All you need to know about Learning Experience Platforms (LXP)
Before we talk about Learning Experience Platforms (LXP), let’s take a small step back.
It has been many years since most organizations equipped themselves with Learning Management Systems (LMS). The platform is used to meet the training needs of their employees on issues identified by the organization.
The prefix “e” generally refers to the web.
E-learning is therefore literally “learning on the web”. The LMS, as an organization’s centralized (or not) training catalog, is its embodiment.
Today, all the digital technologies available allow us to go further than just offering online content catalogs. Virtual reality, artificial intelligence, recommendations, micro-content, analytics… must be leveraged.
In this context, we can no longer really talk about e-learning. Instead, we need to talk about digital learning. This digital learning, which is more diverse, more robust, more adapted to our daily lives and based on all digital technologies, is embodied by the Learning Experience Platform (LXP).
A Learning Experience Platform (LXP), what is it?
A Learning Experience Platform (LXP) aims to optimize the learner’s experience inside a company’s learning ecosystem.
It delivers personalized learning experiences, facilitates access to content and incorporates innovative learning methods to optimize employee skill development.
To do so, the LXP must be a framework that reconciles the needs of organizations with those of learners.
On one hand, it provides features to the learner so that they can true take ownership of the platform, it delivers personalized learning experiences, facilitates access to content and incorporates innovative digital learning methods to optimize employee skill development.
On the other hand, it allows organizations to share a wide variety of content on their strategic themes and skills, to curate content and to improve their visibility on learners’ skills.
Learning Experience Platform (LXP) and Learning Management System (LMS), what are the differences?
Geared towards the end user
The first difference is the change in customer orientation to the benefit of the user.
Learning Management Systems, with their object model dating back to the early 2000s, were created to deliver e-learning content. They are also used to administer the company’s internal training offer, all modalities combined (e-learning and face-to-face).
These systems were designed as a solution to the problems of their Human Resources (HR) customers. They were designed in the form of sessions, registrations, validation workflows, sign-up sheets for face-to-face training, invitation e-mails, deadlines… a whole functional panel that is still critical today.
Therefore, in principle, a company can do without an LXP, whereas it cannot do without an LMS.
As for the LXP, it was designed with the end user, the learner, in mind. The basic premise is simple. If a platform has not been built using the codes of a B2C platform (Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, Spotify…) then end-users will be less likely to engage and to integrate the platform to their daily life.
New pedagogical modalities
The second difference is the pedagogical modality. The LMS works well to develop skills over time on structured paths, with quizzes, reminders, blended or not, this is called macro-learning.
The LXP, on the other hand, does not only focus on the structured or formal part of learning. It tries to capture the informal (videos, articles, podcasts…). An LXP can be a bit like Google, Netflix or Youtube, or all three at the same time. It’s the e-learning world’s response to the B2C trend of “just in time” in a society of immediacy
The LXP is there to aggregate and consolidate all the company’s training content, whether it is in the LMS or not, and to give a user the possibility of having an answer to his problem in just a few clicks.
The content is shortened as much as possible (micro-learning), and well indexed via metadata to allow search engines and recommendations like those of Netflix or Amazon to be able to offer the user relevant content according to his use
It is on top of this essential functionality that LXP publishers have integrated additional features into their product.
The digital trends that render Learning Experience Platforms (LXP) essential.
Since the creation of the first e-learning platforms more than twenty years ago, many things have changed.
Not only have new technologies and tools appeared, reached maturity and changed user behavior, but new e-learning standards and content formats have become an integral part of a well-constructed corporate learning environment.
1) Platform are more and more invisible
Drawn by GAFAMs that invest heavily in IOT, in AR/VR/MR, in conversational agents…, the platforms as we know them are still evolving.
This investment is driven by the desire to transform the traditional browser experience, where everything is just a URL linked to a platform, and thereby initiate a new web paradigm.
A paradigm in which we will no longer connect to platforms such as Facebook, Google or Amazon but, in a way, they will connect to us. Google Glass, or Oculus are perfect examples. Facebook even estimates that augmented reality will replace smartphones by 2030.
