Brian Batt, Author at elearningfreak.com
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The Best 7 WordPress LMS Plugins to Build the Best Online Course (2022)

The online learning industry is booming and with good reason. You can learn practically any skill from the comfort of your own home. This means you can learn on your own time and fit classes into your schedule.

But aside from learning new skills and mastering various topics, there’s another reason why the online industry is so popular. If you’re knowledgeable about something, you can create a course about it and sell it online.

In other words, creating an online course allows you to create a revenue stream that can boost your income. In some cases, it can even replace your full-time income from your day job.

There are many websites out there that will let you upload your course and sell it online. They’re appealing because they already have an established market base. But the problem with these sites is that they take a cut of your sales. As such, the best option is to host the course on your WordPress website.

While this may seem daunting, in reality, all you need is a robust WordPress LMS plugin. LMS stands for Learning Management System and with an LMS plugin, you can create lessons, upload course materials, add quizzes, and even award your students with certificates of completion.

In this post, we’ll share what you need to look for in a WordPress LMS plugin as well as share the 7 best WordPress LMS plugins to help you build the best online course. We’ll also help you decide which of those plugins is the best choice for you.

Table of Contents:

What To Look For In A WordPress LMS Plugin
LearnDash
LearnPress
AccessAlly
LifterLMS
Sensei LMS
Tutor LMS
MasterStudy LMS
What About SCORM and xAPI Compliance?
Which WordPress LMS Plugin Is Right For You?
Final Thoughts

What To Look For In A WordPress LMS Plugin

    Before we dive into the top WordPress LMS plugins, let’s take a look at the essential features your LMS plugin should have.

  • Course creation — naturally, the most important feature a WordPress LMS plugin should have is the ability to add your course content. Ideally, it should support the ability to add audio and video. PDF files, and more.
  • Content dripping — this feature allows you to release the contents of your course over some time. Great if you want to release a course before you’re done building it. This allows you to gauge the interest in your course as well as get feedback from your students as you’re building the course.
  • Student management — it’s essential that your WordPress LMS plugin makes it easy to see how many students have enrolled in your courses as well as manage their course access, payments, and more.
    Quizzes, tests, and incentives — features such as these will help your students test their knowledge. They will also help you understand how effective your course is. In addition to that, incentives such as badges or certificates of completion can serve as great motivation for your students to finish and implement the course.
  • Course progress — make it easy for your students to know how far they’ve come in the course and how many lessons are left.
  • Homework options — if you need to grade your students, this feature will help you assign homework and grade it with ease. This feature is great if you’re using an LMS plugin for an educational facility.
  • Support for various payment gateways — it’s important that your plugin integrates with a reliable payment gateway. This will make it easier for you to accept a variety of payment methods which can increase your conversion rate when it comes to course sales.
  • Integration with forum or community plugins — with this feature, you can provide your students with a community where they can engage in a discussion. This can boost student engagement and you can even have regular “office hours” to provide extra support to your students.
  • Integration with a page builder plugin — most LMS plugins will work with any WordPress theme. However, it’s a plus if they integrate with a page builder plugin as this gives you greater flexibility in building out your course area without having to change your themes.
  • Integration with popular e-learning authoring tools like Storyline, Rise, Captivate & more — most LMS plugins do not support uploading content from authoring tools. You’ll need to use a plugin like elearningfreak to upload your published SCORM and xAPI content to WordPress.

Now that we’ve covered the most important features, let’s take a look at the best WordPress LMS plugins on the market.
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storyline xapi featured image

Here’s How to Publish Storyline xAPI (Tin Can) Content

Looking to publish Articulate Storyline xAPI content also known as Tin Can? In this article, we’ll show you how easy it is to publish content from Articulate Storyline as a .zip file and upload it to your LMS / LRS.

Jump to the steps.

First off, what is xAPI?

The Experience API (we’ll call it xAPI from here on out), is a specification that allows learning content (built by tools like Articulate Storyline & Rise) to speak to learning systems in a manner that records and tracks all types of learning experiences. These learning experiences are recorded and stored in a Learning Record Store (LRS for short). LRSs exist inside of a traditional learning management system or can be used on their own. For example, the WordPress plugin from elearningfreak.com acts like an LRS to record statements and display those statements in their raw format (JSON) in the Statement Viewer:

statement viewer raw statements

Similar to a traditional LMS, the plugin from elearningfreak.com can also run reports from the statement data to give insights on your user’s progress:

xapi showing score

storyline answer data

export xapi score data

Why use xAPI instead of SCORM?

SCORM is a very outdated spec and should no longer be used if you’re publishing to an LMS that supports xAPI. Most authoring tools on the marketing include Articulate Storyline and Rise support the xAPI spec. If you’re interested in learning more about each spec like SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004, and AICC, check out this article: https://www.elearningfreak.com/how-to-explain-aicc-scorm-12-and-scorm-2004-to-anyone/

Now that you know what xAPI is and the benefits of publishing to xAPI instead of other standards like SCORM and AICC, let’s jump into publishing Storyline xAPI content.

Here’s the steps:

(Note: It doesn’t matter which version of Storyline you’re using. The steps are very similar.)

Applies to:
Articulate Storyline 360
Articulate Storyline 3
Articulate Storyline 2
Articulate Storyline 1

Step 1
Open your course in Storyline and click Publish:

storyline 360 click on publish

Step 2
Click on LMS / LRS. The LMS / LRS that we’re going to use is the elearningfreak WordPress Plugin because it supports xAPI. Then, choose xAPI in the dropdown under Reporting and Tracking like this:

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xAPI Now Available for Storyline and Rise

We’re excited to announce that xAPI support is now available for Articulate Storyline and Articulate Rise content. To get started, verify that you have version 5.90 of the elearningfreak plugin installed. Then, publish your content items to xAPI in Storyline or Rise.

You’ll see two new menu items under Articulate including Reports & Statement Viewer. Reports will enable you to see how a user scored on content including their answers. Simply click on the score percentage to see that user’s details. Statement Viewer can be used to see the raw data that is getting sent through the xAPI statements. While this update has been thoroughly tested, I recommend only installing this when you have time to troubleshoot any problems that may arise including plugin installation failures or even fatal errors.

Check out this video for a quick walkthrough of the features:

Our plugin works great as a stand-alone LMS or LRS or can work with any existing LMS plugin or theme you have installed in WordPress.

Need help publishing your Storyline content to xAPI? See this guide here: https://www.elearningfreak.com/publish-storyline-xapi-tin-can/