Hey there! In this blog post, I'm going to review LearnWorlds and let you know if it's worth your attention.
So, what is LearnWorlds?
It's an online course creation platform that was created in 2014 and is based in the UK.
Recently, it has gained a lot of popularity due to its unique features like interactive videos, a robust website builder, and other fancy features.
Here are some of the key features of LearnWorlds:
- Course creation
- Interactive videos (with overlays and buttons)
- Quizzes, assessments certificates
- Built-in community (Facebook-like)
- Feature-rich page builder
|Trial||30-day free trial. No credit card required.|
|Free plan||Not available|
|Pricing||Starts at $29/mo|
|Competitors||Podia, Kajabi and Terachable|
And get this – during the pandemic, they raised $32M in growth funding from Insight Partners!
As an instructional designer and fellow course creator, I tried out LearnWorlds and compared it against other platforms like Teachable, Podia, and Kajabi
Overall, I'd say LearnWorlds is definitely worth checking out if you're a feature-junkie.
But it’s not for all.
👍 What’s good about LearnWorlds?
- Interactive videos: The interactive video feature allows students to engage with the video content by clicking on various elements that pop up over the video. But the question is how many people actually use this feature?
- Robust website building: LearnWorlds comes with a website builder supports a lot of blocks, templates, and supports global elements for better efficiency. It also allows direct tweaking of the underlying source code of the website! You don’t need WordPress or Squarespace. Also, they have Funnels feature on top of it
- Comprehensive reporting tools: The platform includes comprehensive reporting tools for tracking student progress, supporting HTML5 and SCORM, and offering insights into learning outcomes. You get to also see video-level retention graphs!
- Integrated affiliate program: LearnWorlds has an internal affiliate program, enabling you to sign up users to promote your products for a commission. But it doesn’t support automated payouts.
- Branded mobile app: For an extra fee, LearnWorlds provides branded mobile apps for iOS and Android. Only available on their $249 per month “Learning Center” plan.
👎 What’s bad about LearnWorlds?
- Cluttered interface: As LearnWorlds comes with a lot of features, some non-technical people find it confusing. Clearly, there is a need for more improvement of the UX and UI (even basic things like margin and padding!).
- No built-in email marketing: LearnWorlds markets itself as an all-in-one platform, but it does not come with an integrated email marketing capability. You need to integrate with other email marketing software to enable marketing automation.
- Limited integrations: LearnWorlds has limited built-in integrations with email marketing software, only integrating with a couple of options. This means that if you use any other tools, you may need to rely on Zapier frequently, which can increase your costs.
- Exclusive features only available in the highest plan: Some of the exclusive features of LearnWorlds, like interactive videos, branded mobile apps, and white labeling functionalities, are only available in their highest plan, the Learning Center plan, which costs $249 per month.
The LearnWorlds’ developmental path could have been more intentional.
In mid-2021, during the e-learning industry boom, LearnWorlds raised a lot of money and invested it in rolling out almost all the features their users were asking for.
Instead of improving their existing features, fixing bugs, and improving their user interface and experience, they spent a lot of money paying developers to create new fancy features that people may not even use.
For example, they have a fancy e-book creator and popup builder, but they lack an in-built email marketing software or good integrations with other popular apps.
Their interface can be overwhelming with so many features, and it can be easy to get distracted if you're not disciplined with your course creation workflow.
In contrast, platforms like Kajabi and Podia roll out new features while considering how well the new features fit with the existing ones. They embrace essentialism.
The interface of LearnWorlds looks quite dated.
You have to access most of the features through the sidebar.
The sidebar items don't have enough padding and margin, making it feel cluttered and difficult to access all the features.
As LearnWorlds comes with a lot of features, there is a bit of a learning curve. Additionally, due to their tool's UI and UX, related features are not always grouped together.
At times, you may need to deal with confusing terminology and layouts to get simple things done.
Personally, I am someone who can't understand poor UI and UX because the dopamine hit from using apps fuels my productivity and lets my creative thoughts flow.
A LearnWorlds curriculum will have Sections and Activities. Think of these as chapters and body content in a book. Or headings and actual content in an article.
There will be different types of activities: you can assign a multimedia type to the activity, a live session, a questionnaire, embedding, and so on.
When you create a learning activity, such as a video, you can add more downloadable files to the activity if you wish.
