Knowledge is a business — or at least, it can be! Suppose you have lots of know-how in a specific industry or skill. In that case, you might be trying to figure out how to monetize your wisdom and experience.
Thankfully, nowadays, it’s simpler than ever. A high-quality online course platform makes it easy to create engaging e-courses, structure them efficiently, upload useful files, and sell them to an audience eager to learn.
In recent years, the e-learning market has carved itself a neat place in the online business sector. Globally, it was worth 500 billion USD in 2020, and is still expected to grow!
Whether you’re looking for a side hustle or a way to generate a full-time income or diversify your organization’s revenue stream, selling online courses could be the answer.
If this is a venture you want to pursue, you’re probably thinking: That sounds great, but how do I get started?
These two solutions provide all the tools you need to share your knowledge online.
So, in this review, we’re putting LearnDash and Teachable head to head to see which comes out on top. By the end, you’ll have a much better idea of which (if either) online course platform provides the value you’re looking for.
There’s lots to cover, so let’s get to it!
LearnDash vs Teachable: Their Core Features Compared
As you would expect, there’s lots of overlap between Teachable and LearnDash where features are concerned.
Both allow you to create and host online courses with ease and provide marketing tools to promote your digital product. However, there are also some core differences between the two.
Course Builder and Student Learning Experience
When it comes to LearnDash and Teachable’s online course builder, there are two aspects to consider:
- How easy and intuitive is it to create good-looking courses?
- What sort of learning experience can you provide your students?
LearnDash and Teachable provide similar features in this regard. That said, LearnDash goes into greater depth where some functionality is concerned, and vice versa for Teachable — so let’s see how they compare.
Before we go on, the most important thing to note is that LearnDash is a WordPress plugin. This means you either need an existing WordPress site, or you’ll have to create one to start building and selling courses.
Integrating LearnDash with your WordPress site is easy. It’s just a one-click install that involves searching for the plugin from WordPress’s plugin directory. Once you’ve located it, install and activate the plugin, and you’re good to go.
As LearnDash is a well-tested WordPress plugin, it seamlessly integrates with most WordPress themes and page builders.
Once you’re up and running, LearnDash provides an intuitive drag-and-drop course builder, which makes creating online courses a breeze. On top of that, you can build a branded learning portal for a distraction-free learning environment. Just utilize Leanrdash’s focus mode, and all distractions fade into the abyss.
LearnDash provides several course building blocks, including an advanced quizzing block. Here you can make use of eight question types, question banks, and more.
You also have the option of:
- Drip-feeding your course content
- Requiring students to view videos before they can advance
- Providing either linear or open progression (linear progression means students follow a set order when they go through the course, whereas open progression allows them to jump between sections and address whatever material they want, whenever they want)
- Setting flexible prerequisites to access courses, lessons, and quizzes
- And more
To provide a more engaging learning experience, LearnDash enables you to send automated email notifications based on the actions your students take (or don’t take). This works wonders for encouraging them to progress through your learning funnel.
On top of that, you can award badges and certificates based on how students perform on quizzes, whether they complete the course, or both. You can also assign course points for students to earn as they consume your content and set a minimum points threshold they need to collect before progressing further with the course.
To generate more of a community vibe, you can host a discussion forum where students can network with one another, ask questions, share their struggles and wins, and more. Plus, if you want to cultivate some healthy competition, you can post a leaderboard highlighting your top achievers.
Unlike LearnDash, with Teachable, you don’t need a WordPress site to get going. Instead, you can integrate it with whatever website you already have or use the Teachable platform to build an online school with a custom domain — the choice is yours.
With Teachable’s powerful course editor, it’s easy to create engaging multimedia lectures, post videos, and publish coaching sessions. In terms of course building blocks, Teachable is very similar to LearnDash. You can create quizzes and assignments and upload various media files such as images, video, text, and audio.
That said, Teachable’s quizzing functionality isn’t as advanced as LearnDash, with its question types limited to multiple-choice and true/false responses. Developers can also access LearnDash’s open API to fully customize their online school’s look and feel.
To get rid of Teachable’s branding on your content, you’ll need to purchase at least their Pro plan. Teachable’s Basic plan offers very little in terms of design flexibility. LearnDash scores one up here, as you can create your own branded materials with even their lowest payment plan.
Back to Teachable, you can host one-on-one sessions and interact with students live. It’s easy to schedule these sessions with students via Teachable’s native Calendly integration. Calendly enables you to share your availability so that students can book a time that suits you both.
Teachable also offers plenty of course compliance features. For instance, you can pre-program that students complete specific tasks before they can move on. Also, similar to LearnDash, you can issue course completion certificates.
Course Building and Student Learning Experience – Winner: A Tie!
