What is it about an LXP that stands out in the learning system space for so many? What is it, or does it imply? Is it based on finding a system with solid skill sets, lots of 3rd party content, and a different learning experience compared to what you have seen before? Is it the buy-in of a word, a term or a narrative that makes it appear as though it isn’t anything as an LMS or a Learning Platform that pushes vendors themselves to ‘add it’ or ‘sell it’ in such a way that they know people will purchase it?
Reverse. Twist and Spin. Is an LXP so different than anything else out there – depending on your scope and specifics are what is perceived to be an “LXP”
Questions to Ask
A. What are you trying to do?
Don’t say – we want our learners to have a different learning experience because that doesn’t truly tell me what you are trying to do. I can have a different learning experience if I want to read a book versus watching YouTube Or watching the movie on which the book is based on. No, it’s not a different learning experience. LXP – “Learning Experience” is just hype. Hype, that’s it. Most systems today have 3rd party content; most have some skills and capabilities, some better than others; they may have a UI design of playlists/channels and likely will have some level of curation. I say systems because LXPs are not unique anymore – they are ubiquitous to any other learning system – LMS and Learning Platform included.
If your focus is having lots of skills and capabilities tied to content and job roles – then you could find that in an LXP or some LMSs, depending on the vendor. Let’s say you are looking at either an LXP or an LMS with an LXP in it, Or an Employee Development Platform with an LXP in it (EDP is really a learning platform). You thought about a skills-specific platform but realized you want more (common, BTW).
Now you have three buckets to choose from. Do you want to have trending or most popular playlists of content OR those around skills, for example? Ok, you can remove LMS with LXP built-in unless it is for example, Cornerstone LMS with EdCast. You are now down to a legit LXP vendor such as Degreed or Bealink or a vendor such as Juno Journey an EDP with a legit LXP in it. And you do have some LPs with an LXP still in it.
Suppose you are only into heavy skills tied to. In that case, not mapping this is different here- but tied via TAGS to content, and Skills is the crux of the whole thing – well, that really slices it a bit more – as it relates to the whole LXP specific, because the vendor who has the most skills capabilities is Cornerstone LMS. Thus if you wanted the LXP angle, you would go EdCast. Now based on what I have seen, the best fit (assuming you want or are thinking about an LMS), then the streamlined and nice fit, is the combo. But let’s say that isn’t the case. You just want an LXP.
Well, going only LXP with it being an LXP, and not a Learning Platform (like Fuse which has LXP capabilities in it), your pickings are slim. What though, if you want skills tied to job roles – because the job roles piece is really the key here tied around those skills (again, not mapped). You also want to offer “opportunities” too. Well, you are now back to say a Degreed or EdCast here. You may start to think about an EDP, such as Juno Journey too.
Trying to do this is not about features, functionality, your use case, or their pitch. It is what you really trying to focus on – if you can’t explain it in, say, a sentence or two, then you, yourself, aren’t sure.
B. What’s a bigger need – content curation or content curation tied around job roles?
I will again re-state this is just for those seeking an LXP – because a lot of learning systems – different types, including LMS and LP, offer content curation, and ditto tied to job roles by TAGS (metadata). The assumption that a legit LXP has cornered the market with strong curation is false. It just isn’t the case.
Nor have they mastered the way it should look and feel with your learners. When you go with, say, content curation tied around skills – if a vendor can tag the skill to any type of content, tada – they can pitch it as an LXP capability, and there are plenty of vendors who can’t, but don’t worry, they will finagle it so they can.
C. What is more important strong metrics around skills tied to content or skills and content OR it’s not about the metrics?
Personally, to me, it is always about the metrics. What is the relevancy if you have basic data about what content is viewed often, if you have assigned learning OR if the person bounced in for a second? That tells you nothing. You want the details. How many courses/content did folks view – for how long, and where exactly (if the content has a TOC, a vendor should offer that ability to dive deep, but most no longer do). What content is the most popular is ideal, but if you are assigning it, guess what – it is assigned stuff. I would want to know what types of content are curated the most, what is the least popular content being used, AND an ability o go further than a top 10 – with a filter to remove assigned as an option. Remove assigned; then those numbers should look different. If we are talking about engagement as the core here, excuse me, anti-learning style folks, I would want to know what types of content are engaged. PDF? Video? Audio/Podcast? An actual course – in some format that isn’t one of the other options. Maybe they prefer ebooks. The reason such data is relevant when we are discussing engagement is that if a system offered such a feature (and honestly, they all should, but they don’t), I would know what content should be offered to that learner(s) that will achieve the highest amount of engagement. Then if I knew by subject/topic, I could combine the two and get a deeper understanding of what is important to that individual.
