Have you ever considered creating your own online course? Learning Management Systems can help you create valuable content to be sold as courses, and you can also use them to promote your organization’s learning platform and as powerful marketing tools. But choosing one over the other can make or break your entire course experience!
In this article, we will deep-dive into two of the biggest platforms there are for creating an e-learning site: Teachable and WordPress. We will explore their pros and cons, explain which one will suit you best to create your own courses, and show you a few ideas to take your lessons to the next level.
Teachable or WordPress: Which one is better?
Both Teachable and WordPress are effective platforms for creating online courses, but they have different strengths and weaknesses. That’s why it’s a good idea to understand what each of them can offer you (and what they cannot do) so you can make a decision that benefits your project in the long term.
The first thing to keep in mind when it comes to making a choice is that you should always use a platform that makes it easy for you to create engaging content. The second is that you will need a way to offer various pricing tiers and payment options to access it.
Whenever possible, you should also make sure the tool you select allows you to create personalized learning experiences for your students by using add-ons like quizzes, flashcards, interactive elements, videos, etc. Lastly, you should pick a platform that can help you manage student enrollment and their payments, and track their progress through the course easily.
Before choosing a platform, you need to ask yourself: Is it easy to use? Does it have all the features needed for creating an online course? How much does it cost, and does it offers enough value to justify its price tag? It’s good if you also evaluate whether you can integrate it with other tools and how much customizability it offers. After all, an LMS is an investment, and you’ll be using it for a while! You should make sure you get things right from the beginning.
What are Teachable and WordPress?
Before we delve into why we think one of these platforms is considerably better than the other, let’s quickly explain what each one does.
Teachable is an online course platform that allows you to create and sell online courses. It has an integrated website builder and supports using your own custom domain. It also includes some direct integrations like social media platforms, Mailchimp, and Google Analytics. In short, Teachable has been designed to make the process of creating courses easier. The platform is available in three paid plans starting at $29 per month.
WordPress, on the other hand, is a massively popular content management system. Without considering costs for hosting platforms and certain plugins, the platform is completely free and allows you to create websites that are fully customizable using various themes and tools that align with your budget. If you want to create an online course in WordPress, you can. If you want to launch a gallery, you can, too! WordPress is incredibly flexible and the most prevalent CMS, offering thousands of powerful plugins and templates for big and small companies.
But which platform is the right choice, and why? Let’s jump right into it.
We recommend WordPress, and here’s why
Many designers, developers, and entrepreneurs believe WordPress is the winner when it comes to creating online courses. There are many reasons that justify this decision, and we will explain them in detail so you can also see why WordPress has many more benefits for eLearning professionals.
1- WordPress has a bigger user base
WordPress is a massive platform. In fact, it holds over a 43% share in the CMS market, with small businesses, bloggers, and Fortune 500 companies using the system on a daily basis.
So what does this mean for online course creators? Basically, you will have immediate access to all sorts of tools that can help you make your lessons engaging and unique. With such a vast user base, you will always find the right plugins to add the best functionality to your site and all the documentation you might need to solve any issues you encounter. That’s the main reason we prefer WordPress. The platform has long proven its value and, even better, continues to innovate.
2- WordPress is easy to use and offers the most customizability
WordPress is an open-source platform – which means it welcomes the wider community to collaborate and contribute to the project. This is why the CMS has a plethora of plugins and themes to help extend its default functionalities; anyone that sees a gap or need can create their own extension and solve the issue for themselves and others.
This ability translates into WordPress being highly customizable for developers and non-coders alike, as most plugins will have a user-friendly interface from which you can control all features. Anything you can think of, you can do with WordPress.
3- Teachable has limited customization options
Teachable, in comparison, has limited course and site customization options. You can only create your lessons using what the platform considers the basics, but you can’t go any further because the program is not flexible like WordPress is. For example, Teachable has limited multi-language support. Also, the tool is paid (there is a Free basic plan, but it’s more of a demo, not something you can use to create a great course).
Lastly, another problem with Teachable is that, if you have a problem, you can only reach out to them through email.
How to start using WordPress
If you want flexibility, security, and customization, you should definitely consider using WordPress to create your online course. Although the platform is quite extensive, it doesn’t take long to get started with it.
Picking a host
The first thing you will need to do if you want to use WordPress for your course is to install the platform. To do this, you will need a host or a place to home your site.
There are two options you can choose from. The first is to use a managed WordPress hosting service such as Pressable, which offers industry-leading performance, a 100% uptime guarantee, 24/7 expert support, and seamless integrations with both the WooCommerce and Jetpack plugins.
Alternatively, you can use WordPress.com to host your site. There are different pricing plans available. You can even choose to build your site for free. However, keep in mind that depending on the plan you pick, you’ll have limited features. For example, with lower-tier plans, you won’t have access to premium themes and plugins or be able to accept payments on your store.
A managed WordPress host will take care of setting up WordPress for you. However, If you have picked a different kind of host, you will need to install WordPress yourself. This is not hard but will require you to follow a few additional steps.
