LMS vs. LXP vs. LEP: What Are the Differences and Benefits?

Stefan Schulze

A laptop on a desk. On the screen you can see an LEP.
VIDEO With english subtitles

LMS, LXP or LEP?! You want to find the right learning platform for your company – but then you stumble across these acronyms. The good news is that all three are a type of learning platform, just with different features and benefits. We'll show you what they are and when each solution makes the most sense.

The three acronyms stand for Learning Management System (LMS), Learning Experience Platform (LXP), and Learning Engagement Platform (LEP).

What’s more, each one contains its own set of functions that differentiates it from the others.

Learning Management Systems (LMS)

You could call them classics among digital learning platforms: Learning Management Systems have been in use as a training format in the academic and corporate context since the 1990s.

Today, they are still an important component of internal training programs. In the Training Industry Report 2021, as many as 90% of participants stated that they use an LMS.

What Is an LMS?


Features of an LMS

An LMS is designed to be used in a variety of organizations. These are the characteristics that distinguish it:

<span style="color: #fc6676;">1.</span> Organization & Provision

An LMS is first and foremost a management tool for (continuing) education content. This means: training materials can be provided, organized and maintained.

All content – from PDF documents to hyperlinks to videos – can be collected in a structured manner and archived for the long term.

A learning management system can be used as a stand-alone e-learning platform or, as part of a blended learning approach, to complement on-site training.

For more personalized learning management, courses, lessons or tasks can be assigned or suggested to specific learners or groups.

<span style="color: #fc6676;">2.</span> Content Upload & Creation

Administrators can upload self-produced learning content onto the platform, and users can access, download, and edit the materials provided.

Learning management systems often include functions to create original training content (e.g., your own courses or lectures) or tools within the software (e.g., surveys or an upload function for users).


<span style="color: #fc6676;">3.</span> Monitoring & Reporting

Learning progress and the personal development of learners can be tracked in detail - by administrators and by the learners themselves.

Administrators usually have access to additional analysis tools for monitoring user engagement and performance.

As a rule, an LMS can also be used to generate and manage certificates for completed courses or lessons on the platform.

Pros & Cons of an LMS

<span style="color: #fc6676;">+</span> The benefits of an LMS are:

  • Formalization of Learning Processes:
    With a Learning Management System, training materials are standardized and centrally available. Users can access them regardless of time and place.
  • Simplified Communication:
    Admins and learners are digitally linked to each other. New materials or courses are communicated with little effort.
  • Tracking Employee Development:
    Available analysis, monitoring, and reporting options allow learning managers to derive actions for future training programs.
  • Scalability of Training Measures:
    Especially for large companies and corporations, an LMS is a good solution for organizing and promoting continuing education for all employees.

<span style="color: #fc6676;"></span> The downsides of an LMS are:

  • Limited Choice of Content and Methods:
    Formats of materials on an LMS are limited. This can make courses seem boring and learning can be perceived as frustrating rather than helpful.
  • Little to No Personalization Options:
    Individual learning paths for individual employees cannot be mapped. So personal or role-specific development cannot be encouraged.
  • Unfriendly User Interface:
    Learning management systems are primarily designed to organize training materials. As a result, the user experience for learners often suffers – as does the motivation to learn.
  • Few Opportunities for Interaction:
    An LMS only supports formal learning and is hierarchical in structure. The content is predefined by those responsible. There is often a lack of interactive features for users.

At a Glance

Infocard with common features, benefits and downsides of a Learning Management System (LMS)

Learning Experience Platforms (LXP)

More of the same, but a bit different: A learning experience platform can be understood as a development branching from  an LMS – but with a different approach.

The concept goes back to Josh Bersin and arose from the realization that experience-based platforms can be more efficient than pure LMS structures because the focus turns from the organization to the reception of the learning content.

What Is an LXP?


Features of an LXP

A Learning Experience Platform contains the basic functions of an LMS. However, as the name suggests, the keyword here is user experience. The most important features are:

<span style="color: #fc6676;">1.</span> Learning Experience & User Friendliness

An LXP has more functions than purely administrative management of training. It is a modern and interactive platform that focuses on the user:s learning experience.