For the most part, Teachable and LearnDash overlap where their course builders are concerned. Ultimately, both provide a range of useful features for effective course creation and tick all the boxes for providing students with an engaging learning experience.
It all comes down to whether advanced quizzing features (if so, LearnDash is your winner) or being able to hold live coaching sessions (if so, Teachable is your winner) is more important to you.
What payment methods can you accept? What billing methods can you employ? What online shopping carts can you integrate with? Below, I’ll answer those very questions.
LearnDash facilitates several billing and selling methods — most notably, you can offer students:
- One-time purchases
- Course bundles
With the Group Registration add-on, you can even sell bulk access to organizations so that they can hand out licenses after purchasing them from you.
You’ll also be pleased to hear that LearnDash seamlessly integrates with popular eCommerce WordPress plugins such as WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads.
However, LearnDash doesn’t have its own payment processing service, so you’ll have to integrate with a third-party payment gateway such as Paypal, Stripe, or 2Checkout to receive and process payments.
Teachable boasts its own integrated payment processor, which allows you to accept international payments in over 130 currencies. PayPal and mobile payments are also included as standard.
Teachable calculates VAT tax for you, handles chargebacks, and flags potentially fraudulent activity.
In terms of the billing and selling options, Teachable is very similar to LearnDash. For instance, you can set up:
- One-off payments
- Course bundles
You can also offer free courses and customer discounts via coupons. As opposed to Teachable, discounts/coupons aren’t part of LearnDash’s marketing arsenal, but you can create openly accessible courses for all visitors.
Payment Options – Winner: Teachable
As LearnDash doesn’t handle payments for you, you’ll definitely need to source a separate plugin. Not only does this mean potentially extra costs, but you’ll also have to spend time researching to pick the best possible online checkout solution for your business.
Although both tools offer plenty of different selling formats, ultimately, I think an integrated payment processor is an excellent functionality Teachable has nailed.
Reporting and Analytics
Making data-driven decisions is vital for the growth of any business — which means analytics is imperative. You need to see where you’re doing well and where you might need to improve.
In terms of online learning, typical metrics include your course completion rate and which materials attract the most attention.
So, what reporting features do LearnDash and Teachable offer?
LearnDash allows you to split students into groups and subgroups to make them easier to manage. This permits you to run reports on different groups for more segmented metrics.
With LearnDash, you can generate detailed reports on enrollment, progress, and performance.
And with the Gradebook add-on, you can sync the manual grading of your LearnDash quizzes and assignments to keep an eye on your student body’s success.
From a comprehensive dashboard, Teachable makes it easy to track sales and get an insight into student progress.
On the Pro plan (and up), you can access advanced course reporting tools. This provides information on your lecture completion rates and quiz scores. Course reports also generate info about your video content’s performance and engagement.
You can see how many students are enrolled in bundles and how many are paid or discounted students, and compare these metrics to course completion rates.
For insight into how well your students are performing, you can check the student leaderboard. This provides details about their progress, rank, enrollment, and the user’s name.
You can track your earnings and total sales via the transaction history in your sales reports. This includes info on affiliates, related courses and coupons, your chosen payment gateway, your earnings in USD, the courses’ price, and the specified date period.
Reporting and Analytics – Winner: Teachable
Ultimately, Teachable offers more advanced reporting tools. This is especially true where sales reports are concerned. As LearnDash doesn’t handle its own payment processing, this information is something Teachable has an easier time reporting back on.
Once your courses are set up and ready to go, you need to market them…successfully. Otherwise, you’ll sink lots of time and effort into creating a digital product for minimal (if any) financial reward.
When I talk about marketing, I’m referring to creating coupon codes, social media outreach, email marketing, and more. In light of that, let’s explore what both LearnDash and Teachable have to offer in this department.
Marketing is one area where LearnDash falls flat. While you can send automatic emails based on course-related triggers (to update students on the next steps they need to take), this functionality doesn’t double as a holistic email marketing tool.
One of the only marketing features LearnDash offers is the ability to provide free samples of your content, which you can use as a lead magnet to entice new students to enroll.
So, to improve your outreach with LearnDash, you’ll have to integrate with a dedicated marketing automation software or CRM (customer relationship management) tool.
Luckily, there are tons of WordPress plugins you can use. However, if you opt for LearnDash, you’ll have to see marketing as a completely separate issue (and therefore cost).
In comparison, Teachable does much better where marketing features are concerned. For instance, you can create custom coupons and sell discounted products. There are also basic email marketing tools that enable you to send newsletters and offers to your subscriber base.
Teachable also comes with its own affiliate marketing functionality, which empowers you to offer influencers a commission when they successfully secure a sale. Teachable’s affiliate marketing functionality generates affiliate links for you and boasts its own reporting feature. You can also restrict affiliate marketing to specific courses.
