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LMS v. LXP: What’s right for you?

One basic question L&D leaders must confront is whether to invest in learning management systems or learning experience platforms – or both.

4 min read


LMS v. LXP: What’s right for you?


This post is sponsored by Adobe

For better or worse, the technology stack in learning & development has become increasingly complex over the years.

The reason is fundamentally good: There are more ways than ever to design, deliver and track L&D programs. But it has also made the decision of which technology to invest in more complicated than ever.

One basic question L&D leaders must confront is whether to invest in learning management systems (LMS) or learning experience platforms (LXP) – or both. To make that decision, it’s important to understand the strengths of each, how they complement each other and how they differ.

Learning management systems

The basic question that differentiates LMS software from LXPs is who is in the driver’s seat. With LMS, the L&D administrator defines the trainings delivered to learners and curates the content available.

There are many advantages to this approach, particularly for large enterprises, as LMS structures make it easy to administer, track and report on L&D programs efficiently. Trainings can be standardized and delivered across an enterprise, making them a good choice for compliance programs or other modules that require the delivery of a uniform message. They also include quizzes and tests that can make them useful tools during the onboarding process to gauge an employee’s knowledge.

Because the administrator is in the driver’s seat, LMSs excel as an aide for managing learners. When coupled with other systems of record, they offer a way to track the lifetime learning of employees, monitor completions and assess those relative to a set of general objectives.

Some LMS offerings such as Adobe Captivate Prime also include artificial intelligence based tools such as social learning that bring in some of the personalized benefits of an LXP. Smart searches and innovative querying make it easier to find relevant content, something that makes LXPs particularly attractive. From the user experience, however, using an LMS is like visiting a large library: Learners must know what they are looking for to find it.

Learning experience platforms

By contrast, LXPs put the learner and their experience in the driver’s seat. Using AI, the systems are able to suggest modules and content that are personalized to a learner based on their past experience and learning style.

They automate knowledge curation while also allowing learners to query the system and serve up training as needed during the flow of work. LXPs include content beyond the company repository, from multiple sources and in many formats. As a result, LXPs better mimic the natural way that users search for information online.

By making learning more dynamic, these systems can increase engagement and encourage continuous learning.

LXPs also offer an advantage to L&D administrators: They can offer granular data on how learners are interacting with the system and where and how employees learn, which can make it easier to improve programs and make them more relevant.

Still, these are newer systems and can sometimes require more time to manage because of their personalized nature. LMSs still excel at managing an overall L&D program and replicating established modules that help employees advance in their roles. Many companies use both, with LXPs offering enhanced learning features that complement the fundamental offerings of an LMS.

The bottom line is that, when considering whether to go with an LXP or LMS, it’s essential to understand the fundamental differences between the two and consider the individual needs of your L&D program.

Why not both?

Adobe Captivate Prime operates as a full-fledged LMS and an LXP, giving admins the oversight they need while offering a learner experience unlike any other on the market.

Adobe Captivate Prime offers features such as its fluidic player, learning plans, gamification, social learning and more, allowing L&D programs the breadth and flexibility to reach all learners.


Deliver modern learning experiences with an LMS that’s built using the Skills construct – Adobe Captivate Prime –  learn more.


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