Do you remember the first time you used Netflix?
The excitement you felt accessing a whole library of content all at once. The power you felt choosing a movie you actually wanted to see. The comfort and convenience of having personalized content recommendations at your fingertips instead of those long walks to Blockbuster (whoops – did I just give away my age?)
Now imagine taking the same approach to your organization’s eLearning program.
Cue the Learning Experience Platform (LXP).
An LXP (or Learning Experience Platform) is user-centered software designed much like our favorite streaming service. It features a robust library that can accommodate both company courses and a wide array of 3rd-party content (think blog articles, PDF documents, videos, and podcasts).
With an LXP, your employees will always have access to the kind of training content that interests them. Typically, learners can interact with their training in the way that best suits them – long-form courses, video courses, interactive content, and quizzes/assessments. They can even build a learning path to reach a training goal they want to achieve. Then, with a little help (okay, a lot of help) from AI technology (artificial intelligence), they’re provided with personalized recommendations that match their unique learning needs.
Sounds incredible, I know. Your employees can choose what they learn, when they learn, and how they learn.
The goal of an LXP is to engage your employees by deploying training as part of a highly customizable and interactive user experience. LXPs can also include social components, like badges, leaderboards, comment sections, and user profiles, to foster team collaboration and participation.
Now here’s where things get really interesting.
While the LXP represents the latest evolution of training technology, its long-time precursor, the Learning Management System (LMS), continues to maintain a strong presence and reputation in the corporate workplace.
Fun Fact: The first Learning Management System was developed in 1924, meaning modern LMSs are rooted in almost 100 years of history.
The fundamental difference between the two platforms lies in who’s in the driver’s seat.
An LMS is designed for companies to deliver corporate learning content to their employees. LMS software is geared towards catalog management for employee onboarding, development, and compliance training purposes and is highly useful for training administrators and managers to organize, assign, and track important training content. Typically, the LMS administrator has complete control over the training content and decides who starts which learning plan. Then, it’s up to the learner to follow a specific path through the content.
An LXP, on the other hand, requires a lot more user involvement. Because an LXP is an experience-driven platform, its content library focuses less on mandatory training and more on the user's needs. There is no specific path or plan a learner needs to take inside the learning portal. Instead, employees can navigate a variety of media content based on their interests. Ultimately, an LXP allows your learners to tailor their experiences, giving you meaningful clues about their career interests skill development insights.
On paper, the LXP seems like it could tick all your organization’s training check boxes. It’s autonomous, it’s easy to use, and it’s the “training system of the future.” Who wouldn’t want that?
But suddenly… that little voice in your head says: Is the LXP really the best learning platform for my business?
Spotify’s Global Head of Learning & Development, Johanna Bolin Tingvall, said, “We're getting older as human beings, and the lifetime of companies is getting shorter, which puts a responsibility on all of us to upskill and reskill more often.” But part of upskilling and reskilling is identifying your business goals and determining which educational tool will most effectively achieve them. In some cases, an LXP may align directly with your organization’s learning objectives. But in other situations, you may find that a Learning Management System (LMS) is a better fit.
To help illustrate situations where an LMS may be better suited to deliver training over an LXP (and vice versa), we’ll walk through a couple of scenarios any training manager will surely relate to.
Take this one, for instance:
An LMS would be better suited for this workplace because its top-down, management-directed approach allows the training administrator to ensure that every employee gets the same learning material, takes their assessment, and completes their training by the assigned due date.
By now, I probably don’t have to tell you I love a good scenario. So, here’s another one for you:
While an LMS is definitely well-suited for a more structured learning environment, an AI-driven LXP will recommend relevant blog posts, articles, documents, and videos to help your employees develop the skills they’re most interested in learning organically or at their own pace.
Okay, so the choice between the LMS and LXP is pretty clear in these situations. But we all know that real life is a lot more nuanced than that. So what happens when you want to give your employees the exciting and convenient user experience of an LXP but also make sure they actually complete their mandatory training on time? How do you decide between one or the other?
The good news is neither the LXP nor LMS platform is exclusive to either form of training delivery. In fact, due to competitiveness in the learning and development software industry, you might find a learning system that is a blend of both worlds.