Most web hosts have an option to set up your CMS platform with just a couple of clicks. Go to your server’s control panel, find the WordPress option, and follow the instructions to pick a user name, domain, and basic theme. Your site should be ready and online immediately!
How to create an online course using WordPress
With everything set up and the basic WordPress site up and running, it’s time to start working on your online course creation. We have a tip to do this easily: Sensei LMS!
What is Sensei LMS?
The best plugin for creating learning management systems within WordPress is Sensei LMS, which was developed by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, WooCommerce (the leading eCommerce platform), and Jetpack (WordPress’ most popular advanced security and backup tool). It is also the perfect solution to create engaging online courses in just minutes.
The Sensei LMS plugin offers numerous benefits. For example, the tool has a carefully designed distraction-free theme that is made for learning. You can use this theme right out of the box and have your courses look great from the get-go.
What plan do you need to build a course?
If you want to create a fully-fledged course with the latest, most powerful tools in the market, you will need the Sensei Pro plan, which you can purchase through Sensei’s website. The tool is fully compatible with WooCommerce, so you can monetize your course by accepting different payment options, transaction fees, and subscription models.
Sensei Pro is $149 a year and includes all Sensei Blocks, the ability to create and sell online courses, scheduled drip content, expiration dates, quiz timers, and much more.
Features of Sensei Pro
Sensei Pro is the perfect solution for creating and running successful online courses because it combines all the power of WordPress with robust integrations and a tool built specifically to deliver excellent e-learning experiences.
These are some of the things you can do with Sensei Pro:
If you don’t want to offer all of your course’s content in one installment, you can plan content drips or schedule releases for different lessons or tests. This is not just a great idea to keep your students engaged, but it’s also a perfect solution if you need a little more time to prepare your course materials.
Sensei Pro integrates with WooCommerce, the largest eCommerce platform for WordPress. Thanks to this, you can sell courses with just a few clicks, as well as set up subscription plans and affiliate programs, and accept numerous types of payments.
If you want, you can use Sensei Pro to set up an end date (or a specific amount of time you prefer) for the courses, so you can make them accessible or block them as required.
If you are a Sensei Pro customer, the team of friendly experts and engineers will help you solve any issues with the plugin and your online course.
Sensei LMS Blocks
Sensei LMS also offers five powerful and excellently-designed blocks. Let’s go through them in a little more detail so you can see how they can turn your online course into a memorable experience.
The Interactive Videos Block: With this block, you can pause videos and show any content on them; for example, quizzes, WooCommerce products, questions, and more. You can add the videos anywhere on your website and integrate them with your lessons.
The Quiz Questions Block: With Sensei, you can add questions anywhere on your website. The questions can be single selection, ordering, single line, true/false, or a combination of all.
The Flashcard Block: Flashcards are an excellent way to improve the chances of someone reading your content because they can engage the brain by motivating someone to interact with your content. Sensei supports card clocks with videos, text, images, and embeds on both sides.
The Image Hotspot Block: To make images more engaging, Sensei allows you to add hotspots (and hotspot bubbles) on them and show additional content when users move their mouse over them.
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The Tasklist Block: Sensei’s task list allows users to check off items as they go. This is ideal for helping students go through their lessons or, for example, handle homework
Get Sensei Pro
Start creating online courses!
Sensei Pro comes with a number of other features to create high-quality courses that will engage your students. Some of these include:
- Certificates: Generate beautiful downloadable PDF certificates automatically so you can award your students when they complete a course (there’s also an option for them to share them easily).
- Media attachments: You can upload files like PDFs, MP3s, and other formats into a separate uploads area of your WordPress installation and use them for your lessons.
- Post to Course Creator: Easily convert existing blog posts into course lessons so you can take advantage of the wealth of information already available on your site.
More Tips for Using Sensei
If you need a little help creating your online courses with Sensi, you can check out their demo course. It explains how everything works and looks on the front end, so you can use it as a guide (and inspiration!) to make your own course. Another valuable resource is Sensei’s WordPress Guide to Online Courses, so make sure to check it out, too, as it includes some valuable tips for SEO, email marketing, and more.
Lastly, don’t forget to promote your online course! If you want to learn more about how to do this effectively, take a look at our Guide to Sell Online Courses using WordPress.
Start Creating Courses with WordPress and Sensei
When comparing Teachable vs WordPress, we can see they have similar capabilities for designing and creating online courses. However, WordPress offers many more customization options and features you can use to make your course genuinely stand out.
WordPress also has an easier interface and a huge community of people willing to help if you come across a problem you cannot solve on your own.
Pairing WordPress with Sensei LMS will give you a comprehensive and powerful set of functionalities at an affordable price point. With this plugin, you can schedule “drip” content as you see fit, and get access to interactive tools called Sensei Blocks that include quizzes, questions, flashcards, and different types of media, as well as advanced features like grading in various test formats like Fill-in-the-blank, True/false, and Open-ended (long-form answers).
Get Sensei Pro if you want a course builder that looks professional and supports advanced features such as payments, subscriptions, certificates, schedules, quizzes, and interactive content!