So…What is LearnDash?
Apr 24 2019 - 5 MINS READ

If you have explored an interest in creating an eLearning experience, you may have heard of LearnDash.

Realistically, you probably heard about LearnDash – the most popular Learning Management System (LMS) on the web – before you heard of AppBoss, but don’t worry about that.

Let’s dive in and dissect how LearnDash reached the top of the eLearning industry and why they’re currently our main partner for developing your WordPress-based edtech solutions.

So what is LearnDash and why are you interested?

An LMS is what powers an online eLearning course. It’s the structure that brings together all the videos, documents, quizzes and more, to create a rich educational experience.

If you are an educator, someone with expertise in a topic that they wish to share, then an LMS could be an excellent means to share your knowledge.

Why LearnDash?

There are more than 700 vendors of Learning Management Systems on the market. So what would make you choose LearnDash?

One key difference between LearnDash’s and many of the other LMS on the market is that it is a plugin for the content management system (CMS) WordPress. It is not a standalone solution.

In short, the choice to use LearnDash will be strongly influenced by your opinion of WordPress. There are various alternatives to using a WordPress based system. These include software as a service (SaaS) providers like Teachable, or the open source solution Moodle. However, with WordPress powering a third of all websites, there are huge advantages to a WordPress based system.  


Cofounder Justin Ferriman conceived of the idea for LearnDash in 2012 after wondering if an LMS for WordPress existed. After checking the WordPress plugin repository, he found that it did not. After blogging about the idea, he found that there was plenty of demand for an LMS based on WordPress.

LearnDash launched in January 2013. They weren’t the only WordPress LMS however. They had been beaten to market by WooThemes, one of the biggest names in the WordPress space, by just one week.

Advantages of a WordPress based LMS

Many of the advantages of WordPress come from the sheer size of the user base. With WordPress you get plugins and themes. Plugins add extra functionality to a site, while themes control the look and design of a website. On both fronts, WordPress has more off-the-shelf themes and plugins for sale than any other platform. There are also plenty of developers, marketers and creatives who specialise in WordPress.

LearnDash was built to fit with WordPress. Its courses and lessons are custom post types, making them intuitive to anyone who understands how WordPress works. LearnDash has been developed to work with themes and other plugins. It also has numerous integrations with popular plugins such as Restrict Content Pro5 or WooCommerce. Should you want to extend the functionality of your site, there are plenty of free, premium and 3rd party applications that have been built specifically for LearnDash.

The benefit of having so many ways to extend the functionality of LearnDash is that the core plugin remains lightweight. You only install what you need. A common problem with other all-in-one solutions is that they pack so much in, and end up suffering from feature bloat. Having a bloated website could slow it down.

Another fundamental advantage of WordPress is its open source license. This means that once you install WordPress on your own hosting, everything is yours. This means you have complete control over your files, user data, hosting, everything! Want to change something? You can. Site loading slow? You can move host. You have more control than you would with a SaaS solution.


In addition to being intuitive to WordPress users, LearnDash also features an easy to use drag and drop course builder. You can also take content from one course and reuse it in another.

You also get powerful learning tools, such as the ability to drip feed content over time. This can help keep students engaged over a longer period of time, like a TV series released weekly that stokes anticipation for the next episode. LearnDash also features tool to notify your students via email that new course content is available. You can also set up notifications based on student engagement to congratulate them on their achievements.

Another innovative feature is video progression, where learners will be taken to the next video as soon as the previous one is finished. This is similar technology to what YouTube and Netflix utilise to keep their viewers watching video after video.

On top of the premium tools for learning, LearnDash also includes tools for selling your courses. You can sell subscriptions, bundles, licenses – any way you want to monetize the eLearning experience, LearnDash provides.

Check out their full feature page here.


LearnDash is one of the best LMS to provide an eLearning experience on WordPress.

If the WordPress ecosystem is important for your business, LearnDash is an excellent way to turn your site into an eLearning platform.

Finally, click here to keep up with LearnDash’s great blog on what’s happening in eLearning.