The first time I helped create a course on Learndash was a real eye opener. I had worked with Memberpress before and Learndash looked and felt very similar.
But, a learning management system (LMS) is a totally different beast than a membership site. A membership site protects certain content, so that only paid members can access it. Usually, they are free to choose where they start and finish, there might be totally random topics and the membership is usually a monthly subscription, with new content being produced on a monthly basis.
An LMS however, is usually more than just a repository of information. It has been designed to not only impart knowledge, but also has aims and objectives that it is designed to achieve. It is usually a more formal learning experience with milestones and a start and end to each topic. There can be quizzes to ensure understanding, and you can clearly see your progress against the course material
And so the actual methodology was different. With the membership site, it was about having some initial content that the members would find useful and then adding to the repository on a regular basis. The actual content may not be fully set out, although it may follow a certain theme, depending on the purpose of the membership site. The members can choose to cancel their subscription whenever they like. They will no longer have access to the materials.
With an e-learning site, the course has usually already been created and if not, the roadmap for the content will be laid out, so the owner knows exactly what content the course will contain.
The user goes through the course methodically, starting at the beginning with learning aims and objectives, taking them through a structured set of learning activities. Once the course has been completed, the user will have finished the course. They will usually have lifetime access, unless access is only granted for a limited period, for some particular reason.
The LMS is more likely to have some accountability around progressing through the course, whether this is through some sort of engagement with the content owner, or through a progress report driving the user on to finish the materials. On the other hand the membership site is much more self-driven. It is up to the member to take advantage of the materials and any contact with the membership site owner will be more of an engagement strategy than an accountability one.
The other thing that an LMS has that a membership site usually doesn’t, is worksheets for the students to work through, to take notes and do practical exercises either to test their understanding of the new materials, or to be able to identify how the learning materials relate to their particular situation.
Of course, this is a generalisation, and many evergreen courses aren’t reviewed by their owners, and you may have membership sites, where a particular topic is studied every month. But in the main, if you want a repository to hold your content in and share with others, adding to it on a regular basis, then you want to build a membership site. However, if you have a vested interest in upskilling your students and want to help them learn a particular topic or set of topics, then an e-learning site would meet your needs much more than a membership site.
Look at the pros and cons of both and then decide which one fits you best
And if you need any help, then please feel free to contact me HERE