Just hover your mouse on the available digital download.
Click on Settings.
Then hit Add digital download on the side form that pops up after.
Here, you can allow people to download a PDF checklist or a worksheet that complements the rest of the lesson material.
LearnWorlds has a unique feature called interactive videos that are only available in their highest learning center plan.
Interactive videos allow you to add interactive elements or overlays on top of your videos.
For example, you can include buttons, "match the following" quizzes, interactive transcripts, and call-to-action buttons.
While this feature may require a lot of work, it could be useful depending on your use case.
For instance, if you're a linguistics instructor and want your students to match words to the correct definition, then this feature would be helpful.
But for me, considering my audience, I didn't find much value in this feature.
LearnWorlds supports content scheduling.
Drip feed lessons
You can drip feed lessons in two ways:
- Schedule content based on a specific date, or
- Based on the number of days after the student enrolled in the course.
That drip schedule means you can email specific students or everyone to check out a newly released/unlocked course section.
You’ll decide how it should be before LearnWorlds automatically unlocks the following sections.
Quizzes and assessments
In LearnWorlds, you can create 4 types of assessments:
- Exams (graded assessment)
- File assignments (that require file upload)
Exams can be considered a learning activity that consists of different types of quizzes and assignments.
As you can see, when you are adding questions to a graded exam, there are also options for you to include assignments.
These assignments may require students to submit a detailed answer (Text Assignment) or upload a project file (File Assignment) for you to review.
Once the students go through the exams and assessments, you can view their performance in the review center under reports.
You can review their performance and even give them feedback so that they can improve.
As soon as you leave your feedback, they can view it right inside the course player.
I really liked this functionality 🙂
LearnWorlds lets course creators award two types of certificates:
- Certificate of Completion: This certificate can be awarded to learners who successfully complete and pass all unit-based tests and learning activities.
- Certificate of Knowledge: Can be awarded to students who successfully complete the entire course. To award this certificate, you must set a final exam (assessment) separate from all other tests created up to that point.
Let me discuss about the the Certificate of Knowledge first.
To create LearnWorlds certificates, select the course where you want to award some. Click Certificates>>Certificate or Certificate of completion.
You can create a learning activity called "Certification of Knowledge" anywhere inside the curriculum and assign various questions to it.
Once students pass this activity, they will be awarded the certification. However, the "Certification of Completion" tends to hold more value than the "Certification of Knowledge."
Let me explain about the "Certification of Completion.”
These completion certificates allow you to set certain conditions, such as requiring students to answer all the questions or complete all the learning units before receiving the certificate.
Additionally, with the highest pro trainer package, LearnWorlds offers the ability to create your own certification template that includes various fields or variables to further personalize the certificate.
Course engagement reports
To get a better understanding of your students' performance, LearnWorlds offers advanced reporting capabilities.
You have student-level progress reports here! (excellent for academic usecases).
By going to the analytics section, you can filter your students based on different conditions and see the average time they spend on the platform, the number of courses they have completed, and more.
This helps you track the progress of your students and make any necessary adjustments to your courses to improve their learning experience.
For example, by adding a filter in the analytics section, you can easily identify students who have not spent a considerable amount of time on the platform. You can then segment these students and perhaps reach out to them!
You also have video retention graphs similar to those of YouTube, which show where people are engaged in your content and at what points they drop off.
This would be really helpful for seasoned instructional designers to see what they can improve iteratively in order to increase course completion and engagement rates.
Frontend student experience
When people open their course portal, they can access the learning path or activities they need to complete, connect with fellow learners, and discuss course content on the course portal.
However, there are two downsides to their course interface:
- The learners tab only displays the first 150 users going through the same course in alphabetical order. You cannot filter out specific learners based on their profile information or anything like that.
- The discussion section would be more user-friendly if it was located underneath the video. Currently, it is in the sidebar and requires an additional click to access, which may cause some users to miss out on the functionality. This would be similar to YouTube's approach where comments are located underneath the video, making it easier to see and interact with them as you scroll down.
There are no major downsides with the course player interface, but some polishing would be desirable.
And also, when it comes to the course player, there are 5 different skins that you can choose from.
Personally, I like their classic skin that adds some modern UI elements to the player.
Maybe it’s due to my love for dark mode!
