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When it comes to selecting the right learning management system (LMS), the choices can be overwhelming.

Teachable and LearnDash are two of the bigger players in the market. They both provide feature-rich platforms designed to facilitate online learning. However, there are some fundamental differences in how they deliver their product.

In this comprehensive comparison of LearnDash vs. Teachable, we delve into the strengths, weaknesses, and specific features of both platforms—design, reporting, notifications, marketing, integrations, pricing, and more— with an aim to help you decide which LMS is right for your online learning business.

Looking for a free solution?
Both of these options are premium solutions, but we’ve compiled the 7 best free WordPress LMS plugins for those just starting our or on a budget.

Buckle up, and use the links below to jump straight to your area of most interest.

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Uncanny Owl has been making the best LearnDash plugins since the day LearnDash was born. Their LearnDash Toolkit is used on over 30,000 sites and adds 20+ features specifically for LearnDash. They also sell the popular plugins:
Uncanny Groups - group/corporate sales, group reporting & more.
Tin Canny Reporting - one of the best reporting plugins for LearnDash
Uncanny Automator - automate LearnDash & connect with 150+ WordPress plugins & third-party services

We’ve researched, evaluated, and compared LearnDash vs. Teachable on the following aspects:

  • Features: Feature comparison table, along with biggest limitations
  • Course Building: How easy it is to create course content
  • Non-Course Pages: Options for creating other website pages/content
  • Hosting: Security & performance of each LMS’ hosting platform
  • Reporting: Reporting options for LearnDash vs Teachable
  • Sales & Payments: Payment gateways, checkout process, sale notifications, account areas, etc.
  • Payouts: How & when you get paid
  • Design & Layout: Initial design, available templates, included design options
  • Customization: Changing text labels & other customization options
  • Quizzes: Question types, various forms of assessments & quiz reporting
  • Video: How each platform handles video content
  • Gamification: Is this included? How good are the features?
  • Notifications: Email & other notifications for students and admins
  • Marketing: Email marketing & other course marketing tactics
  • Community: Building a community with your LMS (groups, connections, etc.)
  • Setup Time: How quickly can you get up and running
  • Integrations: What third-party software do they integrate with?
  • Pricing: The true cost to build an LMS (price comparison table)
  • Customer Support: Email, phone, chat, knowledge base, etc.

There’s a lot to consider when comparing LearnDash & Teachable, but if we had to sum it up in a few sentences, it would be this.

Choose LearnDash if…

LearnDash logo
  • you love or already use WordPress, and love the freedom it provides.
  • you want complete freedom over your entire website.
  • you want to add a lot of non-course related functionality to your site (which you can do via WordPress plugins but not with Teachable).
  • you don’t mind paying $1-5k/yr. for additional premium add-ons.

Check our article for current LearnDash discounts →

Choose Teachable if…

Teachable logo
  • you want to get started quickly, with a much smaller learning curve.
  • you value reliability & stability over customizability.
  • you want to focus on creating course content & building your community, and not much else.
  • you don’t mind being limited by their current feature set, knowing they may never add features you want.

Teachable Discount
Get 10% off your first year of Teachable Pro →

Quick Recommendations

  • Best for beginners: Teachable
  • Fastest to launch: Teachable
  • Best for memberships: LearnDash
  • Best for 1,000+ students: Toss-up (depends on other factors)
  • Simplest for video courses: Teachable, but LearnDash is a close second
  • Most customizable: LearnDash
  • Best for non-course features: LearnDash
  • Best all-in-one, set it and forget it: Teachable
  • Best value (most features for the money): Teachable Pro ($1,428/yr.) Get 10% off →

If you decide to go with Teachable, I recommend starting with the Basic plan ($468/yr.). Start selling your courses, and as you go, see if you run into any roadblocks. If you find yourself wanting access to more features, that’s a good indication that you should consider upgrading to Pro or higher.

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Also keep track of transaction fees. If they are eating into your profits, do some math and see if upgrading to the Pro plan (to eliminate transaction fees) equals more profit. This will depend on the price of your course(s) and how many you’re selling each month/year.