Learners have access to a digital library of self-produced training materials and curated third-party learning assets. This collection is regularly updated with new learning content. All updates are immediately available to all users.

An intuitive user interface ensures that courses can be found quickly. Smart algorithms recommend suitable, sequential content to each user based on their own activities.

<span style="color: #fc6676;">2.</span> Indivisualization & Interactivity

A Learning Experience Platform is an individualized and adaptive learning environment. The content is tailored to personal learning needs and automatically customized according to the user's activities.

All users can create their own learning paths that cover topics relevant to their position and role and their personal interests.

Likewise, managers can create specific learning paths and assign them – as optional or mandatory training – to individuals, groups, or departments.

Courses and lectures in an LXP usually contain gamification elements such as quiz formats and vary in their structure as well as the application of different learning methods.

<span style="color: #fc6676;">3.</span> Collaboration & Integration

Collaborative and social learning are integral parts of any LXP. Sharing and chat functions turn the platform into an interactive network where learners (and teachers) can exchange information with each other.

As a software solution, Learning Experience Platforms are accessible anytime, anywhere and often as an app version for different devices. 

LXPs rely on microlearning: courses and training are divided into lessons and small learning units that can be completed piece by piece.

Pros & Cons of an LXP

<span style="color: #fc6676;">+</span> The benefits of an LXP:

  • Motivating User Experience:
    The entertainment character of an LXP ensures a positive learning experience. Continuing education is no longer perceived as time-consuming and boring, but is associated with fun. Users are more motivated to take advantage of the learning opportunities in the long term.
  • Individual Training Opportunities:
    Learning paths can be tailored precisely to the requirements of individuals and teams. The result is that learners receive only relevant information, efficiency increases, and (learning) goals are achieved more quickly.
  • More Autonomy for Learners:
    The variety of courses and topics makes it possible to discover new content and to continue one's education in a variety of ways. Self-directed learning becomes easier and individual learning needs can be met independently.
  • Easy Integration into Everyday Work:
    An LXP can be seamlessly integrated into any workday. Short learning formats save time and can be completed between individual appointments. All content can be accessed regardless of time and location and on different end devices.

<span style="color: #fc6676;"></span> The downsides of an LXP are:

  • Unstructured Backend:
    The focus of a Learning Experience Platform is on the users. The functionalities for admins are often lacking. The backend is usually not as intuitively designed as the platform itself.
  • Many Resources Needed:
    Due to the technological effort behind the software and the diverse personalization options, an LXP basically costs more than an LMS. In addition, sufficient personnel and time resources must be available for the creation and individualization of learning paths.
  • Challenging Implementation:
    As with any new technology, integrating an LXP into the company is a challenge. Processes have to be adapted, responsible persons have to be trained and employees have to be onboarded.

At a Glance

Infocard with common features, benefits and downsides of a Learning Experience Platform (LXP)

Learning Engagement Platforms (LEP)

The best of both worlds? That’s definitely the case with a Learning Engagement Platform! An LEP combines the functionalities and user-centric features of LMS and LXP.

The idea is that an LEP is intuitively designed for both organizers and learners. A pleasant and entertaining user experience should increase motivation for independent learning and promote context-based learning in the workplace.

What Is an LEP?


Features of an LEP

An LEP is composed of individual building blocks from LMS and LXP. It combines simple organization with intuitive user guidance. Central features are:

<span style="color: #fc6676;">1.</span> Functionality & Diversity

In a Learning Engagement Platform, both the backend and frontend are designed to be user-friendly.

At the admin level, multiple responsible persons (e.g. for teams or departments) can be defined. By assigning different roles, it is possible to manage learning needs in a position-specific and individual way.

Creating learning paths, organizing training materials, and analyzing learning engagement are intuitive and ensure fast, effective work processes.

A digital library offers a wide range of learning content for numerous topics in entertaining content formats (e.g., learning videos).

