LXP vs LMS: What Is the Difference and Which One to Choose?
Are you in the market for new learning technology? Then, you've probably come across two acronyms during your search: LXP and LMS.
While they're both related to digital learning, each offers a distinctly different approach to the learning process.
Our guide on learning management systems vs. learning experience platforms will ensure you select the right platform for your organization, goals, and individual learners.
Spoiler alert: We'll talk through the pros and cons of each and present interesting use cases suggested by business owners.
Finally, we'll ask key questions about how an LMS or LXP will fit and scale with your evolving business needs.
👨🏫 What is an LMS?
A learning management system (LMS) is a platform designed to create, manage and track online learning experiences.
This traditional training system has been used in educational settings, such as universities or corporate training programs since the 1990s.
But in the modern workplace, 83% of organizations currently use an LMS, and 3 out of 4 have relied on their training system more during the past two years.
Main features of an LMS
Expect the following features from a learning management system:
- Administrative tools: learning & development teams control the training content their learners can see. They also push training content recommendations out and assign specific courses to users.
- Content authoring: many LMS systems provide a range of tools to create content, including course builders, quiz and survey creation tools, document uploading, and more.
- Delivery: companies typically use LMSs to deliver structured eLearning experiences. For example, learners must complete a specific course path in a particular order.
- Aggregated content: admins gather relevant content from internal and external sources, including videos, articles, and external websites.
- Tracking: admins can track learner engagement and completion rates, course paths, and individual learner performance.
- Reporting: businesses increasingly rely on analytics to understand their training initiatives' effectiveness and engagement.
Pros and cons of an LMS
Learning management systems provide structure, visibility, and control over learning activities. This makes it easier for L&D teams to deliver consistent training experiences, especially for formal content that doesn't change regularly.
"Our LMS includes a variety of features, such as the ability to create and assign training courses, track employee progress, and generate reports. One of our most successful use cases for our LMS has been onboarding new employees. We can create custom onboarding courses that cover everything from company culture to specific job duties.
The LMS also allows us to track the progress of each new hire and ensure that they have completed all necessary training before starting their new role. We have also found the LMS useful for ongoing employee training and development. We can easily create and assign courses on new technologies, industry trends, and best practices and track employee progress and completion."
"Our business has multiple satellite offices and hundreds of employees who need access to training materials, so a system with the capacity to manage user accounts and track progress across all sites was essential.
The LMS also provided us with other features that have been beneficial for our organization. For instance, it allows us to create custom courses for specific job roles or departments, ensuring that all employees have access to relevant and up-to-date training materials. Additionally, the LMS allows us to assign assessments at the end of courses for better understanding and improved performance."
While these are both excellent use cases for learning management systems, these platforms also have some recognized drawbacks:
- Lack of personalization: learners don't get to customize their learning paths, so they may miss out on valuable content that could help them grow in their roles.
- Content updates: LMSs don't typically provide real-time updates so the content may become outdated over time.
- Poor user experience: LMSs offer excellent back-end functionality for managers and admin teams, but the front-end isn't as user-friendly for learners. According to Valamis, learners only spend time in an LMS when learning is prescribed explicitly to them rather than popping in voluntarily to interact with the latest training content.
👨🎓 What is an LXP?
A learning experience platform (LXP) offers a modern approach to training. Just as Netflix meets consumers' desire for on-demand content in the entertainment world, LXPs offer a similar customizable experience for today's digital learners. They can drop into the platform and enjoy snackable training that slots into their day and suits their personal and professional development needs.
Main features of an LXP
Expect the following features from a learning experience platform:
- Curated content: learners can easily find and filter relevant content such as social media, blogs, videos, and games whenever needed.
- Personalization: the ability to customize their learning paths based on individual interests and goals. Personalized dashboards provide access to training libraries and activities.
- Interactive learning: benefit from simulations and gamification that enable learners to engage better with the content.
- Real-time updates: content is regularly updated so learners can access the latest information.
- Built-in social learning: L&D teams can engage learners with collaborative learning via social platforms. Learners connect to interactive training such as webinars, live streaming, or chat rooms to receive real-time feedback.
