Jump ahead to:
- What is a learning experience platform (LXP)?
- Why have LXPs overtaken the LMS in modern, forward-thinking, fast-growing companies?
- Which companies benefit from using LXPs?
- Key features and benefits of learning experience platforms
- Finding, researching and buying the right LXP
- How can I use an LXP to reach my goals? Common ways companies use them
- Launching your first LXP and moving from an LMS
What is a learning experience platform (LXP)?
Some things are just better understood when we’ve got a reference point.
🎥 You can only truly understand how bad a film sequel is when you’ve seen the original.
🌴 Why a certain destination is best to visit at THIS time of year.
👨🍳 Why your cake needs the dry ingredients before the wet ones.
Our LXP reference point is the Learning Management System (LMS).
The LMS was once the new kid on the block. A digital alternative to face-to-face training, allowing you to give people a login and send them off to complete a course – typically for compliance or some kind of certification – completely detached from where people work.
And it was very good at that. The problem is, the way we learn has moved on.
🔎 We Google search when problems pop up.
🎧 Spend more time with podcasts and YouTube videos than courses.
🧑🤝🧑 Leverage experts in our network over sages on stages.
🤝 And care far more about the context and application of learning than simply learning for learning’s sake.
The LMS just isn’t set up for that. The LXP on the other hand…
In general, LXPs allow you to create an evolving ecosystem, bringing together internal and external content into one central place. Typically, they integrate with the other tools you use, empowering users to learn where they work. And they enable your internal experts to create content, ensuring you capture it before it’s lost or results in lost productivity.
LXP vs LMS: 5 reasons learning experience platforms win every time
We’ve covered this in detail here, but it would be rude of us not to include the five reasons an LXP will always be the winner in your employees’ eyes.
And as we explain in that article, you can get a pretty quick understanding by looking at the words that make up these L&D acronyms:
Learning management system (LMS) – learning experience platform (LXP).
One makes life easier for top-down managers, the other is built around the learner and their experience.
- LXPs allow people to learn from colleagues, not from the top down.
- They curate content from the places people already use to learn.
- LXPs meet them where they work so they don’t have to break habits.
- They put the power of self-directed learning in people’s hands.
- LXPs typically empower managers to personalise learning more effectively
- (Bonus) An LXP does everything an LMS does anyway.
Why have LXPs overtaken the LMS in modern, forward-thinking, fast-growing companies?
Legacy tech is getting left behind by the rate of change
The world around us is changing faster than ever before! And we need tech that helps us keep up, because failing to learn at speed means we’ll miss out on new opportunities and watch others seize them with both hands.
Whether it’s the COVID pandemic, the shift to hybrid working, or economic downturn, the past few years have really taught us that we need to be adaptable, and so does the tech we use!
According to KPMG, 61% of business leaders still predict their technology will not be ‘fit for purpose’ and able to meet the demands of the business in 12 months, despite an additional $15 billion being spent on technology to enable remote working each week.
And being blunt, the LMS simply wasn’t set up to solve today’s problems.
It’s a common frustration across the board! Freshworks research revealed that 57% of employees feel outdated tech is holding them back in their role, something managers feel could drive them out the door if performance suffers as a result.
Hybrid work: Where and how we work has changed, and learning’s followed suit.
73% of employees now work in either a hybrid or fully remote setting
We’ve got more freedom and autonomy around how, where and when we work, and people want the same experience when it comes to learning.
The trouble is, an LMS is typically used to distribute content from the top down! A few people decide what everyone else needs to be learning and assign it when they deem it’s relevant.
This increases our dependence on others to learn when our independence for working is heading in the opposite direction – and that disconnect ultimately damages people’s ability to learn when learning can make a difference to performance.
We’re no longer in the office together at all times, working at the same hours or even on the same days, meaning this lack of autonomy will no longer do!
The on-demand economy: We’re influenced by our daily consumption habits
Flexible working is just half the story! We’re living in the on-demand era, where everything we do outside of work is driven by a culture of instant gratification, connection to what we need when we’re most motivated to get it, and a general shift in how we consume content.
🚕 Uber gets a taxi to us in minutes.
🥡 Deliveroo makes dining a doddle with all the local offerings in one app.
📺 Netflix not only offers us endless content scrolling it tries to reduce that by recommending what we might like.
Now, if we’re served by convenience everywhere outside of work, how on earth are we expecting people to arrive at work and learn in a way that’s completely counterintuitive to their everyday behaviours?
Giving your people what they want! The stats behind how people want to learn.
And the biggest telltale sign of them all? Learners are explicitly telling us they want to learn in these ways and have been for some time!
The below numbers come from a 2018 LinkedIn Learning report, before many of the reasons above really took hold, so a lot of this was and is long overdue.