Now let’s get into the weeds and talk about specific features.

Self-Hosted vs. Hosted Platforms

One of the most important differences between LearnDash & Teachable is that LearnDash is a self-hosted learning management system and Teachable is a hosted no-code platform.

“Self-hosted” means that you are paying one company (in this case, LearnDash) for the LMS software, and you need to find & pay another company to host your software on a server. This is typically referred to as a hosting company.

Exception: LearnDash now offers both the software AND the hosting. They call it LearnDash Cloud. However, they are still technically two separate things, and you could take your LearnDash software, at any time, and install it with a different hosting company, and it would continue to work in exactly the same way. Hosted platforms, like Teachable, must be hosted at Teachable. No exceptions.

“Hosted platforms” include both the software & hosting in one complete package. You pay one company for everything.

One is not better than the other, but you need to decide which option makes sense for your business.

Self-hosted LMS solutions (i.e. LearnDash) require you to…

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Uncanny Owl has been making the best LearnDash plugins since the day LearnDash was born. Their LearnDash Toolkit is used on over 30,000 sites and adds 20+ features specifically for LearnDash. They also sell the popular plugins:
Uncanny Groups - group/corporate sales, group reporting & more.
Tin Canny Reporting - one of the best reporting plugins for LearnDash
Uncanny Automator - automate LearnDash & connect with 150+ WordPress plugins & third-party services

  • research & evaluate hosting companies, of which there are many
  • navigate a variety of pricing plans
  • work with two companies for support, instead of just one (possibly even more if you use third-party plugins)
  • have a budget that could fluctuate based on number of students, activity on your platform, etc.

Hosted LMS solutions (i.e. Teachable) mean…

  • fewer options to customize
  • you’re stuck with the features the company provides
  • you rely solely on their ability to deliver a good experience for your learners
  • if the company goes out of business, you lose your site (this is very unlikely with Teachable, or any big name hosted LMS platform)

You might find pros & cons in either list, just make sure you consider the differences because they are stark.

NOTE: Actual Cost/Pricing

The price of the LearnDash plugin is $199/yr., but that’s not the true cost of LearnDash when comparing it to Teachable. The LearnDash plugin doesn’t include hosting; all of Teachable’s plans do.

LearnDash’s built-in reporting is also not really reporting; it’s just a CSV download. They offer a paid reporting add-on called ProPanel.

Starting in 2023, LearnDash began offering a product called LearnDash Cloud which includes both hosting & ProPanel. They have 3 plans based on number of students & site storage—Starter, Growth, and Pro.

In this comparison, whenever we refer to the base LearnDash plan as compared to Teachable’s base plan, we’re going to use the LearnDash Cloud Starter plan, which costs $299/yr. We’ll compare that with Teachable’s cheapest yearly plan, Basic, which costs $468/yr.

To add more features…

  • LearnDash offers additional premium add-ons, as well as integrations with other paid WordPress plugins.
  • Teachable offers different plan levels, each one offering more features than the previous one.

For both platforms, the true cost to run your elearning site depends on which features you need. We’ll discuss these additional features, where relevant, in the sections below.

Pros & Cons

Because pros & cons can vary for each user based on their needs, we’re just going to list some of the main highlights of each LMS below. You can decide whether it’s a pro or a con for you.

LearnDash Pros & Cons

  • Lots of customization options
  • Sub par design (but freedom to improve via custom development)
  • Large learning curve
  • Third-party products often needed
  • You choose your hosting
  • You choose your email/marketing provider
  • Requires WordPress (less stability)

Teachable Pros & Cons

  • Quick & easy to get started
  • Nicer design (but must buy expensive plan to customize)
  • No messing with third-party add-ons
  • Hosting included
  • Smaller plans have additional transaction fees
  • Limited quiz/evaluation options
  • Built-in email/marketing
  • Closed platform that you have no control over (more stability)

