The LXP vs the LMS

First referred to as a ‘testing machine’, the Learning Management System (LMS) has been around since 1924. Back when it was first developed, it resembled a typewriter with two windows: one to show the question and the other to fill in the answer. We’ve come a long way since then, as modern LMSs are now most commonly hosted in the cloud with the ability to host numerous learning courses and modules.

This new landscape of learning and development is constantly changing, particularly to meet the needs of the modern workforce. It has become evident to organisations that they can no longer limit themselves to just one method of training, as the ‘one size fits all approach’ has been long disputed within the industry. This is where new technology has been leveraged to create a better, and much more effective, learning experience.

What is an LXP?

Developed from further advancements in technology, the Learning Experience Platform (LXP) has been designed to provide an improved learning experience for employees, and has become a single point of access for employee learning. However, it is different to the standard LMS we all know, as it is a place to curate and create content, facilitating social learning and collaboration through personalised content delivery with AI-based recommendation engines. Gartner defines it as ‘an additional portal layer that expands (specifically the range of content) and enhances (that is, personalises) the learner’s interaction.’

Speaking on the subject, Josh Bersin makes an interesting comparison of LXPs to Netflix. According to Bersin, learning is in some cases set out ‘in a series of small windows [where we] see a preview or image that tells us what the content is about’. He describes the LXP as presenting learning in the same way as films: ‘most popular’, ‘recommended for you’, ‘just announced.’.

Wranx has adopted a similar method through offering ‘additional resources’ to learners at the end of a daily drill. Due to the content and Media Hub resources being linked, machine learning is used to recommend resources to learners based on topics they were most unsure of, helping to fill knowledge gaps within workforces.

What are the main differences?

  • The LMS usually requires a team of administrators to work behind it to ensure its effectiveness. They will choose what learning content is uploaded, usually set against a strict learning syllabus. The LXP, however, allows anybody to contribute content, making learning more diverse and self-directed.
  • The LMS follows a theoretical learning style – usually a lengthy module with a topical quiz at the end. According to the 70:20:10 model, 70% of knowledge should be obtained from on-job experiences. To follow this theory, the LXP provides more interactive features, such as social learning, live chat or personalised assignments. This approach allows employees to self-reflect on their learning, as opposed to a one-off completion of training.
  • The LMS usually acts as a compliance ‘tick box’ for organisations, typically managing their health and safety or compliance exercises. The downside to this is that it’s hard for these organisations to show whether employees have actually retained this important information! To avoid this issue, LXPs focus more on the growth of the business and adding value with a mix of varied learning styles.

Despite the substantial differences between the two platforms, the LXP shouldn’t be considered a complete replacement of the LMS – but an enhancement of it. A combination of both approaches allows for mandatory training to be completed, but in a more personalised, engaging fashion.

This is how Wranx can be used – a mobile reinforcement tool, using Spaced Repetition, that can complement existing training initiatives. Short ‘daily drills’ provide reinforcement to specific modules on an LMS, helping knowledge to be effectively embedded in a learner’s long-term memory whilst also identifying knowledge gaps that appear after training has taken place. Personalisation then goes one step further, as information that learners are unsure of is repeatedly presented within daily training and learning resources, creating an individual learning path for each employee.

Can the LXP replace the LMS?

The LXP does come with many advantages, such as accessibility, a low-cost, and an intuitive interface and personalisation that improves efficiency, as recommended learning resources help employees to achieve their goals at a quicker rate. Gartner notes that the growing desire for the delivery of “bite-sized” learning assets and capabilities to allow learners to more easily be content creators has already sparked increased spending for LXP platforms.

On the contrary, a recent report (The L&D Tech Barometer Research Report 2019), showed that 60% of respondents use an LMS within their company, but only 13% are looking to adopt one within the next 12 months. Josh Bersin also points out that the LXP market has exploded – valued at  over $300m and growing at over 50% per year. The consensus is that the LMS still has its uses for organisations, but is by no means future-proofed as new learning technologies, like the LXP, are continuing to grow in popularity.

Future-proofing learning should be one of the main priorities for learning and development teams, as the dynamics of workforces and employee needs are constantly changing. Investing in new technologies like the LXP will soon see a return on investment, as they are fulfilling the needs of modern learners, who, in turn, are striving for upskill opportunities via engaging, accessible learning.

Written by: Persia Shahkarami

Published: 2 May, 2020