Another example that will speak to everyone, that of a car’s GPS. While until recently it was necessary to enter its destination address letter by letter via an interface, now we do it by voice. The same goes for voice assistants (Alexa, Home). There is no more interface, no more platform. At least, we don’t see it anymore.
2) LRS and xAPI
An LRS, or Learning Record Store, is a database used to store all the information in your learning ecosystem in xAPI format.
An entry in xAPI format always has the following syntax
- User + Verb + Object
- John Doe liked this article.
- Jane Doe shared this content.
- John Doe watched this video on Youtube.
- Jane Doe completed this e-learning resource on the LMS.
- John Doe searched for “management” in the LXP.
- …you get the idea.
This data can be written to the LRS from any website and not just traditional LMS, LEP or LXP.
This is what makes the xAPI standard an indispensable step forward in the learning industry.
It allows you to capture usage data outside of learning platforms, but also to store in the Learning Record Store other information than what you would otherwise have stored in Scorm or AICC format from your content.
For example, you can store information from CRM, feedback or engagement applications, social networks… Therefore ADL (the organization that developed the xAPI standard and previously Scorm) keeps expanding the list of available verbs. With the increasing complexity of the data emanating from learning ecosystems, a more open standard was needed, one that was in line with the new uses. It is therefore necessary not to lock xAPI into a straitjacket as Scorm was:
- John Doe changed the status of this opportunity.
- John Doe asked for feedback on his “Active Listening” competency.
Avantages of the LRS
Another advantage of LRS and xAPI is that storing all your learning data in an LRS significantly reduces your dependence on one LMS provider, or even on vendors when several are deployed across the enterprise. In this scenario, you are in control of your data.
Indeed, we know how difficult it is to migrate data from an LMS A to an LMS B when you change suppliers. You must first export the historical data. Then you should check your content library (Scorm / multi-Sco compatibility… which varies from one editor to another). Finally, you should transform these data and reimport them into the new LMS.
With an LRS, data migration is greatly simplified.
You automatically export all the data from your current LMS and copy it on your LRS (like a backup system) in addition to your other Learning streams. If you should change LMS provider, you simply “re-connect” your new LMS to your existing LRS. No more data migration problems.
The solution is far from miraculous, but it is still worth exploring.
This is the benefit of the LRS. Having a structured, standardized database that is easily readable by several systems.
3) New technologies to build upon
New technologies such as the Internet of Things (IOT), the cloud, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, data analytics, fiber optics, 4G and soon 5G… are completely changing the game. They can propel us into a new era of learning and enable new learning methods.
4) Mobile-first, the new gold standard?
With more than 75% penetration rate worldwide, mobile technology can be considered to have achieved global adoption. For its part, the data consumed continues to climb.
For the subject at hand, there are two trends that are of interest to us.
Smartphone as the main platform
The first is the fact that, as laptops have (almost) replaced desktop computers, smartphones will soon (almost) replace laptops.
Indeed, some manufacturers already offer smartphones with 8GB of RAM, and the rise of the cloud will make it increasingly easy to perform complex tasks directly on your smartphone.
Moreover, the main obstacle for a smartphone to have a functional perimeter like that of a laptop is the operating system. Apple, Google or Microsoft are actively working to reduce the functional hole that separates the two devices with their Ipad Pro, Surface Pro and Pixel respectively.
Once the operating system has been developed, all you should have to do is plug your smartphone into a docking station connected to a screen and that’s it. No need for a laptop anymore. This highlights the need for a mobile-first solution when thinking of the future of your learning ecosystem.
New mobile technologies
The second trend directly linked to the growth of mobile technology is its ability to facilitate the integration of new technologies and new uses. Geolocation, barcode scanning, QR code, image recognition, IoT, virtual or augmented reality, these technologies all have one thing in common: they’re mainly mobile (smartphone or connected objects).
5) News ways of consuming content
As you will have noticed, off-the-shelf content is less and less attractive to learners. While it remains the cornerstone of your learning environment, many will opt for other formats and delivery channels when learning about many issues.
