Thrive Apprentice vs LearnDash 

 Updated: February 21, 2024

thrive apprentice vs learndash

What Are Thrive Apprentice And LearnDash?

Thrive Apprentice and LearnDash are both WordPress LMS plugins that you can buy separately to enable online course building on your site.

They are some of the most popular tools in the industry and have both helped thousands of creators create and sell programs on their site.

If you’re running a WordPress site and would like to start selling online courses, downloadables, memberships or bundles you might be coming across these two platforms.

And understanding the difference between them might be confusing so that’s what we’re breaking down for you today.

Note here that Thrive Apprentice is part of the Thrive Themes, which can be bought separately but usually goes well together.

Starting with a quick overview of their respective main features:

Thrive Apprentice

  • Build Templates for your courses pages: dashboard, lessons,etc.
  • Drag & Drop course and membership builder
  • 3 Native cart integration: Woocommerce, SendOwl, ThriveCart
  • Freemium Offers
  • Create Bundles
  • Advanced Drip features


  • Curriculum builder
  • Advanced learning tools: assessments, quizzes
  • Checkout integration with Paypal/Stripe
  • Community feature
  • Licensing capabilities

Pricing - Thrive Apprentice VS LearnDash

First, let’s look at the comparative price of these LMS plugins.

Both are purchased via licenses that are paid on a yearly basis.

Note that only Thrive Apprentice has a 30 days money-back guarantee. LearnDash offers no such things but can be tested on a demo site.

That being said let’s look at the pricing plans available:

  • Thrive Apprentice Pricing

  • LearnDash Pricing

Thrive Apprentice is indeed cheaper than LearnDash which is a plus but should of course be looked at in terms of its feature to cost.

Both plugins are very straightforward in terms of their pricing and can be bought 1 license at a time or at a bulk discount.

Most people will only use it for 1 site.

Feature - Thrive Apprentice VS LearnDash

We’ll look at 3 major features of these two WordPress LMS and compare them together to help you make the best decision:

Online Course Feature

This is of course probably the most important aspect of these tools, as the way in which they allow you to build an online course is the main need of its users.

Both plugins have a whole separate section once installed in your WordPress site where you’ll be able to manage your courses:

LearnDash Back-end

One small difference here is that LearnDash’s design of that section is simply using WordPress back-end style while Thrive Apprentice is a lot more user friendly.

The way you create Lessons is also more user friendly and customizable in Thrive Apprentice.

You can drag and drop from a number blocks into each specific Lessons, allowing you a lot of creative leeway:

thrive apprentice builder 2024

Thrive Apprentice Builder

On the other hand, LearnDash course builder is mostly using WordPress default block builder which can be limiting.

learndash building your course

LearnDash Course Builder

That being said, both platforms have relatively similar learning tools features with the ability to create Quizzes, Assessments and Exams.

LearnDash is a little more extensive here with more types of learning tools and also a certificate builder (although that's also possible in Thrive Apprentice)

learndash learning tools

LearnDash Learning Tools

LearnDash also has premium Add-ons that can be purchased to enhance these learning features.

One last thing to note is that Thrive Apprentice does make it easier to protect your files from being downloaded with a dedicated setting for it.

Payment & Checkout

Both plugins give you easy ways to sell your programs through a checkout and grant proper access to the user.

While LearnDash offers a native checkout feature that connects to either Stripe, Paypal or Razorpay.

Thrive Apprentice works a bit differently.

There is no native payment system and you will have to integrate it with SendOwl, ThriveCart and WooCommerce.

Thrive Apprentice Woocommerce

Although this does mean you’ll have to include one more step in your process, note that WooCommerce is free and widely used on WordPress.

As far as the on-boarding process and experience, both tools offer a range of transactional emails such for new account creation, Purchase success and others.

learndash transaction emails

LearnDash Transaction Emails

Of course this isn’t meant to be used for marketing purposes.

LearnDash checkout pages are limited in design but again it may still be worth it for you if you don’t want to have to integrate another checkout platform like you have to with Thrive Apprentice.

Student Management & Analytics

Once students are enrolled and going through your programs, an important part of your on-going optimization will be to manage their progress.

In LearnDash the way you would start here might be to create Groups to manage cohorts of students.

LearnDash Groups

There you’ll be able to determine which courses this group gets access to as well as to assign a group leader.

As far as tracking student progress, that’s something a little lackluster in Learndash with only a very bare CSV export of User Course Data and Quiz Data.

learndash student export

LearnDash Student Export

On the other hand, Thrive Apprentice allows for advanced Drip features to handle cohorts and groups within a course.

You schedule out content depending on a range of variables:

Thrive Apprentice Drip

This makes managing different programs and marketing campaigns easier too.

On top of that you will have access to a much more in-depth report tab for tracking student progress.

Anything from Lesson completion, progress and drop off rate, top members (by activity).

Thrive Apprentice Student Report

This does put Thrive Apprentice above head and shoulder of LearnDash in that category, although you might be able to mitigate this difference with some premium addons.

Thrive Apprentice VS LearnDash: The Bottom Line

 Apprentice would be a better choice if

  • You’re already using other Thrive Themes tools
  • You want to be able to customize and design each lesson in depth
  • You need extensive student reports

LearnDash would be a better choice if

  • You prefer a simple WordPress interface
  • You prefer to have a native checkout system
  • You plan on licensing your course

Joey Mazars

Online Course Platform Expert

Hi, there! I've literally spent thousands of hours helping clients build their online courses on these platforms through my marketing services.

I've become obsessed with helping them find the right fit for their needs and decided to guide other creators through their decision process with these detailed reviews.

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