The Learning Experience Platform (LXP) Market Expands

Several years ago, as I saw the rapid growth of platforms like Degreed, EdCast, and Pathgather, I coined the phrase “Learning Experience Platforms,” and the name really stuck. Today this product category is quite real and the entire category is expanding.

In fact, I’d argue that the LXP “market” is quickly becoming a set of capabilities, not just products.

Defining the LXP: Becoming A Set of Capabilities, Not Just Products

As I describe in some of the original articles, the LXP market exists because the paradigm of the Learning Management System is out of date. People no longer search course catalogs for “courses” the way the used to, and we need a way to train and learn “in the flow of work.” So while the category is a product category, it’s also a category of systems designed with a new philosophy: learning in the flow.

What this means is that LXP systems have set of key capabilities:

  1. They present content in a “Netflix-like” interface, with recommendations, panels, mobile interfaces, and AI-driven recommendations,
  2. They accommodate any form of content, including articles, podcasts, blogs, micro-learning, videos, and courses,
  3. They are social, and include social profiles which connect content to people to create authority,
  4. They have paths or learning track or trails so you can follow content to a logical learning outcome,
  5. They have some form of assessment and often badging or certification,
  6. They make it easy to publish your own content as an individual,
  7. They are mobile, fun to use, fast and easy to traverse and have great search and embedded learning features.

Outside of these seven things, there are lots of other options. Some may have competency models and job models. Some are very mobile drive and designed for mobile publishing and learning. Some are “add-ons” to LMS systems. And some are born from adjacent tools, so they really look like “add-ons” to other collaboration tools or performance and talent systems.

This means, frankly, that the market has become quite confusing. Almost everyone in the learning platform is building LXP “features” now.

How The Categories Are Merging

In my earlier categorization, I’ve tried to segment the market as shown. While this segmentation isn’t perfect, it really shows some important issues.

  • First, many LXP system are not really “program management” platforms. You can’t always build a series of branching programs, you may not be able to have instructors follow students, and exercises may not be easy to add.
  • Second, they may not be truly “adaptive” like a real microlearning tool. They may not really “tell you” what to learn next (spaced learning), they may not have features for practice and sharing, and they may not be designed for “push” or compliance learning (products like Bridge, Axonify and Fuse do this).
  • Third, they may or may not have “in-the-flow” digital adoption and workflow learning technology, they may or may not have e-commerce features, and they may or may not have management approval, certification and expiration, and lots of other detailed business rules (products like WalkMe, Edcast, and EnableNow do this).
  • Fourth, they are not LMS platforms. They typically do not have complex business rules, validated systems, e-commerce, customer learning paths, or other more business-oriented learning management features (today).

Where We Are Today: Your New “LXP” Short List

Which brings me to where we are today.

The Learning Platform Market has really changed, so if you are looking for an LXP to “compliment” or “add a user layer” on top of your existing LMS, let me just talk about some of the vendors now in the space.

A) The LMS Vendors Themselves

If you have Bridge (Instructure), CornerstoneOnDemand, CrossKnowledge, D2L, Docebo, Saba, SuccessFactors, SumTotal, or another LMS, most of these vendors now have add-ons that perform LXP-like features.

CSOD promotes its new front-end as an LXP; SumTotal and SkillSoft sell Percipio; Saba and SuccessFactors have brand new LXP-like interfaces, and SAP sells Jam. These all fit into the LXP market from a functional perspective.

B) A New Set of Innovative Vendors

Beyond the three original vendors, products like Fuse Universal, Curatr, Hive Learning, and Valamis are now offering systems that take the LXP market further. These companies have some amazing capabilities and since they started later, they built more mobile or social experiences.  Fuse, for example, has all the self-publishing capabilities of a traditional LXP along with practice, mobile design, pathways, and AI-based recommendations. Fuel50, for eample, adds career pathways and career assessment to its learning solution.

Fig 1:  Fuse Universal-Driven LXP Applied to Onboarding and Sales Training

C) LinkedIn, Salesforce MyTrailHead, Workday

Since I first started on this track, some major players have entered the market. 

  • LinkedIn Learning, which as more than 17 million corporate users, has now opened up its platform to external content. It is a panel-based, highly AI-driven learning platform so for many smaller companies it will act as an LXP. It has evolved into an amazing system, integrated with LinkedIn (which has more detailed information about many of your employees than your HRMS).

Fig 2:  LinkedIn Learning as LXP

  • Workday Learning, which is also a next-generation amazing platform. This system was always an LXP from the start (it is really a video learning authoring, distribution, and management system) but has many of the features of an LXP and I actually think it may fit more into the LXP than LMS market at the moment (more LMS features are coming).  Workday is building an entire content cloud, it has campaign management and event-activated learning, and many other advanced features that make it like an LXP integrated into Workday.

Fig 3: Workday Learning as an LXP

  • Salesforce MyTrailhead, which is built on the very compelling user experience of Trailhead (Salesforce’s free platform for all sorts of technical and Salesforce training), is essentially a form of an LXP. It does have an instructional design tool, but with all they’re doing, I think it fits very well for many LXP-like training needs. I absolutely adore Trailhead’s user experience so most Salesforce customers are going to want to check it out.

Fig 4:  MyTrailhead LXP System Built on Salesforce

This Is Just The Beginning

Now that the LXP concept and paradigm is widely understood, we can expect this market to grow.

Every major learning platform provider (including Oracle, SAP, ADP, and many others) is following this paradigm, and they all understand that the more open and connected the system can be, the easier it will be to use.

While the “Netflix for Learning” paradigm has been widely discussed, the way we implement it is changing every day. This week at Dreamforce Salesforce introduced a new set of voice services to let salespeople talk with their platform for support. Vendors like Filtered (intelligent search and chat), Anders Pink (curation), are now able to bring intelligent voice, chat, and advanced search to learning, so we will soon be talking to these systems.

Imagine a learning platform that lets you ask it “how do I enter an order?” and it brings up a little video that shows you what to do? This will be the next user interface to the LXP and most vendors are working on this also.

And remember the importance of integrating all this content into the true systems of productivity. Trailhead, EdCast, and Skillsoft have plugins that let the learning system “recommend content” right in environments like Salesforce, Slack, or just general browser activity. LinkedIn is working on similar integrations with Office and already the LinkedIn platform can recommend learning based on your career trajectory and activity history.

The LXP paradigm has been earthshattering for us all. As you search for your next learning platform, make sure you look around. The options are clearly expanding.