Which companies benefit from using LXPs?
Almost every company will be affected by some of what we’ve discussed so far! So it’s not like you have to have X headcount or Y turnover to benefit from one. There’s no guarantee an LXP is what you need either!
People often make this mistake, coming to market and looking for product X or solution Y – like an LMS. Why?
Wouldn’t it be better to accurately define the problem or challenge you’re facing and then look for solutions to that – rather than a specific thing?
So, that should be your first port of call – better defining problems. But there are some useful questions you can ask that might indicate an LXP is a good fit.
- Are our people engaged in learning? (If not, that’s your biggest problem).
- Do we waste time searching for resources because they’re scattered in multiple places?
- Are the consistent answers to the questions we’re asked all the time?
- Can our people find the answers they need in their moments of need?
- Do we lose valuable knowledge each time someone leaves because they’re the only person who knows that thing?
- Is our industry changing too quickly for us to rely on a static library or course collection?
- Is L&D becoming a bottleneck for the content people need?
Key features and benefits of learning experience platforms
Better user experiences and branding
People often say you eat with your eyes, and something similar happens when you log into a learning space – how it looks can have a huge impression on how willing we are to use it.
An old-school LMS is often as inspiring as the leftover quiche at the end of a buffet, whereas LXPs are a lot easier on the eye. Firstly, they look a lot more like the social media platforms and websites we use every day – whether it’s that news feed feel or like/comment features you can see in the example below.
This makes platforms like HowNow far easier to use out of the box! And with 68% of business leaders concerned that new technology has a high learning curve, you’re reducing that friction that prevents people finding value.
Many LXPs also allow you to add custom branding, creating a familiar and consistent feel across how people work and learn.
Integrations with the tools you already use
We already know people want to learn at their point of need and in the flow of work. So what’s the point in providing a learning space that takes them out of the context and situations where that information can be applied?
LXPs typically play well with other tools in your tech stack, allowing you to bring learning to the places people already work.
HowNow, for example, integrates with tools like Slack, Intercom, Salesforce, and plenty more, meaning people can surface and apply knowledge in those moments that matter.
Harnessing social learning and learner-generated content
Experts don’t just sit at the top of the food chain, and LXPs are great at opening knowledge sharing and content creation to people throughout the business. This allows you to tap into subject matter experts and reduce the likelihood of L&D teams becoming a content bottleneck.
At the rate the world is changing, we also don’t have time to lose valuable knowledge every time someone leaves the company. And that’s why it’s important to build on our collective knowledge to create a company brain.
We use Nuggets at HowNow, frictionless ways for your internal experts to create content in a matter of clicks.
Blending content creation and curation
If content that answers a question or solves a problem already exists, we don’t need to create it all over again! Instead, we can curate it and add any additional context that helps our people apply it in moments of need.
LXPs like HowNow facilitate curation by bringing the web’s content to your learning space, think blogs, YouTube videos, articles, and so much more. This frees up time to create the business specific content that can’t be sourced externally.
And this also means a changing role for people and L&D teams, acting as the filter to ensure people aren’t faced with an overwhelming amount of content and are connected to the relevant pieces.
We’re living in an era of content abundance! Creation is no longer the biggest challenge, finding the relevant content is…
The ability to personalise learning pathways and experiences
Let’s say you’ve got a standard onboarding course for sales reps. Two join at the same time, one with two years of experience and another entering their first role.
Now, they’re both relative newbies, but there are still significant differences in the support and information they’ll need at this point. One might need pointers on ‘the corporate world’, the other might need a reset on bad habits that could have been built in their first role.
The point is, personalising their pathway connects them to relevant content they need to grow into their role.
And not long ago, we were faced simply with the capability to upload a single course at a time.
However, in HowNow, we allow you to easily create custom pathways and courses, tapping into the existing Nuggets you’ve created and all that amazing curated content. You can then add relevant context around it all, tailored to the individual
Tapping into the power of artificial intelligence (AI)
Think about the likes of Netflix, Spotify, and YouTube that we use every day. The more we’re on there, the better they get at recommending relevant content – and more often than not, the recommendations are pretty useful.
Some LXPs apply the same principle to recommend relevant content to learners. We do it based off people’s job roles, what people in the same roles or teams have used, the skills they’re trying to build, and more.
Detailed analytics and real-time reporting
Reports are only really useful if we can access them when we need them and use the insights to drive change. Luckily LXPs tend to deliver on this front, offering the ability to customise reports and run them in real-time.
Meaning you can build a picture of the metrics that matter and communicate to people when it’ll influence decision making.
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Finding, researching and buying the right LXP
An important caveat to all of the above is that you shouldn’t lead with a feature-first mindset when you go looking for an LXP, learning platform or other tool.
