For many years, e-learning has been strongly associated with boredom and not very intuitive tools. Those who enrolled in online instead of on-site training, felt that no one cared enough about their development. All that mattered was the management, control and reporting. The central element of each e-learning implementation was the platform called LMS (Learning Management System).
Companies bought the system, placed a library of ready-made training courses on it, did a quick promotion and then left the employees alone. Taking into account our innate resistance to the “new” and the very low quality of the first e-learning solutions on the Polish market, it is hardly surprising that there were few people who saw the potential of this format and believed in its effectiveness. The suppliers did not help in this situation.
The e-learning platforms were given new functions enabling the creation of development paths, learning on mobile devices or increasing the involvement of users using the gamification. However, the approach to the user did not change – it was the user who had to learn to use the tool and adapt to its logic, which the suppliers could not even explain at sales meetings.
The LMS market is huge. There are about a thousand companies on it, which will increase its value to USD 25 billion by 2025. Nothing seemed to be able to disrupt this “order”, until a few years ago, new solutions began to emerge. They were hidden under the mysterious abbreviations LXP/LEP (Learning Experience Platform/Learning Engagement Platform), and unlike their predecessors, they did not resemble an interface, the first window operating systems, and did not require two-day training for administrators to learn how to use them. Eventually, experience won with engagement and the name LXP has stabilised in the market.
At the moment, it generates around USD 300 million a year, and the market is growing at a rate of 50% year-on-year. What is the phenomenon? They focus on the user and try to make the development process as easy as possible.
The main features of LXP systems are:
1. User orientation
All functions of the system are focused on the user, their comfort and their needs. It is the system responsibility to select and provide the user with the appropriate content (so that they do not have to search for it themselves), remind them of upcoming deadlines or engage them in development activities. How does it do it?
The recommendation algorithms supported by artificial intelligence try to match the materials to each user based on information in their profile (role, position, department), experience, interests, previous interactions with the system (what they “hunt” for, what training they have completed, whether they have recommended it, what people they observe, etc.), the equipment used or the development paths of other employees with a similar profile who achieve the best results at work. As in the case of well-known video services, we have information about the most popular and trending materials both globally, on a company scale or among people in a similar position to ours.
Special algorithms create a personalized development path, for each employee separately and update it over time, based on the change of the above parameters.
3. Diversity of materials
The ideal development environment should include a mix of internal and external materials. Most LXP solutions are sold with a ready-made, accurately described and tagged training and material library, thanks to agreements signed with educational and business content providers, both formal and informal – specialist services such as Harvard Business Review, YouTube/TED videos, getAbstract book abstracts, podcasts or short micro learning forms. Thanks to this database, the system can be immediately made available to users. They are given a completely new role.
4. Curatorship of the content
Training teams are slowly changing their role from manager and content provider to development consultant. Not only administrators, but every user of the LXP system can build a database of materials, add their own, create playlists and share them with other users.
A very important element of LXP systems are interactions between users. They can participate in discussions, create interest groups, comment on the materials together, recommend them to others, or follow the recommendations and training progress of experts in selected fields.
6. New interface
The whole thing is dressed in a modern, personalized interface, reminiscent of popular online services such as Facebook, Amazon or Netflix. Intuitiveness and ease of access to information is the basis of LXP systems.
All the new features described above result in users generating much more and much more interesting data. The report module allows you to monitor not only “scores” but also user behaviour and interactions with the system: what materials are most often recommended, how many playlists and what topics have the participants created, what are they most often talking about, who is an expert in a given field (chosen by their liking for their activity), what and when do people look for on our system, do they use mobile devices, and if so, what training formats are more popular on the phone and what on a desktop computer? These questions have so far remained unanswered. Now we have them at our fingertips.
What do we not find in these systems?
I have described above the features of LXP systems, which in most cases distinguish them from typical e-learning platforms (less and less, as I will say in a moment). And what functions cannot be found in them?
Such systems usually do not have modules to manage stationary training, events, trainers, classes and materials. They also often do not offer authoring tools that allow the creation of simple content and tests/analyses. Another difference is the lack of e-commerce elements, so if you are looking for a solution that will allow you to sell your training / e-learning materials, LXP will not be a good choice.
Examples of LXP systems
The most popular solutions of this type on the market are those of such companies as Degreed, Learn Amp or EdCast, which may not tell you much at first. A more recognizable brand is certainly LinkedIn Learning. This market is extremely dynamic and it is appropriate to read every quarter about a new product on the market, takeovers of one LXP manufacturer by another or absorption by an LMS supplier.
How can they be tested?
If you want to test the LXP in action, I recommend you two solutions. The first is the Degreed application, which you can download to your phone for free (iOS, Android). The second is the magpie for Digital Working online service, which will enable you to further improve your competences in the area of digital technologies.
Both tools work on a similar basis – they select and make educational materials (videos, podcasts, articles, presentations, micro-training, MOOCi, etc.) available to you in the form of personalised tracks and then update them continuously based on your choices and progress. Your task is to review the materials and evaluate them (and, of course, learn).
Magpie platform for Digital Working
The future of LXP systems
The LXP market resembles a good thriller – we have a “murder” of a stabilised market for e-learning platforms, a ruthless struggle and even cases of cannibalisation when a market leader “eats” its biggest competitor.
Producers of e-learning platforms have underestimated or slept through the appearance of a new competitor on the market. However, they are trying to catch up very quickly. Whether they are small local players or global providers of HR systems such as Cornerstone on Demand or Saba (who have also recently merged), everyone has started to update their solutions and add features typical for LXP (such as modern interfaces, AI-supported recommendations or rich analysis with the possibility of presenting data in the form of dashboards),
On the other hand, LXP providers have started to add features that were previously characteristic of LMS, such as the ability to add company training materials or create extensive company hierarchies.
The difference between the two solutions is becoming increasingly blurred. Will we stop hearing about LXP in a moment? It is hard to say at this point, but there are already references on the web to new technologies that are to focus on skills this time. You may find that we are about to read the first article about the SKB (Skills Based Platform).
Where to find information about LXP
If you want to be up to date with information about the LXP market, I strongly recommend you the Craig Weiss’s blog. In his publications he describes both the LMS and LXP, as well as their mutual relations. It also prepares periodic summaries presenting the most interesting solutions of this type on the market.
Josh Bersin also writes very interestingly about the market and LXP solutions. I also encourage you to follow my profile on LinkedIn, Twitter, my blog and the Facebooku group, where I share a lot of information about new technologies and online education.
Do you need an LXP system? How to implement it?
Remember not to blindly follow trends and news (it costs money and often does not work). When it comes to the implementation of new technologies, I strongly encourage people to learn from the mistakes of others instead of their own. Remember that there is no single “best” solution for every organisation, so before you ask in a forum “what system do you recommend…”, read, build a team with the right competences and make a proper analysis.
Some time ago I wrote an article which became the most popular entry on my blog. It concerns the implementation of e-learning platforms, but in view of the similarities I have indicated between the two solutions, I think it will be very useful.