New Home Forums Course Creation Resources Which eCourse platform?

8 replies, 3 voices Last updated by  Dr.Wayne Buckhanan 6 years ago
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  • #25161

    Jessica Antonelli
    Adventurer
    @jescantonelli

    hey adventurers,

    So I thought I was all set with Zippy courses, but just this week my license for their plugin expired, and now I an taking less than a day (I gotta get this course out there!) to decide if I stick with Zippy or go for another platform.

    I know I want a wordpress plugin, and although Zippy courses seems ok, I haven’t been totally in love with the design..

    I super love Natalie Sisson’s breakdown of the different platforms here: http://suitcaseentrepreneur.com/business-tools/best-membership-software-to-run-an-online-program/

    And I’m tempted to go with LifterLMS instead of Zippy…seems like it might cut my needs better. Still, I want to get up and going with my course ASAP so I don’t have a million years to decide on a platform…and when it felt like I had a million years when I first bought Zippy courses a year ago I never ended up going for it.

    So, I’ll decide sometime tomorrow or the next day since I am finally back in my Mexican hometown of San Miguel and I can dedicate more time to the course. Any thoughts eCourse friends?

    I like that LifterLMS seems to have it all, while Zippy is a bit more limited in it’s offerings…also as an art teacher, design is important.

    Any votes on if I should stick with what is comfortable and easy this round, and try LifterLMS later? Or sell I dive in to what seem like the bigger guns?

    Appreciate your input amigos,

    Jessica

    #25272

    Andy Freist
    Mountain Guide
    @andyfreist

    I have zero experience with ZippyCourses, but it seems to be a decent platform.

    That said, LifterLMS is FREE (with paid addons) and pretty much has everything you need out of the box. With LifterLMS, you need to be using either Mailchimp or ConvertKit (no ActiveCampaign integration quite yet).. So thats something to consider..

    Truth be told, you aren’t really going to find ANY platform that looks good out of the box (besides Teachable)..

    It will always take tweaking of code/CSS to get it looking good and integrated with your theme, so im not sure if LifterLMS is going to really look any better than Zippy, but it does have a more full feature-set..

    The answer to these questions are always: it depends.

    What’s really needed to help make a decision is what your MUSTS are.

    Do you NEED integration with any specific service? IE- ActiveCampaign?

    Do you need variable pricing options?

    Lots of things to consider, though ultimately you can’t really go wrong in either case. Its just that figuring out the “perfect” solution can take some work 😉

    #25274

    Andy Freist
    Mountain Guide
    @andyfreist

    If design is the highest priority, then I’d consider picking a THEME first that has an LMS integration and going from there.

    Courecats looks super slick, though its not clear if it has its own shopping cart or what it integrates with..

    #25276

    Andy Freist
    Mountain Guide
    @andyfreist

    Oh wow, $50/mo for CourseCats.. That is an absolute ripoff imho.

    #25287

    Dr.Wayne Buckhanan
    Adventurer
    @waynebuckhanan

    So, circling back around to the message I started this morning that got lost in cyberspace…

    There is a rule of thumb from software development in regard to when to make changes. The basic version is:

    • If it costs the same to make the change later, put it off for as long as possible.

    That changes the question a bit. If you’ve got things built out in Zippy Courses, it only costs you $200 for the next year. If you don’t have anything built out yet and haven’t bootstrapped on learning Zippy, either platform costs about the same in terms of time you’ll need to invest. Like Andy said, what features do you need? Are they already built into Lifter or will you need to buy several of their extensions?

    One platform that wasn’t on Sisson’s list is the WooCommerce integrated Sensei plugin. Personally, my preference is for Sensei or LearnDash and they each have their own oddities — as they all will! I like that Sensei is fully GPL and I’ll skip the geeky reasons why that matters beyond being able to share the plugin. It is slightly cheaper to get the year of support than Zippy and has a bunch of extensions and integrations available (free and paid). There are also a number of Sensei ready themes available to customize and build out to suit.

    HTH

    P.S. If you do want to do more reading, let me know. I’ve got some bookmarked articles that you might interest you. But, until then, back to work for both of us! 😉

    #25340

    Jessica Antonelli
    Adventurer
    @jescantonelli

    You guys, thank you so much for all your help! Getting your feedback while my eyes were swirling with all the different options really helped me get some clarity on my priorities and I am happy with what I ended up with. @andyfreist and @waynebuckhanan you guys are awesome.

    So I started with my musts and my theme,ended up with LifterLMS, in a big part because it’s free and I like the idea that it’s open source and I much much prefer the dashboard and options to what Zippy had, just as a personal preference.
    Maybe it’s the artist in me but it’s so important that things be pretty, and I like how clean the plugin is compared to Zippy, and it’s been so well organized I feel like I’m figuring it out pretty smoothly.
    As for my theme, Minus from Thrive themes, it is looking great with the LifterLMS.

    Thanks for hooking me up with the extensions descriptions Dr Wayne. I’m currently using mail chimp and so I’m adding that one to my cart.

    Back to work, it’s #GSD time!

    #25344

    Dr.Wayne Buckhanan
    Adventurer
    @waynebuckhanan

    Glad to help, Jessica!

    If it is possible, I’m looking forward to your course even more now. 🙂

    #25381

    Jessica Antonelli
    Adventurer
    @jescantonelli

    Wowzers you guys, it’s been a techie roller coaster of a day.

    I was so so so so stuck trying to get my cart open. Not a fun experience. I’m usually good at figuring things out but for the sake of time I got their LMSPro extension to get support so I could actually sell the course.

    The support team got right back within a few hours, and I felt kind of justified reading this in their response:

    “LifterLMS doesn’t allow a link directly to a checkout the way a normal shopping cart or ecommerce experience works. We know, we know, we made a terrible mistake and I’ve been spending the last few months working on a significant upgrade to our checkout experience that will rectify this, but, in the meantime, you cannot simply link to the purchase page and expect anything to happen. As much as I wish you could do that, your users need to enter through the course.We have a clunky workaround that can hold you over until our ecomm update is available, give this a shot: https://lifterlms.readme.io/docs/custom-registration-pages.”

    So, I appreciate their honesty here, and now I don’t feel so crazy that I couldn’t make the freaking purchase page work. It is a free download after all…but I’m going to figure out the work-around. I like the student-centered philosophy of the LifterLMS peeps so I’m going to stick with it and see where this takes me.

    Ok, time to climb back on the roller coaster and see if I can figure out the workaround…if not, the support team can log in and troubleshoot, and that is soooo reassuring. Ciao for now

     

    #25389

    Dr.Wayne Buckhanan
    Adventurer
    @waynebuckhanan

    Good job sticking it out and bonus points for being Validated that it couldn’t be done that way!

    Reading through the workaround, it doesn’t look that bad, just “clunky” as they said. Let me know if you need a hand getting that sorted out. Heck, if they weren’t already working on the updated version that bypasses the issue, I’d be tempted to create a quick plugin to generate the registration links. (Since it sounds like you’ve got their support on call, maybe it’ll be when the next person using LifterLMS needs it if they haven’t updated everything by then…)

    High five for #GSDbeastmode!

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