LMS or LXP? What you need to know


From the days where Learning Management Systems (LMS) were a thing of the distant future, to the dawn of the LMS, ePortfolio systems and the LCMS, we’ve come a long way. But there’s still further to go. Right now, elearning is embracing all kinds of learning experiences. Formal learning, social learning, and hands-on practice are all being recognised as important for a well-rounded learning experience.

In this article, we explore the differences between an LMS and a Learning Experience Platform (LXP) and whether you need one or the other (or both).


Why an LMS?

If you’re reading this article, the odds are that you’ve already implemented a Learning Management System or have some familiarity with common LMS features. LMSs mostly facilitate the 10 in the 70:20:10 model. Their strength lies with formal learning experiences, SCORM packages, certifications, and running learning programs with complex progression workflows.

For further customisation, your LMS should be adaptable and extendable. The integration of well-tested, trustworthy plugins that accommodate capabilities like eCommerce and CPD tracking should be easy. Plus, of course, the ability to completely theme the learning platform in line with your organisation’s branding is important.


Why an LXP?

Learning eXperience Platforms allow learners to access learning at the point of need. Instead of struggling to find information that doesn’t exist in formal certifications or courses, learners can find the right information, just in time. If the information doesn’t yet exist on the LXP, it’s easy for learners to add their own content or share external content onto the site.

If the LXP is integrated with a communication tool like Microsoft Teams, learners never have to leave the software in order to share and access content. The learning also becomes social and collaborative. Peers can recommend playlists or microlearning to each other. Teams can comment on content their colleagues post, creating a feedback loop and improving the overall quality of content.

Department and role-specific workspaces can give employees the opportunity to collaborate. With workspaces, all the information you need about a certain topic exists in one place! So, instead of conversations lost to time in messaging software, everything is exactly where you need it to be.



Whether you invest in an LMS or LXP (or both!) is ultimately up to the needs of your organisation. Your learners will be able to tell you what they need, and the shape of the organisation will define what kind of learning you will ultimately implement. There are a few things to consider while you make that decision.

The flexibility of combining an LXP and LMS means that you can deliver training in a way that reflects the needs of your learners. If you need instructor-led training or certifications, the LMS is waiting for you. Need user-generated, bite-sized training that can easily be shared around? The LXP is right for you. 

Are you worried that after investing time and energy into configuring a shiny new LXP that your learners will take one look at it and return to their old social learning practices? We can suggest a few ways to not only get people excited about the LXP but to continue using it, even as the novelty fades.


Bringing it all together

While an LMS and LXP could function by themselves, there’s a lot to be said for how seamlessly they can work together to maximise learning at every level of an organisation. The Totara Talent Experience Platform combines the best of LMS and LXP software. 

Totara Learn, Totara’s Learning Management System, facilitates formal learning experiences. Totara Learn offers out-of-the-box gamification tools (such as badging functionality), certification and learning plan tools, as well as the ability to report on all activities with real-time data.

Totara Engage’s user-friendly interface, workspaces, and seamless integration with Microsoft Teams ties together to bring the best learning experience to your organisation. Totara Engage seamlessly integrates with Totara Learn and Totara Perform, the other two branches of the Totara Talent Experience Platform for a smooth user experience.

Need a hand implementing an LMS or LXP (or both)? Chat to a friendly Androgogue today!