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BuddyBoss vs LearnDash: What’s the Difference?

A lot of people researching the platforms they want for their online course, membership site or membership portal will ask us, "Do I need BuddyBoss or LearnDash?" The are asking me to compare BuddyBoss vs LearnDash and it's a legit question. The problem is that it's like asking, "Do you want eggs or do you want coffee for breakfast?" They are both great breakfast options that work well together, but they serve two very different purposes.

BuddyBoss Theme and it's corresponding BuddyBoss Platform (they are sold together) are the go to platforms thei BuddyBoss / LearnDash expert team recommends for people wanting to launch their own social media-like community. It's an alternative, and a VERY good one, for replacing a private Facebook group. It's an excellent platform for enabling your students or learners to communicate with each other as part of their learning experience.

I've written the article, What the Heck is BuddyBoss?, which tells you all about BuddyBoss. Check that out to get the full scoop.

LearnDash, instead, is a learning management system or LMS. At the very basic level, it provides you with a way to organize your course. It gives you the ability to create an course introduction or welcome section. Your course can be organized into lessons with each lesson serving like sections of a book. If you have an extensive amount content in your courses, you can organize each lesson into sub-lessons or topics. Each lesson and topic can contain the kind of content you typically see in an online course. You can include videos, copy, images downloadable PDF files, worksheets, etc. You can organize them very simply or as complex as you like using all that Wordpress allows you to do to organize your content.  Sky's the limit.

The BuddyBoss vs LearnDash question may come up so much because BuddyBoss first launched it's solution under the name Social Learner for LearnDash.  I wrote the Social Learner - LearnDash for Better Online Learner on that several years back. BuddyBoss positioned their solution as a way to offer LearnDash with a social media component. They promoted their product set along with LearnDash which may be why people today see them as related, but done understand how they work together.

Like you would expect from a learning management system, LearnDash provides features for creating quizzes or assessments in your course. The quizzes can be used to confirm that students understand the materials. They can also be used to keep students from moving ahead through your course until they have mastered the related lesson or topic. You can use features they provide to only allow students to move ahead only after they have completed the quiz with a passing score.

BuddyBoss vs. LearnDash

Given what LearnDash can do, why don't we review how it works with BuddyBoss. As I mentioned earlier, BuddyBoss provides social media-like features. It supports member-to-member communication. Students can "talk" to their fellow classmates. In many of the sites we build for our customers, we've set up the communication features to instructors and students and communicate with each other.  BuddyBoss allows anyone logged into the site to:

  • communicate via a message interface with others,
  • post their own newsfeeds or ones you set up as the administrator tied to a course, topic, or groups, and/or
  • participate in discussion groups and even traditional forums.

BuddyBoss and LearnDash cooperate together very nicely to provides some highly functioning gamification features. This can be enhanced with tools like GamiPress, to up the gamification features you implement. With gamification, students don't just move along the LearnDash course to gain a certification they need. They can feel the challenge and get caught up in friendly competition with others taking the same course to achieve the goals you set up in the course. This can especially be valuable if you offer your program to an organization. Think how competitive sales team members can be with each other and how you can use that to motivate them to get through your program.

When these tools are used by a small business owners for their program, creating a community is even more valuable. What we've seen happen in tight-knit communities is that people stay with the program because they don't want to lose contact with "their friends." They continue paying you, after completing your course materials, to stay connected with others in your program. The community keeps them around.

There's lots more to this, but that is the beginning of what you need to know so you appreciate what an LMS has to offer and how it works well with BuddyBoss.

Hope this helps.