15 min read
Mar 04, 2020
Learning Management System

What Is a Learning Experience Platform and Will It Replace Your LMS?

Unsure what a learning experience platform (LXP) is? Here's everything you need to know, including what differentiates it from an LMS.

B.A.
Bandita AwasthiSpecialist Analyst

Traditional learning management systems (LMS) are falling behind. They aren't meeting the needs of new working and learning styles, and the technology is often outdated and at odds with the learning experience employees are used to outside of the workplace.

According to George Elfond, co-founder and CEO of an intelligent workforce engagement solution, some of the factors that have contributed to this trend are:

  • An increasingly distributed workforce.

  • Widespread adoption of mobile technologies.

  • A changing workforce demographic that includes millennial workers who are both accustomed to and want increased learning opportunities via digital means.

Enter the learning experience platform: new solutions that can run in tandem with your LMS to provide a revamped corporate learning experience.

Group 3@1x Created with Sketch.

What is a learning experience platform?

A learning experience platform (LXP) offers a cloud-based, personalized learning environment to promote employee skill development beyond mandatory compliance training. Such platforms allow content curation and social learning, and provide personalized recommendations and customized content channels that users can follow.

An LXP is different from a traditional LMS in many ways. Here's a quick breakdown of some key differences:

Group 3@1x Created with Sketch.

What are the key features of an LMS vs. an LXP?

Because they are driven by different goals, LXPs and LMSs offer different features. For example, while an LMS can offer both offline and online learning, an LXP can only be accessed online. Here's a breakdown of some more differences:

LMS LXP
Synchronous/asynchronous learning: Learners may receive lessons from a facilitator as a group (synchronous) or receive course material through the web (asynchronous). Social learning: Facilitates unrestricted exchange of information and community learning where users can share any content, user-generated or found on the internet.
Blended learning: LMS supports both online and offline learning and can be deployed on cloud or on-premise. Depending on business requirements, content delivery can be blended and divided between online and offline modes. Mobile learning: LXP does not offer offline learning but can be accessed through any mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet, at a time and place of the learner's convenience. LXP is usually cloud-based.
eCommerce: LMS offers courses through its online store, which learners can purchase and instantly access. It usually doesn't support adding course material from third-party websites. Third-party course library: LXP doesn't sell courses but does provide links to third-party courses. Users who click on these links are redirected to the vendor website where they can make a purchase.

While both systems have great uses and are widely utilized by organizations, you may be trying to understand if one is better than the other at promoting learning among employees.

To answer this question, we spoke to some e-learning and learning management experts to find out more about the problems with LMS, as well as how LXPs can help make people actually want to learn at work again.

Group 3@1x Created with Sketch.

Question: Are traditional LMS tools no longer suitable for the corporate learning environment and—if so—why?

George Elfond, co-founder and CEO of intelligent workforce engagement solution Rallyware:

"Traditional LMS force participation through a specific delivery mechanism in highly structured environments and learning pathways. They tend to follow the same educational track: a lengthy tutorial, followed by a quiz to test understanding."

John Findlay, co-founder of training company Launchfire:

“One of the most common complaints we hear from practitioners and business unit owners is that their LMS isn't compelling enough to get employees to take non-mandatory training. Typically HR can't change their LMS because they've committed a ton of money to a long-term deal; so business owners and practitioners are stuck trying to achieve business goals with a tool that isn't working."

Mika Kuikka, president of digital learning technology company Arcusys:

"A traditional LMS often places thousands of pieces of content in front of employees, and thus relevant content becomes difficult to find. When content is difficult to find, the employee experience is diminished, and employees show minimal engagement with content unless the content is presented as 'mandatory' or for compliance purposes."

Tara O'Sullivan, chief creative officer (CCO) at e-learning solution provider Skillsoft:

“[An] LMS brings together and tracks critical workforce tasks that HR needs to optimize the capabilities of their people and teams. They are comprised of a wide range of capabilities from talent acquisition to payroll. For [an] LMS to be successful, solutions need to connect the dots between the skills and competencies people need to be better at their jobs–delivered in the context of what they are trying to accomplish."

Group 3@1x Created with Sketch.

Q: What kind of new learning experience models are emerging (or will emerge) to replace traditional learning and LMS?

George Elfond:

“New learning models must be built with a strong understanding of the way in which modern employees learn and engage with their organizations. True learning includes active participation, not just passive compliance. Modern learners must be allowed to work at their own selected pace and with their own self-directed choice of learning modules and fun exercises. Rather than lengthy training modules that end with quizzes, training modules should be designed based on the micro-learning principles: in small, digestible informational bites that encourage engagement."

Zvi Guterman, CEO of CloudShare:

“In the future, businesses will provide all employees with a personal learning experience consisting of a mix of different training modes and formats, delivered just in time and on-demand based on their job, seniority level, background and experience. To facilitate this, expect the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) to help monitor and learn what each employee needs and where they should focus next."

