Imagine you’re searching for something on Google. You click the first result, expecting to find out what you were looking for in the next few seconds. However, the web page doesn’t load for quite a few minutes. The tiny wheel in the tab of your browser bar keeps going round and round, but the page still doesn’t load completely.
What would you do in such a situation? (And no, throwing something at the wall in frustration is not an option.) Will you keep sitting idle, waiting for the page to load? Or will you go back to the search results and open the next link on page.
Obviously, you’ll do the latter. Now imagine how your students would feel if they had to experience this every single time they were trying to take a lesson.
In a world of distractions, keeping your students focused is already a hard task. Don’t make it harder with a slow LMS website.
Page load speed is not something that you can take for granted. And it’s even more important for eLearning sites because your business relies on the interaction of your learners.
Now, if you want to ensure that your LearnDash site loads quickly, which theme you choose is going to play a major role. Which is why we will be discussing the best LearnDash-compatible WordPress themes that have great page load speeds in this article.
But before that, if you still aren’t convinced why you need a fast-loading theme, here’s a quick look at some of its advantages.
Advantages of Fast Loading Themes
A fast-loading theme is not a luxury anymore – it’s a necessity if you want to attract visitors, keep them and convert them.
Here are some of the major advantages of fast loading themes:
- Better search engine rankings: Google uses page load time as an important ranking factor in its algorithms. This is nothing new, it has been doing so for a long time now. Ergo, if your web pages load quickly, you’ll have a better chance of ranking higher in the search results, thus attracting more visitors and potential students to your courses. This is especially important for independent instructors who do not have a dedicated audience, unlike schools and colleges, and need better visibility for reaching a wider audience.
- More visitors and lower bounce rate: The loading speed of a website also plays a major part in determining its bounce rate. If a site is slow and sluggish, visitors bounce right off to other websites, which massively limits your conversions and hurts your website SEO (as bounce rate is another ranking signal in Google’s algorithms). A fast-loading theme can save you from this trouble.
- Improved student participation and engagement: When your courses and lessons and quizzes load quickly, your students will be able to spend more time learning instead of watching your cool page load icons, which will increase their engagement and participation. It also saves the time wasted between lessons, which might seem less individually but accrues up to a substantial amount.
These are only a few of the many benefits of fast-loading themes. Now let’s take a look at some of the fastest and best LearnDash themes currently on the market.
Top 7 LearnDash Themes Based on PageSpeed Testing Tools
In addition to choosing LearnDash plugins to extend the functionality of your site, finding the right LearnDash theme to style your site that also loads quickly can be a tedious process. However, we have simplified it for you.
To see how the best LearnDash themes ranked in terms of page load speed, we conducted a speed test.
Here are the tech details.
Server configuration: Memory: 1GB, Processing: 1vCPU, Storage: 40GB SSD, PHP 7.2 (specifically php7.2-fpm with nginx)
Installed plugins: bbPress, BuddyPress, Elementor, LearnDash, LearnDash Course Grid, Unyson and WooCommerce
Tool Used for Testing: Google Pagespeed Insights.
Based on the results from that test, we have shortlisted the top 5 themes here.
The theme that tops our list is the recently updated version of eLumine, with a Page Speed score of 74.
Developed by WisdmLabs, this theme looks elegant while maintaining the simplicity of good design. It has a neat grid layout, which arranges your courses on the Courses page in a streamlined manner. It also has swift-loading layouts with Focus mode and a conversion-optimized Course Buy Page.
One of the main advantages of eLumine is that it comes with ready-to-use demo websites, which can be imported quickly and easily. This saves you a world of trouble, as you don’t need to create your entire site from scratch. Plus, eLumine offers great customer support, which ensures that you don’t get stuck while setting up your website.
As you may guess from its name, this is another theme developed for the purpose of e-Learning websites and educational institutions. Therefore, it has got many learning related features along with support for LearnDash and support for WooCommerce too.
It also comes with many pre-built starter sites, which you can use to set up your own e-Learning website. It has a page builder with solid customization capabilities, and with a PageSpeed score of 54, it’s also among some of the fastest loading LearnDash themes in the market.
Astra is one of the most-loved LearnDash themes in the market. In fact, it’s one of the most popular themes in the WordPress ecosystem, and fortunately it works well with LearnDash too. An e-Learning site set up with this theme gave us the PageSpeed score of 53, which clocks in third, very close after University.
And just in case you don’t know, Astra is not just a regular theme. It’s built around the very popular Elementor Page Builder. Which means that you can create completely customized course pages with it as per your choice. However, this flexibility comes with a learning curve
LearnMate for LearnDash is a responsive theme for course makers with a stunning design. It was created specifically for LearnDash and works quite well with the plugin. With a little work, you can also construct membership websites to help students form communities.
It contains over 40 pre-built demo websites that can all be downloaded with a single click. You can quickly construct and monetize membership sites with BuddyPress and BuddyBoss platform integration. Cohort-based online education is the standard nowadays, and this feature makes managing students much easier.
Gamipress can also be used to gamify your eLearning courses. This helps to improve your community’s engagement and the overall learning experience.
5. BuddyBoss Theme for LearnDash
Developed by the team of BuddyPress, the BuddyBoss theme for LearnDash is not a multi-purpose theme but a theme developed specifically for integration with LearnDash, just like eLumine.
It has got many features that can make the learning experience of your students just amazing, like Lesson Timers, drip-feeding of content, user reports and solid customizer capabilities to help you customize your site as much as you want to.
As far as loading speed is concerned, it returns a PageSpeed score of 47, which makes it a relatively slow theme in this crowd.
6. Social Learner
Social Learner is another BuddyBoss theme and happens to be one of the best themes created for LearnDash. It has a great interface, integrates flawlessly with LearnDash and all its add-ons and has an extensive Admin Panel to control all activities of your elearning ecosystem. While we weren’t able to clock an actual pagespeed for this specific theme, it’s sure to be the same or close to the original BuddyBoss theme.
True to its name, Social Learner adds a social cognizance to your website, making it interactive and easily shareable for your learners. This has the added advantage of automatically increasing your social network, thereby improving your market reach to the target audience.
7. Invent – Education Course College WordPress Theme
Invent is a theme by LiveMesh made after an in-depth study of the various functionalities required by schools, colleges, and universities. It has over 30 in-built page building elements, shortcodes for quick customization, and multiple color schemes. While at first glance the pagespeed score is low, that’s only because the sample demo for the theme utilizes as many modules on the homepage as possible to show off the theme’s features. This is way more than an actual website would realistically use, so you can expect real life pagepeed to be higher. So if a basic e-learning theme without all the bells and whistles is what you are looking for, Invent can be a good option.
Note: These themes were tested on the server configuration mentioned above, with only the commonly-used LearnDash plugins installed. The loading speed and the score of your website may vary depending on the number and nature of plugins you’ve installed.
These were the top 7 fastest-loading LearnDash themes, based on our assessment.
While speed is not the only factor that should decide which theme you want to buy, it is nevertheless an important one. You can compare these themes further on the basis of user friendliness or their features, to get an idea of which suits your requirements best.
But in the meantime, feel free to try their demos and get an idea of which one you can work with. And once you’ve found it, don’t forget to share your thoughts and feedback below!