Features

  • This table compares LearnDash Cloud Starter ($299/yr.) and Teachable Basic ($468/yr.).
  • A closer feature comparison, which removes Teachable’s limitations & transaction fees, would be to compare LearnDash with Teachable’s Pro plan at $1,428/yr. (use this link for 10% off)
  • If LearnDash offers a feature with one of their official free add-ons, I’m considering it included with LearnDash.
  • Technically, you could do everything on this list with LearnDash, but it would require installing many premium third-party add-ons and using external software providers (i.e. email marketing software). With Teachable, it’s either included in one of their plans, or it’s not.
FeatureLearnDash Cloud ($299/yr)Teachable Basic ($468/yr)
Unlimited courses$6k/yr plan
Unlimited students
No branding$1.4k/yr plan
No transaction fees¹$1.4k/yr plan
Coupons/Upsellsfree/paid third-party add-on
Sell & manage coaching/consultingpaid third-party add-on
Sell & manage digital downloadspaid third-party add-on
Sell & manage memberships²limitedlimited
Calculate, collect, remit sales tax (US)³paid third-party add-ons
Calculate, collect, remit VAT (EU/UK)³paid third-party add-ons
Custom domain
Content: text, image, video, audio, PDF, code
Third-party embedded media
Built-in video hosting
Webinars/Livestream video
Drip-feed content
Course compliance/completion order$1.4k/yr plan
Content hierarchy depth3 levels2 levels
Free lessons/public preview
Course access duration
Enrollment capspaid third-party add-on
Course commenting
Course ratings & reviews
Forums/Discussion boards⁴free/paid third-party add-onCircle.so integration
Multiple authors per course⁵paid third-party add-on$1.4k/yr plan
Author revenue share⁵paid third-party add-on$1.4k/yr plan
Non-graded quizzes
Graded quizzes$1.4k/yr plan
Quiz question types8multiple choice only
Certificates
Gamification/Badges
Built-in student account area⁶
Course reporting$1.4k/yr plan
Student & admin email notifications
Email template editorthird-party add-on
Abandoned cart emailspaid third-party add-on
Built-in email marketing⁷
Affiliate marketing programspaid third-party add-on$1.4k/yr plan
Zapier integration⁸
Mobile app⁹~$2k/yr. add-on (your brand)✅ Teachable-branded
Email support
Live chat support$1.4k/yr plan
Teachable vs LearnDash, feature comparison (April 2024)

Teachable’s Biggest Limitations

  • Only multiple choice type quiz questions
  • No gamification
  • No course ratings or reviews
  • Only a Teachable-branded mobile app, only for iOS
  • Complete customization or adding of features is not possible
    • You can add custom CSS & code with the Business plan ($6k/yr.)

LearnDash’s Biggest Limitations

  • Requires additional time & money to implement a lot of features
  • Relies heavily on third-party add-ons for LMS features that Teachable has built-in
  • Student account & ecommerce features all require third-party add-ons
  • Could require expensive custom development to build/maintain the features you want
  • Hosting gets expensive as you grow

Course Builder

Both LearnDash & Teachable utilize a course builder with their software. While they both offer similar features, I’d give the edge to Teachable.

Teachable’s course builder allows you to…

  • add all your sections & lessons on one screen
  • quickly publish/unpublish any lesson
  • set any lesson as free so it can be publicly previewed
  • delete, rename, reorder, and duplicate all lesson content
  • bulk edit lessons from the course builder screen
  • copy lessons from one course to another
  • bulk upload lessons via PDF

LearnDash’s course builder offers much of the same as above, with the following exceptions:

  • you can’t bulk upload lessons via PDF
  • you can’t bulk edit lessons from the course builder (but you can from another admin screen)
  • you can’t duplicate lessons from the course builder screen
  • you can’t publish/unpublish lessons from the builder screen (you have to exit out and open another page)

In general, the Teachable course builder is just more polished and easier to use than LearnDash’s. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong or broken with LearnDash’s builder, it just doesn’t do some of the things Teachable’s does.

Coming soon: Look for videos coming soon on how to create a course with both LearnDash & Teachable.