For example, Steve watches only two-minute videos. Not five minutes, not 10 minutes, not sliced up a few minutes here and there. You see in a report that Steve only watches about 1 minute on average. He does not look at other content types (let’s say it isn’t assigned). He also is picking content around Work and Life Balance and Communication with Gen-Z. Nothing else matters to him. In a report, you notice he spends or visits numerous WLB courses with one specific vendor (3rd party) compared to the others that are available.
Right now, you have to slice that data – but if I am a vendor planning on using Gen-AI with some machine learning OR only machine learning – or only Gen-AI; then you will want the system to output only the following to Steve
- Minute Video duration
- Courses on WLB from Vendor X
- Courses on Communication Workplace with Gen-Z.
Here is the engagement at the highest level.
D. What is more important?
The whole hype around the LXP was the “learning experience” as though it was so magically different from anything else in the market. It was and is still a flawed premise, and I’d argue a false narrative. Could it have been? Sure, but those days are long gone. And not one of the legit LXP vendors ever really figured it out. When you add assigned learning, admin rules, and other course management pieces, the “Stand Out” goes by the wayside.
LXPs of today, the legit ones, and LMSs that have an LXP with enough of the course capabilities including those trending/popular playlists and skill playlists for example; are when you strip it all down, about three the THREE
- Skills. Skills and more Skill capabilities – It doesn’t mean they are good, just means they have enough that separates them from others. (in the whole LXP side)
- Content Curation – Public which means from the internet and private which means your content, or 3rd party or ideally the combo of the two
- Job Roles tied to content and skills
Way too many people focus on the first one and the last one. I’d argue though, that the middle one plays an even bigger role. I’m not referring to the number of 3rd p[arty content publishers they have, rather what does that search to pull back that content appear as? What are the filters? What are the options to see and select – from a learner standpoint? Can I have that content curation appear in only one place or in many, say a cohort or community? How engaged can a leader become? Immersive or just static? Does the learner get lots of choices, or just a select few?
E. Where do you see or how do you see the LXP existing in your ecosystem or well, just the system itself (you have nothing else)?
If you have a lot of integrations say with HRIS/HCM, BI or some other measurement solution, other integrations beyond what is noted, then knowing said track record of the LXP is essential.
But how can you really find out? Don’t just believe what they tell you – nobody is going to say it is difficult, and we stink at doing it with XTYZ or ABC. Remember that client list they once showed you, ask them, if anyone on that list is similar to you, in terms of number of users and that type of integration. If they say yes three on that list. Okay, who are they? They should provide the names – you are not asking to contact them – but you could ask if you could talk to one. The catch? If the vendors agrees , the one you will get is the one where there was no problems and they love the vendor.
I get the list of the three, then I go onto LinkedIn and search for the person overseeing L&D, or Training and reach out via messager. I’ve yet to see someone decline to provide feedback. They may say they are not overseeing it – okay, do you know who is and can you connect me to them? Be specific on your request – you have seen that they are with LXP 2 and that they did integrations with them, and you want to see how it went, what was their experience and so on.. That’s it. By going sneaky – you can find out the real story – maybe it is all Rainbows and Lucky Charms.
F. Vendor who are you?
In other words who are they? A vendor should know. It isn’t just saying we are an LXP or LP or LMS with an LXP, it isn’t any of that stuff. Nor is is a mission statement of values or whatever else they love to publish on their web site and marketing. Who are they Really?
I surmise, you will get a lot of “I don’t understand the question,” which tells me, they themselves don’t know. And you have to know. It isn’t a “you decide who we are,” type of scene. I can always tell whether a vendor’s strategy and thus system (or content, or learning technology) aligns – by ascertaining who they are.
Really. Not marketing pitch. Not learning experience in this case. Who are they really? What drives them every day, what says to them – we know who we are, what we offer and how we envision where we want to go.
You want NexGen – a vendor shouldn’t have to tell you that – you should see it in their roadmap and in their system itself, and yes, crucially in the response of who they are.
G. Are you will to take a risk or stay steady as you go?
This ties a bit back into F, because the industry isn’t for the fearful. LXPs are not once they were, nor will they ever return to that. Some bounce along, others bounce here, then go there, then back there – like a yo-yo. Some may not be around in a few years – likely acquisition, which isn’t such a bad thing – especially if it is a PE firm or someone with deep pockets and committed capital to the LXP vendors. Some may change what they once were – a common practice with many LXP vendors today.
Do you want to stay with well-known thinking less risk OR are you will to select someone not as known, compared to say, the better known – like Degreed or EdCast? Or does it even matter?
Kermit the Frog once said, “It isn’t easy being green,” nor is picking an LXP easy either.
Once you know what you really want for your learners, what is really the most important and essential around it, then the rest of the way, should bounce back to that. This isn’t a give and take. Either you know – or you don’t.
If it’s the former, you will have an advantage and should be able to make the right decision.
If it’s the latter…
Then now is the time to sit down and figure it out. And so now, before you get really going down a path that will end up not in a positive learning way – for you and your learners.