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Learning Management System vs Learning Experience Platform: Which is the Right Enterprise Solution?

Posted by Joe Moriarty on June 3, 2019

In Learning and Development, Learning Culture, Training Management Software

The fast pace of change is one of the biggest challenges for training and development teams working inside modern enterprises.

Your employees, sales teams, partners, and customers need up-to-date training so they can quickly master your constantly-evolving products and services in order to effectively sell, support, and use them.

Your employees also need easily-accessible information in order to build their skills and progress in their careers so they can provide maximum value to your organization. The more up-to-date your employees’ skills are, the better your organization will be at innovating, adapting to rapid change, and outmaneuvering your competitors.

To accomplish these goals, you must have employee training software that is flexible enough to rapidly and securely deliver up-to-date information, training, coaching, and certifications in an engaging way, accessible by anyone, from any device, anywhere in the world.

Traditionally, organizations have turned to Learning Management Systems (LMS) in the past to attempt to carry out these tasks.

Unfortunately, many organizations later realize that a corporate LMS is far from an ideal solution. In fact, a recent LMS trend poll conducted by Brandon Hall found that over 58% of the companies surveyed said they were looking to replace their LMS with a corporate learning tool that would better meet their business needs and objectives.

Many organizations are turning to a Learning Experience Platform (LXP) instead. At first glance, a LXP merely looks like a traditional LMS with a modern, sleek, well-designed interface.

While both serve similar functions, the differences are significant, and go far beyond just outward appearances.


LMS vs LXP: What’s the Difference?

Administrator-Directed Learning vs Self-Directed Learning

Rarely do employees find their corporate LMS to be an exciting, flexible, or engaging way to grow their skills and knowledge.

With a traditional corporate LMS, learning is determined by trainers and administrators, with little freedom or control by learners over the content.

A traditional corporate LMS is merely a dull, static collection of PowerPoints, courses, and exams. Learners are directed by managers on what course to complete and when. Then, they must proceed through the course in a rigid, linear manner.

With an LXP, on the other hand, learners receive personalized training recommendations based on their role, interests, and past completed activities. From this, they have the freedom to select the courses and pieces of content that are most relevant to their individual goals at that specific moment in time. They can also skip around inside courses to find the exact information they need, in whatever order they prefer.

An LXP provides total freedom and control, making learning exciting, engaging, and far more useful.


Compliance-Focused vs Impact-Focused

LMSs are used primarily by organizations for safety and regulatory compliance training. Because of this, employees usually see their corporate learning tool as little more than a “necessary evil”, rather than a valuable tool for growth and career advancement.

LMSs lack the flexibility to truly place the learner’s goals at the center.

An LXP, on the other hand, allows you to help employees build a flexible learning path that fills in the gaps of their professional skills.

Rather than using the learning tool only when required, an LXP becomes a valuable resource that users rely on for answers, useful information, acquisition of new skills, and career advancement.

When your employees are more skilled at their jobs, performance across the organization improves.

One of the major advantages of an LXP is advanced analytics and reporting capabilities that allow you to see the direct impact on performance that your training is having.

While a corporate LMS may provide simple reports on test scores and display the number of users who completed a course, they typically lack the ability to create in-depth, customized reports on things such as:

  • What impact training is having on specific business objectives
  • How much time a user is spending on any given course
  • What content was accessed by users (and which content is unnecessary)
  • Which sales collateral reps are sending to prospects to win more deals
  • Where in a course users are getting stuck or confused
  • How many attempts it took for a user to pass a quiz or exam
  • What skill gaps users have, and where additional training is needed
  • Data visualization to help administrators identify patterns and trends

Unlike a traditional corporate LMS, LXPs are built specifically to improve these outcomes.

Because of this, LXPs come with built-in reporting that allows you to measure and adjust your training based on the in-depth data the platform collects.


Closed System vs Open System

A traditional corporate LMS is a closed system that does not allow you to incorporate learning resources from outside the organization. You are limited strictly to the training resources created by administrators within your organization.

Because it is very difficult to constantly create a vast amount of up-to-date content, traditional corporate LMSs are extremely limited in the value they can provide learners.

An LXP, on the other hand, allows both administrators and users to add relevant and useful content from any source, both within and outside the organization. Because content can be curated from a wide array of sources, learning options expand drastically.

Instead of having to create original training on a new methodology or tactic, for example, you can simply add an existing YouTube video, slideshow, or blog article from a third party directly into the platform for learners to review.

The right corporate learning tool should support any kind of content you already have, and allow you to upload content in any format, such as PDF, video files, Google docs, blog posts, YouTube videos, HTML packages, SCORM packages, and more.

In addition, you should be able to author your own course material directly within the platform, and also bring in outside content from whatever third-party course authoring tool you currently use.

While these capabilities are common among LXPs, they are far more rare with traditional corporate LMSs.


Static vs Dynamic

In a recent article, Josh Bersin describes what the experience of using an LXP is like:

“Imagine if you opened up the corporate training page and it showed you ‘Mandatory courses to complete this week,’ ‘Recommended based on your current role,’ and interesting categories like ‘Programs to prepare you for promotion’ or ‘Tips and techniques for your current role.’ All, including much more sophisticated recommendations based on your prior learning experience, your job role, and what other peers in your company are taking.”

