In today’s rapidly evolving work landscape, the need for continuous learning has become paramount. Traditional Learning Management Systems (LMS) have been the cornerstone of corporate learning since the 1990s. I remember my first big LMS project was in 1998 when they were still cutting-edge technology. A little less than a decade ago, a new option appeared – Learning Experience Platforms (LXP). The LXP market has quickly exploded. Many companies have migrated from an LMS to an LXP to completely change how they approach and encourage continuous learning. Is it time for you to consider moving to an LXP? Let’s explore some differences.
How does the purpose of an LXP differ from an LMS?
A Learning Management System (LMS) is a more formal system. It focuses on managing and delivering structured content. Tracking and management are some of the major reasons to have an LMS. These systems are often used to assign mandatory training. Learning paths are often very linear in nature. These systems are very effective for those activities but often seem rigid and inflexible to the learner.
A Learning Experience Platform (LXP) is designed to create a more flexible and personal learning experience. The LXP is a less linear approach designed to be more learner centric. The LXP encourages informal and self-directed learning. It is geared toward creating a more dynamic and engaging learning experience for each individual learner.
Why would you choose an LXP over an LMS?
- An LXP has a focus on Informal Learning:
LXPs are designed to support informal learning. This allows users to access a variety of content, such as videos, articles, and social learning experiences. They facilitate learning that happens organically rather than through structured courses, which is more common in traditional LMSs.
- An LXP has a User-Centric Design:
Like popular content platforms such as YouTube, LXPs often have a more user-centric and consumer-grade interface. This design approach can enhance user engagement and make learning more enjoyable and accessible for individuals.
- Content Curation and Discovery:
LXPs typically offer robust content curation features. This allows users to discover relevant and timely content easily. They often leverage AI and machine learning algorithms to recommend content based on user preferences, roles, and learning history.
- LXPs offer Adaptability and Personalization:
LXPs are known for their adaptability and personalization features. They can tailor learning experiences based on individual preferences, learning styles, and skill gaps. This personalization contributes to a more effective and engaging learning process.
- LXPs offer Social and Collaborative Learning:
LXPs often emphasize social and collaborative learning experiences. They include features such as discussion forums, social feeds, and collaboration tools, fostering a sense of community and enabling learners to interact and share knowledge with each other.
- LXPs Integrate Easily with External Content:
LXPs are designed to integrate seamlessly with a variety of external content sources, including third-party courses, videos, articles, and other resources. This flexibility allows organizations to leverage a wide range of content to meet their learning objectives.
- Continuous Learning and Skill Development:
LXPs support the idea of continuous learning and skill development. They focus on helping employees acquire and develop skills over time rather than just completing a set of courses. This aligns with the evolving nature of skills in the modern workplace.
- LXPs are Agile and Responsive to Change:
LXPs are often seen as more agile and responsive to changes in the learning landscape. They can adapt quickly to new learning trends, technologies, and methodologies, ensuring that organizations stay ahead in the rapidly evolving world of learning and development.
- LXPs offer Analytics for Learning Impact:
LXPs typically offer advanced analytics and reporting tools that provide insights into the effectiveness of learning initiatives. This helps organizations measure the impact of learning programs on employee performance and business outcomes.
- An LXP has a focus on Informal Learning:
These features sound perfect for many organizations, particularly those wanting to encourage Generation Z employees to join. But for many organizations, an LMS is still a better fit.
Why would your organization choose to stay with an LMS?
- Regulatory Compliance:
An LMS may be preferred if regulatory compliance and tracking are critical for the organization. LMSs often have robust features for tracking and reporting compliance training, ensuring that employees complete mandatory courses and certifications.
- Formal Training and Certification:
When the company primarily requires formal training programs, certifications, and a structured curriculum, an LMS is well-suited. LMSs excel at managing and delivering traditional e-learning courses.
- Skill and Competency Management:
If the focus is on tracking and developing specific skills and competencies, LMSs typically offer detailed tracking features, allowing organizations to align training with specific skill sets required for different roles.
- Centralized Training Control:
Companies that require centralized control over training content, schedules, and user access may choose to stay with an LMS for its more centralized and administratively focused features.
- Legacy Systems Integration:
If your organization has existing legacy systems tied to your LMS, you may need to stay with it for compatibility and integration.
Although an LMS plays a crucial role in organized training, LXPs take the lead in promoting ongoing learning through their focus on adaptability, customization, and involvement. Fortunately, there’s no need for learning leaders to make an exclusive choice between the two. Presently, there are platforms available that combine the strengths of both systems. With the workplace environment constantly changing, it’s imperative for leaders to consistently evaluate what serves the best interests of their existing learners and the prospective employees they aim to bring in.