Sure, you want a platform that helps you onboard people, BUT what does successful onboarding look like? Which problems and challenges are you trying to solve? And what’s the root cause of them?
Let’s say you own a small business delivering meals to people. If you go to a dealership looking solely for a van, you’ll leave with a van. But let’s say your biggest problem is delivering to customers on time, in congested areas at busy times.
And you only take a handful of orders at a time anyway.
Maybe a moped is going to work better! This is why you need to go with a problem-first mindset, as opposed to searching for a specific solution.
These questions will help you think in these terms 👇
How to trial platforms and make fair comparisons as you assess the options
We’ve more or less given you a checklist of what to do here, but a quick summary never hurt anyone.
The first thing is to be clear on what you want to see in a trial or demo. If you’ve got that clearly-defined problem, it’ll be easier to convey that to your sales rep, and this allows them to show you how their platform solves it.
Next, capture feedback in consistent ways. If not, you can’t be objective about the options you’ve seen or tested at different times, and that makes it harder to resist recency bias or the convenience of going with the ‘easiest’ option.
You should also consider who you need to involve and when. Whether it’s technical capability or decision-maker sign off, there are people you’ll need to loop in at the right times to ensure you don’t get too attached to a platform that simply won’t make it through with stakeholders.
Finally, consider how your requirements and company will change over time and understand if that platform can scale and flex with those.
Building a business case for your LXP
There’s an art to building a business case! You’ve got to capture the need for an LXP, explain how it’ll add value and convey the risks of doing nothing. You’ve also got to capture it in a clear and succinct form that can be understood and accessed by even your busiest stakeholders.
We often talk about aligning learning with business goals and problems here, but figuring that out here really will make everything else easier.
The need, the goals, the problems it solves – they’re all much easier to communicate with that impact angle in your arsenal.
Plus, you’ve got the social proof and data you can leverage, the ability to use your competition as reference points and plenty other ways to win people over. This guide helps you capture and communicate it all…
How can I use an LXP to reach my goals? Common ways companies use them
Wait, isn’t it a bit late to tell us about the common problems LXPs solve! No, because you’re not common, you’re a unique L&D problem-solving machine.
Plus, as we wrote about earlier, going to market looking for a tool to help with onboarding or mentoring isn’t necessarily the right mindset. Not until you’ve worked out the problems you’re trying to solve and what success looks like…
Now that we’ve covered that off, it does make sense to go through some of the common ways companies use LXPs to reach their goals and achieve success.
Two pretty damning statistics explain why people turn to LXPs for onboarding:
- Only half of all new hires said they felt productive and capable of doing their jobs – suggesting that onboarding wasn’t personalised or structured to help them reach productivity in their role.
- Only 40% of new hires in larger organisations had the tools or equipment needed to start their roles right away – with 57% of overall employees frustrated by legacy tech, it’s no wonder new hires don’t feel those tools are taking them to productivity.
LXPs tend to have flatter learning curves, allow you to personalise pathways to ramp people up for THEIR role and tap into subject matter experts for contextual knowledge – hence their usefulness as onboarding tools.
Whether we’re promoting from within or hiring from without, leaders need our help in getting up to speed – and the ability to personalise learning experiences make the LXP the leading option.
New managers internally might need help and guidance on how to lead, and this is where internal experts and capturing their knowledge is extremely helpful. L&D teams can help directly by setting up low-pressure practice scenarios where they’re applying what they’re learning.
And that’s even more helpful if we’re setting realistic short-term goals around what they’re doing in the role.
People with leadership experience are probably clued in on the skills needed to lead but have no clue about how things work at your company. So a learning pathway that sets expectations of leadership in the organisation and helps them understand things like product and culture is incredibly useful.
It’s the flexibility of an LXP that makes it so useful for welcoming managers or upskilling new leaders… speaking of which.
It’s not sustainable to buy or borrow talent every time you encounter a skills gap. Freelancers eat into budgets, new talent takes time to get up to speed – and that’s why building internally is your best long-term bet.
It all starts with understanding the current skills profile and skills gap. Which skills do you have internally – individually and as teams – and which skills do you need to perform? The difference between the two is your skills gap.
At HowNow, we help you build a dynamic skills profile for every person in your team and benchmark that against the traits found in live job roles. You can then use these to build learning pathways and deliver content that closes them and drive performance!
Knowledge capture and sharing
No company has time to learn the things they once knew! And yet they do it all the time…
Because they have a leaky bucket! Knowledge from internal experts isn’t captured and shared, they leave the company, and all that wisdom goes with them.
And this happens because our daily behaviour or culture is not one of capturing knowledge!
A useful Slack message, part of an article, a snippet from a podcast episode or YouTube video – these are all things that can tackle current challenges but pass us by in real time.