- Learning in the flow of work: LXP's integrations with workplace applications and tools provide personalized, contextual learner experiences without stepping out of the training environment.
- Analytics: LXP provides valuable data and insights to track learner progress and measure training ROI.
Pros and cons of an LXP
Learning experience platforms enable businesses that want to keep up with modern trends in digital learning.
The LinkedIn Learning Workplace 2023 report highlights that 83% of organizations want to build a more people-centric culture centered around employee experiences.
LXPs provide bite-sized learning content that learners can access quickly on the go.
Businesses can also benefit from improved engagement and better results by allowing employees to direct their learning paths.
Michael Chen, Growth Director at Notta, explains why a learning experience platform is the right solution for their organization. He told us:
"Our LXP allows us to provide an engaging, personalized learning experience tailored to the needs of our employees. It provides us with a wide range of features, such as content curation, AI-powered recommendations, and goal-based learning paths. This allows us to create a more tailored learning experience that helps our employees quickly acquire new skills.
We have had brilliant success with our LXP. We have seen our employees become more engaged and motivated. They can easily access the content they need to learn and develop their skills. The personalized learning paths help our employees track their progress and stay focused on their goals. We have also seen an increase in our employees' retention rates because of the ease of access to our training content."
But LXPs also have some potential disadvantages compared to learning management systems (LMSs):
- Lack of structure: while LXPs boast flexibility, this can mean a lack of structure or clear learning paths, which may not suit all training programs.
- Limited course creation: LMSs often offer more robust authoring tools for creating and delivering custom courses, while LXPs may rely more on pre-existing content from third-party providers.
- Cost: LXPs can be more expensive than LMSs due to their focus on personalized and engaging content, which may require higher production costs for content curation.
🆚 LXP vs. LMS: Key differences in a nutshell
Here are some key differences between a learning management system (LMS) and a learning experience platform (LXP).
LMSs are primarily designed to manage and deliver structured learning content and courses. As a result, they're a widespread solution used throughout corporate learning environments, especially when formal training is required.
On the other hand, LXPs offer a more personalized and engaging experience for the modern learner.
Push vs. pull
LMSs push content out to learners. In contrast, an LXP encourages learners to pull appropriate, engaging content into their customized dashboards.
Another way to look at this is by considering the direction of the learning experience.
An LMS uses a top-down strategy, pushing assigned training from L&D teams to individual learners. In contrast, an LXP takes a bottom-up approach, providing learners with a more user-centric and self-paced model where they'll report back to their managers about their training progress.
LMSs typically let you import internal and external courses, while LXPs rely more heavily on curated external (third-party content), such as online courses and videos.
LXPs already curate content from all kinds of sources for you.
LMSs are rather a place in which you can manage content that you created or purchased.
LMSs generally offer structured learning paths with prerequisites and certification options.
LXPs often focus on more flexible and personalized learning paths.
LXPs deliver interactive and engaging learning experiences, including social learning features, personalized recommendations, and micro-learning opportunities, while LMSs may prioritize more straightforward navigation and course completion tracking.
LMSs often offer robust authoring tools for creating and delivering custom courses, while LXPs may rely more on pre-existing content from third-party providers.
While both LMSs and LXPs have their strengths and weaknesses, their fundamental differences can help organizations determine which type of learning platform best suits their needs and goals.
🤔 LMS vs. LXP: 4 Key questions to ask yourself before choosing
There's no "one-size-fits-all" approach to learning.
Instead, each organization has unique requirements and must select learning technology that meets its precise needs.
So, is LMS or LXP the right route for you? Consider the following questions during your decision-making process.
1. What are your company's learning requirements?
Companies with regimented learning requirements, such as formal annual health & safety or compliance training, could benefit from the structure of a learning management system.
Admin teams can roll out mandatory training programs to specific users and track completion rates. As course progression ties to regulations, the rigidness of an LMS could work well here.
2. Does your company culture support continuous learning?
A learning experience platform is integral to company cultures that empower employees with growth opportunities.