Winner: Teachable

Non-Course Pages & Website

LearnDash is built on WordPress, which gives it a leg up when it comes to overall customization of your website. If you plan to build a complete website around your online courses, and offer additional things besides course material, LearnDash is the strong favorite.

Not only can you use the native site editor that WordPress provides, but there are tons of excellent third-party site builder plugins (we like Elementor) that give you the power to design some amazing pages. On top of that, you’ll have access to 60k+ free WordPress plugins, hundreds of thousands of additional premium plugins, and a thriving community of developers to build just about anything you can dream of.

Teachable comes with a page editor, but it’s much more limited. You can modify your theme, colors, and fonts, and add a handful of basic content blocks to your site. There is also an HTML block, which allows you to add any custom HTML & CSS, use interactive content, embed forms, etc. to any page on your Teachable site.

Winner: LearnDash

Hosting

It’s difficult to make a hosting comparison between LearnDash & Teachable because neither one provides much public information on their hosting plans.

LearnDash has two options—hosted or not hosted. If you choose just the LearnDash plugin for $199/yr. and decide to research & purchase your own LearnDash hosting, the specifications will depend on your chosen provider. These can vary greatly.

If you choose LearnDash’s hosted option (LearnDash Cloud), they have 3 plan levels, each with varying amounts of storage, PHP workers, and students supported. While they do give us some of this information, they are promising some massive things for an extremely low price point. Until I have a first hand account to prove they can actually deliver what they are saying, I remain skeptical.

If you have more than 5,000 students, and opt for LearnDash Cloud, you can expect to pay a minimum of ~$1,000/yr. for hosting.

Teachable, on the other hand, tells us nothing about their hosting platform. And as you increase your Teachable plan, they don’t promise any higher level of performance, the ability to support more students, etc. One would then assume that no matter how big your courses get, Teachable will optimize your hosting to make sure your site runs fast. (Let’s hope this is what they do 🤞)

Either way, you’re still left with some ambiguity. If you have courses with 10,000+ students, I would prefer the Teachable model, assuming they optimize your hosting as you grow. With LearnDash, you’ll likely need to continue paying more for hosting to make sure your site loads quickly.

<10k students: Toss-up
>10k students: Probably Teachable, but shop around for LearnDash hosting options

Reporting

Teachable

Teachable offers both general course & student progress reports.

Teachable course reports include:

  • lesson completion: average lesson completion rates
  • video stats*: video engagement, play rates, retention
  • average quiz scores
  • leaderboard: which students made the most progress on each course

You can export the lesson completion & leaderboard reports as a .csv file.

Course reports have a tag filter, allowing you to place students into custom groups, however this requires the Pro plan or higher.

Teachable student progress reports include:
(requires Pro plan or higher)

  • individual lesson progress
  • video heat maps*
  • individual quiz scores, each question

You can also reset quizzes, lesson progress, and mark lessons as complete for individual students.

* You must host your videos with Teachable. Third-party video embeds (Vimeo, YouTube, etc.) cannot be tracked.

LearnDash

LearnDash’s reporting is offered via an official third-party add-on called ProPanel.

LearnDash ProPanel all 5 reporting widgets
Example of all 5 LearnDash ProPanel reporting widgets

LearnDash’s ProPanel is less restrictive than Teachable’s reporting. It includes more data without having to upgrade to a higher plan.

  • overall course/lesson completion
  • individual student lesson/quiz progress
  • assignments & essays that need to be graded or approved
  • filter by course, group, start/end date, or individual users

You can export a .csv file of course activity, however, in our personal experience, the output is not very helpful. Most users will need to perform further data processing to turn it into something useful.

LearnDash does have a leaderboard option, but again, it’s output is very basic and most users don’t find it super helpful.

There is no video tracking in LearnDash because they do not host videos for you like Teachable does, however, you can get this information using a third-party LearnDash video host.

Winner:

  • More filtering options for a cheaper cost: LearnDash
  • Overall better data, graphs, and presentation: Teachable (recommend Pro plan)

Sales/Payments

LearnDash

LearnDash has built-in integrations with Stripe, PayPal, and Razorpay. You can also sell courses via multiple third-party WordPress ecommerce plugins, like WooCommerce, SureCart, Upsell, and Easy Digital Downloads.

