place to connect, get support, and hold each other accountable. And, finally, it only has an iOS app, not Android.
Oh, and you pay 5% transaction fees if you use the WordPress plugin on some of their lower plans. All these factors make Teachable comparable to LearnDash, but hardly your best option for building a course.
We’re going to round out this list with one last WordPress plugin that’s a LearnDash alternative: MemberPress. MemberPress is basically a website gate that lets you build a members-only section for your WordPress site. You can add digital downloads to this, but they also recently added an LMS function.
MemberPress integrates with plugins like Stripe to help you take care of the checkout process, and also comes with course delivery options like dripping content. Although the LMS for MemberPress is pretty basic, since it was designed to be a membership site builder and not a course creator, it is a WordPress-only alternative to LearnDash.
If you’re looking for a LearnDash alternative, we hope this article has given you some great ideas! And remember, you don’t need to be tied into WordPress plugins. Every single option on this list can be integrated smoothly with a WordPress website or connected via a subdomain.
And if you want to try building your course on Mighty Networks, come check us out! Your Mighty Network comes with a powerful and intuitive course builder that gives you the flexibility to make pretty much any type of course you want. Plus, your students can access it via an app for every device.
Want to see for yourself? You can try Mighty totally free for 14 days – no credit card required. Come see what you could build!