Take the SmarterU LMS, for instance. It follows your traditional LMS's architectural structure – management-administered content and activity tracking. But it also includes some LXP elements like mobile apps for on-the-go training, gamification elements, and customizable learning plans.
The overlap of features provides you with more flexibility and freedom when it comes to choosing your learning platform – which means employees can enjoy the training components they really want without compromising your training priorities. Talk about a win-win!
Now let’s just say, after reading this article, you’re thinking, “I’m 100% set on an LXP.”
In this case, you don’t necessarily have to worry about compromising your training priorities since your employees’ experiences will be self-directed. But a few features are a must to ensure your team gets the most out of your Learning Experience Platform. These include:
Your employees will spend a lot of time interacting with your LXP’s content library. When selecting LXP software, pay special attention to how familiar the user interface feels. Having your LXP’s user experience mimic other common software your learners already use (i.e., Netflix, Duolingo, etc.) can go a long way in helping with widespread adoption. And, of course, it should be visually appealing and easy for your less tech-savvy employees to navigate.
Creating all your training content from scratch can be expensive, time-consuming, and just plain exhausting. But UGC provides easy access to topics your employees actually care about. It opens your workforce up to a world of new learning opportunities and can help form the bridge for increased mentorship and peer-to-peer learning.
The premise of an LXP is that it becomes the foundation of your eLearning ecosystem that is constantly expanding. That means it has to be simple and easy for content to be created and populated within the LXP system. At the very minimum, your LXP should:
What’s the easiest way to show visible ROI (Return On Investment)? Two words: Learning Analytics. When choosing your LXP, make sure it has powerful reporting functionality that gives insight into learner behavior, content and platform performance, and learner engagement. The learning analytics data your LXP provides will not only help inform and improve your training strategies, but it will come in handy when your C-suite team asks for measurable results!
I mean, since we’re already “shopping,” here are some additional features you may also want your LXP to have.
We’ve already looked at how an LXP can positively affect an employee’s personal growth. But here’s how you can apply your LXP software to help your organization with some common training scenarios.
A Glassdoor report shows that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. Thanks to its curated library and self-directed structure, an LXP allows new employees to go through the orientation and training material at their own pace. Help your new hires by reducing stress, encouraging more active participation, and giving them a clearer understanding of their role.
To effectively develop your employees' skills (both new and existing), there are questions you first need to address. They are:
An LXP can help answer some of these questions. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities allow this platform to categorize and recommend personalized content to the user.
An LXP encourages collaboration and knowledge-sharing by enabling employees to publish, share, and discuss learning content they find helpful. Its architecture also supports more data-driven learning, which you can better leverage more informed policy-making and visible ROI to your C-Suite and leadership team.
With the LXPs flexibility and easy adaptability into existing corporate structures, some have even dubbed the LXP as “the more advanced, data-savvy and flexible version of the traditional LMS”...
Not so fast. If you’re anything like me, it’s extremely easy to get caught up in the digital wave.
I’m literally STILL kicking myself for upgrading to the iPhone 14 when my iPhone XR is currently sitting in its box in pristine condition…
But you don’t have to worry if you forgo the LXP and choose to work with an LMS vendor instead. In fact, 70% of US businesses made the exact same decision.
Because your choice of an eLearning platform is entirely dependent on your organizational needs.
Nearly half of company leaders admit they don’t have a prioritized learning plan. But identifying and gathering this kind of data goes hand-in-hand with choosing the right kind of system for your organization.
Choose the right kind of eLearning system for you…
I know, I know – I wish I could tell you one learning platform is “better” than the other. But when it comes to LXP versus LMS, there’s just no one-size-fits-all answer.
Think of it like this. Some people can’t imagine not having access to thousands of movies from the comfort of their living rooms. But there are others who reminisce with fondness on the times they excitedly ran to Blockbuster to rent a movie on Friday night!
You can look at the LMS and LXP the exact same way.
Some companies prefer the order and structure of an LMS because it allows them to more effectively meet their strategic goals, while others put more emphasis on empowering learners and need the freedom, flexibility, and technological capabilities that the LXP provides.
At the end of the day, it’s not about which eLearning platform is better. It’s about which one is better for you and your team.
Of course... if you’re still not settled on which learning system is right for your business, you can always dig into our Learning Hub for a closer look at online training platforms you can use to achieve your training outcome targets.