Have you been asking yourself What is a Learning Platform in 2021? Here we offer the complete guide to market trends in online education and training platforms, including LMS, LXP, Learning Suites and more.

What is a learning platform?

Introduction

The realm of online learning has been a carefully used resource for business, complementing in-person training despite clear evidence that e-learning is just as impactful with benefits of savings in cost and time for businesses. More recently, the market has  drastically grown due to interest from large organisations and has only been accelerated through increased adoption during the global Coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

A US report on e-learning effectiveness outlined that e-learning within companies had grown 150% from 2000 to 2015 and concluded that if planned and delivered properly can be just as effective as classroom instruction. Making it clear that the option of e-learning is both a cost-efficient and impactful method of training employees.

Over time, a number of systems and platforms have developed to enable a quick and seamless integration of e-learning into a business’ induction and training plans in order to promote learning across the business and enable employers to keep track of employees progress and successes.

The importance of learning and developing is becoming increasingly important to employers and employees, many workers now want training as a central part of their work development. In a recent report on millennial workers by PWC, 35% of millennials said they were attracted to employers who offered excellent training and development programmes.

This generation expects continual training from their workplace and wants to actively engage, interact and learn. E-learning is an excellent addition to your training and induction programmes as it allows employees to take learning at their own pace, fitting it around scheduled meetings and deadlines.

There are a number of systems, platforms, companies and acronyms out there which this guide aims to outline and explain in order for you to get started on integrating one or more of these suggested e-learning approaches into your business. If you have any questions beyond the information contained within this guide, there are a range of resources to support further learning and understanding at the end of the document.

 

What is a Learning Management System (LMS)?

A Learning Management System, also known as a LMS, is software that houses the entire learning process. It’s the central hub for learning content, delivery and progress tracking. The LMS is designed for those in charge of training and development, it is there for analysing and organising goals of a company and its employees, and tracking progress towards those goals. This system also has scope for including induction of new staff, compliance testing and tracking and skills gap analysis depending on your choice of system.

It can be hard to differentiate what is an LMS and what is an LXP when you’re searching the market, we will go into this in detail later on as sometimes the lines can cross and it can be difficult to know what will be right for you and your company. The most important aspect is to understand the needs of your company as then you can choose whichever product will solve your problem the most effectively.

In the e-learning world, Docebo and Litmos are two of the leading Learning Management Systems. Docebo offers a cloud-based experience and blended combination of LMS, LXP and options for training, sales management and compliance training, but they are known best in the market for the reliable Learning Management System which underpins all of their other products. Litmos, also known as SAP Litmos, is a more focused system that places usability and functionality at the heart of the product, keeping its functions honed to deliver training rapidly through targeted and bite-sized learning options.

 

What are the benefits of a Learning Management System?

The main benefits of using a Learning Management System are the opportunities for automation to ensure regular training and compliance is complete in line with your industry’s standards and expectations. Using an LMS saves training costs, keeps training consistent and tracks learner progress and performance, making this data easily accessible in order to manage knowledge and skills development across your company. It is tailored to your company meaning that all training is linked to your business and industry, keeping users on a focused path through the learning content.

Alongside these key benefits, the integration of a Learning Management System allows you to specify the exact content your employees need for training, good flexibility to update company learning and quicker adoption of changes and additions to training when necessary.

 

What is a Learning Experience Platform (LXP)?

A Learning Experience Platform, also known as a LXP or LEP, is a platform that delivers a personalised learning experience. It’s usually a cloud-based platform that can be accessed from anywhere through the internet. The platform acts as a place to bring together a company’s internal digital learning resources alongside external content available on the internet and content generated by the users of the platform.

A LXP is designed to capture learning outside of formal training in order to create a personalised learning experience that extends beyond central company training.

A key emphasis within the LXP is engagement and encouraging the learner to explore further learning – often in the form of a content recommendation engine. Because of this ‘Netflix-style’ is a term often used in the context of LXPs and many learning experience platforms actually emulate its user interface and overall look and feel.

In curating your training according to your company and employees’ needs, a Learning Experience Platform adapts the content to ensure interactivity and engagement from your learners, in tracking learners’ progress it can adapt to suggest new courses and content that may be beneficial to the individual. The ability to bring together internal and external content creates learning opportunities through a mix of formats and media with room for videos, long-form blog posts and company presentations.

Edcast and Degreed are examples of Learning Experience Platforms that are popular choices for online learning.

 

What are the benefits of a Learning Experience Platform?

The LXP is regularly positioned as a better alternative to the LMS due to the ability to combine web content, internal content and learner generated content meaning that the content is constantly moving and growing with your company and offering engaging new learning for your employees to interact and develop with.

A LXP also offers the scope to acknowledge and track the learning that employees tend to choose and complete outside of work in order to grow and develop their skills and knowledge. In acknowledging this kind of learning, you develop a culture that values training and learning beyond the necessary basics and through curious learners looking for more learning opportunities, you may find some new resources that will support a number of employees across your business.