If you’re using a traditional corporate LMS, this probably sounds like wishful thinking, at best. An LMS provides little more than a static list of resources, laid out much like a college course catalog. Search capabilities are extremely limited, and there’s little in the way of direction or suggestions on what content to consume next.

Unfortunately, this just isn’t how we, as users, interact with technology anymore. Learning is seamlessly incorporated into the workflow, rather than being a separate, designated activity.

When we need to learn something, we search for specific topics and find information and answers in the form of videos, webinars, blog posts, graphics, and other online content.

Platforms like Google, YouTube, Netflix, and Spotify learn our habits and interests, and then suggest more content for us to consume based on our past activity.

This is exactly the kind of experience that LXPs offer to learners. Learning is no longer sectioned off as its own, separate activity. Instead, your employees, partners, and even customers can search for the bite-sized information they need, at the exact moment they need it. And, if they want to go more in-depth on that particular topic, they have that option as well. Both bite-sized and long-form learning is incorporated directly into the workflow, rather than interrupting it.

When learners are done with a piece of content, the LXP will suggest similar content that might be relevant and helpful to them. They are never left confused on what to do next.

In addition, LXPs offer powerful incentivizes for learners to acquire new skills in the form of:

  • Progress bars that show learners how close they are to completing a course
  • Leaderboards that allow them to compare their progress with that of their colleagues
  • Points, badges, trophies, and certifications to reward them for completing courses and passing exams

Lastly, rather than just static slideshows and pre-recorded lectures, LXPs also offer the ability to conduct courses with live lectures and two-way communication, so learners can ask questions and interact with the instructor as they learn.

By offering all of these dynamic capabilities in one platform, LXPs give modern organizations the flexibility to train a wide variety of users; employees, salespeople, partners, and even customers.

  • Employees and sales teams get the training they need to gain new skills and advance their careers.
  • Partners get easy access to the information they need to effectively sell and support your solutions.
  • Customers get their questions answered quickly so they can extract maximum value out of your solutions.

LXPs create the kind of exciting learning experience that all of your users will actually want to engage with. They will actually enjoy using your learning tool and see it as a useful resource, rather than another chore to get through for compliance reasons.

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Self-Hosted vs Cloud-Hosted

While most software is hosted in the cloud, many traditional corporate LMS options still require you to install the software on your local server, increasing upfront costs and ongoing maintenance headaches. In addition, software updates must be done manually, and typically require lengthy periods of downtime during which learners can’t access the system.

When your learning tool is hosted on your local server, employees can’t easily access content unless they are using a computer in the company’s office that is connected to the company’s network.

This is a big problem in a world where 80% of the global workforce (2.4 billion people) is made up of desk-less workers.

What employees, partners, and customers need in an on-the-go, globally-connected world is the ability to quickly access bite-sized knowledge from their mobile device, as they are used to being able to do with virtually every other service in their daily life.

A traditional corporate LMS is simply incapable of meeting the needs of organizations in a modern business environment.

Even among corporate learning tools that do provide remote access to users from mobile devices, few allow users to download content for offline viewing.

Unfortunately, most wireless providers impose strict data caps, which means that users who are traveling or are without internet access for any reason will be unable to access content and continue their learning on-the-go.

This is why companies like Google, Netflix, and Amazon allow users of their mobile apps to download files, documents, and videos for offline viewing. Make sure that the corporate learning tool you choose can provide similar functionality.

One of the major advantages of a LXP is that it is hosted in the cloud, so it is always accessible from any device, and software updates happen automatically, with minimal downtime.

Because software updates can happen much more frequently,  LXP providers can push the latest technology out much faster than traditional corporate LMS providers can.

Not only does this give you the latest features and capabilities quickly, it also means security vulnerabilities are patched immediately, decreasing the risk of having your sensitive data exposed to attackers.



Before You Make Your Decision, Consider Your Use Cases

Most tech companies that sell complex solutions have 4, general use cases they must consider when choosing a corporate learning solution:

  1. Employee onboarding, training, and continual learning
  2. Preparing and coaching sales reps to win more deals
  3. Training partners to more effectively sell and support your products
  4. Showing customers how to use and extract maximum value from your products

Rather than try to find a separate solution for each of these use cases, consider a powerful, flexible, all-in-one Learning Experience Platform like Raven360.


Raven360 is an enterprise-grade, scalable platform that helps fast-growing companies with high-complexity products painlessly train employees, customers, and partners.

Raven360’ secure, cloud-based platform allows you to onboard faster, train better, coach harder, and close more deals with these powerful features:

  • Flexible training methods: set up Instructor-led Training, Virtual Instructor-led Training, and On-demand Learning Environments

  • Self-paced Labs: create sandbox instances of your software that users can test, tweak and explore, without breaking

  • Your content, accessible 24/7: let your customers use and engage with your product at their pace, anytime and anywhere

  • Generate extra revenue: sell subscription-based trainings through a simple e-commerce platform

  • Speed up your reps’ training: get them in front of real customers and closing sales in less time

  • See what collateral is driving sales: make it easy for reps to know which prospects need to receive which content

  • Create top performers everywhere: easily assess your team members and fine tune their pitches using video

  • Inspire the next generation of sales leaders: build a coaching culture that motivates your best salespeople to pass on their experience

You might also want to know about Raven360's extended enterprise LMS software, check it now!

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