However, none of these provide you with any type of user account for your student to login to, download invoices, manage monthly subscriptions, etc. This is by far one of LearnDash’s biggest drawbacks.

If you use one of their built-in payment options, the checkout flow is not a great experience.

Teachable

They offer teachable:pay, which…

  • accepts debit & credit cards, Apply Pay, Google Pay, and Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)
  • provides fraud protection
  • automatically collects and remits U.S. taxes & EU/UK VAT
  • handles paying course instructor commissions (if applicable)

On $1.4k/yr. plans and higher, you can set up your own custom Stripe and/or PayPal account. However, you’ll lose access to the above features you get with teachable:pay, and you’ll pay an extra 2% integration fee per transaction. This highly incentivizes using teachable:pay.

Using a built-in payment system like teachable:pay will not only save you time, but also hundreds of dollars in additional plugins you’ll likely need to buy if you go with LearnDash.

The one downside to Teachable’s Basic plan ($468/yr.) is that you pay a 5% transaction fee on every sale (this is waved with the Pro plan & higher). I hate platform transaction fees as much as anyone, but honestly, they are saving you A TON of work & headaches compared to LearnDash, so I would happily pay it.

Winner: Teachable, by a long shot

Getting Paid

LearnDash

Getting paid via LearnDash depends on what third-party payment processor(s) you choose. Your payout will come from them, not LearnDash. With Stripe, you can choose between:

  • daily (delayed in 2-3 days)
  • weekly
  • monthly
  • instantly (additional fee)

PayPal requires you to manually login to your account and submit a payout. You can choose any amount from your current balance.

Teachable

With Teachable, if you’re using teachable:pay, you can choose between daily, weekly, or monthly payout options.

For custom Stripe & PayPal integrations (which we don’t recommend), you manage that with Stripe & PayPal (see above).

Design

The design of LearnDash & Teachable is tough to compare because both can be customized to some degree. When comparing the out-of-the-box designs for each, I think Teachable is the clear winner. However, LearnDash’s design is heavily dictated by the WordPress theme you’re using, and can be customized in many ways (with some WordPress experience).

LearnDash’s Default Design

LearnDash course page example
Example of a default LearnDash course page
LearnDash video lesson page example
Example of a LearnDash video lesson page

Teachable’s Default Design

Teachable course page example
Example of a default Teachable course page

We’ll update this article to include a Teachable video lesson page soon.

Customization

LearnDash Design

Customizing LearnDash is… complicated. The core LearnDash plugin has 3 very broad color options, and basically no other design customizations (you can adjust the content width of your lessons and move a sidebar from left to right, but that’s it).

However, if you’re willing to spend some money, and put in some time learning other software (or how to code), you actually have near complete freedom to design your courses in any way you’d like.

LearnDash has an integration with the Elementor page builder. It has a few flaws, but for the most part, allows you to use Elementor to customize your course & lesson pages. You can use other page builders as well, but you’re stuck using a limited amount of LearnDash shortcodes. You can also use the block editor—and any number of third-party block plugins—to customize your LearnDash design. But again, this comes with a learning curve, and possibly even another yearly subscription for premium features.

You can also customize LearnDash by uploading your own custom .php files, but this obviously requires coding knowledge and is only for developers. It’s also not as future-proof because you have to update your files each time LearnDash releases updates and new features.

Themes

Most of the colors & fonts used on LearnDash elements will actually come from your theme, and different themes offer varying levels of customization. Thus, choosing a LearnDash theme is important.

LearnDash Templates

LearnDash doesn’t provide any design templates. However, there are third-party companies like Kadence (owned by LearnDash’s parent company), Astra, and others that make templates for LearnDash. Keep in mind these are still mostly just moving LearnDash components around, and not actually changing the design of the LearnDash components themselves.

LearnDash Labels

It’s worth noting you can customize some of LearnDash’s text labels. We actually have a full video tutorial on custom LearnDash labels if you’re interested, but essentially, this allows you to change the language for courses, lessons, quizzes, groups, and a handful of other terms used throughout your LMS platform.