 

LMS vs LXP

As previously mentioned, it can be hard to tell the differences between a LMS vs LXP and decide what will be most effective for your business. This is a trend of the market where these two products are overlapping or being offered by the same companies.

Now you have more of an idea of what these two options might look like and be used for, hopefully you can see which one would best suit your company and business plans. For extra clarity, this section will simply outline the difference between a LMS and LXP and how you could select one for your business. Deciding on an approach will help you further narrow down the products and help with deciding your budget and next actions.

 

What is the difference between an LMS and an LXP?

A simple difference between an LMS and LXP is that you could see the LMS centred on the needs of the organisation, whereas the LXP is focused on the interests and progression of the individual learner, in order to foster a culture of learning.

Traditionally, the LMS is a closed, internal system, usually tailored to a company’s requirements or industry, while the LXP is more of an open system that uses a mixture of internal and external information and allows learners to contribute their own content too. However, these lines are now very blurred and many LMS solutions enable the curation of content from a wide range of external sources as well as storing training content developed in-house.

Both LMS and LXP provide opportunities to track learners’ progress and certifications, and enable a company to spot skills gaps that can then be resolved through training.

 

How do I choose the right learning platform for my business?

Research, research, research. In your process of choosing a training system or platform, you will probably have your company’s needs in mind. It depends on those needs as to which type of tool will work for you as well as which brand you will choose to work with that offers your desired tool.

Of course, the advances and convergence of technology now allows LMS and LXP to be offered simultaneously by the same company and may be useful if you want to try out both, monitor their usage and then decide to hone in on one or the other later on. Learning Pool offers both LMS and LXP along with other forms of learning technology – there is more information on this company in their company outline under the Learning Systems on the Market section.

 

Practical uses and examples

Now that we’ve explored Learning Management Systems and Learning Experience Platforms, the next few sections will outline some of the practical uses of these tools for your business and then suggest some companies that offer LMS and LXP and how they might work for your business.

 

Compliance Training Platforms

If your industry requires your employees to be aware of legal requirements while working, you can use e-learning platforms to ensure your workers are compliant and understand the processes and knowledge that is necessary for their particular role or for the whole industry.

For example, a restaurant may require employees to be food safety trained to be compliant with legal requirements and they may also require employees to know company processes for labelling and storing food. A system or platform can help with delivering and tracking the progress of employees in developing this knowledge, it also allows the restaurant to track updates to training and engagement with training over time, giving them a good picture of employees’ compliance with company and legal requirements.

Compliance training could also be linked to data and data management, an important area for all companies who trade online and store customer details. All employees will need basic training to meet legal requirements but you may like to add extra aspects to the training for your marketing team alongside a different addition for your customer services team. Using a training tool to deliver this training across your company would allow you to easily assign training to each team and update accordingly if legal requirements were changed.

 

Performance and Training Management Systems

A number of platforms specialise in the tracking of training and performance of employees, if this is your main focus for e-learning then it’s worth looking for a system that specialises in tracking and developing progress across your company.

Tracking performance can include overall productivity and performance of your company, team performance and individual performance. This allows you to incorporate goal-setting and performance-management meetings into your yearly calendar and encourages employees to check in with goals regularly along with providing clear vision for where your company is going.

The management of training is incredibly helpful for keeping track of employee certifications and achievements alongside being able to provide training through e-learning, making it accessible and flexible around your working day. Training can go hand in hand with performance management as there may be goals your employees can achieve through extra training or you may need your employees to develop new skills due to changes in your industry.

 

Best Learning Platforms on the Market

There are a huge number of systems and platforms to choose from, it can be an overwhelming process of researching and figuring out what is right for your budget and business. To begin with you might like to narrow down your search through the use of market reports and online reviews to help filter your options depending on price, performance and features available.

Below you’ll find a brief outline of some of the most popular products on the market to help you decide what could work for you.

 

Cornerstone

A market-leading learning management system, Cornerstone allows you to establish and drive effective learning and give access to your employees no matter where they are through apps. This system is really adaptable to your needs and offers a suite of services alongside clear analytics and data on company learning. The system also integrates with a number of other services, such as LinkedIn, PayPal and Skype, in order to elevate your training capabilities. In the market it is one of the more expensive systems as it offers a multitude of services. Cornerstone is used by a range of businesses, showing the transferability of the system between sectors and industries, clients include the University of York, Nestle, Nasdaq and Hallmark.

 

Training Orchestra

A specialist leader in learning systems, Training Orchestra is not as widely used in the market but presents a strong training management system that can help your business manage budgets, training and productivity. The cost of ownership of this product is mid-level, providing a practical solution to a clear need. The product is more streamlined than Cornerstone, with a clear focus on training solutions that has been recognised with a number of industry awards. Used by the likes of KPMG, pwc and Capgemini, you’re in good company if you choose this system to deliver your online learning.

