Self hosted LMS options vs hosted LMS options – the pros and cons of using either learning management system for your online course
All Learning Management Systems should include the following:
- It should teach well
- Allow you to communicate with your students before, during and after the course. Some of this is done with email, social media and other channels and some of it should be done within the LMS
- Make it easy for the student to learn
- Have the ability to use video, audio, images and text to teach your students
But remember, an LMS isn’t a one size fits all and there are new LMS providers emerging each year.
Self Hosted LMS Options using WordPress:
- Listen to my interview with Cory Miller of iThemes on why WordPress is best for creating online courses
- LearnDash – Listen to my interview with the owner of LearnDash
- LifterLMS – Listen to my interview with the owner of LifterLMS
All-In-One LMS (SAAS) Options:
- Teachable – Listen to my interview with Teachable
- Ruzuku – Listen to my interview with the owner of Ruzuku
7 Ways To Pick The Perfect LMS for Your Online Course
1. What is your Your technical level?
- Do you want to build it yourself, hire someone to do it or use a platform with templates. This will help you know what direction to go.
2. Would you rather pay monthly or per sale vs up front?
If you’re just starting out, you may want to find a cheaper alternative, but don’t sell yourself short. If you plan on making this a business, then you need to treat it like one. Don’t shy away from an LMS just because it’s expensive. Keep in mind the all in one solutions pay for hosting, security, updates, support and more.
If you build it on WordPress, you pay a minimal fee for plugins, some of which are annually, but you get the support community of those plugins and the flexibility of creating your website and learning management system all within your website.
3. Do you want to customize everything about your course or you’re happy with what the LMS allows?
- Is the LMS you’re looking at easy to create the course itself?
- Are there options for payment gateways (Stripe, PayPal, etc)?
- How much can you or a developer modify the html or css?
- Can it be on your domain easily?
4. How easy it is to get your content in and out?
There’s nothing worse than going “all in” with a learning management system and then it goes out of business or doesn’t innovate.
5. Are you able to monitor the student’s progress throughout their learning path?
If you can track the student’s path throughout their course, then you can engage with them, congratulate them and help them learn faster.
6. Does it offer various learning styles (self directed, scheduled group learning, hybrid, offline, etc)
The type of online course you want to create should be compatible with your LMS.
7. What features and integrations does it have? (The more the better)
- Does it have payment gateways like Stripe or Paypal
- Quizzes and tests
- Membership systems
- Email marketing platforms (if build in, how easy is it to customize student emails before, during and after the course)
- Google Analytics and Facebook pixel
- Landing pages like LeadPages
- Badges and gamification
- Video hosting (built in or 3rd party)
- Mobile friendly (especially if your audience is mobile first)
- Is it white labeled?
- Does it look attractive?
- Are forums built in or do you use 3rd party solutions?
- Does it have an affiliate program to market your course to other affiliates?
- Lesson timers
- Selling options – one time, subscription, memberships, course bundles
Would you like an in depth coaching session on how to pick the right LMS for your online course? Fill out the form below and we’ll set up a coaching session.
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