Teachable Design

Teachable comes with 2 templates—simple & colossal. They used to offer a template called “Classic” but as of June 6, 2022, it is no longer available for new learning platforms.

According to Teachable…

  • Simple is best suited for shorter curriculums, and provides a simplified viewing experience. Curriculum & author are tabbed along the top of the page.
  • Colossal is best suited for longer curriculums, and displays curriculum & author on the same page (no tabs). Your course image is also featured at the top of the page.

Color

In addition to these 2 templates, they offer several color options, along with a few presets you can choose from. You can change the colors of:

  • Buttons & links
  • Header & footer background and text colors

All headings & body text will be black; these are not customizable at this time.

Fonts

Teachable only supports 11 fonts (Metropolis, Alegreya Sans, Arial, Helvetica, Lato, Lucinda Sans, Merriweather, Open Sans, Palatino, Raleway, Source Sans Pro). You can upgrade to the Business plan ($6k/yr.) to use a custom font.

Teachable Labels

Teachable also has custom text options. You can change 29 different custom labels within the platform, some of which are one word changes, like “courses” or “lessons,” while others are full messages that appear in various places (homepage, product pages, checkout, header, footer, etc.).


As you can see, unless you pay $6k/yr. for Teachable Business, you are very limited in both layout & design. LearnDash provides far more options, but they come at a cost, with both time and money.

Winner: Neither

Quizzes/Assessment

We aren’t going to spend much time here because LearnDash is the clear winner in terms of assessment options. Read below for one important downside with LearnDash.

Teachable only provides basic multiple choice questions for assessment.

LearnDash provides the following question types:

  • Single & multiple choice
  • Fill in the blank
  • Free-form/open-ended
  • Likert scale
  • Sorting
  • Matrix sorting
  • Upload or type essay (long-form, open-ended)

IMPORTANT
With LearnDash, you can actually view the answers in the source code of the page. For many schools, this isn’t an issue, but for anyone who has strict compliance requirements, this would pose a significant problem.

LearnDash’s quiz reporting is mediocre, but if you purchase their Gradebook add-on for $49/yr., you get much better quiz analytics and student report cards.

Winner: LearnDash, but with a potentially big caveat

Video Courses & Interactive Content

Both Teachable & LearnDash support video courses, as well as interactive content, but they do it in different ways.

Video

LearnDash has a few unique options in their video progression feature, but in terms of hosting the videos on your site, you’ll want to use a third-party provider. We have an entire article dedicated to LearnDash video hosting, which you should read if video is important to you.

You’ll basically embed videos from a third-party provider onto your site, and all video player features & analytics will come from that provider, not from LearnDash.

Teachable supports third-party providers as well, but they also host videos for you. If you choose to host your videos with Teachable, they will provide advanced analytics on watch time, engagement, etc. Having access to these stats in your Teachable admin is a clear win for Teachable over LearnDash.

Winner: Teachable

Interactive Content

Teachable supports any type of HTML embed, so you could use a third-party to develop content, and embed it into Teachable lessons, so long as they provide an embed code. Aside from that, Teachable doesn’t have any integrations with interactive course content.

LearnDash supports the same HTML embeds, but also have access to WordPress plugins for creating interactive content. H5P is a type of interactive content you can create directly from within WordPress, and easily add to your LearnDash lessons via a shortcode.

Example course presentation in H5P
Example of a course presentation in H5P

LearnDash also supports the uploading of SCORM & xAPI files, a built-in LRS, and complete reporting capabilities for that content, via a plugin called Tin Canny Reporting.

Winner: LearnDash

Gamification

Neither LearnDash nor Teachable offer gamification in their core product. LearnDash does have a free add-on called Achievements that awards points & badges, but it’s very basic, lacks customization, and you can’t really use it for much besides just displaying badges (poorly) to your users.

But since LearnDash is built on WordPress, there are third-party plugins that add gamification. GamiPress is the most popular option, but there are one or two others. Again, expect to pay an additional fee to add this feature to LearnDash.

