LearnDash and Kajabi are both superb platforms built for top-of-the-line course creation but there are some key differences you should keep in mind when choosing between the two. In this article, we’ll break down how each app works and I’ll help you decide which one will work best for your use case.
To do this, we’ll compare LearnDash vs Kajabi in six key areas:
- Course Building
- Marketing Tools
- Payment Options/Promotions
For each topic area, we’ll go in-depth exploring the strengths and weaknesses of each platform to help you make the smartest decision for your online course creation business.
LearnDash works out best for creators wanting to build customized online courses with an emphasis on student achievement and for those looking specifically for a WordPress LMS plugin. Kajabi is best for serious infopreneurs looking to create an online course business and for those willing to grow their online business with its built-in marketing tools.
10 site plan for $399/year. Unlimited sites for $799 a year. Offers a 15-day money-back guarantee.
Basic plan at $119/month. Growth plan at $159/month. Offers a 14-day free trial.
User-friendly pre-built templates. Advanced tools and design for course content.
Course building, podcasts, coaching, websites, marketing, and email tools are all included.
Advanced customization and student engagement tools. Strong third-party tools.
User-friendly customizable templates. Great for promoting and monetizing online.
Requires third-party to market to potential customers. Add-ons are sufficient.
Embedded marketing tools to amplify online presence with content, email, website, and sales funnels.
Helpful integrations like WooCommerce and Stripe. Can offer coupon incentives
Advanced and centralized sales features. Customize payments, offers, coupons, and affiliate links.
Quizzes designed for student accountability, certification, and licensing.
Engaging quizzes designed for impactful learning and program improvement.
|Student engagement and course-building customization.||All-in-one online course creation, management, and monetization.|
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Justin and Khloe Ferriman founded LearnDash in 2012. They started with a blog but wanted to create a way for businesses, educators, and individuals to create both user-friendly and versatile online courses.
LearnDash has highly engaging and customizable front-end builders, great for flexibility and branding. It provides a live preview mode and responsive feature to ensure it looks exactly how you want on any device including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The user-friendly content tools will help you create impactful courses and easily implement integrations like Mailchimp and ClickFunnels, assisting in content drips and marketing initiatives to promote courses.
Proud of its versatility, LearnDash promotes its services for anyone from solopreneurs to midsize businesses or universities looking to create online courses on WordPress.
Beginning in 2009, Kajabi was sparked by an idea over tacos. Friends Kenny Rueter and Travis Rosser went from selling toys online to helping customers earn over $500 million by selling online courses.
Kajabi is atypical as a learning management system, though. Most LMS platforms are a tool to promote online courses… that’s it. Kajabi is an all-encompassing online business, not just an online course creation software. On the dashboard, you can customize your own website landing pages, as well as create, promote, and monetize your courses, podcasts, coaching, videos, and community forums. It seems daunting with so much capability, but it’s not. The navigation and creation are smooth, and Kajabi provides step-by-step guidance to create every customized setting, funnel, and content you want.
If you are looking to create a dynamic online learning business with centralized features and limitless potential, Kajabi will put you on the road to online success.
LearnDash has affordable yearly plans for online course creation, while Kajabi is pricier but saves you money by hosting all features internally.
If you want to build a course from scratch with LearnDash, you will need to factor in the hosting costs and any additional paid plugins. You do get the flexibility of WordPress but that also means you have to build the whole site yourself or hire someone to do it.
Now, this isn’t a problem if you already have a website and just want to add course-building functionality to it.
All in all, you’ll still probably end up saving money if you decide to go with LearnDash over Kajabi. And you can always lean on its 15-day money-back guarantee if you think it won’t work out for you.
The price you see on Kajabi’s pricing page is what you’ll be paying for it — no extra fees.
It is more expensive than LearnDash but it more than makes up for the added cost with its advanced features, integrated platform, and hassle-free course building. You don’t need to worry about any third-party integrations to create what you need.
And it also comes with a 14-day free trial, just enough to test it inside and out before committing.
Winner: LearnDash. The plugin really does have strong features for online courses for the price, and if you’re already using WordPress it just makes sense.
LearnDash is limited to one product, while Kajabi provides a variety of built-in products.
If you’re already using a WordPress website, adding the LearnDash plugin is a great option to explore online course building and add another value stream to your online presence.
LearnDash’s knowledge base and video tutorials ease the learning curve when onboarding for both beginners and experts. In no time they’re ready to start selling courses with engaging tools, impressive customization, flexibility, and seamless navigation.
Check out this walkthrough video and you’ll know what I’m talking about:
LearnDash is solid for sure but it’s not in the same league as Kajabi.
Kajabi users can create sales and promotional offers, podcasts or coaching, courses, community forums, websites, landing pages, and email marketing. Having all features in one place creates a stress-free process if you know how to leverage them.
A true personalization contender, LearnDash earned a reputation for excellent branding and advanced customization settings to entice prospects and promote courses.
Its emphasis is on student achievement and providing a variety of learning options within the course builder (i.e. asynchronous learning, blended programs, certificates/licenses). It may not be a standalone platform, but it does an excellent job of meeting the needs of both users and students.
There’s a reason Kajabi is ranked as the #1 online course building platform. “You get what you pay for” applies here — it’s loaded with product options that are bound to fit your unique needs.
The course building capabilities are tailored for different purposes and different types of users. Are you planning to create a podcast? Perhaps a coaching business? Need to tweak your website or begin a new email campaign? Each of these functionalities is conveniently provided within the Kajabi software itself, so there’s no need to waste time and resources on third-party integrations.
Check out this walkthrough video to see for yourself all the capabilities this platform has to offer.
