LearnDash Review: Is It The Perfect Solution?

LearnDash logo

LearnDash logo

So you want to start a business selling your knowledge.


But if you want to turn your idea into a business, you’re going to need a good platform to manage your courses and, preferably, market them too.

If you’ve read this blog before, you know that I have one weakness: I love looking into online tools to see how well they fulfill their promises.

Today, I’m taking an in-depth look at LearnDash.

In this LearnDash review, you’re going to find out everything about the features and LearnDash pricing.

Let’s dive in!

1. What is LearnDash?

What is LearnDash?

LearnDash is an incredibly effective WordPress LMS (learning management system).

The homepage highlights the fact that LearnDash is the top choice of 500 leading companies and educational institutes, but it has plenty of benefits for online course-selling businesses.

It contains all the best features targeted towards beginner, elementary and intermediate learners.

In other words, it has the most convenient learning features in a single platform.

2. Who should use LearnDash?

Look, I won’t beat around the bush.

With half of the world currently stuck in self-isolation, a lot of people are turning to courses.

So if you want to design and sell online courses, now’s the best time for it.

LearnDash dashboard

What LearnDash does is provide you with a platform through which you can design and sell online courses, effectively making money while sitting at home.

While LearnDash has been popular among the pros (higher education and professional training course developers), it’s relatively easy to use so it’s a good fit for new online business owners, as well.

It also has a lot of benefits for learners.

When it comes to membership sites, you depend on recurring revenue. You want to motivate your students to keep using your site and paying for subscription.

The best way to get there is by engaging them.

2.1. Using LearnDash WordPress plugin

WordPress is by far the most popular content management system, and LearnDash is essentially a WordPress plugin.

So if you run your website on WP, you can easily integrate LearnDash and manage your courses from a single platform.

LearnDash WordPress plugin

2.2. LearnDash shortcodes

A huge part of the tight integration are LearnDash shortcodes.

They allow you to add LearnDash features into your garden variety WordPress site.

2.3. LearnDash themes

Finally, LearnDash adapts to all WordPress themes so you don’t have to worry about ruining your branding.

You can also customize your courses to display your logo and visual identity.

3. LearnDash features

LearnDash comes with plenty of handy features:

3.1. Drag and drop course builder

LearnDash course builder

One of the main benefits of LearnDash is the drag and drop course builder.

You don’t have to write a single line of code to create your courses.

Additionally, LearnDash lets you easily repurpose content to create new courses with existing materials.

All you need to do is either copy the content or drag a section to the new course.

  • Learning guides

Depending on your students, you can either hold their hands as they navigate the courses, or let them run free.

If you’d like to provide more guidance, you can create a complete set of guidelines for every step of the learning experience.

But if your students are more independent, you can allow them to go through the course at their own pace.

  • Drip content
learndash drip function

If you’d like your students to gradually progress through courses, unlocking one lesson after another, you can set a drip schedule with LearnDash.

Personally, I think this is the handiest feature when you’re offering membership or subscriptions.

  • Mobile-friendliness

Another game-changer is the fact that LearnDash courses are mobile friendly.

Since we’re all staring at our phones these days, this is my personal favorite

The learners can easily switch from their laptop to mobile devices and pick up exactly where they left off.

This also opens up a whole new segment of the market.

You no longer have to make your customers turn on their laptops; you can offer an easy way of consuming your products through their phones.

3.2. Focus mode

What do you think is the biggest hurdle in the completion of courses, and the main reason for students’ short attention spans?


LearnDash comes with a special feature called Focus mode.

It eliminates all the distractions, and keeps the students focused on the course only.

As a result, they’ll be more likely to focus on the content, and keep engaging with your product through assignments and quizzes.

3.3. Recognizing and rewarding engagement

Recognizing and rewarding engagement

Now, most of us aren’t too fond of quizzes - they can be stressful, and not rewarding enough.

Just imagine a quiz you’ve worked hard for, scored well, and as if that was not enough, you get a special customized appreciation message from your instructor.

At LearnDash, you can customize your feedback messages, and reward your students for engaging.

And speaking of rewards...

3.4. Gamification

If you can make courses as fun as video games, you can bet that’ll boost your numbers!

LearnDash offers a few ways to gamify engagement:

  • Course points
Course points

As the users complete courses, they earn course points. 

Later on, they can use them to unlock other courses.

  • Certificates and badges

You can also motivate your customers with certificates and badges.

They’re highly customizable, and vary from simple short quiz badges, to bulky course completion certificates.

certificates and badges

Certificates are also a nice touch for boosting your credibility and referrals, as well!

People love bragging about their achievements, so if you offer them a badge or a certificate they can feel proud of, they’ll be more likely to share it with their friends.

  • Email notifications

With LearnDash, you can send automated email notifications and customized messages to guide your learners throughout their courses.

You can communicate clearly with your learners, and guess what that leads to? A higher rate of course completion!