LearnDash Achievements admin screen
Example of LearnDash Achievements admin screen

Winner: LearnDash

Notifications, Emails & Automation

Both LearnDash & Teachable provide basic email communication to students when certain actions occur on your site. You’ll also get admin notifications from both. You can also customize the TO and FROM fields for all emails from both platforms.

LearnDash

LearnDash emails are either sent through their reporting add-on, ProPanel, or their free add-on, Notifications.

  • email individual students manually
  • email groups of students manually
  • email all students in a course manually
  • automated notifications for user enrollment, course/lesson/quiz completion, new drip content available, haven’t logged in in X days, quiz pass/fail, and a few more

Teachable

Teachable has most of the same types of emails that LearnDash provides, with less specific emails for quizzes. But Teachable’s filtering options are better for sending to specific groups of people.

While LearnDash & Teachable both provide the ability to customize email templates with HTML/CSS, Teachable also provides access to their dynamic templating system, Liquid. And they do so with a nicer UI than LearnDash.

You’ll also get student payment & billing notifications built-in with Teachable, whereas this is handled by a third-party plugin with LearnDash.

Zapier

Both Teachable & LearnDash integrate with Zapier for more advanced automations. LearnDash also integrates with WordPress-specific automation platforms like Uncanny Automator and a few others.

Community Building

Teachable

Teachable is really designed for teacher-to-student communication, not student-to-student interaction. It doesn’t have any features to build a community like you would in a Facebook Group or on another social platform.

LearnDash

With LearnDash, you can use a plugin like BuddyBoss to turn your site into a fully-fledged community platform. BuddyBoss is a premium add-on and supports:

  • discussion boards
  • enhanced groups
  • personal & group feeds
  • user-generated content (UGC)
  • student profile pages
  • liking & commenting
  • emojis, reactions, gifs, images in comments
  • personal messaging between both teachers & student-to-student
  • …and a lot more
New Tutor LMS course in BuddyBoss activity feed
Example BuddyBoss activity feed with a new course highlighted

While LearnDash doesn’t provide any of this out-of-the-box, it can be achieved with a premium add-on. Whereas it cannot be achieved at all with Teachable, regardless of what plan you choose.

Winner: LearnDash, by far

Marketing

LearnDash

With LearnDash, there are no built-in marketing features. Everything you want to do requires a third-party plugin or SaaS. This gives you complete flexibility over your marketing setup, but requires more time & money to implement.

Teachable

Teachable includes the following marketing tools:

  • Order bumps
  • Course pre-sales
  • Abandoned cart emails
  • Coupons
  • Tracking pixels
  • Email lead capture
  • Student referral program
  • Upsells (Pro plan or higher)
  • Affiliate program & payouts (Pro plan or higher)

Teachable email lead capture provides a form to collect emails, but you cannot actually email leads from the Teachable platform. You can connect Teachable with:

  • ActiveCampaign
  • AWeber
  • Mailchimp
  • Mailerlite
  • ConvertKit

And again, both Teachable & LearnDash have integrations with Zapier for setting up other integrations.

Winner: Teachable, because of less setup time and more included with the price. LearnDash requires extra premium plugins.

Speaking of setup time…

Setup Time/Investment

LearnDash

For LearnDash, this is arguably the biggest downside, and reason that most people choose a different platform. It’s one of the most flexible LMS platforms out there, but it’s also one of the most difficult to setup and configure.

I know people who have worked on their LearnDash site for over a year and have yet to launch it. You have to learn WordPress, then LearnDash, then WooCommerce, then maybe BuddyBoss or a membership plugin, then several third-party LearnDash add-ons… it’s a big ask, especially for non-tech savvy business owners who just want to start teaching.

Teachable

On the contrary, Teachable is much easier to set up. There are far fewer options, but to some, that’s a good thing. What you give up in flexibility, you easily gain in ease-of-use.

There’s a learning curve with any new piece of software, but you’ll be up and running much faster with Teachable compared to LearnDash.