Career progression frameworks intersect with digital learning platforms by enabling employees to select training based on their specific skills development targets. This approach fosters a continuous learning culture where learners dip into training content, share it with their peers, and feel excited by the experience.
3. What are your organizational goals?
Your L&D KPIs should align with the technology you use. For example, suppose your goal is to close or reduce your digital skills gap. In that case, you might prefer assigning specific digital training content from an LMS and monitoring progress from there.
Alternatively, suppose your goal is to improve employee engagement. In that case, you may prefer the flexibility and interactive style of an LXP that gives your learners a chance to control their growth journey.
4. Do you have an existing LMS?
If your company already relies on a learning management system to support training, consider expanding its functionality by adding features. This approach may be more effective than scrapping an LMS and switching to an LXP.
Alternatively, explore integrating your LMS with an LXP to provide the perfect blend of control and UX.
Founder and CEO Luciano Colos explains why PitchGrade combines the best of both worlds by using each style of learning platform.
"The primary focus of an LMS is on delivering and managing learning content, whereas an LXP places greater emphasis on facilitating personalized learning experiences for the user.
To ensure that our internal employees are aligned with our business practices and culture, we use an LMS as our training platform. However, for training our outsourced employees, we opt for an LXP. This platform not only enables us to ensure consistency in training between internal and outsourced staff, but it also helps our contractors get up to speed quickly and become productive contributors to our team."
➡️ Ensure more rewarding learning experiences with Zavvy
With Zavvy, you can maximize the benefits of each.
Our suite of tools bridges the gaps between performance reviews, professional development plans, and training all in one place so that employees and managers always have their finger on the pulse of growth. Here are some of the features we know you'll love:
- Engaging quizzes: interactive and informal learning materials such as quizzes and games appeal to the competitive spirit of peers.
- Deep personalization: learners receive tailored recommendations based on action items from performance feedback and their specific growth plans.
- Self-directed learning: employees can follow their individual learning paths by enrolling in relevant courses of interest without input from administrators.
- Internal and external resources: learners can access a comprehensive library of learning content curated from 30+ learning providers.
- Social learning: our tools provide solutions to the latest developments in science and behavioral learning. We offer a variety of collaborative training formats, such as micro-courses and cohort-based live courses. Peers can recommend engaging content to each other who self-enroll in response.
- Course filtering: our learning scientists have tagged all course training with relevant competencies and proficiency levels. Learners filter courses depending on their growth plan or role card competencies to pinpoint appropriate training for their skillset and seniority level.
📅 Book a free Zavvy demo today to revolutionize your learning journey.
Is there a use case for blending LXP and LMS in corporate learning environments?
Yes, absolutely. Many organizations are now turning to learning experience platforms (LXPs) that combine the features of an LMS with additional benefits, such as personalized learning paths and AI-powered recommendations, to provide a more engaging learning experience. If you already have an LMS but want to extend its functionality, consider integrating it with an LXP.
LXP vs. LMS: has LXP phased out LMS?
An LXP is often touted as the modern replacement for the LMS. But whether it could entirely phase out an organization's LMS depends on your business requirements.
An LXP is a good shout for organizations that want to put their learners in the driving seat of their professional growth.
In contrast, an LMS might be better for organizations that still need a tight grip on metrics.
Is LinkedIn learning an LMS or LXP?
LinkedIn Learning is an example of a learning experience platform (LXP.) Its focus is on providing an engaging learning experience through a variety of content formats, including video courses, learning paths, and skill assessments. However, LinkedIn Learning also offers progress-tracking and completion rate features synonymous with an LMS.
Is Coursera an LMS or LXP?
Coursera offers online courses and learning paths from a variety of educational institutions. It provides features such as personalized learning recommendations, social learning, and interactive assessments that extend beyond the functionality of an LMS. However, Coursera also offers typical LMS features such as tracking progress, grades, certifications, and managing learner data.
Is LXP better than LMS?
Whether an LXP is better than an LMS depends on your company's specific training needs. While an LMS is great for delivering, managing, and measuring learning content consumption, an LXP emphasizes providing personalized learning experiences.
Depending on your company's training requirements, combining both platforms may be the best way to go.