The point is, if we can capture the gold living in the minds of our most knowledgeable people, we can build a collective brain that everyone can benefit from. We’ve now got a compound level we’re building on, rather than some people repeating the mistakes of others or not learning from the people who’ve overcome their current problems.
Here’s a great example that benefits both sides. Expert A gets asked the same question again and again on Slack, each time they respond, it eats into their time and they become more and more worn down by answering it.
The person at the end of the answer is at the mercy of how long it takes them to reply, that’s if they even know to ask.
HowNow’s Slack integration allows you to save a message directly to your learning space, meaning we create one consistent response, and begin building knowledge in one central place.
Those Nuggets can then be used to drive a search-first culture, where people search the learning space before sending yet another message.
A very important caveat before we get into this one. Yes, compliance is necessary and needs to be done. No, it’s not the first thing you should be asking people to do in your LXP.
There is often very little direct correlation between compliance and somebody doing their job better! Meaning people are unlikely to see the value in using your platform – you’re better off cutting down the time to value and building a positive feedback loop.
Instead of going compliance-first, let’s say we connect you to something that makes you better at your job when you encounter a challenge. That’s your first interaction with the LXP. And it means you quickly experience the value of using it, making you more likely to do it again.
A 400-page PDF, 50-video course, or some ‘click next’ compliance training just won’t do that.
Having said that, certain LXPs (nudge nudge) make managing compliance easier and cut out some of the parts that make it tedious for both parties.
Let HowNow do the heavy lifting and lighten your compliance load!
HowNow lets you report in real-time, giving you an in-the-moment picture of who is and isn’t compliant. That not only makes it easier to report back, it also allows you to only remind the people who haven’t completed – rather than pestering everyone.
We also allow you to set custom rules around compliance, meaning we’ll automate delivery of repeatable courses and content. If it needs to be completed every year, set a 12-month interval. If every new starter in a particular department needs to finish a course, integrate with your HR system and build rules based around team and joining date.
Launching your first LXP and moving from an LMS
There are two common situations companies find themselves in: they’re looking for their very first learning platform or they’re moving from an LMS to an LXP. And we’ve got dedicated resources on each.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t give you a quick summary.
Launching your first learning platform
There are essentially three stages to this: planning, building and running.
Planning: This is your discovery phase, get out from behind your desk and go speak to your stakeholders and end users!
- Which problems are they facing right now?
- What’s the context when those are arising (where are they working etc.)?
- Where do they need help in reaching team and business goals?
- How is learning happening organically right now?
If you know these things, you know how to communicate the value of an L&D strategy or learning platform to your target audience. It’ll also help you tap into existing behaviours, build a learning brand they love, and deliver value in a shorter window to show them value faster.
Building: How are you setting up for launch? These are all the activities you do ahead of time to engage people, drive awareness and prepare for day one success.
Pilot with small groups before rolling out, create a communications plan around those value propositions, ensure you understand the platform inside and out, and test all the technical elements needed for a smooth user experience.
Running: How are you collecting feedback after launch and using that to refine your approach? Who isn’t logging in yet and why? Are you optimising to help people align with business goals and reach value in a short period?
These questions are crucial as you try to drive activation and engagement with the platform. And without engagement, your learning initiative won’t go very far.
Moving from an LMS to an LXP
Now, this presents challenges of its own. But the best mindset to have is that this is a clean slate!
You’re moving for a reason, so don’t simply migrate everything from your old space to the new. Use the data from your old platform to understand what did and didn’t work before – and then consider if the format is conducive to reaching goals in your new platform.
A great example would be that you had a 100-page PDF with a huge number of views in your LMS. But the reason you’re moving learning platforms is to make resources available in the flow of work – one massive document simply won’t help. So, you convert it into microlearning-style resources, designed to tackle a single problem at a time.
And there are other considerations to make too: will the current culture support the shift? How are you migrating data over? How will you be populating your learning space? What’s the timeline and communications strategy, and so much more.
Meet the LXP that supercharges your people development
From bringing all your resources to the end of a single search to empowering subject matter experts to share wisdom with teammates, HowNow is designed to give your people the skills and knowledge they need to perform their role effectively, everywhere they already work!
Let us show you how 👇
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Check out our other learning experience platform resources
- An LXP is not an LMS! So, what is a learning experience platform?
- The biggest myths and misconceptions about learning platforms (LMS, LXP & more)
- How To Build, Create And Launch Your Shiny New Learning Platform
- Closing The Engagement Gap: The biggest learning barrier you hadn’t thought of
- LXP vs LMS: 5 Reasons Learning Experience Platforms Win Every Time
- What Is An LXP? A No-Waffle Answer To A Pretty Simple Question