LifterLMS is a tool that allows you to publish courses online with WordPress. If you want to deliver courses online and share learning materials with your visitors, then this learning management (LMS) plugin could be just what you are looking for.
Some of the key features of LifterLMS include creating multiple courses, managing membership access, and collecting payments. This all adds up to give this plugin the potential to help you turn your area of expertise into a passive income stream.
In this review of the LifterLMS plugin we will explore the features in more depth, as well as take a look at the user interface to see just how easy it is to use, from both an admin and end user perspective.
The features of LifterLMS can be broken down into four main categories: the learning management system features, ecommerce, engagement, and membership features.
Learning Management Features
The Learning Management features of this plugin give you everything you need in order to deliver a course online. With the plugin you can create multiple courses. Each course can then consist of multiple lessons.
With LifterLMS you can add quizzes to your courses, in order to test your students as they progress. You can create a question bank on your website, and then add questions from the bank to the quizzes. This makes it easy to reuse and repurpose your learning content as needed.
Quiz questions can be weighted as you see fit. LifterLMS has the ability to automate the assessment process. The then allows the plugin to automatically grade quiz submissions and even issue completion certificates to students.
Your online courses can make use of pre-requisites, requiring students to pass a specific course or lesson before being able to progress further. LifterLMS can automatically manage course progression, making this a hands-off process.
When creating course content, you can easily embed audio and video files into the learning materials. This gives you the ability to offer full multimedia learning materials to your students. You are also free to add downloadable files to your lessons. Through the settings you can set the course availability to make use of term based scheduling. All courses can be organized using the custom taxonomies.
User Engagement Features
To keep your students engaged with your learning materials, you can award badges, certificates, and other rewards for completing certain elements of your courses. This adds a level of gamification to your course, helping to encourage your students to keep coming back for more.
The plugin can send out emails on completion of certain elements, and you can also drip-feed course content based on specific dates, days since sign-up, or competition of lessons or courses. LifterLMS can also send out an email if a user hasn’t logged in for a while.
These user engagement features all work on an automated basis, and are defined in advance, when setting up the course.
LifterLMS does away with the need to install a separate membership plugin. Through the settings of LifterLMS you can create unlimited membership levels, and then decide which level of user gets access to which content on your site.
LifterLMS includes a number of new user roles for your website. This includes teachers, teaching assistants tutors, and students. This makes managing access to your courses and their content a lot easier.
Pages on your website that aren’t part of your course can also be protected. This content can then be made available to users with a certain membership level. Each membership level can have its own pricing, billing cycle, expiry date, and more.
By using the membership features, you can create packages of courses, which are available to members of a certain level.
LifterLMS includes all the functionality needed to monetize your courses and generate a passive income from your website. This allows you to accept payments with PayPal, right out of the box. You can also create discount coupons to generate more interest in your courses.
When setting up the pricing structure of a course, you can set a regular price and also a sale price for that course. The sale price can be set to be available for a certain period. This gives you a hands-off way to manage discounts of your courses, over periods of your choosing.
When collecting payments, you can give your students the ability to pay by instalments, or simply settle the balance in one go. Setting up daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly recurring billing cycles is easy too. You can also offer trial access, charge an initial payment, or a combination of all the available payment options.
If you do want to use the popular WooCommerce ecommerce plugin to manage this aspect of your LMS website, you are free to do so.
Other features of LifterLMS include: student profiles, custom course-related sidebars, analytics and tracking. All elements of the courses are mobile-responsive, ensuring your students can access the learning materials on a range of devices.
By combining these different areas into one tool, this online course builder plugin aims to give you everything needed to create and deliver courses, sell and monetize that content, keep your users coming back for more, and manage their access to your content.
This helps reduce reliance on additional plugins that would otherwise handle these key aspects of your LMS website. This in turn creates a more integrated and consistent user experience, from both the course instructor and student perspectives.
The developers of this plugin have put together a LifterLMS demo site. On the site, you can take a sample course to get a good sense of just what this LMS plugin can do.