Winner: Teachable, by A LOT

Integrations

LearnDash integrates with dang near everything, because it’s built on WordPress. In terms of direct integrations, LearnDash supports:

  • WooCommerce
  • Easy Digital Downloads
  • MemberPress
  • Paid Memberships Pro
  • Restrict Content Pro
  • Stripe
  • PayPal
  • 2Checkout
  • SamCart
  • ThriveCart
  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • Wistia
  • Presto Player
  • The Events Calendar
  • Event Espresso
  • Gravity Forms
  • Elementor
  • Zapier

Teachable

Like LearnDash, Teachable also integrates with Zapier, which opens the door for tons of possibilities. Aside from that, Teachable directly integrates with:

  • Mailchimp
  • ConvertKit
  • MailerLite
  • AWeber
  • ActiveCampaign
  • Stripe
  • PayPal
  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • Loom
  • Zoom
  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox
  • Deadline Funnel
  • DropInBlog
  • HotJar, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager
  • Pixels (Meta, Tiktok, LinkedIn, Pinterest)
  • Segment
  • Sumo
  • Wobo
  • Circle.so

AI

A comparison of each platform’s AI features is coming soon.

Pricing

The table below highlights pricing for LearnDash Cloud’s Starter plan, along with all 4 of Teachable’s plans. If you want to learn more about LearnDash’s various offerings & bundles, see our LearnDash pricing explained article.

Transaction Fees

This table breaks down the transaction fees for each platform & plan.

LearnDashTeachable FreeTeachable BasicTeachable ProTeachable Pro+Teachable Business
Price$299/yr$468/yr$1,428k/yr$2,388/yr.$5,998/yr
Payment Processing Fee*
Addt’l Transaction Fee$1 + 10%5%
Teachable vs. LearnDash, transaction fees breakdown (April 2024)

LearnDash

With LearnDash, there are no transaction fees on top of what you have to pay for payment processing (via Stripe, PayPal, etc.). However, as previously discussed, you’ll likely want to use a third-party ecommerce plugin to handle payments, and these often come with yearly fees if you want to offer subscriptions, memberships, or other fairly basic offerings.

Teachable

With Teachable, their Free & Basic ($468/yr.) plans come with additional transaction fees.

  • Teachable Free: $1 + 10%
  • Teachable Basic: 5%
  • Teachable Pro, Pro+ & Business do not charge transaction fees

Free Trials

This one definitely goes to Teachable with their 14-day free trial. LearnDash does not offer a free trial.

LearnDash: No free trial
Teachable: 14-day free trial

Refund/Money-Back Guarantee

  • LearnDash has a 15-day refund policy
  • Teachable has a 30-day refund policy

Winner: No clear winner. Your true price is determined by what features you need, and there’s a huge range for both platforms.

Advice: Don’t be afraid of Teachable’s transaction fees. They go away once you start growing and can upgrade your plan, and the time Teachable saves you versus LearnDash is massive.

Customer Support & Resources

LearnDash

LearnDash has a knowledge base, but in our opinion, it’s average at best. It goes through all the core features but doesn’t do a great job of explaining practical application (we have a YouTube channel for that 😉).

Their other main source of support comes from their LearnDash Facebook Group of 20k+ members. This is helpful for general questions, but you’ll still want to hire a developer to turn suggestions into actual features on your site.

Support

  • Email support for all customers
  • Support hours: Monday-Friday, 7 am-4 pm EST
  • No live chat support

Teachable

Teachable’s knowledge base is similar to LearnDash’s, but we’d give it a slight edge—more content, more annotated images, more practical examples of how to accomplish common tasks.

They also have a ton of downloadable guides & templates, their own set of online courses called teachable:u (free), and a community for paid members to share tips & advice called teachable:hq.

Support

  • Email support for all customers
  • Live chat support on Pro, Pro+, and Business plans

Winner: Teachable, pretty convincingly


If you made it this far, I appreciate your patience & thorough research. 🙏

If you need help deciding between LearnDash vs. Teachable, or are unsure about a specific feature, let us know in the comments and we’ll help you out.

Best of luck building your LMS!