Learning platforms today offer learning and development (L&D) creators with an increasing number of ways to teach and support people under many circumstances. For years, L&D’s principal technology application was the learning management system (LMS). The LMS scheduled, delivered, and tracked learning, but it has a shortcoming. It is all about managing courses—scheduling, delivery, completion, and tracking of courses—not about actual learning. Unfortunately, these key features of an LMS are not relevant for non-course solutions, including microlearning, expert networks, social networking and collaboration, performance support systems, and curated knowledge bases.
Learning experience platforms
Today, organizations create learning and performance ecosystems focused on improving the learner’s experience and learning outcomes using a broad set of tools and platforms. L&D leaders must make complex decisions about which platforms will best support their strategy and fit their culture.
Learning experience platforms (LXPs or LEPs) are a relatively new software category. As Steve Foreman points out in Trends in Learning Technology, “an LXP is a highly personalized portal to relevant content aggregated from multiple sources, curated, tagged, and associated with the specific performance and career needs of various user audiences. The LXP links to mandatory, assigned, recently used, and popular content and may use predictive analytics to recommend content. Some LXP products allow users to contribute and share content with one another.”
What is a Learning Experience Platform?
An LXP is software that users access for corporate eLearning. The LXP sits atop a set of components (a software stack) that supports learning so that no additional software other than the courseware itself is needed. The LXP expands the range of training content to which learners have access. As a result, the LXP provides a more personalized experience than a learner would have through an LMS.
An LXP is not a replacement for an LMS. It is an additional layer in your training technology software stack. Below the LXP, the training technology stack has two more support layers. The Learning Management System (LMS) is the middleware in the stack, as support for learning administration and management. The bottom of the stack is the Learning Record Store (LRS) where learning data is organized and stored.
In some cases, the layers in the stack will not be visible as separate layers. In other cases, the LXP will be independent and integrated with an LMS or LRS that an organization purchases separately, before or after the LXP is acquired. In either case, the LXP is there to improve training outcomes by improving the learner experience and providing the learner with choices and features.
LXPs may offer a variety of features that assist users in finding and using training content. An LXP may use artificial intelligence or other methods to suggest content that will be of particular interest to the user. These may include:
- Customized learning paths
- Collaboration with other learners through social integration
- Personalized learning playlists or paths for individuals
- A multimedia library
- AI-driven content recommendations
- User-generated content
- Contextual, on-the-job learning
Choosing an LXP
According to current surveys, by 2004 most organizations that add an LMS to their software stack will also add an LXP. As with other software additions, the best path to choosing an LXP is by consulting online software review sites. Here are three sites that can provide substantial help with this, and that support filtering so you can locate the software that comes closest to the feature set you need.