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Whether you’re looking to implement new learning tech for the first time in your organisation or you have an existing platform that is no longer fit for purpose and it’s time to update it , choosing a learning management system (LMS) and a learning experience platform (LXP) can be a minefield.
The global LMS market predicts a $43.6 billion market share by 2027 and the LXP market expects to grow to about $9 billion by 2028. It’s safe to say, the market is vast, and finding the right solution to automate your L&D workflows and deliver training content that boosts your upskilling programmes requires rigorous thought. After all, learning tech isn’t cheap, and implementing the wrong tech could have disastrous results on your ROI.
Although the LMS and LXP categories are often billed as stand-alone products, in reality, they are best understood as sets of features. Some companies only offer these features, while other companies include them alongside a wider array of capabilities.
Here’s a look at what LMSs and LXPs do, and why you probably need both—and then some.
Learning management systems are designed to simplify L&D’s administrative tasks associated with managing and delivering online and digital learning content.
By leveraging automation and AI-powered tools, LMS platforms can significantly reduce the admin work required, allowing for a more streamlined approach to common training programmes such as compliance training, continuous professional development, sales enablement, product training, and onboarding. These learning solutions also automate user management, making it easier to manage learners going through various programmes.
To ensure comprehensive oversight, LMS platforms also provide monitoring and reporting capabilities on all learning activities, including creating custom dashboards for a tailored view of the learning environment.
Some key features of a modern learning management system will include:
A learning experience platform is designed to be layered on top of your LMS. It focuses on the user experience, aiming to help them develop the skills they need for personal and professional development.
These platforms prioritise the content delivery experience, making it more attractive and comfortable for learners to engage with your training content. Modern LXPs leverage artificial intelligence to generate personalised recommendations based on learner roles.
LXPs can suggest appropriate learning pathways tailored to each employee's corporate learning needs by employing skills mapping. These platforms focus on helping learners progress along their learning journey by identifying and addressing specific skill gaps and fostering higher employee engagement and effective learner experiences.
Key features that differentiate an LXP from an LMS include:
So, let's now explore the differences between an LXP and an LMS as learning technologies.
As already discussed, an LMS is more focused on the administration of learning processes, while an LXP facilitates the personal learning experiences of employees within your organisation’s learning ecosystem.
But the key differences don’t stop there. LMSs tend to be more prescriptive regarding a company’s learning system, typically assigning training courses to employees. Instead, an LXP empowers learners to choose when and what they want to consume, whether it’s formal or informal learning.
And this difference in learning approach lends to LMS training being broad and more focused on compliance or regulatory training. In contrast, LXP learning content tends to be tailored and personalised to individual learner needs.
So, how do you decide whether you need an LMS, LXP or both?
The decision to choose whether you need both an LMS and LXP or if an LMS will simply do, should be based on your learning strategy and the priorities and needs of your organisation.
Based on your priorities and business goals, here are some factors to consider when deciding which learning solution is best for you.
If your company operates in a highly regulated industry, such as healthcare, it’s essential to ensure that all employees are up-to-date with compliance and regulatory training.
In this case, an LMS is critical, as a learning solution as it is designed to track employee completion rates, manage recertification cycles, and ensure that all regulatory requirements are met.
If your organisation values personalised and engaging employee learning experiences, consider layering an LXP on top of your LMS.
Suppose user-generated content and leveraging mentors are part of your learning strategy. In that case, an LXP will focus on adaptive learning and tailoring training content to individual needs.
For example, if your strategy focuses on learning in the flow of work and designing learning experiences that ramp up performance, a solution that enables you to deliver personalised training content when and where employees need it would suit your approach best.
Finally, if your learning strategy is focused on decentralised, problem-focused peer learning, opting for an LMS that has a built in authoring tool might be your best solution.
By focusing on and encouraging social learning and collaboration between peers, LMSs that have an authoring tool, by design, are better suited for bottom-up approaches to learning and development.
In the end, modern companies need a solution that incorporates the features of both solutions.
In today’s L&D market, most providers are shifting to include the main features of learning experience platforms and learning management systems in one comprehensive learning platform.
An all-in-one solution offers all the benefits of automating your L&D workflows while including powerful AI-powered functionality to recommend tailored training content to learners to help ramp up your upskilling and reskilling programmes.
Even better, these solutions include an LXP’s curation of content formats with high integration with other systems that come with an LMS. Getting the best of both solutions in one cloud-based solution means that the initial set-up and onboarding is more manageable and that your L&D practice is ready to scale as the company grows.
Most learning platform providers will offer you a live demo, so from here, check out the market, and choose the right solution for you, your team, your organisation, and your employees.
Keen to see how 360Learning combines the best features of an LMS and LXP? Get a live demo from one of our digital learning experts today.