A learning management system (LMS) is a platform providing a framework for delivering learning content. This includes the hosting, delivery and tracking of training materials as a minimum, but the most sophisticated learning management systems can do much, much more.
Learning management systems are typically used to house e-learning courses, multimedia content, PDFs, e-books and more, and can be organized into structured programs or course catalogs to help guide learners through a set learning path.
An LMS may be used alone or as part of a blended learning program, with other systems or alongside face-to-face, synchronous learning.
A learning experience platform (LXP) focuses on the experience of learning, or “learning in the flow of work.” Typically, an LXP will focus more on informal, social learning activities, which often complement structured, formal learning programs.
Activities generally supported by an LXP include content creation and curation, asynchronous discussions and communication, private or public groups and the ability to collaborate with teammates across the organization.
An LXP can be used as a standalone learning platform, but is more commonly integrated with an LMS to support both formal and informal learning, giving organizations the best of both worlds.
Whether you’re just getting started on your LXP journey or you’re still wondering whether or not you need one, here are six ways you can integrate your LMS and LXP to maximize the benefits of both systems.
While structured learning will play a vital role in your onboarding program, social learning can significantly improve the process. Creating an area on your LXP for new employees helps them connect with others, clarify areas of confusion and make important connections in their early days and weeks. Adding experienced employees to the group will ensure the new employees have trusted sources of information to consult to ensure consistent and accurate knowledge transfer.
The informal learning supported by your LXP can “wrap around” your formal LMS courses. If your LXP and LMS are fully integrated, you could set up collaborative workspaces in your LXP alongside each formal learning program in your LMS, giving learners an opportunity to clarify any areas of confusion, share additional resources and discuss the program’s content. This ensures that formal learning is supplemented with informal learning, both immediately after the course and over time.
An LXP creates a space for employees to share the interesting news article they read on the way into work, the thought-provoking video they spotted on social media or the case study for an organization facing similar challenges as your own.
This also reduces the strain on learning teams, who don’t need to constantly duplicate content that already exists in the world, allowing you to focus on more specialized content. Additionally, employees are empowered to create their own resources and curate “playlists” of content, facilitating collaboration and peer-to-peer learning.
The more your employees can share among themselves, the less third-party content you may need to procure, which can reduce your costs and help you better understand what your people really find useful. If you’re signing expensive contracts for access to e-learning content catalogs, but you find that your people are mostly sharing videos and podcasts, this gives you a crucial insight into what’s resonating and what isn’t, meaning you can spend your precious training budget where it will have the biggest impact.
Your LXP also helps you build on the benefits of your formal learning. Instead of going six months or a year between learning activities,
employees can keep their skills and knowledge fresh with the ease and convenience of the LXP. This “spaced learning” model benefits
employees, who will retain more of their formal learning with constant reinforcement, and the organization as a whole, as peer-to-peer learning supports formal training at a minimal cost.
Used in collaboration with your LMS, your LXP helps maintain the habits, knowledge and behaviors gained through formal learning with a “little and often” model that makes learning a daily habit. A busy employee simply doesn’t have time to take a formal learning course every time they need to learn something new, so introducing an LXP alongside your LMS makes learning more accessible to those who may otherwise be too busy to engage in learning activities.
Collaborative workspaces, such as those found in Totara Engage, are ideal for igniting and maintaining conversations. Workspaces can be set up around specific training topics, roles, locations, learning goals and more, and give employees a dedicated space to share ideas, questions and solutions. They are ideal for asynchronous communication for groups across different locations or time zones, and they allow anyone to have their say and give and receive information.
As the saying goes, “two heads are better than one,” and in a collaborative workspace, you may have tens or even hundreds of employees
working together to solve problems and help each other. Experts can be @mentioned within posts and comments to request their expertise,
and workspace members can “like” a post to give it extra credibility. It speeds up the transfer of knowledge and allows employees to connect with people with whom they may not otherwise cross paths, helping to break down knowledge silos and raise standards across the organization. On top of this, workspaces aren’t just valuable for active posters and contributors – they’re also highly beneficial for “lurkers” who consume information, but don’t post themselves. Not everyone will be an active participant in your workspaces, but that doesn’t mean that everyone can’t benefit. Over time, your LXP becomes an organic hub of information, and lurkers can read through previous conversations, search for their topics of interest and benefit from “ambient updates” simply by logging into their account.
If you already have an LMS, you may be wondering why you can’t just get an LXP and use them separately. Of course, this is an option – but you’ll be missing out on all sorts of benefits if you don’t opt for an integrated LMS and LXP.