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Thrive Apprentice Review 2021: Build Beautiful Courses On WordPress

Thrive Apprentice Review

By John | Last Updated on 06/03/2021

Are you looking to start offering online courses on your website? Courses can be a great way to sell valuable information from your site, and are a fantastic way to generate leads if you are just beginning.

The problem has always been, which tool to use to host and offer your courses?

In this review, I'll walk through an up and comer in this scene, Thrive Apprentice, and go through some of the newest features that they are launching which makes them a serious contender in the space. Let's begin!


Thrive Apprentice Summary

Ease of Use - 90%
Functionality - 60%
Value - 100%
Reliability - 78%
Support - 75%
Overall - 80%

Thrive Apprentice - The Easiest (and best looking) Online Course Platform for WordPress

If you want to get up and running quickly with online courses on your WordPress site, there's no easier option than Thrive Apprentice. It isn't the most feature-packed option, but it will serve 80% of the community with the best looking interface around!

Thrive Apprentice 2019 Video Review

Video Transcript

Thrive Apprentice Pros

  • Beautiful Course Index design with filters and search capabilities. Looks very modern
  • Extremely easy to build a new course from scratch
  • Build your courses with Thrive Architect - All the customization you could want
  • Drag and drop back end builder (UPDATE: Now includes Modules, Chapters, and Lessons!)
  • Build unlimited courses
  • Simple to use - not as complicated or bloated as a Learndash
  • Can quickly sign up a user for your courses with Thrive Leads integration
  • Can accept payments and protect your courses without a single membership plugin with their new SendOwl integration!
  • SendOwl also has some great features like an affiliate program and upsells / downsells / abandoned cart built in - great choice by Thrive

Thrive Apprentice Cons

  • SendOwl integration is extremely promising, but it is still early in development and needs a bit more refinement.
  • Unable to drip courses

What is Thrive Apprentice?

Thrive Apprentice is the in-house learning management solution (LMS) that Thrive Themes has created.

An LMS occupies a small niche in the digital marketing space. It's not exactly a membership plugin (it doesn't lock down access to content), and it's not exactly an e-Commerce solution.

It is specifically designed to make the creation and consumption of online courses easier. So it builds the structure of your course page, lesson pages, tracking student completion, etc much more beautiful and practical for your users.

That being said, you will still need some way of collecting payment if you want to offer premium courses, and you'll need a method to control access if you want to create "tiers" or "products" within your learning platform.

That is where other tools come in, and where you have to be careful to keep your set up as simple as possible!

Thrive Apprentice Features

Thrive Apprentice is a beautifully simple LMS. And while simple is sometimes thought of as a negative, it shouldn't be!

You see, platforms like LearnDash through in a ton of features like essay submission forms, intense interactive quizzes, and other features to satisfy their huge corporate or university clients.

But online entrepreneurs or small business people? We don't need any of that! We simply need a simple and effective way of communicating valuable information and keeping the learning experience feeling premium for our customers.

Thrive Apprentice seems to keep that intent their priority. They strip out most of the "stuff" that bigger platforms include, and they focus on making an easy-to-use and beautiful learning experience.

Protecting your online courses with Thrive Apprentice

Thrive Apprentice allows you to protect your course access in a few different ways:

1) Force visitors to sign up for a free account to access content. This is a great method for using your online courses as high-value opt in forms. What's great is you can directly add users via a Thrive Leads form, and have them redirect straight to your online course library once they sign up!

2) Integrate Thrive Apprentice with a membership plugin. Thrive Apprentice integrates with Wishlist Member, Memberpress, S2Member, and Membermouse directly, but also has an extremely fancy integration with...

3) Directly protect your content with it's deep Sendowl Integration. There will be more about this feature further in the post - but it is a very elegant integration that eliminates the need for membership platforms at all!

If you use a membership platform like WooCommerce memberships, you will see the list above as a bit lacking. But Thrive has launched a great webinar where they discuss the many benefits of choosing SendOwl as their preferred shopping cart platform and protection tool.

Thrive Apprentice & SendOwl - Complete Walkthrough

Video Transcript

The Thrive Apprentice + SendOwl integration is going to be an amazing option for many entrepreneurs who want a simple and effective way of providing high-value online courses to their audiences.

The video above will walk you through the setup and management process of creating your own courses. It's really quite simple!

