E-learning is at the forefront of education and corporate training. In 2019, the e-learning market was worth $101 billion — the learning management system market accounted for $18 billion of that.
When putting together your e-learning tech stack, you’ll come across a learning management system (LMS) and a learning experience platform (LXP). Though similar, the two bring different benefits to the table.
Start with an LMS
LMS means “learning management system” and is the base layer of any learning and development (L&D) tech stack.
Current estimates suggest 73.8 million people use an LMS. This training and educational platform allows users to create or upload courses, stores course content and takes learners through lessons and assessments. An LMS also typically has tracking functionality to measure learner engagement and course completion rates.
There are lots of LMS platforms out there. The LMS market is expected to grow to $22.4 billion in 2023. And this year investments in EdTech are projected to top $252 billion globally. Schools alone spend an average of $10,243 on their LMS each year.
Eduflow is an example of a lightweight LMS platform. We store and organize course content for higher education and corporate training settings, along with other valuable features to track and increase engagement (like a built-in peer review tool).
With an LMS, you can:
- Manage all L&D content and assets in a way that’s easy to navigate.
- Track learner progress over time and course completion.
- Get analytics about course engagement and effectiveness.
- Administer and grade quizzes, tests, and assessments.
- Create 1-on-1 training environments between learners and teachers.
Per the Capterra Education LMS User Research Survey, schools use LMSs to administer assignments and assessments, facilitate discussion, and record grades and student performance. Some even use LMSs to sell courses.
It’s possible to use multiple LMS, or integrate multiple learning tools for different purposes. For example, you could use one tool to run online courses, and another to facilitate peer review. Eduflow's integrated peer review functionality offers you both in one platform.
Personalize Learning with an LXP
A learning experience platform is like an enhanced LMS, meaning: rather than simply presenting learning material and taking students through courses, an LXP delivers a dynamic and personalized experience. Think of it like browsing Netflix — you have a tailored experience based on your preferences and past behavior. LXPs hit the market in the mid-2010s, emerging as an upgraded LMS of sorts.
Dedicated LXP platforms are more robust than LMS offerings and provide a more engaging and customized learning experience. Through an LXP, you’re able to:
- Personalize course content and learning tracks for each individual based on interests and past behavior.
- Facilitate collaborative learning environments with 1-on-1, small-group, and whole-group communication.
- Access a library where learners can discover and explore new learning opportunities on their own time.
- Centralize and optimize training for engagement and student success, simplifying the learning process and bringing it all together.
For an example of a “traditional” LXP, check out LinkedIn Learning. The platform curates training and educational material based on each user’s LinkedIn profile and behavior. You can also see if any of your connections have taken any of the courses.
It can be costly to invest in both LMS and LXP software. A simpler solution is to choose an LMS that incorporates a degree of LXP functionality. For example, Eduflow is learner focused, opposed to learning management focused. It allows instructors to create bespoke courses, but also centers students by making them an active part in their own learning process.
Choosing an LMS
When setting up your tech stack, it’s a good idea to start with the LMS, as this is the foundation of your L&D content and experience. At this stage, you can organize learning material and get learners acclimated to using the technology. In many cases, LMS platforms offer LXP features — like Eduflow.
Once you have the LMS nailed down, move on to leveraging some of the advanced features available through an LXP.
While your LMS is more of an administrative tool, your LXP is what creates the actual L&D experience. It’s helpful to think of it this way: your LXP uses the information from your LMS to create custom, engaging learning experiences.
With an LXP, look for collaborative learning tools like:
- Asynchronous training: This community-building form of training lets students learn on their own time and at their own pace. Online discussion boards, video lectures, and most online learning or e-learning are forms of asynchronous learning.
- Peer reviews: Peer reviews allow learners to assess one another’s strengths and opportunities for improvement.
- Discussion boards: Rather than limiting communication to 1-on-1 interactions between teacher and student, discussion boards allow the entire group or smaller groups of people to interact.
Ease of Use
Your LMS/LXP needs to be easy to use by both instructors and learners. The interface should be intuitive to navigate.
Schedule a demo, so you can get a walkthrough of the tool. It’s a good idea to get someone from your team who will use the platform a lot to participate in the demo and offer their honest feedback. This will also help get their buy-in when it’s time to implement and roll out the platform organization-wide.
You’ll also want to read user reviews to find out how people like using the product. You can check sites like Capterra, G2, and Merchant Maverick in your vetting process. A simple Google search will also unearth real-world accounts of using the platforms.
Budget is always a factor, which means finding an LMS or LXP you can afford. There are different pricing structures to keep in mind. Plus, it costs money to create courses, so you want to make the most of your investment, especially as you build up your library over time.
Look for free trials or tools that have different tiers for pricing and plans. This allows you to find something you can afford now and in the future. If you have lots of instructors, for example, you might look for a tool that has an unlimited amount of users on the teaching side. On the flip side, if you only have one or a few trainers, you might be able to get away with a lower-tiered plan.
Eduflow has a free plan that allows you to create an unlimited number of online courses. Paid options give you more space for instructors, learners, and more.
Top Reasons for an LMS Switch
As the way we teach and do work continues to evolve, it’s becoming more important than ever to use tools that enhance L&D.
If you already have an LMS and/or LXP but feel limited, there are a few reasons to justify a switch:
Try Eduflow Risk-Free
Committing to a learning software is a big decision, and you want to make that decision with confidence. With Eduflow, you can poke around our back end and even create and run a course for free to really get a feel for using the tool. It’s a great way to dip your toes into the LMS and LXP waters — commitment-free.