LXP vs. LMS: What’s the difference?

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

An innovative approach to learning is the foundation of a successful modern workplace. 

The truth is that employees want the resources to embrace continuous learning as a professional. Leftronic research reveals that 94% of employees agree to stay longer if the company invests in employee training and 74% of employees think they have a lot of untapped potential and want more training. To remain competitive in today’s environment, enabling your teams to embrace their curiosities and continuously enhance their skills is vital. Yet, as workplace learning evolves, are we beginning to outpace the traditional LMS?

With the ongoing rise of digitally-native solutions, a new competitor is rising to take on the traditional LMS. Could Learning Experience Platforms be the key to improving workplace learning?

Let’s compare the two categories to find out. 

What do LMS & LXP mean?

Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Learning Experience Platforms (LXP) are two types of software designed for training and development in the workplace. 

LMS is the predecessor to LXP, with a long history of use in businesses across all industries. At its core, a standard LMS solution provides the capabilities to create, manage, and distribute learning content to employees for training purposes.

Today’s LMS providers offer a wide range of solutions. Some of these solutions provide broader services, while others are tailored for specific industries or niches. 

Most LMS solutions provide four key features: 

  • Administrative capabilities for distributing and monitoring learning content
  • Catalog features for uploading learning content
  • Performance metrics and other assessment and analytics capabilities 
  • Notification systems for keeping employees and administrators informed 

An LXP, on the other hand, offers a more modern and personalized workplace learning experience. Rather than providing a one-size-fits-all approach to training and development, an LXP focuses on employees at the individual level and how each employee’s specific skills can be enhanced further.

Along with the standard LMS capabilities, an LXP takes workplace learning a step further by providing:

  • Aggregated learning content from multiple sources
  • Improved tools for creating tailored and updateable content
  • Advanced data analytics and feedback-gathering tools
  • Collaborative learning features for both administrators and employees

LXP vs LMS:6 key differences 

An LXP is widely considered the evolved version of the traditional LMS. Although the two learning solutions certainly have features and capabilities in common, an LXP can provide a more comprehensive learning experience that benefits both employees and the companies they work for. 

Let’s take a look at six key differences that make an LXP stand out: 

1. Overall purpose

LMS solutions were created to deliver formal and structured learning content to employees.

In the early days of learning technology, an LMS provided learning and development (L&D) teams with a simplified and efficient means to distribute learning materials across an organization. Most commonly, L&D teams leveraged LMS solutions to onboard and train new hires.

By comparison, LXP solutions offer a much broader scope of opportunities for employees to learn new skills and participate in the learning process. With an LXP, L&D teams can build more learner-centric and informal experiences that employees can engage with freely. 

Additionally, LXP solutions embrace the modern digital age more than the traditional LMS by integrating social media and user-generated content into the platform. 

2. Learning style

LMS solutions may offer efficiency but often lack customization for differing learning styles.

Meanwhile, LXP solutions are specifically designed to accommodate a wide range of learning styles and needs. Rather than using a formal and highly structured approach to learning, an LXP helps assess each employee’s strengths and key areas for improvement. 

In a traditional LMS, learning starts from the top executives or administrators and flows to the bottom. 

LXP flips this model, focusing instead on social learning from the bottom up. This encourages employees to engage more intuitively with learning materials, seeking out the information and educational content that makes them feel the most motivated to participate. 

3. Flexible content structure

LMS content tends to follow a linear structure, dividing learning content into tidy courses and modules that follow a clearly defined flow. Comparatively, LXP content is more versatile and non-linear, allowing employees to explore content based on what is most relevant to their daily work and responsibilities.

Along with having the freedom to engage with content directly relevant to their roles, the flexibility of LXP content enables employees to dive deeper into their unique interests and skills.  

Overall, LXP content does away with the traditional rigid structure of LMS content. Employees have more freedom to not only choose the content they want to learn about most but also to decide where and when they want to engage with that content, including through remote and digital channels.  

4. Accessibility

Speaking of remote and digital channels, LXP solutions can greatly increase the accessibility of learning materials, resources, and support through compatibility with many different channels and integrations.

While LMS solutions do utilize digital channels, access to learning content is often limited to on-premises devices or outdated platforms. LXP solutions strive to broaden this access by allowing employees to access content via a much wider range of digital channels, including social media and video content. 

Moreover, LXP solutions aim to provide both L&D teams and employees with distinctly user-friendly interfaces that are approachable and intuitive to use. 

Employees can interact with these interfaces with greater confidence and independence — in turn, L&D teams can spend more time tweaking and perfecting learning content rather than having to guide employees through the basics of how to use and access the platform itself. 

5. Collaboration functionality

While both LXP and LMS strive to achieve efficiency, LXP stands out for its collaborative functionality. 

Rather than placing employees in a passive and backseat role, LXP puts them in the driver’s seat and empowers them to direct their own education. Through an LXP, employees can discuss content with their peers, mentors, and instructors in real-time — and even upload their own user-generated content. 

LMS solutions of the past may have included basic discussion forums or collaborative features, but LXP solutions are centered around social learning. With features like peer reviews, collaborative projects, and comprehensive mentorship opportunities, an LXP fosters a greater sense of community among learners.  

This social and collaborative functionality also helps drive engagement and skill retention. Employees can more easily share what they are learning and help reinforce new concepts through discussion and cooperation with their peers and administrators. 

6. Assessments & analytics

The crux of a successful learning platform is the ability to perform on-demand assessments and analytics.

LXP solutions often leverage modern computing models, such as cloud computing, to achieve a more scalable and accessible platform. As a result, L&D teams have more advanced tools at their disposal that can automate crucial assessment and data analytics processes. 

Although many LMS solutions also come with analytical capabilities, what often sets an LXP solution apart is the capability to integrate assessment findings into performance reports seamlessly. 

Additionally, an LXP can help automatically analyze gathered data to generate recommendations on improving learning programs in the future. These automatic recommendations can also help you uncover your top experts and connect employees with the senior team members who can best instruct them. 

The PlusPlus unified learning platform is the ultimate LMS & LXP combination

Both LXP and LMS  have their roles to play in modern workplace learning.

While traditional LMS solutions provide the structural foundation your business needs for a robust approach to learning and development, LXP solutions ensure that all learning content and initiatives are highly engaging, flexible, and customizable. 

PlusPlus combines the powers of LMS and LXP into an all-in-one platform to simplify learning programs and enable teams at scale. For tech-forward companies looking for a more advanced and streamlined approach to employee development, PlusPlus offers the essential features needed to build a culture of continuous learning and unlock your team’s full potential. 

Discover the full capabilities of our learning platform and gain the PlusPlus advantage today. 

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