 

Docebo

This company is a leader in the market, a clear standout choice for businesses looking to spend a mid-level budget on their online learning. Docebo offers a suite of learning approaches, similar to Cornerstone, and will be the only platform your company needs for modern learning. This Learning Management System works well for a number of industries, including software, healthcare and business services. Clients of Docebo include Walmart, Heineken, Bose and Thomson Reuters so you’ll know the products have been vigorously tried and tested in practical industries.

 

SAP Litmos

A Learning Management System used by companies across the world, including Pepsico, IBM and Fitbit, Litmos offers online learning for everything from sales to compliance in order to bring together all of your company’s elearning in one handy place.

The cloud-based system along with their robust course library places a huge number of resources and fantastic usability at your fingertips. Litmos is a core leader in the market with a mid-level cost to using in your business, making it a good choice for businesses looking for an all-rounder to integrate into their day-to-day training.

 

Day One Technologies

Day One is a full-service elearning company in the UK that creates custom online learning platforms for clients to meet their unique training requirements. As well as your typical LMS solutions, these include simulation based training to help clients speed onboarding and software user adoption.

They can also create multi-tenancy LMS solutions to help training learner groups with differing needs, localise content, or create training hubs for external partners, such as suppliers, dealerships or logistics providers. Their in-house learning experts and instructional designers can also create the elearning content to deliver from your platform.

Day One clients include Lloyds Bank, the NHS, mental health charity Mind, Croda, Mercedes-Benz and many more.

 

Learning Pool

Learning Pool has the strengths to provide good performance within your business. It is a suite of products that are transferable to a number of industries. As previously mentioned, Learning Pool offers both LXP and LMS plus ready-made courses and the power and design to build your own courses. Learning Pool’s clients range from the University of Lincoln, Hertfordshire County Council and Sky, proving that they have scope for a number of industries within their products and services.

 

Workday

Popular with many well-known brands, Workday offers one system for your business that supports finance, HR, learning and planning across the company. This suite of products and services has a high presence in the market with a large uptake across a number of sectors and industries. Workday has helped Netflix, Astra Zeneca and the British Heart Foundation with increasing profits, developing talent and transforming culture. The user interface is clear and straightforward to navigate, backed up by smooth software that keeps track of all the necessary data. Currently marked as a strategic challenger, if you’re looking for something similar to Cornerstone but need a slightly cheaper choice, Workday is an excellent option in providing the same products and services that will hopefully grow and improve further in the future.

 

Edcast

Multi-award winning Edcast offers training and learning with a modern edge. Th is learning experience platform can be carefully integrated with systems you already use at work, such as Slack or Office 365, in order to seamlessly measure learning while your employees are working. The company is fairly new to the market so has a smaller presence, but works with well-known brands, such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Etisalat, so is still achieving a global reach.

It has the potential to become a market leader and is definitely one to watch in the future.

 

Degreed

A specialist platform focusing solely on training and upskilling your employees, Degreed is an LXP that works with your workforce to help support skill growth and promote job opportunities. The interface is specialised for business, aiming to weave through the complexities of large organisations with ease.

The platform is a learning experience platform that offers insights, guidance and resources that takes into account the skills and experience already available in your company. This is a mid-price platform that offers a strong challenge to the market leaders, embracing a sharp focus on one area that businesses are looking to improve. Clients of Degreed include Shopify, Booking.com and Prudential.

 

The Future of e-Learning Platforms

e-Learning is an adaptable and ever-changing sector that continues to grow with the demand from companies. New developments in technology signal developments in e-learning as new technology is adapted and built into the online learning experience.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is currently shaping the future of learning technology through using data science to provide highly personalised learning experiences in order to increase engagement with company training and development. Filtered are the pioneers of this idea, providing specific training to individuals rather than offering full access to all learning content out there, streamlining the information keeps the individual focused and allows the business to tailor the experience to the individuals skills and needs. This is a huge leap towards the further personalisation of learning and the removal of biases from education.

Immersive content is another area set to grow, making the most of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to place learners in an emulation of real-life situations. This will enable physical practice within these environments in order to develop knowledge necessary for high-stakes or dangerous events: an experience that’s perfect for soldiers, pilots and doctors.

Other trends include the increase of personalised learning to individuals, particular job roles and companies, microlearning which is a sharp focus on a specific skill or subject over a shorter period of time and a broader focus on the science of learning that will enhance ability to recall information over time and better develop learners’ understanding of a topic.

 

References

Millennials at work report, pwc (2020): https://www.pwc.com/co/es/publicaciones/assets/millennials-at-work.pdf (Accessed March 2021)

Does e-learning work? What the Scientific Research says, Will Thalheimer (2017): https://www.worklearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Does-eLearning-Work-Full-Research-Report-FINAL2.pdf (Accessed March 2021)

 

Resources

Docebo LMS: https://www.docebo.com/

Litmos LMS: https://www.litmos.com/

Why is Compliance training important?: https://www.docebo.com/blog/why-is-compliance-training-important-lms/

E-learning trends in 2021: https://www.ispringsolutions.com/blog/elearning-trends-2021

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