<span style="color: #fc6676;">2.</span> Personalization & Combination Possibilities

Depending on individual user activity, suitable courses are recommended. Helpful categorization and search functions allow users to filter out relevant content on their own.

Administrators can create individual learning paths using a variety of sources: their own materials, curated content from third-party providers, and freely accessible online resources (e.g., YouTube videos).

In a simple learning path builder, all formats can be combined and supplemented with interactive (quiz) elements.

<span style="color: #fc6676;">3.</span> Motivation & Engagement

An LEP focuses on motivating and engaging learners through interactive and immersive learning experiences. Elements such as gamification, social learning, and real-world simulations are used for this purpose.

Often, Learning Engagement Platforms work with point systems. Users earn points by completing courses or lessons, which can be used to measure learning goal achievements.

Personalized certifications may also be issued for individual training courses.

Pros & Cons of an LEP

<span style="color: #fc6676;">+</span> The benefits of an LEP are:

  • Intuitive Learning Management for Admins and Learners:
    An LEP combines the benefits of LMS and LXP by combining the management of learning content and learning activities with personalized learning content and learning paths, and the promotion of sharing and collaboration. 
  • Combination of Internal and External Learning Content:
    Different types of learning content and methods can be integrated in a few simple steps. With this flexibility and adaptability, administrators can create and customize learning paths faster.
  • More Engagement through High Involvement:
    An LEP increases the motivation of employees. Diverse learning forms and entertaining (video) formats establish a positive learning experience. Social learning options promote knowledge sharing and collaboration.
  • Seamless Integration into Everyday Work:
    Thanks to microlearning methods, courses can be viewed in the "in between". App solutions enable all learners to access what is available anytime and anywhere. This pays off in establishing a culture of lifelong learning in the company.
  • Up-to-Date and Relevant Learning:
    Learning Engagement platforms provide a wide range of in-house productions and curated training materials from third-party providers. These are regularly updated, supplemented and provide up-to-date knowledge.

<span style="color: #fc6676;"></span> The downsides of an LEP are:

  • High Short-Term Investments:
    Time and financial investments are necessary for the implementation and maintenance of an LEP. Due to the high degree of flexibility and functionality provided, these can be slightly higher at the beginning than with an LMS or an LXP. In the long term, however, the use of an LEP usually pays off (in terms of time and money).
  • Changing Routines:
    For employees, integrating a new technology always means adapting existing routines and processes. In the case of an LEP, learning habits may have to be changed to be changed (or even built up) and new forms of learning have to be adopted. This requires careful planning and a high level of commitment from those responsible.

At a Glance

Infocard with common features, benefits and downsides of a Learning Engagement Platform (LEP)


A Comparison: LMS vs. LXP vs. LEP

Each software has its own solutions for corresponding areas. However, the basic differences between LMS, LXP and LEP are:


* Push learning refers to a hierarchical learning strategy in which content is assigned. Pull learning means that learners can select learning content independently.

Infographic: Two circles for LMS and LXP overlap. The common area represents the combined functions of an LEP.


Conclusion: And What Does Your Business Need?

Perhaps the question should be: What do you plan to do with your company?

Do you "only" want to make your training materials available to all employees? Then an LMS should be fine.

Do you want to expand your training program and develop your employees individually? Then opt for an LXP or LEP.

The next question should be how important the user experience on the admin side is to you. If you also prefer simple and intuitive functions here, then an LEP is your way to go.

Try Masterplan!

Most solutions to date are either optimized for HR managers (Learning Management Systems, LMS) or focus on learners (Learning Experience Platforms, LXP).

[Zitat] "With Masterplan, we are finally breaking down these silos of LMS and LXP! Only when both sides are equally considered corporate training will succeed. As a Learning Engagement Platform, we align the goals of HR professionals and learners." Stefan Peukert, CEO of Masterplan.com

As a Learning Engagement Platform, Masterplan creates a motivating and intuitive learning experience for both! 


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Stefan Schulze

Stefan Schulze is Content Marketing Manager at Masterplan. In the blog, he explains important terms from the L&D and HR world and writes about methods, concepts and developments in corporate learning.

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