You will get a chance to keep your learners constantly in the loop by providing them with daily or weekly reminders.

Email notifications

You can also automate confirmation email responses on certain actions such as enrollment in a course, completion of a quiz, submission of assignments and much more.

Unfortunately, LearnDash can’t completely replace your email marketing software, like systeme.io can.

3.5. Community management

Community management is one of the most important parts of running an online membership business. 

It adds extra value to your customers, and allows you to up-sell them to other courses.

In that respect, LearnDash has two neat features:

  • Interactive forums

I absolutely love this feature!

It increases the interest of the learners and leads to a greater course completion rate. 

The learners share their feedback with one another, and you can always swoop in to give your expert insight.

  • Groups

Just as if you were running a physical course or a workshop, you can organize learners into groups with group leaders, and have them complete tasks together.

This is a pretty big deal!

It adds to the learning experience, and it can be a great way for your business to stand out in the market.

3.6. LearnDash pricing models

 LearnDash pricing models

You can pick from a few pricing models:

  • One-time purchase
One-time purchase

This can either be a lifetime purchase or a limited time purchase.

You can also hook the potential buyers by providing free demos as lead magnets. From there, LearnDash offers an automated way of enrolling them into courses.

  • Subscriptions

Subscriptions are the best way to monetize your membership/course business

When paired with drip content, or extra courses and value, subscriptions keep your customers coming back for more.

  • Course bundles

Good things come in twos and great things come in bundles!

LearnDash offers a feature through which you can create and sell your courses in bundles. 

If you pair a few highly-relevant courses with a discount, it’s a great way to generate more sales.

This is a great feature for scaling your business, as well.

  • Course licenses
Course licenses

The membership through enrolment in courses can also be extended to course licenses.

The current work from home situation creates a need for tracking progress of all the employees at one place

Organizations and start-ups can buy a course license and organize their tasks and team members into groups.

Course licenses are a great feature if you’re primarily in the B2B space.

3.7. Detailed reporting

Now, this is the part where I’d really reconsider the decision to use LearnDash.

You can see data such as:

  • Course progress
  • Quiz performance
  • Live activity
  • Time on course

... but only if you subscribe to Plus and Pro plans that offer ProPanel.

At the same time, you’re not seeing any metrics related to email marketing, or marketing in general.

You’d still need to use a separate, third-party tool to do it.

4. LearnDash pros and cons

All in all, LearnDash is a really powerful LMS. 

But that’s not to say that it’s without faults.

4.1. LearnDash pros

LearnDash pros
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Visual course builder
  • Community management
  • Tight WordPress integration
  • Advanced features for learners
  • Gamification for improving your course completion rate
  • A simple way to repurpose your content to create more courses

All in all, I definitely see why LearnDash is #1 choice for educational institutions and professional training.


4.2. LearnDash cons

LearnDash cons
  • It’s lacking in analytics and reporting
  • It can be overwhelming for first-time business owners
  • Handles the learning side well, falls behind on business and marketing

My main problem with LearnDash is that it focuses exclusively on courses.

Today, when we’ve got more all-in-one marketing platforms than ever, LearnDash is still trucking along with only LM.

Sure, it does have a form of email automation, but it doesn’t offer an easy way of controlling your entire sales funnel or turning your leads into customers.

5. LearnDash pricing

LearnDash pricing

LearnDash has 3 plans, and the prices are stated per year, so it’s relatively affordable in comparison to competitors such as Kajabi and Teachable.

5.1. Which LearnDash plan should you choose?

I recommend going with the Plus package, even if you’re a total beginner.

You’ll get up to 10 site licenses, but more importantly - you’ll get ProPanel, the reporting software.

Otherwise, you won’t be able to know how well your customers are doing.

6. LearnDash alternative: systeme.io

Systeme.io's dashboard

Systeme.io's dashboard

If you want to start an online course business, systeme.io is a much better option.

While LearnDash focuses only on courses, systeme.io is the full package:

  • Drag & drop website and course builder
  • Sales funnel builder
  • Website hosting
  • Lead tagging
  • Blogging
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Email marketing automation
  • Workflow automation
  • Powerful analytics and reporting

And more!

So not only will you be able to build beautiful and efficient courses, but you’ll also be able to market them and increase your revenue.

6.1. Systeme.io pricing

Systeme.io pricing

Systeme.io is both more powerful and more affordable than LearnDash

Make sure you check out the pricing page for all the details.

All in all, you can easily get started with up to 3 membership sites even with the first, $27/month plan.

Then, you can upgrade to scale.

But whichever plan you choose, you’ll be able to automate your marketing and run an affiliate program.

You can try systeme.io for free!

7. Is LearnDash worth it?

If you’ve already been running you business through WordPress and want to upgrade to offering memberships and courses, then - yes. LearnDash is a good choice.

But if you want to stop paying for dozens of tools and host everything you need to succeed on a single, powerful platform - go with systeme.io.

You’ll love it!

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