Apart from these skins, you also have the ability to add your custom CSS using their custom code editor. 👨💻
LearnWorlds has a feature-rich community feature. To enable access to the community for your students, when you create a school, you have a section called "Community Access" where you have various settings to enable access to the community for your students.
Once the community and access settings are set up, in order to head directly to your community, you need to go to the "Learning Apps" section.
It took me a while to figure out where the community feature was located, and I found it nested under “Learning Apps”. This is what I meant when I told their user interface is not intuitive.
Now about the community itself.
At first glance, their community feature reminded me of Facebook in 2010, so their UX needs serious improvement.
Students can access the activity feed, search for their friends, access polls and mentions, and create groups for interaction (depending upon your settings)
As we’ll be discussing in the nexr section, LearnWorlds comes with a robust page building functionality for creating your landing pages and entire website.
Within their page builder, there is a section called "Community Posts" that allows you to feature the latest discussions happening in your community.
It dynamically loads all the discussions happening in your community and displays them on your landing pages!
Website design and customization
LearnWorlds offers powerful website design functionalities for creating websites, landing pages, and blog posts. They have recently revamped their entire website building functionality, including robust features.
There are 15+ professionally made templates available, called site flavors, that allow you to create websites of your own taste.
There are different site flavors across various categories like art and design, coaching, customer education, and fitness, among others.
When you create your website, you can add various sections, and for each section, there are multiple pre-made templates available.
You can easily change the template of a section by making use of their magic templates functionality that allows you to switch between section templates without losing the underlying content.
LearnWorlds comes with advanced functionalities such as control over padding, margins, dividers, box models, animations, etc.
Also it comes with the ability to add custom code and edit the underlying source code of your landing pages.
It also allows you to apply custom code throughout your entire site, to a particular page, or even a selected element.
Additionally, you can add code snippets that include variables and tags based on the liquid templating language to help personalize the site's design depending on the student who is browsing the website.
Since it is a liquid templating system, it also comes with the ability to set conditions, allowing you to apply code based on different conditions.
For example, you can greet the user by their name or display a certain message for a user with a certain tag.
Here is something you don't see on online learning platforms.
LearnWorlds recently introduced its Popup Builder to help you create and customize how a popup looks, feels, and works.
Go to Site Builder → Edit School Site → Popup → New Popup to create them.
What we like most, though, is what you can use them for:
- Collect emails for your marketing funnel
- Display special offers
- Show coupons
- Pop up a video
- Display welcome messages
- Notify your community about a new update, course content release, and more.
You can then tweak who, when, how, where, and what they can display in Popup settings.
Sales and marketing
Recently, they introduced the Page Funnels functionality, which offers various pre-made funnel templates, like templates for ebooks, lead magnets, email opt-ins, and webinar registration, among others.
When you are using any of these templates, with just a click of a button, you will be setting up all the steps inside it.
At every step of the funnel, you can modify the properties, view analytics, and more.
When it comes to analytics, you can see funnel data such as:
- Total funnel views
- Completion rate
- Visitors per step funnel
- Number of visits of any page of the funnel
- Number of visitors that reached the final step of the funnel
When designing your landing page or any opt-in form, under “Actions”, you can enable any user to enter in any stage of the funnel.
The page builder and funnel management functionality of LearnWorlds work hand-in-hand to give you full control over your customer's journey on your website.
It's great how these two features complement each other seamlessly.
Creating product bundles
LearnWorlds allows you to create course bundles.
Under the marketing section, you can create a new course bundle by providing its name, description, and assigning the different courses in your school to the bundle.
You can also set a discounted price for the bundle to effectively sell them.
Upon creation, you will receive a URL that you can promote.
You can also display the course bundles on the frontend of your site.
In the page builder, there are various section templates for "Product bundles”. You can display the bundles you’ve created and market them effectively on your landing pages.
Upsells, order bumps and OTOs
In LearnWorlds, you can create upsells, but it doesn't come with ordered bumps.
There isn't a dedicated feature on LearnWorlds to create upsells; instead, it is done through customizing the thank you page that the buyer will be redirected to after making the checkout.
Creating upsells through the thank you page is pretty straightforward.
LearnWorlds gives you the option to assign the thank you page to any product that you have published in your school, whether it be a course, bundle, or subscription.
You can even customize it to include special offers or discounts as part of your one-time offer.
Payments and checkout
LearnWorlds has four payment gateways (Stripe, PayPal, Shopify, PagSeguro) to handle transactions.
To create subscription products on LearnWorlds, you need to integrate it with Stripe.
Then, you can head over to the payment section and create various subscription plans for the different products that you have in your school.
To customize the checkout process for your products on LearnWorlds, you can go to their Pages Manager and customize the Payment Page.
In their page builder, there are various templates available for their Payment Section/Block.
You can add any of these payment sections to your page, and there are various customization options for you to tweak.
Additionally, you can tie a particular coupon or tag to people who buy through a particular payment section automatically.
As I told you earlier, you don't have to create “Order bumps” to maximize your revenue here.
LearnWorlds also offers a robust affiliate marketing platform.
That’s a big deal because affiliates, from niche to diverse influencers, can help push your course among their loyal audiences.
How does the affiliate marketing feature work on LearnWorlds?
- Let current students become affiliates.
- Choose which courses or course bundles to offer affiliate commissions on.
- Let affiliates self-register.
- Allow affiliates to see details about the people they referred.
- Activate, deactivate, or update affiliates’ details.
- Choose and track cookie expiration duration.
- Set and change affiliate commissions.
- Decide to offer commissions in sales percentages or dollar amounts.
- Manage payment schedule.
- Pick one of several affiliate payment methods, including PayPal, Stripe, and Wire Transfer.
Many course platforms set a 30-day limit to tracking an affiliate link. Instead, LearnWorlds lets you choose affiliate cookie expiration durations. You may need to upgrade your payment plan to do that, though.
Setting up the affiliate cookie duration
Then go to Marketing → Affiliate Management to see all those details in one place like this:
LearnWorlds used to have poor integrations with external tools, but they have recently added a lot of new integrations with various tools, including email marketing software, analytics, customer service, CRM, and various other growth tools.
Although LearnWorlds doesn't come with an inbuilt email marketing tool, it integrates with email services like:
- Constant Contact
However, the range of email marketing software integrations is not very wide.
If you are using an email marketing software that's not integrable with LearnWorlds, you may need to make use of Zapier or Make.com to make the integration possible, which may increase your Zapier bills.
When it comes to payment gateways, apart from from Stripe and PayPal, LearnWorlds also integrates with Shopify, allowing you to create an e-commerce store in Shopify and sell your courses through LearnWorlds’ integration with it.
Another helpful integration is with Quaderno, which helps you automatically calculate your sales tax, create tax receipts, reports, and makes the taxation process and compliance easier, especially with EU VAT.
LearnWorlds supports webhooks for different events (developer feature). This feature gives you the flexibility to create custom integrations with the apps you desire, without having to use Zapier!
Pricing and support
Most of the exclusive features of LearnWorlds are only available in their Pro Trainer and Learning Center pricing plans.
Some unique features, including interactive videos, white label functionalities, Android and iOS apps, course insights, reports for student level accountability, automations, and webhooks, are only available in their Learning Center plan that costs $249 per month.
However, if you don't need fancy features like interactive videos and advanced assessments and the ability to white label your school, then you may be better off with the Pro Trainer package that costs $79 per month.
Truth be told, the Starter plan is a joke. It doesn’t come with subscriptions, only allows you to create a 3-page website, and charges you $5 per course sale.
I do think that LearnWorlds is a platform with a lot of features, but sometimes it can be overwhelming due to the vast array of features it comes with.
For non-technical people, it can be easy to get confused by different terminologies and the unintuitive UI/UX that the platform provides.
I personally find that there are a lot of unwanted features like the ebook builder, pop-ups, and fancy parallax effects that are quite outdated!
It seems like they are just building out features without giving much thought to how important they really are for their audience.
It's high time that they invest in the user experience of the app than focusing on rolling out features left and right.
Unless you badly want some unique features like interactive videos (only available in their $249 per month plan), support for SCORM and HTML5, and other exclusive features of LearnWorlds, I don't see any solid reason to choose LearnWorlds over other platforms like Podia or Kajabi.
Also, for it to be called an all-in-one platform, it doesn't come with marketing automation and in-built email marketing abilities that platforms like Kajabi offer for a much cheaper cost.