LifterLMS is a new WordPress plugin which allows you to build and sell access to online courses using WordPress as the framework to build your site. A LMS is a learning management system which allows you to build courses and allow students to enroll in them and progress through your designed course. LifterLMS allows you to build multiple courses, drip-feed content, host quizzes and award achievements and certificates as the students progress through the course.
The plugin also includes full eCommerce functionality so you are able to charge students to participate in their chosen course – or if you prefer to work with a third party eCommerce plugin, such as WooCommerce, that functionality is also included. It includes PayPal integration out of the box, and there is a Stripe add-on available to purchase separately if you wish to use that for payment processing.
LifterLMS is available from $149 for a one site license and they also provide a 30 day Money Back guarantee if you find it is not suitable for your needs. In this review I will take a look at some of the features of this plugin and see how to set it up as a functioning LMS.
This plugin is quite comprehensive as to what is included, it is entirely possible to use this plugin and nothing extra to create an eLearning website which accepts payments electronically and then delivers an online course for students who enroll.
Visit their features page to get a detailed description of what is included or take a look at this list of included features:
- LMS Features -Course Building, Quizzing, Student Analytics, Grading and More. All Included.
- E-Commerce – No need for 3rd Party plugins. Accept payments right out of the box.
- Engagement – Automatically engage students. Reward them with badges and certificates. Pull them back into the course with action-based emails.
- Membership – Protect pages that exist outside of your course and sell bundles of courses with the LifterLMS membership functionality.
- Sidebars – Create custom sidebars for your course or membership level
- Gamification – Award badges based on lesson and course completion
- Student Profiles – Students never login to the WordPress backend
- Analytics – Track orders, issue refunds, and more
- Simple Interface – Create your course and start selling in minutes
- Drip Content – Drip content in a cadence that makes sense for your course
- Coupons – Create promotions for your courses
- Mobile Responsive – Elearning never looked so good on mobile
There is also a demo course setup on their site which you can register for and work your way through.
Once you upload an activate the plugin, you will see a welcome screen offering you the choice tovisit the quick setup guide.
If you choose that option you can then enter your license key and choose the relevant pages from your WordPress installation to use – the plugin automatically creates pages for Courses, My Courses, Memberships and a Checkout Page. Here is where you also choose your default currency.
You will see the plugin has added a new menu item named “Lifter LMS” which is where you can configure all your plugin settings. The first one to visit is “Courses” where you can choose a page to hold your courses, choose how many to show per page, and set some display options like:
- Display author name on course.
- Display featured image as course banner.
- Display Difficulty on course.
- Display Estimated Time on course.
- Display Section Title on Syllabus
- Display Lesson excerpts in lesson navigation
The “Membership” tab allows you to choose a page to display Memberships, the “Accounts” tab lets you setup site login pages and things like forgotten passwords etc.
The “Checkout” tab lets you select a Page used for displaying the checkout form and the “Gateways” tab is for entering your PayPal information :
Next you have the “Email” tab for setting up your email address, sender name, email footer text and Header image. Finally there is also an “Integrations” tab where you can choose to enable integration for WooCommerce and BuddyPress.
Once you have configured all these options as required, you can move on to creating your first course.
Creating a Course
Courses are created under the custom post type menu “Courses” to begin creating your first course you can setup some categories for your site, or jump in to creating the first course by visiting “Add Course” and entering a name for it in the popup box.
Once you have named the course, the view will be familiar to you – it uses the post editing screen with some additions. At the top you will see your course name and a box which says “Course Outline”, underneath that you will see where you can begin adding sections and then under each section you can add as many lessons to the course as you need.
Clicking “Edit Content” next to the lesson will take you to a regular post editing page where you can enter your content, images and anything else required to form the basis of that lesson.
To add a new section or lesson, click the “Add” button in the “Course Outline” box and choose what to add:
Adding sections and lessons is pretty intuitive and if you are used to adding normal WordPress posts you should have no problems here. Once you have finished setting up your course with all the sections and lessons, before you publish the course, you need to fill out the course options below the course outline area which is broken down in to tabs.
The details you will need to set for each course you publish are as follows :
- Description – You can enter anything here and embed videos etc
- General – Course length, Course Difficulty, Video Embeds etc
- Restrictions – Allows you to limit the course to an amount of students, Set start and End Dates
- Price Single – Single pricing for the course and sale price if needed
- Price Recurring – If you want to charge for different billing periods
- Students – See all students and manually add or remove them
Under the “Courses” menu you can also add “Quizzes” and set questions for each one and assign them to a section, award points for each question and set a passing percentage etc.
LifterLMS includes some other nice features which will help with engagement, such as being able to create certificates for students who pass courses, you can name them and upload custom graphics to use:
You can also give out achievements in addition to certificates and customise these to suit your needs
Once you have setup your achievements and certificates you will need to create “engagements” which tells the system what to do when a user completes something – you can set engagements to send an email, award an achievement or award a certificate.
As you can see, its possible to setup a whole range of awards for your students which are proven to encourage participation in your site through Gamification, read more on WordPress and Gamification here.
Pricing for LifterLMS is $149 for a single site license or $399 for a developer account which includes a license for 5 sites.
This is an extremely comprehensive LMS plugin – it is quite possible to build this sort of site by mixing and matching various plugins but to get this level of functionality you would need – an eCommerce plugin, a membership plugin, a gamification plugin, plus a few more for different pieces of functionality. What LifterLMS does well is pull everything you need together and make it very easy to get setup. I especially liked the course creation part, it was very well laid out and was quite obvious what steps I needed to take to put together the course.
With eCommerce functionality along with Analytics so you can see signups and income reports all in one place I see this plugin becoming the “go-to” plugin for delivering online courses.
$149 for a plugin this fully featured and well constructed, seems like a bargain to me and with a 30 day money back guarantee that takes some of the risk out of the purchase, if you are looking for a solid, WordPress-based LMS I recommend you check it out.