The way learners consume learning content is becoming increasingly like the way they consume content outside of the professional setting.
Many will prefer to go to Youtube, listen to a podcast, read an article… to learn something.
They will prefer to keep an eye on social networks, subscribe to certain content platforms (Netflix, Youtube…)
Learning environments need therefore to adapt.
In short, learners change and it is only logical that the platforms intended for them adapt.
6) Content curation and UGC (User Generated Content)
Curation of e-learning content is simply the systematic search, sorting and sharing of content relevant to your organization.
While content curation involves the orderly integration of external content into your learning environment, content can also be generated internally using a User Generated Content (UGC) approach.
These two concepts are complementary.
Not only do they help to bridge the time between a training need on a particular topic and the creation of formal training on it (also known as Time to Learn or supply vs. demand metrics), but they also make it possible to combine non-organization-specific training with organization-specific training.
They also allow easy access to content on issues that are not very common, that only concern a few employees and for which it would not be profitable to invest time (internal to a trainer or external) in the production of content.
There are two main approaches to content curation.
The bottom-up approach and the top-down approach. Each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages and they are not mutually exclusive. It is entirely possible to adopt both in a hybrid approach, and indeed that is what we recommend.
The top-down approach, the basis of traditional digital learning, was to have L&Ds creating and pushing content to the learner. There are new technologies, with an automated approach, that browse the web and do semantic analysis on the content to identify the topics and then integrate those that interest you into your learning environment.
The advantages and disadvantages of this approach are that there is no collaboration but, as the content will be better organized, you are more likely to get relevant content.
The bottom-up approach, which could also be called the collaborative approach, implies that it is your learners and L&D managers who find and share the content. For this, you need a tool that allows sharing, which is integrated with content sources such as Youtube, Spotify or Deezer for podcasts, Google for articles…
It has the advantage of being, as its name suggests, more collaborative, more social. It creates more engagement with your learners, encourages sharing and helps create a true culture of learning and excellence within your organization.
That said, to take full advantage of curation, the content must be well organized, well tagged so that a recommendation engine can easily recognize the content and provide relevant recommendations. While it is possible to tag content by hand, depending on the size of your organization, it can quickly become complicated to maintain a catalog with a large volume.
We recommend a hybrid approach that combines the two.
Key features of the Learning Experience Platform (LXP): A strong focus on user experience
The main objective of an LXP is to facilitate access to any type of content and serve it as efficiently as possible.
An LXP must be designed with the end user, the learner, in mind.
It must provide an immersive, intuitive, continuous and personalized learning experience.
1) Aggregate and index different content sources
An LXP must first aggregate and index all content sources available to the learner.
Whether it is internal content made available in the organization’s LMS(s), MooC providers, B2C platforms (Youtube, Spotify, Vimeo, Dailymotion…), virtual or augmented reality content, search engines… the learner must have a single point of access to all the content deemed relevant by the stakeholders.
LXP must also make it easy to find relevant content by indexing content in a search engine.
Finally, depending on the size of the organization, there may be several tens of thousands of pieces of content to be indexed. The LXP must therefore have an intelligent search system.
2) Integration to a whole ecosystem
An LXP integrates seamlessly with the organization’s other ecosystems.
It must of course be integrated with the organization’s LRS and Business Intelligence tools so that the organization can easily measure what is happening in the entire ecosystem using a Learning Analytics approach (to which we will return below).
It must also have a whole technological layer, such as a recommendation engine, a Learning Bot, a metadata generation tool for content or a User Generated Content tool, a content curation tool, and so on.
Finally, it must incorporate aspects of Learning in the Flow of Work by connecting to the organization’s productivity tools. Learners can be recommended content in Slack, Microsoft Teams or in their Google suite, social networks…
Professionalising Learning and Development – Towards Maturity
Learning Experience Platform (LXP) Market Grows Up: Now Too Big To Ignore – Josh Bersin
What Is a Learning Experience Platform and Will It Replace Your LMS? – GetApp
The Power of Collaborative Learning: More Important Than Ever – Josh Bersin
- 2019 Total Learning Architecture Report – ADL