Winner: Kajabi by a long shot! Providing different product options, embedded marketing tools, offers, email platforms, customizable website templates… Kajabi is an all-in-one eCommerce management system.
LearnDash allows users to invest in student engagement and achievement. Kajabi provides state-of-the-art tools for user success.
This comparison is tough because both have amazing tools, but slight differences between users and students.
LearnDash has more features for student follow-up, gamification, accountability, interactive modules, and certifications. It feels more like an online classroom with an emphasis on student results.
It has an academic flair, bringing different learning programs like asynchronous, synchronous, and blended courses to students.
Asynchronous — provides courses with the flexibility for students to complete tasks at their own pace and by their own busy schedule.
Synchronous — Takes place at a specific time and date. Students participate in discussions in real-time through audio and/or video.
Blended — A mix of the above course types, blended courses have live interactive components and self-paced components similar to a traditional classroom with homework.
Kajabi brings elite capabilities and engaging material, but its content creation has more emphasis on course creation than student success.
Its main focus is to make your life easier as a course author looking to build a powerful revenue stream. The navigational tools and products are geared for your experience and info business needs to scale profits and build successful online courses.
Therefore, student accountability is not a primary focus for a typical Kajabi user. Students have access to engaging content-rich courses but will get what they want out of the course in the end.
Since the course platforms and organizational tools are so impressive, Kajabi still earns 5 stars for course-building features and impact on students.
|Multiple Platforms||Certifications||Learning Styles||Course Management||Customization|
As you can see in the table, both apps are evenly matched in course-building potential, but not in the same way. Keep in mind what is important to you as a user when analyzing these options.
LearnDash connects to third-party marketing tools, while Kajabi provides hassle-free embedded marketing tools and strategy.
To be honest, there’s really no comparison. LearnDash gets some credit for connecting you to third-party marketing tools, but Kajabi delivers one of the most important aspects of creating an online course — getting customers.
LearnDash lets you connect with all the key apps you’ll need: Mailchimp, ConvertKit, HubSpot, Salesforce, and over twenty other popular CRMs using WP Fusion and Zapier. Mailchimp is a great tool for content drips, automation, notifications, and marketing promotions. You can also integrate with ClickFunnels to add CTAs and gather info on customers. But again, you’ll have to connect to more services, adding more cost and headaches.
The convenience and efficiency of having a course-building platform over a plug-in are hard to beat.
All the marketing tools are embedded and complete with tutorial videos and guides to familiarize yourself with functions. The easy-to-use traffic driving tools are simplified enough for beginners, yet refined and customizable enough for experienced users. In combination with a bunch of integrations, Kajabi is a marketing powerhouse.
For example, the embedded Click Funnel design below shows the sequencing from email marketing to the sales page that’s easy to follow yet packed with customization to onboard new customers.
Both apps technically provide great marketing tools. However, only Kajabi has robust standalone features to meet all the requirements you need to market your products efficiently.
Winner: Kajabi by a landslide. If you look through the lens of what the software itself has to offer, Kajabi is leaps and bounds ahead of LearnDash in this category.
LearnDash has solid e-commerce integrations, but Kajabi handles payments, offers, and commissions all by itself.
LearnDash has integrations like WooCommerce and Stripe to assist with receiving payments. You can offer courses as a one-time sale, membership deal, bundle, or subscription.
Kajabi connects to third-party apps like Stripe or PayPal, but it streamlines the convenience by setting up your chosen account directly on the dashboard interface. With Kajabi your possible offers are numerous: one-time digital products, mini-courses, webinars, subscriptions, downloads, and more.
LearnDash offers coupons and discount options to add to course promotions. Users can implement coupon codes, offer price variations to specified user groups, and add discounts to early course completion.
Kajabi has more elaborate customization options for offers and promotions. You can create an entire discount page to add custom deals and offers, use the funnel builder to set multi-step checkout pages with discounts, create sales durations, and promote loyalty with membership deals.
LearnDash has third-party integrations to facilitate affiliate links like AffiliateWP and ThirstyAffiliates. These WordPress plugins can help with managing affiliate links, paying commissions, and tracking referrals.
Kajabi uses its own Partner Program for affiliate marketing. You can customize or use default settings for commission rates and send invitations. You get access to performance analytics and the ability to approve or decline applicants while the payments are handled automatically.
Winner: Kajabi. Payment options, promotions, and affiliate commissions are all centrally located and allow more customization.
LearnDash has strong quiz settings, reports, and engagement. Kajabi has great diagnostic assessments.
Somewhat related to the course building section, LearnDash has different types of assessments: from multiple choice and essays, to “fill in the blank”. The quizzes include different subject areas as well.
With a bit less customization and less focus on student achievement, Kajabi utilizes quizzes and surveys to better inform you about your marketing data to improve sales. I’ll add points to Kajabi for providing valuable feedback to learners as they progress through courses.
Winner: LearnDash. Its student-centric quizzes are impressive with great student engagement and high-level customization.
LearnDash is a dynamic course building plug-in with student-centered integrations, Kajabi is a full-service course-building platform designed to manage an online business.
Course creators looking to create online courses for less but for more student engagement.
Entrepreneurs looking for all-in-one platform for online course creation, management, and monetization.
Both apps are great for course creators. As usual, it depends on your unique needs to make a final decision. But in my opinion…
Use LearnDash if:
- You want to emphasize student engagement and achievement.
- You are looking for a cost-effective plug-in for your website.
- You want more opportunities for creativity.
Use Kajabi if:
- You want an elite, hassle-free solution to all your online course-building needs.
- You want an efficient, all-encompassing online course platform with advanced marketing functionalities.
- Value matters more to you than price.