Online courses are a booming business. As such, several platforms for creating, marketing, and selling online courses have popped up. Kajabi and LearnDash are two popular course platforms that you may have heard of. You may also be wondering: Should I use Kajabi or LearnDash to sell online courses?
That’s why we put together this comparison between Kajabi vs LearnDash. We will cover the major features of Kajabi vs LearnDash and give our take on which platform we think is superior for selling online courses.
Main Differences Between Kajabi and LearnDash
Here is a quick rundown of the main differences between the platforms:
- Functionality/features: Kajabi is an all-in-one platform, LearnDash is a WordPress plugin
- Pricing: Kajabi starts at $149/mo and LearnDash starts at $199/yr
- Marketing: Kajabi has a huge suite of marketing tools. LearnDash does not really have any dedicated marketing tools
- Web building tools: You can build an independent site with Kajabi. LearnDash is a WordPress plug in and so has no building tools
- Course Creation: LearnDash has a much larger library of course building and student engagement tools
Kajabi and LearnDash have a different design and focus. Kajabi is designed to handle all aspects of running an online course business, while LearnDash is only focused on LMS applications. Kajabi has tools for the marketing, sales, and branding aspect, and LearnDash is focused mostly only on courses and learning.
Kajabi offers 3 pricing tiers:
- Basic: $149/mo
- Growth: $199/mo
- Pro: $399/mo
One first thing to notice is that Kajabi has a higher price tag than some other competitor platforms. But the cost also includes things like hosting, domains, security, and access to a comprehensive suite of tools. Kajabi is all in one so you won’t have to pay more for plug-ins and extensions. Plus, you can save 20% by switching from monthly billing to annual billing. There is no free plan but there is a free 28-day trial and 30-day money-back guarantee.
LearnDash has 3 pricing plans:
- Basic: $199/yr
- Plus: $299/yr
- Pro: $369/yr
Notice that LearnDash charges annually, not monthly. So overall, a year subscription to LearnDash is much cheaper than Kajabi. Keep in mind though that LearnDash does not include hosting and does not have any marketing tools. So you will still have to pay extra for those. LearnDash does not have a free trial and does not have a free-plan option. They do offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
It is hard to directly compare the two platforms on this front because LearnDash is not meant to be a marketing plug-in. The only real marketing tools that LearnDash has are email updates, email notifications, and drip-schedules for lessons. Other than those though, there are no real marketing tools to speak of. Again, LearnDash is not designed as a marketing tool so it would be unfair to criticize it too harshly on this front. There are several integrations you can use to handle these parts.
Kajabi, on the other hand, has a bunch of neat marketing tools for running campaigns, including email automations, landing. sales pages, and sales funnels, all built right into the platform. The really unique Kajabi marketing feature is the pipeline builder, which is basically Kajabi’s version of a sales funnel builder. Pipelines let you build sales funnels from start to finish, so you can create highly customized and personalized funnels to capture leads and conversions. Kajabi’s email automations also make it easy to run complex marketing campaigns.
Website Building Comparison
Here is another category in which it’s not really fair to directly compare. LearnDash is a WordPress plugin, which means you need a self-hosted WordPress to use it. That means the LearnDash does not come with any web building tools of its own. It integrates into WordPress themes, but you can’t make a website with LearnDash alone. Also, LearnDash is designed specifically for WordPress and won’t work with anything else.
Kajabi has its own web-builder based on a point-and-click design. You can make clean, modern, and attractive pages with the Kajabi web-builder and give your page a unique look. The builder is very intuitive, and there are a lot of features for customizing pages. Hosting is included in the subscription plan, which includes unlimited hosting for course materials. On the Growth plan or higher, you can remove the Kajabi branding, but all plans come with domains and security certificates.
Kajabi is built on a theme-based design. When you start building your web page, you choose a theme and go from there. Kajabi has taken a slightly different direction for themes. Kajabi is now focusing on the Premier Theme with the intention to develop it into a flexible open-ended framework. They still have their 10 old themes available as legacy themes, but the Premier Theme is the main focus.
Themes have 6 layout presets and elements you can further customize. Layouts are modern and look great for online storefronts. On the Pro plan or higher you can directly edit your website’s code using the editor.
LearnDash does not have its own theme selection but is designed to integrate into WordPress themes. For the most part, this works properly but LearnDash does not integrate into some themes very well. The main problem is that there are so many WordPress themes some are bound to be less stable than others.
Course Creation & Student Engagement Comparison
LearnDash has a lot of course creation tools and offers unlimited courses and active members right off the bat. LearnDash is an LMS so its course creation tools are solid and have a lot of good features like advanced quizzing, course forums, and certificates/badges. Course creation is simple and follows a basic block-building format that WordPress users should be familiar with.
Kajabi’ course building tools also have a logical structure and allow for a more integrated marketing construction. One thing Kajabi allows is multiple pricing offerings on products. LearnDash has no inherent payment processing capabilities so you have to integrate a payment suite for that.
Kajabi, like LearnDash, allows for unlimited hosting of course materials, including video, audio, pdf, text, and downloads. Kajabi cou5rse can draw directly from sites like DropBox or Google Drive to ensure solid course hosting of materials.
One area LearnDash beats out Kajabi is quizzes and student assessments. LearnDash has great quiz options and allows for multiple quiz types. Kajabi does have quizzes and assessments but they are comparatively limited.
Kajabi is an all-in-one platform so it does not need to rely on integrations. That being said, Kajabi has integrations for popular services such as MailChimp, Google Analytics, Clickfunnels, Aweber, ConvertKit, and Drip. Kajabi integrates with Zapier which opens up the potential for integration with 1,000s of third-party apps. As we said, you don’t need any integrations with Kajabi, but the option is available to those who might already be comfortable using some service.
LearnDash is a standalone LMS plugin so it requires lots of integrations to maximize its full potential. LearnDash has integrations for email services, eCommerce solutions, marketing tools, etc. The catch is that many of these will require an extra subscription, so you’ll be paying more. These integrations work very well for the most part, but some can cause configuration problems.
Kajabi takes customer support seriously. The team offers email and 24/7 live chat support and users can check out Kajabi University; a massive library full of videos, how-to guides, and FAQs on topics related to course creation and running an online business. Additionally, the Kajabi team holds regular in-person training events and live webinars. There is also the annual Impact Summit conference where Kajabi users meet up and share tips and secrets of the trade. Kajabi has managed to build a pretty engaged community which is good for onboarding new users.
LearnDash does not have 24/7 customer support. Service hours are only between 7am-4pm, but their email support is quite good and very responsive. The support team is knowledgeable and can help you with your issue quickly. LearnDash also has a regularly updating training blog where they post guides and strategy articles, but it is not as cohesive and as well organized as Kajabi University is.
Conclusions: Kajabi vs LearnDash
LearnDash is a good WordPress plugin that has some powerful course creation and student engagement tools. Unfortunately, that’s all it really has. If you want to actually sell and market courses using LearnDash, you need a WordPress-hosted site and a bunch of plugins and extensions. This cost can add up quickly.
Kajabi, in contrast, is truly all-in-one. It’s course creation options are limited compared to LearnDash, but Kajabi has more well-rounded tools for handling the business and marketing aspects of making online courses.
If you want the most efficient method of creating, marketing, and selling online courses, then Kajabi is probably a better choice. LearnDash could be a good choice if you already have a functioning WordPress website and don’t want to create a new one.
Find out which platform is better: