You all know the education wing of the church, right? It’s the area of the church they forgot to decorate. Somehow we take the greatest story ever told and teach it in the beige-est room ever painted. I propose we bring our church classroom education, teaching, and training into the 21st century. On behalf of churchgoers everywhere, I am standing up for something new; this new online teaching and training platform for churches is called an online Learning Management System (LMS).
How to Save Time and Resources
What if churches could use video to teach 80% of the classes they currently deliver? Could you imagine how much time and energy would be saved? What could you do with all those volunteer hours that just opened up? I’m sure you’ll think of 100 things.
What is an Learning Management System (LMS)?
An LMS is not a Facebook Group, it’s a platform designed to organize and deliver education in a way that maximizes retention and understanding. It allows the user to learn at their own pace, and in some cases, gives teachers the ability to track a user’s progress.
If there’s anything the last few weeks of the Coronavirus pandemic has shown us is that video learning is here, it works, and it’s not going anywhere.
Here are six LMS online teaching and training platform options for churches, in alphabetical order, that churches can use to better educate members, volunteers, and leaders:
#1 – Google Classroom
Google Classroom is an LMS that’s part of the Google family of products. It’s ideal for non-profits and educational institutions because it’s free. If you have ever used Google products, then you know they can sometimes be a little confusing at first. And Google Classroom is no exception. But once you get the lay of the land, it is pretty powerful. You can create classes, add Google Docs, upload videos and create quizzes. You can track users’ progress and even score the quizzes to calculate grades.
Google Classroom received a rating of 4.6/5 on Capterra with users agreeing that is has saved them time, it’s helpful in organizing and delivering education, and it integrates with the other Google apps. Users also noted that the interface is not as intuitive as other platforms and there are sometimes inconsistencies between classrooms and when integrating forms as quizzes. However, for a church really interested in moving their education online without eating into the budget, Google Classroom could be a good (free) option.
#2 – Kajabi
Kajabi is a complete LMS and marketing platform that integrates online learning with website hosting and email marketing. This option may be overkill for some churches, but the platform is extremely flexible for creating online learning tailored to your specific needs.
For $119/month you can build and host your website, create quizzes and assessments, create a learning portal and much more. Kajabi received a 4.4/5 from Capterra. Users tend to agree that Kajabi is everything under one roof. However, sometimes a jack of all trades is master of none.
#3 – LearnDash
If you are looking for a Learning Management System but want to keep costs down and you have some web know how, then LearnDash might be a good fit. LearnDash is a WordPress plugin that costs $299/year. By integrating LearnDash into a WordPress site, you can avoid monthly subscription fees of the software LMS options.
LearnDash received a 4.6/5 on Capterra with most people finding it easy to use with plenty of features. The main drawback was the design and user interface. With a good understanding of WordPress and web code you could adjust the style, but it’s not necessary. You can take LearnDash for a spin on their website and look through the free live demos.
#4 – RightNow Media
Another church focused system that is part content library and part LMS is RightNow Media. This hybrid system is not quite an LMS but could still be extremely valuable for training church volunteers and staff. Right Now Media does offer the ability to build customized training that include videos, questions, and notifications about completed training. However, it is not considered an official Learning Management System, because it doesn’t offer training metrics like scoring, measuring, or reporting capabilities.
Right Now Media offers monthly subscription plans from $79/mo all the way up to $1299/mo depending on your congregation size. So, if you are looking for high-quality content but don’t need quizzes and tracking, then this option might be right for you.
#5 – TrainedUp by ServeHQ
If you are looking for a church specific resource, then TrainedUp by ServeHQ could be for you. Serve HQ is an LMS built for churches to train volunteers and equip leaders. ServeHQ has hundreds of training videos available to use in their library, plus you can add your own, custom content. They offer training automation and even have an additional feature called HuddleUp that allows you to send emails and text messages to large groups.
The unlimited plan starts at $126/month but if you are only training smaller groups the 50 person plan is $41/month.
#6 – Teachable
Teachable is a self-contained online platform that allows you to create courses, quizzes and more. It has a simple, clean interface and is pretty simple to use. You can set up classes, have unlimited users on some plans, keep track of your user’s progress and it’s great for video content.
Teachable has a 4.6/5 on Capterra, a comprehensive software review site. Users agree that it is straightforward to set up, looks great and is easy to use. Some users have noted that it can sometimes be time-intensive to set up courses if you have a lot of content. Right now App Sumo is offering the TeachableU course for free. You can learn how to create courses and better tailor your courses for successful learning.
Teachable plans are monthly or yearly and are $29 and $79 when you choose annual billing. They also have a $399 plan which is geared toward high volume business customers.
Coordinating your church teaching and training into one platform can give your church the power to grow your membership, expand your church education, increase your volunteers, and make your leader training more efficient, enjoyable, and less resource-dependent.
The days of everyone gathering in a basement classroom are over; the age of curling up in a recliner in the evening with a cup of tea and watching classes on your phone is here. So, church leaders, let go of control and let’s teach people how they want to learn.