Setting Up LifterLMS
LifterLMS is a plugin and should work alongside any WordPress theme. After activating the plugin, you can view the quick start guide. This allows you to enter your activation key, set a default currency, and choose which pages on your site to display course content on.
After that, you can browse the settings pages to configure how the plugin works. This covers elements such as display settings, URL slugs, checkout options, payment gateways, email settings, and third party integrations. Once the LMS settings are configured, you can move on to creating your online courses.
It’s a good idea to plan your course and its content, before you start using the plugin. However, once you are ready, you can get started.
Through the admin sidebar on your site dashboard, you can start by creating a new course. As the courses are stored as custom post types in WordPress, you get to use the post editor to add your course information.
You can also set the course pricing information; add a short course description; upload media, such as an introduction video; and enter other course information. You can also add students to the course at this point, provided they are already registered as a WordPress user on your site.
Courses can also be organized using the custom course tags and categories. These work in the same way as regular WordPress post taxonomies.
As the courses are used to group together a selection of lessons, you can now start creating the individual lessons that will make up your course. However, as lessons can be further grouped into sections, now would be a good time to create a section, and then associated it with the course.
Sections simply comprise of a title and then a course association. Once created, you can then start adding the lessons to your course.
If your lessons will feature a quiz, you will need to create the quiz and then add it to the lesson. As quiz questions are created individually, they should be created first, and then added to the quiz. You are only able to create multiple choice quizzes. While this a bit limited, it does ensure that the assessment process can be easily automated.
After creating one or more quiz questions, creating a quiz and then adding one or more of those questions to it, you can add the quiz to the lesson.
All the management features, such as the quiz question weightings, the drip-feeding of the lesson content, and setting prerequisites and passing grades, can be defined on the edit screens of the respective course elements.
Once you’ve setup the structure of your course, you have the option of setting up the membership levels. Each membership level has its own pricing details, allowing you to either sell access to individual courses, or membership packages. These packages can include access to one, or more courses, as well as the protected content on your website.
You can also create achievement certificates, which are awarded to your students. When creating the certificates, you can make use of the merge fields. These allow you to add placeholders to your certificates (and the automated email templates), which are then populated with personal details, such as the student’s name.
Through the back end pages of your course, you can view and manage your course orders. You can also monitor how your courses are being used, as well as the revenue they are generating, through the analytics tool.
As the plugin makes use of lots of the core elements of WordPress, such as custom post types, and the native WordPress user interface, the features of LifterLMS feel like a part of WordPress. The result is that it’s very easy to get started with this tool and get your first course online.
LifterLMS Student Experience
Once your course goes live, it will integrate nicely with your chosen WordPress theme. This makes it easy to use LifterLMS to create a dedicated website for your online course. Alternatively, you can use the plugin to add some learning materials to your existing WordPress blog or website.
Students receive lots of feedback as they progress through the sections and lessons of a course. The course-specific sidebar widgets also make it easy for them to see what’s on offer, and then jump straight to a certain part of the course.
Overall, the courses are very easy to access and use from the perspective of a student.
The LifterLMS WordPress plugin is available for on two pricing plans:
- Personal: $149
- Developer: $399
If you are interested in trying this plugin, there is a no risk 30-day money back guarantee in place. You can view the full details on the pricing page of the plugin.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
LifterLMS is packed with useful features and is very easy to use. These two aspects of the plugin combine to make this a highly recommended product you should definitely check out if you want to start delivering and selling online courses.
Although the LifterLMS has included a lot of features that supplement online course delivery, such as membership features, and eCommerce tools, it never feels like there is too much going on in the admin area of your website.
Being able to simply install this one plugin, and then not only add lessons and courses, but also manage membership access, and sell those courses, will help users get their online courses up and running very quickly.
For some users it might nice if there were more options for creating quizzes – such as different answer types. However, if your courses aren’t too focused on testing your students, and you instead want to teach them, through text, audio, or video lessons, then the current feature set of this plugin will suffice.
Overall, LifterLMS has all the features you should need, in one easy to use package. If you want to make money online from selling courses, or just provide more useful content for your visitors, you should definitely give this plugin a try.