Plus, you can create your own sales and landing pages with Teachable’s flexible page editor.
Marketing – Winner: Teachable
Although Teachable doesn’t entirely replace the functionality you get with a high-quality marketing automation tool, with its affiliate marketing features, email marketing tools, and web page editor, it certainly has more to offer than LearnDash.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for better segmentation and automation, consider purchasing a separate SaaS specializing in this department — such as AWeber, Klaviyo, or Mailchimp (my Klaviyo vs Mailchimp review).
LearnDash vs Teachable: Integrations and Extensibility
You might start out just looking for an e-learning platform, but you might require additional functionality sooner or later.
Deciding for the long-term can be difficult when you’re new to the industry, so it’s essential to know how well you can adapt these platforms as you grow.
LearnDash is a WordPress plugin, so you need to purchase your own web hosting and domain. As such, you’ll have 100% ownership of your content.
Since LearnDash doesn’t host your content for you, it’s much easier to migrate your content to a different e-learning platform if you ever decide LearnDash isn’t for you.
Regarding LearnDash’s integrations, some of the more notable names include:
- Easy Digital Downloads
LearnDash integrates with Zapier, too, for even more flexibility.
As we’ve briefly touched on, LearnDash also works with page builders such as Elementor (our review) and Divi (our review). Integrating with these kinds of tools works wonders for unlocking extra flexibility where design is concerned.
On top of that, if you (or your team) have the coding smarts, you can dig into LearnDash’s API and customize the platform however you see fit.
As Teachable hosts all your content on its closed platform, it’s not easy to take your assets and migrate them over to a different platform.
In fact, its native integrations are currently limited to:
- Google Analytics
However, Teachable integrates with Zapier, which enables you to work alongside loads of platforms such as Zendesk, Olark, Intercom, and tons of others.
Integrations – Winner: LearnDash
Would you welcome a broader tech stack? If so, Teachable isn’t quite as flexible where integrations are concerned. However, the Zapier integration allows you to add a wider variety of apps.
That said, Teachable’s feature list is more extensive, which makes the need for third-party integrations a little less relevant. Also, as your content is hosted on Teachable’s servers, you don’t enjoy as much control over your assets. While you own the copyright to your course content, migrating to a different platform is very tricky.
LearnDash, on the other hand, offers plenty of integrations, and these are very necessary. From payment processing to marketing and everything in between — you’ll likely need and find plugins to extend LearnDash’s functionality.
As it runs on WordPress, this is easy. Not to mention, if you’re already running an established WordPress site or eCommerce business you may already be using these plugins.
LearnDash vs Teachable: Customer Support and Documentation
If you’re planning to use your online course platform for years to come, you’ll want to know they’ll have your back if you run into any issues — especially when you’re first starting out.
So, let’s see how LearnDash and Teachable fare where customer service is concerned.
You can contact LearnDash’s customer support via email Monday to Friday, from 7 am to 4 pm EST.
LearnDash also has an official Facebook group where you can network with other LearnDash users. That’s, as well as their YouTube channel, where you’ll find tutorials, tips, and informative webinars about how to make the most out of LearnDash and WordPress.
There are also answers to frequently asked questions online and an extensive knowledge base to boot.
Teachable, in contrast, offers far more comprehensive customer support. Their team is available via email for all customers, but users who subscribe to Professional or Business accounts unlock live chat. This is available Monday to Friday, 10 am to 5 pm EST.
All paying customers can also access TeachableU, an online course library covering topics like how to build your course and audience, pick a course topic, and more.
Also, when you first sign up, you can watch an onboarding webinar that guides you through how to get up and running.
Finally, there’s also an all-inclusive online knowledge base where you’ll likely find in-depth responses to whatever issue you’re tackling.
Customer Support and Documentation – Winner: Teachable
Ultimately, neither software offers 24/7 support or phone support.
However, Teachable offers live chat on its advanced plans and additional customer support such as onboarding webinars.
Unfortunately, LearnDash doesn’t provide these services, and as such, Teachable wins this round.
LearnDash vs Teachable: Pricing
No matter your business venture, there’s (almost) always startup costs, and unsurprisingly, creating and selling online courses is no exception.
So, how much will LearnDash and Teachable set you back on your journey to profitability?
LearnDash bills you annually. Unfortunately, there’s no option to split this expense into monthly payments. Each plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can leisurely try out the plugin to see if it works for you, with no financial risk.
You also gain access to a demo site template you can use as you learn the ropes before diving straight in.
