When it comes to WordPress there is a lot of confusion among users between a Learning management system (LMS) and a Membership plugin. In fact, the idea of LMS is very new to WordPress and membership plugins have been dominating the e-Learning space when it comes to WordPress.
There are a lot of similarities between the two because membership sites are mostly used for eLearning and membership plugins do the job perfectly well. So why would one go for a WordPress LMS plugin rather than a membership plugin?
Pros of a Membership plugin :
- Simple and easy to manage and start : Most membership plugins are easy to setup and you can start using then almost instantly.
- Works as a part of WordPress itself : All the options are available in the WordPress itself, membership plugins manage content restriction by using shortcodes or standard WordPress filters.
- Easy to use : To restrict any content you just need to add the shortcode and the job is done.
Pros of a WordPress LMS plugin :
- Content organisation : In most LMS plugins content is broken down into three to a four-tier structure. Course – Sections – Units – Topics, which is suitable for running courses.
- Quiz modules : Quizzes are an integral part of any LMS platform and most LMS have excellent quizzing modules.
- Reporting system : Most LMS platforms have reporting systems which can be downloaded and exported as well.
- Activity Tracking, inbuilt notification systems : Most LMS’s have activity tracking and inbuilt notification systems which ensure that the communication channel is not lost between an Instructor and a learner.
- Compatibility with eLearning standards : Even if you change your LMS you have all the reports with you and can migrate to any other recording stores.
Cons of a Membership plugin :
- Lack of content organisation : You can add membership shortcode inside posts, custom post types etc. but a lack of tiered architecture of the content restricts running full-fledged courses on site.
- Content Locked : Since there is a lack of standardisation, every membership plugin adds its own structure and content is locked inside the plugin forever, which makes the whole process of migrating from membership plugins to another not smooth.
- No activity tracking, notifications :While notifications exist in some membership plugins, most membership plugins do not track activity because they are only limited to restricting content. So, what happens in content, when the user accessed the content when the user exists the content is not tracked.
Cons of an LMS plugin :
- Complexity : LMS plugins have a lot of options and novice users can easily get overwhelmed.
- Lack of standardisation : This is unfortunate but many LMS plugins for WordPress are not compliant with popular eLearning standards, like scorm or tincan, which makes the content export and importing a difficult task.
There are other plenty of differences which one can find between Membership plugins and LMS platforms but the bottom line is LMS plugins are designed for eLearning as they understand eLearning space.