WordPress LMS Plugin Comparison

Thrive Architect vs LearnDash VS LifterLMS VS Tutor LMS

Compare 4 of the top WordPress LMS plugins in 2024 and discover which is the best solution to build, protect and sell access to your online courses.

Explore and compare each LMS plugin against course creation, visual design, drip features, quizzes, completion certificates, integrations, pricing, support and more.

If you’re looking to offer online courses using WordPress, you’ll need a professional LMS plugin to help build, organize and manage access to your lessons. But with so many options available in 2024, which plugin should you choose? Use this guide to compare WordPress LMS plugins so you can make an informed choice for your online school.

We’re a bit biased of course, since we offer our own fantastic LMS plugin, but we’ve been fair and objective in our research and analysis – we believe every tool that helps you achieve your business goals is a great addition to the WordPress scene.

Which LMS plugins are we comparing? Let's meet them...

Thrive Apprentice
LearnDash
LifterLMS
Tutor LMS

Thrive Apprentice

VS

Other LMS Plugins

Course Creation Tools

LMS plugins are defined by their course creation and access restriction features. Let’s explore how each of these popular WordPress LMS plugins give you the ability to build and protect online courses and lessons to offer your students a professional learner-focused experience

01. School and Course Setup

  • Thrive Apprentice

  • LearnDash

  • LifterLMS

  • Tutor LMS

Thrive Apprentice

Thrive Apprentice includes a powerful School Setup Wizard that helps you quickly get started building an online course. It offers an easy-to-use dashboard for choosing your logo, brand colors, header, footer, lessons templates, sidebar and more.

This allows you to skip all the lengthy configuration that usually comes with setting up a new LMS plugin, safe in the knowledge your school and courses will look amazing. Of course, you can fully customize any part of your school setup later.

Building your first course is also easy... create a new course, give it a name, and start adding your lessons. You can optionally organize them into chapters and modules if you want, but it’s not essential if you have a short or very linear course syllabus.

Creating lessons is also easy... add a lesson title, choose the type of lesson (e.g. text, video, audio), add a short summary and an optional cover image. If you’re creating a video or audio lesson, you can quickly add your video or audio URL, such as YouTube, Vimeo, or Soundcloud, and Thrive Apprentice will do the rest of the work for you. Finally, it’s time to add your lesson text content and any additional learning resources your students might need.

Watch this quick video to help understand the process:

02. Access Restrictions

  • Thrive Apprentice

  • LearnDash

  • LifterLMS

  • Tutor LMS

Thrive Apprentice

Thrive Apprentice lets you control who can access your online courses (as well as other protected content... more on this soon) with flexible access rules based on a student’s status.

This means you can offer:

  • Free courses to general visitors
  • Free courses to logged in users
  • Premium courses to paying customers

And yes, you can offer free lessons within paid courses as a great way to generate sales.

If someone tries to access a course without the correct access permission, you can also choose what they see! For visitors without the correct permissions, you can:

  1. Display custom content for them
  2. Redirect them to a login or registration page
  3. Redirect them to a custom page (such as a sales page)
Even better, these access restrictions can be set at the school-level, or overridden with custom rules for each course if you need. This gives you total control over who can access your courses AND allows you to craft a compelling upsell experience to encourage new visitors to become registered users or paying customers

03. Lesson Formats & Learning Resources

  • Thrive Apprentice

  • LearnDash

  • LifterLMS

  • Tutor LMS

Thrive Apprentice

Out of the box, Thrive Apprentice offers 3 ready-to-go lesson formats: text, video and audio.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t add video to text lessons, or text to audio lessons! You can add anything to your lessons.

The pre-set text, video and audio formats simply allow you to easily use Thrive Apprentice’s professionally designed lesson templates that are specifically built to showcase their respective formats. Lessons can include text, embedded videos, audio players, quizzes, images, tables, toggles, and anything else you want.

Each lesson in Thrive Apprentice can also feature optional Lesson Resources to help support your students’ learning goals. These can be downloadable files like PDFs, links to internal content, or links to external websites for further reading. Lesson Resources are easy to modify later without directly editing the lesson content, making them quick to maintain when older resources need updating.

04. Protecting Non-Course Content (Membership Features)

  • Thrive Apprentice

  • LearnDash

  • LifterLMS

  • Tutor LMS

Thrive Apprentice

Unlike most LMS plugins, Thrive Apprentice allows you to protect and grant access to both online courses AND any other content on your website. This includes blog posts, pages, category pages, guides, premium resources, or exclusive videos.

Better yet, you can bundle and sell access to online courses and content together, allowing you to build membership sites or hybrid online course and membership site businesses. This opens up HUGE possibilities for your online business growth and revenue.

 As with courses, you can offer members-only content to registered users for free, or to paying customers. With Thrive Apprentice, you don’t have to choose between online courses or memberships... you can mix and match both to create the perfect product for your audience.