The Basic package will set you back $199 a year, which unlocks:
- One site license (you can only integrate courses with one WordPress site)
- You can create unlimited courses
- You can register an infinite number of users
- Course content protection (i.e. content is only available to enrolled users)
- You can drip-feed lessons
- Access to advanced quizzing blocks
- You can issue certificates and badges
- You can run course forums
- Email notifications (automatically send students alerts based on their course activity)
- Free integrations (gain access to LearnDash’s growing list of integrations)
- One year’s worth of support and updates
The Plus package costs $229 a year. This includes everything listed above, plus the ProPanel advanced reporting dashboard and 10 site licenses.
The ProPanel enhances your administrative control. Here, you can see real-time student activity and approve, delete, and manage all assignments and essays. You can also view and download your student’s course progress and quiz results.
The Pro package costs $369 a year. You’ll get everything in the previous two plans, plus 25 site licenses.
As you can see, LearnDash doesn’t limit much in the way of features based on your subscription plan. Instead, you only need to upgrade if you want to expand across more sites.
Teachable’s pricing format is more like a traditional SaaS. You can pay monthly or annually for any of its three plans, but annual billing works out a bit cheaper.
You can also try Teachable with a free, 14-day trial. Plus, you can request a full refund within the first 30 days of purchasing any plan.
The prices below are based on annual billing to offer a fairer comparison to LearnDash’s yearly pricing.
Each Teachable plans comes with the following features:
- You get unlimited video uploads, course creation, hosting, and student enrollment
- Access to integrated payment processing
- Student management features (for example, you get access to student information and profiles, and you can enroll and remove students)
- Students can leave comments on your lectures in a designated comments box
- Basic quizzes (without grading)
- You’re not charged any fees when you ‘sell’ free courses
- Automatic VAT calculation for EU users
Let’s start looking at the plans.
The Basic plan costs $29 a month when billed annually, which works out to be $348 a year. You’re also charged a 5% transaction fee on every sale you make.
On this plan, you can offer courses and live coaching, and you gain access to:
- A members-only community (here, you can network with Teachable peers)
- Instant payouts
- You can register two admins
- Email support
- Course creator training (resources on how to create an online course)
- You can use your own custom domain
- You can create coupon codes for customers to use
- You can drip-feed course content
- You get access to integrated email marketing
- Access to third-party integrations (e.g. Mailchimp, ConvertKit, Zoom)
With the Pro plan (Teachable’s most popular plan), you’ll pay $99 a month ($1,188 a year). This plan removes transaction fees. Here you gain everything listed above, plus:
- Priority product support (access to live chat)
- You can grade quizzes
- Advanced reports (gain more detailed info on students, courses, videos, and upsells)
- An unbranded website
- You can issue course completion certificates
- Course compliance (i.e. you can set prerequisites for students to enroll and progress through your course)
- An integrated affiliate marketing platform
- You can register five admins
Finally, the Business plan costs $249 a month ($2,988 a year). On top of everything included in the Pro plan, this grants you:
- Manual student imports
- You can register 20 admins
- Bulk student enrollments (enroll several students at once)
- You can set custom user roles
- Advanced theme customization through developer access
- You can host group coaching calls
Pricing – Winner: A Tie!
When you compare overall annual pricing, it’s evident that Teachable is a lot more expensive than LearnDash. This alone makes LearnDash a tempting platform for anyone starting out or not wanting to invest loads in a course builder.
However, you need to remember that Teachable is ultimately much more comprehensive and includes functionality that LearnDash users might otherwise have to source in another costly SaaS — for example, email marketing or the ability to run your own affiliate program.
Additionally, LearnDash users have to pay for their WordPress plan, web hosting, and domain name, which, of course, adds more to the total cost of using the platform.
As such, it’s hard to compare the two where pricing is concerned!
LearnDash vs Teachable: Final Thoughts
I hope you’ve enjoyed this LearnDash vs Teachable review and walk away with a clearer idea of what both platforms have to offer.
Ultimately, price and functionality are two huge factors to consider.
Teachable is an excellent option if you want a course builder that’s quick to set up and enables you to build and distribute online courses in next to no time.
However, if you ever want to migrate your content to another platform, this might prove tricky.
In contrast, LearnDash makes sense if you already own a WordPress site and you’re looking for an affordable course builder.
It’s also a great choice if you’re already working with a CRM, marketing automation tool, and you’ve already installed a payment gateway. Otherwise, you’ll need to integrate with additional solutions to get LearnDash to really work for you.
Although its pricing is significantly lower, you’ll need to plan for other potential expenses carefully due to the gaps in functionality.
If you’re still unsure which course platform is best for you, why not try LearnDash and Teachable for free?
Whichever you decide, I’d love to hear how you got on. Tell us about your experience in the comments box below. Speak soon!
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