LMS or LXP? How to Decide Which Meets Your Training Needs

If you’re taking steps to move your training program online, one of the first decisions you are likely to confront is the choice of a training platform — an LMS, or learning management system, or an LXP, a learning experience platform.

What are the differences between an LMS or LXP? Which should you choose? Or do you need both?

Before you can make that decision, it helps to know a bit about what these are and how they can help you accomplish your goals when it comes to training your employees.

LMS is the center of eLearning administration

An LMS is your training hub — it holds your content library and provides learners access to training materials, but that is just the beginning. For your employees, it offers the ability to search and use training materials, curated content, and potentially your organization’s knowledge base.

Track employee training progress

It keeps track of what training each employee has started, monitors their progress, and tracks their completed training and certifications. It might even remind them to enroll in courses needed to maintain or renew certifications, ensure they complete prerequisites for courses they select, offer recommendations for further training, and remind them when they have training sessions or are approaching deadlines for completing training.

Manage online employee training

From the perspective of management and the learning and development (L&D) team, the LMS is a training management hub. It enables training administrators to enroll employees in courses, assign and deliver training, verify that training has been completed, and track each employee’s engagement and progress.  

Some LMS platforms, such as SmarterU, offer robust data collection and analytics tools that make it easy for training administrators and managers to see employees’ progress, correlate training with performance metrics, and create clear visual reports on training use and outcomes.

LXPs extend digital training capability

While the LMS is a well-known workhorse that serves many corporate training programs well, the focus of many LMS platforms is on tracking training compliance — whether employees complete the online training courses that are required by legal or professional bodies.

The LXP takes a different approach, emphasizing the employee’s experience. An LXP maximizes choice and control, offering multimedia learning experiences and encouraging social and collaborative learning via online training and resources. It also helps employees find the right content for their individual needs and goals.

With its emphasis on the employee’s learning experience, an LXP is likely to have a more consumer-influenced interface, perhaps offering Netflix-style browsing and suggestions and targeted, personalized recommendations.  

How do I choose: LMS or LXP?

Man sitting ont he edge of a table, looking pensively at a laptop resting on his lap.

An LMS might be the right choice if:

  • Your organization is primarily delivering in-house created eLearning
  • Your greatest training need is onboarding or safety training for large groups of employees
  • Your main need is compliance-focused content
  • Corporate branding of training materials and interactions is a key consideration
  • You need to manage in-person (live or virtual) training as well as eLearning options
  • Your employees mostly do online training that their managers or training admins assign
  • You need easy access to basic data and analytics, such as time spent, completion, and quiz scores
  • You need to regularly generate and send reports to meet regulatory requirements

An LMS provides a solid hub that maximizes efficiency for training admins and ensures that employees have the training they need when they need it.

An LXP might be the right choice if:

  • Your training strategy emphasizes adaptive and personalized learning
  • Your organization plans to source and aggregate a wide range of third-party content
  • Your employees are self-directed learners who chart their own learning paths and curriculum
  • You want robust data and analytics abilities, particularly those focused on personalizing training
  • Your training emphasizes soft skills, leadership development, and experiential or conceptual learning
  • Social, mobile, on-demand, and collaborative features are central to your employees’ learning experience
  • You plan to deliver a combination of mobile and desktop, self-directed and assigned, formal and informal, synchronous or asynchronous online training options
  • You plan to encourage employee-developed and shared content

An LXP offers a learner-friendly one-stop shop for all of the employee’s information and training needs — in a format that’s familiar because it mimics popular consumer apps.

If you have an LMS, should you add an LXP?

You might choose to add an LXP to your ecosystem if you want to:

  • Extend your multimedia options
  • Expand self-directed learning
  • Encourage collaborative and social learning
  • Empower employees with flexible options like on-demand performance support and microlearning, mobile-first formats, and the latest in gamified training

… all while keeping your existing LMS and content library operating smoothly.

Get expert assistance when choosing your learning platform

Read our handy guide, 10 Questions to Ask Your LMS Vendor. Then, call one of our experts and ask about our consulting, implementation, and management services to make the process of selecting, implementing, and operating your new online training platform friction-free!

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