Registration for Inspire 2024 is now open!

Register now

LMS vs. LXP: Which One Is Right for Your Business in 2024?

• 7 min read

Okay, real talk. Have you ever had someone rattle off a bunch of acronyms that you don’t know, making you feel like they’re speaking a different language? That’s one of the first obstacles in the LMS vs. LXP debate.

A lot of businesspeople get so used to industry jargon that it no longer occurs to them that others might not know what the heck they’re talking about. It usually goes something like this:

“My CRM has a native CMS with SEO capabilities. It’s fully integrated with my ERP, PIM, and CPQ, so all my workflows are 100 percent streamlined and optimized. I’m considering getting an LMS, but my buddy’s L&D guy told him to go with a LXP instead. Which side of the LMS vs. LXP debate are you on?”

This usually leaves the other person in a state of stunned confusion. It can be a lot to learn all the acronyms, let alone figure out their nuanced differences. When it comes to similar sounding terms like learning management system and learning experience platform, it’s easy for people to mistake these for synonyms.

That’s why we want to explain the difference between LMS vs. LXP for anyone who needs some guidance on which to choose.

Note: For those of you annoyed right now, yes, technically, that’s not the right term. However, most people either don’t know the difference or don’t bother with the distinction. It was less confusing for the majority this way. Shout out to our fellow grammar nerds, though. 😉 #IYKYK

What is a learning management system (LMS)?

An LMS is a type of learning technology that allows for the construction of a learning program. The administrator will create specific learning content to lead learners through a training program with a particular goal in mind.

For example, a company may use an LMS to create an onboarding process that contains all the training new employees need to succeed. It can be used to implement employee learning and development courses as well. A business may also use an LMS to teach customers how to effectively use their products.

Put simply, an LMS, at its core, is a tool for creating an online learning experience. LMSs may also have features that improve the user experience, track progress, assess understanding, and analyze user data. See, it’s not so scary and complicated anymore, right?

Key LMS features

Each LMS is unique, and they all have different functionality. However, there are some features that are likely to be found in most LMSs. So, while not every LMS will have every one of these features, they are common among many of them.

  • Responsive, user-friendly design: Most LMSs will have a responsive design that works seamlessly across all devices. They also tend to have a user-friendly UI to make learning easy.
  • Analysis and reporting tools: It’s common to find tools to help assess the learning program’s effectiveness. You can see how individual learners and groups of learners are performing and make any necessary changes or improvements in response to the data.
  • Course management: This allows administrators to create and catalog the content they want in their digital learning programs.
  • Help features: There may be features designed to help learners who get stuck. This can include discussion forums or access to a support representative.
  • Certification and compliance: Many businesses use their LMS for compliance training to ensure everyone knows the requirements. They can also be used to certify employees to perform certain tasks.
  • Social learning: Social learning features may improve the learner experience by adding a fun, social element like discussion boards or the ability to share your achievements and comment on each others’ posts.
  • Gamification: Gamification is a common e-learning tactic where the learning process is made more exciting and engaging by adding elements of gaming and competition. This can include leaderboards, levels, points, and achievements to unlock.
  • Automation: Some features may allow repetitive tasks to be automated to save time.
  • AI features: Artificial intelligence (AI) may be implemented to allow for format changes to tailor the course to the learner. It can also suggest courses to take next based on what they’ve already completed.

What is a learning experience platform (LXP)?

An LXP is a user-centric collaborative learning platform. They allow for the creation, curation, and use of different kinds of content, including internal training content, external content like blogs and industry research, and even user-generated content to allow learners to share what they know with each other.

LXPs focus on self-directed learning. If a user wants to learn something that the company doesn’t have a dedicated learning path for, they can use the LXP’s AI features to curate the content they need to gain the skills they’re interested in.

This kind of informal learning pathway allows employees to take the initiative and engage in skill development on their own. This is less of a top-down approach. It’s more focused on allowing users to gain competency in areas not covered by the premade corporate learning pathways.  

Key LXP features

Many LXPs share some core features that make an LXP what it is. Here are some of the most common LXP features.

  • User-generated content: Users can create their own content, including individual posts to provide information they believe others may find helpful or entire courses to teach a concept from start to finish.
  • Content curation: LXPs use AI and machine learning (ML) to curate content for users on topics of interest. Users can also curate internal and external content into lessons that they can share with other users.
  • AI recommendations and training: AI may be used in some LXPs to make content recommendations, sometimes through the use of chatbots. It may also have the ability to ingest and understand the learning materials and create microlearning training materials to allow users to learn the most important parts in small, digestible lessons. It can use articles, webinars, podcasts, and more to create a new learning journey or to recommend a place in the content to begin watching or listening based on the topic they want to learn about.
  • Analytics: Analytics can display dashboards to users, showing their progress. Administrators can also use them to view learner progress and understand what professional development users are engaging in.
  • Gamification: Leaderboards, achievements, and other gaming features can improve learner engagement.
  • Integrations: You may be able to connect your LXP to an external learning platform like LinkedIn Learning or Coursera to give users access to courses from third-party providers. You can also find integrations for your other business software solutions, like your customer relationship management platform (CRM), or other tools you use, like communication apps.

LMS vs. LXP: What’s the difference?

While LMSs and LXPs are both types of learning technology, some key differences in LMS vs. LXP make them unique. Both options provide a learning ecosystem for employee and/or customer training, and both can have social media and gamification features to improve employee engagement and retention. However, there’s a different approach to learning in an LMS vs. LXP.

LMS platforms focus on allowing L&D teams to create lessons and courses to guide users through a specific learning path to a specific end. LXPs, on the other hand, focus on user-directed learning to allow employees to choose what they want to learn. While LMSs allow admin authoring of course material, LXPs also allow users to create course content.

They both provide assessments to help you understand the efficacy of your learning programs and features made to aid with the flow of work. LMSs work for more formal learning, while LXPs offer a more casual and self-directed method.

When to choose an LMS

You should pick an LMS for the creation and implementation of courses and certification programs when you need users to take specific learning paths and gain the required knowledge and skills. They’re great for employee and customer onboarding programs, ongoing skill development, and compliance training.  

LMSs focus on the administration of learning materials and courses and tracking outcomes. They often come with assessments, surveys, questionnaires, and benchmark data to help you understand how your content and employees perform and pinpoint any issues or places needing improvement.

If you have training that must be implemented for compliance reasons, you should go with an LMS. The reporting functionality is usually better and more aimed at compliance training, record-keeping, and strict progress monitoring.

When to choose an LXP

You should select an LXP when you want to allow for employee training and upskilling from any number of sources, both inside and outside of your business. LXPs are great for employee-focused learning. They allow the user to control their learning and development process.

Go with an LXP when you want your workforce to be able to engage in continuous learning and skill development that you don’t require records of for compliance reporting. It’s a great way to nurture a generally learning-friendly vibe that encourages skill development in a way that works for each individual.

If your corporate culture focuses on fun, being social, and working together, an LXP is a great choice. It encourages discussion, helping each other learn, and engaging in some friendly competition. It allows you to integrate employee communication apps and has more social media and social learning features.

Key takeaways

There are a lot of different options out there to help businesses thrive. But they don’t have to be complicated mysteries spoken in code. Once you know the fundamentals of each term, it’s easy to see the differences and understand their uses.

It’s important to remember that most business software should work together, not replace each other. There are many differences in LMS vs. LXP. However, it’s best not to think in terms of LMS vs. LXP at all. They aren’t competing. They each serve a different purpose and can work together to provide your ideal learning experience.

Docebo is an LMS that packs a punch. To find out how we can help your business, contact us directly or book a demo today!