Joanna M. Caballero 4 December 2021 9 minutes

LMS or LXP: How to make your choice

It's no secret that learning management systems are basic components in large organizations and are increasingly being democratized to all industries and companies of all sizes. However, with the introduction of learning experience platforms, the enterprise learning industry is currently undergoing a massive shift.  

So, what choice should you make as a training professional? In this article, we'll help you understand the similarities and differences between the two types of platforms and give you practical tips on how to choose the right one for your company and use case.


What is a Learning Management System (LMS)?  

A Learning Management System is software for administering, documenting, tracking, reporting and delivering courses, training programs and L&D programs.   

To be classified as an LMS, an application must meet the following requirements:  

  • Host courses and other training materials in a centralized repository accessible to employees  
    Store individuals' progress and performance records, which can be used in job evaluation
  • Allow administrators to customize and personalize training materials to meet employee needs  
  • Provide either built-in course creation capabilities or third-party integrations  

 

What is a Learning Experience Platform (LXP)?

A Learning Experience Platform (LXP or LEP) is user-friendly enterprise learning software that focuses on the personalized training experience for employees. Learning Experience Platforms go beyond the needs of training departments and focus more on the needs of the learner.  

To qualify under the Learning Experience Platform category, a platform must meet the following requirements:   

  • Provide enterprise learning solutions that range from content providers to niche solutions  
  • Create, manage and track learning experiences  
  • Improve engagement, retention and performance 


What are the main differences between an LMS and an LXP?  


While LMSs and LXPs exist primarily to support your employees' learning and professional development, the similarities end there. Let's take a look at the key differences between the two types of platforms. 
 

1. Academic and practical learning 

When your goal is for employees to learn simple skills or a theoretical concept that they may or may not be able to apply in their jobs, an LMS will work just fine.  

However, according to the 70/20/10 rule of learning and development, employees get 70% of their knowledge from job-related experiences. If you want your employees to apply the knowledge they gain to their own work, you're better off using a learning platform with interactive features like chat, coaching, social and collaborative training.   

By giving participants the opportunity to reflect on themselves while learning a critical concept, you increase the likelihood that they will remember the learning and apply it to their work in the future. 

2. Self-paced or third-party directed learning 

LMSs are best suited to handle the types of simple learning and development initiatives that can be initiated and completed at the employees' own pace. These learning initiatives include onboarding, compliance training and other mandatory training programs that don't require much customization. From a purely documentary perspective, it makes sense to document these types of materials and have employees complete the selected modules when they have the time.   

While some LXPs are also well-suited to host basic instructional courses, they are used mostly for more complex and enduring learning programs, such as professional development. Because of the significant need for customization of these learning programs, they are typically organized as third-party-led courses. 

3. Individual or social learning 

Finally, LMSs are well suited for learning programs that don't require a lot of peer support to succeed. If learners only need to watch a few videos and read a few documents to pass a required training exam, an LMS may be the perfect solution for you.  

If, however, your learning program is focused on a more complex topic, it's worth remembering that according to the 70/20/10 rule we discussed earlier, up to 20% of learning happens through interaction with others. And that's where an LXP learning platform comes in handy because it offers social learning and interaction.  


When is the LMS most appropriate?  

LMSs are great for hosting and tracking simple training programs like general onboarding courses for new employees, health and safety training, and other compliance-related training content. Enterprise LMSs will continue to be a staple in many large organizations where it is important to track employee progress through various courses.  


When LXP is more appropriate  

LXPs are currently used as a complement to LMSs, rather than as a replacement for them. Indeed, LXPs can provide more interactive and collaborative learning experiences for business-critical training programs such as leadership training and other professional development initiatives where on-the-job learning and social learning are essential. 


So, LMS or LXP? How to make the right choice?

LXP or LMS... both have their advantages. The final decision is up to you, depending on the needs of your organization and your employees.

You want to integrate a learning management platform into your organization but you don't know which type solution to choose?

Contact us and talk to an expert who will analyze your needs and help you build the optimal solution that will meet your training and growth challenges. 

avatar

Joanna M. Caballero

Senior Director, Product Development