Learning Management Systems (LMS) have been an integral to corporate training in organizations ever since they debuted in the 1990’s. However, with the introduction of the Learning Experience Platform (LXP), it seems that the corporate learning industry is now set for another massive shift. While the LXPs are relatively new entrants in the market, according to a report by Deloitte, they already had a market of $350M and are projected to reach $700M by early 2020.
To explain the capabilities of a Learning Experience Platform (LXP), think about the type of content you engage within your daily life. For instance, you log into your Netflix account and are presented with a range of options, personalized to your taste, on the basis of your viewing activities and history. The content is curated based on your interests and so you just need to browse through the relevant categories and find something suitable to watch.
Now, apply the same logic to a learning and development context. You log into the learning system and find the most relevant content, tailored to your learning needs in just a few clicks – blogs, articles, presentations, videos, webinars, podcasts, and more. Such a learning system is experience-based and puts you in control of your learning journey. This ability to curate content and deliver a user-led experience is what sets a learning experience platform apart from a learning management system.
So, has the learning experience platform brought down the curtains for the traditional LMS? Not necessarily, both have their own benefits and the audience. So, what should organizations do – choose the LMS or LXP for their training requirements?
In this blog post, we define an LMS and LXP and provide information that will help you navigate through their similarities and differences so that you can choose the one that best meets your business requirements.
What is a learning management system?
A learning management system is a software that is programmed to create, administer, track, report, document and deliver training. Ideally, an LMS has the following features:
- It is cloud-hosted so that all training materials can be stored in a centralized repository.
- It can store progress and performance records of all participating individuals to allow course delivery managers to evaluate their performance.
- It allows admins to personalize training to meet both organizational and employee needs.
- It has in-built authoring tools to create or update courses or tools for third-party integrations.
- It also includes reporting and tracking tools to provide insights into the course.
What is a learning experience platform?
A learning experience platform is, in a way, an extension of an LMS that includes all features of an LMS but with added capabilities to deliver personalized training experiences to employees. An LXP generally includes the following features and tools:
- It incorporates content authoring tools that can be used to create a wide range of niche solutions.
- It has tools to create, manage and track learning experiences.
- Since it aims at providing more personalized training experiences, it ensures improved employee engagement, retention and performance.
- It is an open system that can accommodate external resources.
- Employees can contribute their own content.
- It offers adaptive learning paths.
- There is space for collaborative learning, coaching and mentoring.
Now that we have defined an LMS and LXP, let us look at some of the differences and similarities between them.
Similarities between an LMS and LXP
From the definitions above, it becomes clear that there are several similarities between an LMS and LXP. Both provide content authoring tools, have collaborative features and tools that allow both trainees and trainers gain real-time feedback of the course. Besides, they also provide reporting and tracking tools to evaluate the effectiveness of a training program. The content is hosted on the cloud and learners with authorized credentials can log in to the LMS or LXP and take their training from remote locations and on the device of their choice.
Differences between a learning management system and a learning experience platform
1. Theoretical Learning Vs. Performance Support
If your corporate training goal is to teach your employees some theoretical concepts or perform simple procedures, for instance, how to file an expense-related report, an LMS would be an ideal solution. However, if you wish to train them for crucial on-the-job activities, such that they can apply their learnings to real-time scenarios, a learning experience platform would be a better option. As the name suggests, LXP-based training is more of a hands-on experience. It includes interactive features such as personalized assignments, quizzes, and activities. All such activities allow the learners to self-reflect and analyze while they are learning a critical concept. Since they learn by doing, they are more likely to remember the learning and apply it on the job.
2. Self-Paced Vs. Instructor-Led Learning
An LMS is best suited for self-paced learning initiatives, or in other words, activities that learners can start and finish at their own pace. Examples of such activities include compliance training, onboarding training and other such mandatory programs. These training programs are more or less standard in nature and do not require customization. Companies just need to document these materials and then ask the employees to complete them at their own time and pace, within a specified timeline. A learning experience platform, on the other hand, is better suited for more complex and business-critical training programs such as performance support and leadership training. This type of training is usually led by an instructor and focuses on more complex concepts compared to general training programs.
3. Individual Vs. Social Learning
An LMS is more suited for individual learning or learning that does not require peer support to be successful. For example, the learners just have to go through the course modules or watch a few videos to successfully complete a mandatory training course. However, complex learning programs require more interaction with peers, thought leaders, industry experts, and training facilitators, and that is where learning experience platforms come in handy.
How to Choose the Right LMS for Your Business
Though a relatively new concept, a learning experience platform is a fast-growing trend in the learning and development landscape. It builds on the foundation of a traditional LMS, and therefore, includes all the features that an LMS has to offer; however, it adds many new capabilities that make learning a more personalized experience. One of the greatest capabilities of an LXP is that it can aggregate and curate content and create personalized learning/career pathways for the learners. In fact, the growing popularity of the LXP is largely due to its ability to engage employees who are dissatisfied with the traditional administrator driven LMS. An LXP also facilitates knowledge-sharing and collaboration outside the formal settings.
So, can the LXP replace the LMS?
Not that fast. While both LXP and LMS share some common features and functionalities, the focus of an LMS is upon learning management while an LXP is more about putting the learner first. The question then is which one to choose – an LMS or LXP? That will depend on your training goals – for formal training, an LMS would be ideal, but for more complex and individualized employee training, an LXP would deliver better results.
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