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LXP vs LMS: 5 Reasons Learning Experience Platforms Win Every Time

Experience versus management – that’s all it really comes down to. 

Countless articles on this topic try too hard to offer big brain takes and use long words, but the ones behind the acronyms tell us all we need to know.

Learning management system (LMS) – learning experience platform (LXP).

The LMS is a relic of a time when top-down dominated learning discourse, an LXP aims to deliver impactful learning experiences for the end user in a modern world. And that’s why your people would prefer the first option in this LXP vs. LMS battle.

We’ve got some context to get through to explain why, but if you’re just interested in these five reasons, you can jump ahead right here.

The numbers support our LXP over LMS argument

Even L&D professionals recognise the LMS no longer fits the bill

Association for Talent Development (ATD) research revealed that 83% of talent development professionals were still using an LMS in 2019 – the most recent numbers we could get our hands on.

And yet, a huge proportion of those were brutally honest about its limitations. A third bemoaned limited capabilities, while the same number were frustrated by data and reporting functions. Most worryingly, 25% simply stated their intention to change LMS provider – but weren’t thinking critically about whether an LMS actually solved their business and people challenges. 

This is an often-made mistake. LMS is the term they know, and so people talk in those terms – rather than defining the problems they’re trying to solve and looking for a solution that fits. 

Employees are frustrated by legacy technology

57% of people feel legacy technology is holding them back, a symptom of the staggering 91% who are frustrated by the tools they use at work in general – according to Freshworks’ State Of WorkPlace Technology Report

The same report revealed that 61% of business leaders predict their technology won’t be fit for purpose and able to meet the needs of the business in 12 months.

And if we’re dealing with circumstances that change so frequently, will a tool built for the problems of 20 years ago really help?

This is something we’ll need to address before we get to the first reason your people would love an LXP over an LMS.

An LXP does everything an LMS does anyway

This isn’t a character assassination of the LMS or a denouncement of it as something with no value whatsoever – it’s more a case of the things that once made it great being the base expectation for L&D professionals today.

An LMS was once the great saviour, offering an alternative to expensive and time-consuming face-to-face training. This was somewhere where you could add content and let people log in to consume it. 

A place to manage compliance outside the manual spreadsheets that once categorised mandatory training. Somewhere to track learning activities and demonstrate your investment in people.

The trouble is, times have changed.

Compliance-driven cultures have been overtaken by performance-focused ones.

The rate of change and the ways we learn have made it ineffective for a few people to decide how everyone else should learn.

Most importantly, we’re learning all the time with or without an LMS, so we not only need a platform that helps us track learning across multiple channels, we need to bring resources into one place.

And we then need to bring all of that to the places people already work, rather than driving them to some disconnected platform.

An LXP still allows you to manage compliance, report on learning, and assign resources to people, but it’s not built solely to solve those problems. It’s there to help people learn what matters, when it matters – or at least that’s the ethos behind HowNow!

1. LXPs allow people to learn from colleagues, not from the top down 

A few people deciding what everyone else learns is ineffective and unsustainable for a few reasons. The world changes too fast, and we face new challenges all the time, making it very difficult for those gatekeepers to keep up with demand for relevant content. 

And those people are often detached from the roles and challenges at hand. It’s often a case of people who’ve never done the job or don’t understand our goals deciding what we learn.

These are symptoms of the LMS’ top-down funnel approach, while an LXP offers a flatter hierarchy for learning – empowering more people in the business to create content.

If we’re tapping into our subject matter experts, we’re leveraging all the relevant knowledge they’ve built on the job and connecting others to it. This is contextual learning that an LMS simply doesn’t facilitate.

Instead, we’re creating a collective brain! Learning from past successes and failures, ensuring we don’t repeat mistakes, and using compound learning to build on what we know as a team. 

2. They curate content from the places people already use to learn

People are going to learn regardless of whether there’s a tool in place! That’s something a lot of L&D professionals seemed to have overlooked.

We’re not far off 500 million podcast listeners worldwide, YouTube’s reached more than two billion active monthly users, and Udemy has now surpassed 40 million learners.  

We no longer sit at a desk to learn or block out time, we do it on our terms, in the formats that we love, and when we encounter challenges to overcome – that’s when we’re most motivated!

An LXP, like HowNow, will allow you to curate content from the places people are already learning. We bring blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos, webinars, and so much more into a single place, empowering people to find relevant knowledge at the end of a search. 

We even integrate with your content libraries like LinkedIn Learning and Udemy to make finding knowledge a frictionless process. And as an L&D professional, curating existing content frees you up to create what matters – those business-specific resources that can’t be borrowed from somewhere else. 

3. LXPs meet them where they work so they don’t have to break habits

LXPs are far better at integrating with the other tools people use every day, meaning they don’t need to change context to learn.

LMSes, shared drives, company folders – these are all black holes for time, sucking us out of the workflow to learn things we want to apply elsewhere.

At HowNow, our motto has always been to connect people with the resources they need, when they need them, everywhere they already work! If you spend 80% of your time in Slack, SalesForce, or Intercom, it’s counterintuitive to head somewhere else when a moment of need arrives.

The best example would be Google, where there are billions of searches every single day. Asking people to break that habit is like asking a dog not to miraculously appear at the slightest rustle of a food wrapper – not going to happen. 

That’s why we built our Browser Extension, to surface relevant resources alongside Google’s search results! And we’ve applied similar principles to the other tools people use every day, putting an end to the context switching that prevents people from learning what matters when it matters most.

4. They put the power of self-directed learning in people’s hands

We’ve alluded to this a few times already, but LXPs are far more adept at creating a single place for learning! Through curation, integrations, and tapping into internal experts, they can become a collective brain and single source of learning all at once.

And when you do this, you essentially bring everything to the end of a single search – empowering people to learn independently. 

49% of people want to learn at their moment of need, but we’re in an increasingly more distributed, flexible, and remote working world. We never really had time to wait for responses, but it’s even more obvious with people now working across different days, hours, and timezones. 

Having consistent answers to repeat questions, job aids that tackle specific problems, and the best, relevant curated content in one place allows people to overcome challenges in the flow of work.

5. LXPs typically empower managers to personalise learning more effectively

One thing we’re not saying here is top-down learning has no value whatsoever, far from it. Guidance and structure from above are crucial to learning effectively, which is another reason LXPs are loved by leaders, L&D, and employees.

The typical LMS is very rigid, there’s little flexibility in how you structure the content you’ve created. In an LXP, you tend to find drag and drop interfaces that allow you to combine curated and created content, from various sources, in many formats and personalise pathways for every employee.

You’re also likely to find more functionality around knowledge checks and gamification, encouraging people to apply what they’ve learnt and reward them for doing it! Small changes, but they make those learning experiences feel so far removed from the click, next slide content an LMS is known for.

Ready to give your people the learning experiences they deserve!? It all starts with a short demo… 

Check out our other learning experience platform (LXP) resources