In short, the steps to set up your online course with Sendowl are:

  1. Create a redirect product in SendOwl
  2. Create a course in Thrive Apprentice
  3. Configure your protection options
  4. Build out a sales page (or full sales funnel!) using Thrive Architect and SendOwl
  5. As always - test, test, test!

Thrive Apprentice Pricing

This is a pretty exciting story. Thrive Apprentice is still officially in "beta" status, meaning it's not available for sale as a standalone plugin.

One of the perks of the Thrive Themes Membership is that you get early access to their products before they go on the market. 

That is exactly the case with Thrive Apprentice - they are still building out the app, but already it is showing some serious promise as a contender in the learning management system space.

Thrive Apprentice vs the Competition

Thrive Apprentice + Sendowl
Self-Hosted solution
Video Hosting
Unlimited Lessons
Modules & Chapters
Accept payment
Upsells / Downsells
Built-in Affiliate Program
Coupons and Discounts
Free with membership
$199 - $369 per year
$399 - $4,788 per year
Learn More

Should You Use Thrive Apprentice?

At the end of the day, you need to think about what you want your learning management system to do.

Do you want a full-blown training center that you can roll out for a medium sized business, full with analytics and tracking and cohort analysis? Then Apprentice is not for you.

But if you want a simple, integrated, and beautiful system to sell online courses, ebooks, and consulting services directly from your website - Thrive Apprentice would be an incredible option for you.

Get Your Thrive Membership Today

Thrive Apprentice is currently not sold as a standalone product, and it integrates beautifully with Thrive Architect, Thrive Leads and all the other plugins offered in your Thrive Membership.

About the Author

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John Whitford is an entrepreneur who has built over 12 profitable online blogs and businesses. He's also the founder of Unbeatable Tech, a data-driven digital marketing company that specializes in sales funnel implementation for both his own businesses and clients alike. John loves to be a beach bum while brainstorming new ideas for marketing strategies, but he's always excited to take on another project!

    • Hi Bibhash,

      Between the two cart systems, Samcart is definitely more powerful (and pricy) than SendOwl. If budget is no problem, you will have more control with Samcart.

      But there is no native Samcart – Thrive Apprentice integration, so if you go that route you’ll need to add another layer of complexity and cost – a membership plugin like Memberpress…

      As life gets more complex, I appreciate simplicity more and more, so if you don’t NEED all the features of Samcart and you have decided on Thrive as your overall stack, I think SendOwl is a good choice. If you are doing thousands per month and want the most advanced features, you should consider Samcart or Thrivecart + a membership plugin. Hope this helps!

  • Hi John, does Thrive Apprentice integrate with an email auto-responder like Convert Kit and a payment platform like Thrive Cart? Thanks!

    • Hey mark – yes Apprentice (all Thrive products really) integrate with Convertkit for email marketing. Thrivecart is a payment gateway and unfortunately it doesn’t do the exact same content protection like SendOwl does.

      BUT if you add on Memberpress (one of the best membership platforms for WordPress) for like $150 bucks per year, you get many more capabilities than SendOwl 🙂 It’s a nice stack for sure, I’ll be doing a tutorial on that set up soon

  • One MAJOR gaping hole in Apprentice is that it doesn’t allow for payment or installment plans, even with the supposedly “deep” integration with SendOwl. You can only charge a single payment, which definitely is costing me sales.

    The lack of drip feeding or an intuitive password recovery tool are also problems that I’ve encountered after a few months of using it.

    Otherwise, I’ve generally enjoyed Apprentice but I consider these features to be essential so am considering moving off the platform (as much of a pain as that will be after having already built my course!).

    • I completely understand and agree with you Nate! I love the UI, the general experience of building courses, and the future possibilities of Apprentice, but I think Thrive Themes needs to be developing it a little bit quicker as the features you mention really are essential! I’ve reverted my courses back to LearnDash on this site because of it. I’ll revisit Apprentice in a few months but it just doesn’t make sense at the moment.

  • Hi, i´m in love with thrive apprentice. And as i live in germany, our most used payment provider is And i was not able to finde a membership plugin to connect TA with Digistore.

    So for all of you, who are looking for a cheaper way the connect, i used the Webhook technique. I explained it here, unfornately, it is a german blog post, so use the google translator:

    To make a long story short, i used the plugin WP Webhook Pro, to create new user in my plattform automatically. It´s a very powerfull tool.

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