LMS or an LXP: Choosing the Right Learning Technology

When a new tool inspires a trend in the learning technology market; It is sure to intrigue your curiosity. So, before you get your hands on it, you must know: 

If it's better than the one you're using now? 

Can it resolve your longstanding issues?  

Will it be easier to integrate with your existing systems?  

Can it engage your learners and do more? 

The list goes on because you want your LMS to transform your workforce without disrupting it.  

However, the present-day workforce is more dynamic than ever. There are nervous newcomers, know-it-all veterans, smart working silvers and hardworking horses. People from diverse educational backgrounds and skill-sets team up to achieve one goal. On top of that, there's a pandemic and its extraordinary demands. 

So, there is a necessity for learning to be more than a means or a measure. That's why the Learning Experience Platform or an LXP is trending in the industry. It might seem like any other Learning Management System at first, but fundamental differences exist between the both. 

 A Closer-look at an LMS and an LXP  

You can define an LMS as a system designed to administrate and deliver learning content to the learners. However, it also tracks and reports back on the learning developments to the admin. 

An LXP on the other hand is more personalized in its approach. It curates the learning content and aggregates it according to user requirements. Thus, it creates learning pathways and career pathways for your learners, so they can learn and grow in the flow of work.  

Admin-driven vs Employee-driven  

An LMS system is focused on pushing employees for training. It requires the admin to drive and manage the learning activities of your employees. However, the L&D teams, SME's and managers make the content choices for your people. 

But an LXP is tailored to be more user-centric. It's the employees that choose the content they want to engage or disengage with. It also enables them to create and share new content to encourage peer to peer learning and engagement.  

Closed vs Open  

You know that a learning management system offers multi-configuration capabilities. In the last two decades, e-learning went from ILT mode to blended, social, and micro- learning. Gamified programs with and AR and VR simulations also emerged recently. But in an LMS, all these modalities are served in closed networks with limitations on time and accessibility. 

On the other hand, a learning experience platform is designed with APIs that open gateways for content sources from a wide range of repositories. You can also integrate your internal content with any external and MOOC systems. This makes it multi-source too. To keep things more engaging and happening for your learners, it offers consumer-grade experience like in Netflix or YouTube. More importantly, it gives you the flexibility to track and analyze learning activities outside the platform too. Thus, providing a control to your managers over your people's learning behavior.  

Course Catalogue Vs Recommendations:  

A course catalogue, is often filled with thousands of courses. Administrators have a hard time curating and indexing the learning content according to your user requirements. The struggle only gets thicker as the library tends to expand over a period. This is what Josh Bersin calls, 'The Problem of discovery.' 

LXPs are equipped with various mechanics like skills, interests, or usage trends to curate the content. With the help of AI, additional metrics are also deployed to analyze user behavior and sort the content according to their needs and interests. So, your learners keep moving in their respective learning pathways, and expand their capabilities. 

Compliance Vs Impact  

Staying compliant with government policies and business processes is vital for the success and harmony of any organization. Your LMS prioritizes these essentials to keep you and your employees on the same page. However, your people may perceive learning as a means to ensure compliance, rather than an opportunity to improve knowledge and application. 

LXPs focus on learner engagement rather than learner compliance to create a continuous learning environment in the enterprise. Instead of pushing your people to learn, it favors pulling them in. Your employees will be motivated to indulge in learning themselves. This is the fundamental key for any business to flourish and gain results. When your employees indulge in continuous learning and bring that to the flow of work, the results and rewards are inevitable. 

Why is this considered as significant shift?  

According to industry analyst Nigel Paine, this trend could be the 'Seismic shift' for the L&D. Because for the first time, we are undergoing a transformation that is more user-centric. What caused such a turnaround?  

In a survey conducted by Dell Technologies, it is observed that "85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 are yet to be invented." This could be the moment of opportunity for L&D and with the pandemic, we are already in the moment. 

The 21st-century employees are keen to explore their learning opportunities, now more than ever. But the time any employee gets for their personal development is just 24 minutes a week on an average. So, learning in the flow of work becomes a priority for your employees. 

For many years now in an enterprise, learning management system have been the cornerstones of its growth and success. But the rise of data and its consumption, is increasing the demand for more open and ready-made sources. And such sources need a flexible and yet robust platform for their availability and administration. 

Not Replacing but Enhancing  

Despite the popularity of LXPs, the LMS's are not going anywhere. It still has a role to play in maintaining the compliance standards in an enterprise. Most learning experience platforms can integrate with your Learning management systems. So many organizations have already began repurposing their content and re-configuring their LMS into LXP. However, it will still be in the scheme of things but not at its center. 

Here's Your takeaway 

Despite the changes and challenges, both an LMS and an LXP have role to play in nurturing a continuous learning environment. 

But if you have to choose between the both, ask yourselves this one last question-  

Which learning technology suits the day to day needs of my employees?  

And the answer becomes clear. After all, you're making these decisions for your employees, not for you. 


Chasma Place, is an independent source for solutions that will help you keep pace with changes in the way your people work without ripping and replacing your existing systems.