Tara O'Sullivan:

“In today's busy world, learners want to find content quickly, complete a topic in less than five minutes, and come back to their course, wherever, whenever they like. We call this microlearning ... in certain subjects, you need even less time. Let's say you want to find out how to make a pivot table in Excel; you don't need five minutes, you need the right 20 seconds. This is called nano-learning, and it provides highly targeted videos that deliver training in tiny pieces of information to the recipient. The videos should be available on every device that is configured to display online training videos. This helps employees resolve skills gaps, improve performance, create career agility and cultivate leadership skills just-in-time."

Greg Rose, head of growth at learning solution provider Intellum:

“The goal is to deliver a learning experience that is engaging, and the key to engagement is personalization. When an individual learner logs into a solution that appears tailored just for her, that learner feels more connected and engaged with the content, the learning environment and the brand behind it."

Group 3@1x Created with Sketch.

Q: What makes a learner experience engaging?

Greg Rose:

“There is currently a convergence of formal and informal content, traditional and non-traditional experiences AND the professional and personal learning journeys. Learning professionals must be able to mix, match, track and report on traditional content like SCORM courses and more modern experiences like TED Talks and blog posts (sometimes referred to as micro-learning initiatives).

“Learners must be directed to required content but should be encouraged to discover new content that they actually find interesting and useful (89% of employees believe they are responsible for managing their own learning and development. There is a lot of talk right now about delivering this wide variety of content through a “Netflix-like" learning experience, where learning assets and experiences are grouped in horizontal scrolling rows that make it easier for learners to identify and engage with what they feel is important. On this point, we couldn't agree more."

Group 3@1x Created with Sketch.

Q: What is a learning experience platform and how will it help facilitate new learning models?

Mika Kuikka:

“Learning experience platforms use experience API, AI, and machine-learning to aggregate data and curate personalized content relative to the learner, wherever they may be."

John Findlay:

“Learning experience platforms allow you to have richer, more interactive content because they aren't shackled by the strict protocols most LMS use. Good platforms have deep analytics that can provide more information about individual employee learning and the overall success of [a] program. Great platforms can even help you find individual and organizational knowledge gaps."

Zvi Guterman:

“Learning experience platforms make it easy for users to discover, consume, and collaborate on training content, and let you curate a wide variety of content types from internal and external sources. It's important to keep in mind that a true learning experience platform will not be a single system that does everything—instead, you'll need to provide a collection of tools, content types, and delivery methods to your users which will most likely be delivered by cloud services that work together on behalf of the student."

Group 3@1x Created with Sketch.

Q: Where will the content come from?

Greg Rose:

“As is true in so many areas of work and life, there is no silver bullet to the content question. People now expect a more personalized, discoverable learning environment that mimics the experiences they have on their own time and with other brands. This means learning professionals are now responsible for managing the combination of modern and traditional, informal and formal, discoverable and directed learning content in a way that engages and supports their audiences. While there are fantastic content resources out there (Degreed, Lynda.com, OpenSesame, etc.), most learning professionals have realized that their diverse learning audience (multiple learning styles, generational preferences, etc.) requires a diversity of content, including informal and micro-learning initiatives."

Group 3@1x Created with Sketch.

Q: How does a learning experience platform differ from a LMS (or how are they similar)?

Zvi Guterman:

“Legacy LMS typically focused on HR needs and were built to manage compliance and formal training. A key differentiator of learning experience platforms is that they focus on providing effective administration and management tools, in addition to being able to report on the ROI of learning and training initiatives. A company can leverage LMS and learning experience platforms to provide employees, customers, and partners with the modern forms of micro and macro, and hands-on learning that they need and be able to track and manage it."

Group 3@1x Created with Sketch.

Q: What are the benefits of a learning experience platform?

John Findlay:

“Learning experience platforms allow you to have richer, more interactive content because they aren't shackled by the strict protocols most LMS use. Some platforms can even run alongside an LMS so businesses don't need to replace their current system, they can just circumvent it for specific projects."

Group 3@1x Created with Sketch.

Q: What should a business look for in a learning experience platform?

Mika Kuikka:

“A learning experience platform should not be a learning library or course catalog, but an intelligent means to push targeted content to the learners in a context-sensitive way. It should also harness social learning with the ability to share your learning experiences with others who want to learn [the] same skills, as well as adaptive learning paths, which allow you to choose your own route to learn a skill."

Tara O'Sullivan:

“When choosing a learning experience platform, organizations should ensure their solution ties learning back to their business objectives. Employers want to be confident that their learners have access to the best curated content assets that will deliver the desired learning outcomes to build and maintain world-class organizations. Also, they want to be able to attract, develop, reward, and promote their talent. Leaders want to ensure that learning drives impactful behavior for key business strategy with strong ROI. Finally, employees want to know their organization will give them career opportunities while also providing them with the training to get there."

Greg Rose:

“Learning experience management seems to cover everything from content providers like Degreed to niche solution providers like Edcast. The popularity of the term appears to stem from the assumption that learning management solutions cannot deliver modern learning experiences and learning professionals need to supplement their learning strategies with additional tools that sit on top of their LMS. We disagree. What learning professionals need is an LMS that provides a modern, engaging learning experience and solves the pervasive content question, effectively addressing the two problems outlined above. Learning professionals don't need a “new" type of learning delivery tool; they need a learning solution that actually works."

Group 3@1x Created with Sketch.

If you're ready to explore learning experience platforms, take a look at:

Back to top