Many people who have taken an online course, even if they aren’t particularly familiar with e-Learning, have heard the term “LMS.” Just a refresher: this refers to a Learning Management System, or the technology that powers online learning. 

A newer but equally important term is a Learning Experience Platform, which refers to a more open “ecosystem” of learning that can include formal e-Learning content (similar to an LMS) but also links to websites, instructional videos curated from the Internet, and other types of content. 

In this article, we’re going to briefly explore the differences between a Learning Experience Platform (LEP) and Learning Management System (LMS).

The concept of an LMS has existed for a long time. The idea of an LEP is relatively new.

Since the earliest days of personal computing, people have used technology to learn. While early iterations don’t resemble the software we use today, the concept of an LMS has been around for a long time. Today’s LMS programs are often used for online learning but often still require an e-Learning expert to set up and maintain. 

In contrast, the concept of the LEP is relatively new. Some experts even refer to the LEP as the “next generation” of LMS, although the two systems are distinct. An LMS remains a good choice for organizations focused on straightforward training and education, while an LEP can provide a more open-ended learning experience. 

An LMS is typically led by an e-Learning professional. An LEP is more collaborative.

Setting up and maintaining an LMS is usually best done by an e-Learning professional. In addition, LMS programs usually require individuals with experience in designing curriculum and creating content to actually build the courses. This is why we expect demand for e-Learning leaders to continue to grow as more organizations invest in online education. 

An LEP may also take advantage of traditional LMS-style content. But in addition to that content, users can also use an LEP to share content that they find relevant to their own learning experience. This could be interesting articles, engaging videos, links to other courses, or any other material that furthers the group’s ability to learn.  

An LMS is tightly curated with internal resources. An LEP prioritizes sharing. 

LMS and LEP also differ in their goals and outcomes. While an LMS is carefully curated by e-Learning experts who also create the course content and structure, an LEP is intended to be a more open platform where users can collaborate and share resources.

This means that an LMS may be better suited for internal training while an LEP may be better suited for casual learning. For example, an LMS is an ideal solution for organizations that need to conduct mandatory training, such as an employee onboarding. An LEP might be a better solution for an organization that wants their employees to learn on the job, such as an ongoing sales enablement curriculum. 

E-Learning is an always evolving field, so we’ll undoubtedly see an evolution in the way we think about LMS and LEP in the years to come. Today, these two systems are complementary tools that can help take your organization’s learning to the next level.