The Evolution Of The Term "Learning Experience Platform"

The Evolution Of The Term_Learning Experience Platform
Sergey Nivens/
Summary: The term "Learning Experience Platform" is not one that was commonly accepted overnight. In this article, we will try to understand how the term came to have the meaning it has today, and how it is interpreted by the eLearning niche.

What's In A Name?

Probably no one has done more to document and give a shape to this new product category than Josh Bersin, the person who coined the term "Learning Experience Platform."

"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 rapidly expanding [1]."

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The three vendor companies Josh Bersin cites as LXP pioneers were all founded or came to market between 2012 and 2013, which gives a rough founding date for the product category, although it should be noted that some of the companies later added to that category have earlier founding dates (e.g., Fuse, 2008).

The Term "Learning Experience Platform" Might Be Older Than You Think

We might imagine the LXP concept to be a very new one, whose age is counted in months, not years. But the LXP pioneers are generally between 7 and 8 years old, and others have been around a decade or more.

By 2017, Learning Management Systems have begun to add features that would later be seen as typical of LXPs, a development which has been attributed, philosophically speaking, to the influence of the 70:20:10 observation.

In the same year, a slide from one of Josh Bersin’s decks began to circulate widely in the world of learning technologies and became influential in establishing LXPs as a category distinct from LMSs.

The Evolution Of The LXP

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Over the next couple of years, Josh Bersin tracked the LXP market as it exploded, expanded, grew up, and evolved [2].

This latest development, the growth of integrated platforms, marks a significant change of focus for the LXP. Having become a more or less fixed, identifiable entity with a commonly accepted feature set, the LXP can now take its part within the new, reconstituted "stack" which includes the LMS but also a number of other products—or modules of a suite perhaps—to constitute a modern integrated corporate learning platform [2].

Beyond Josh Bersin

Although certainly the most prominent analyst tracking the LXP space during this period, Josh Bersin has not been the only one. In January 2017, the UK-based analyst industry Fosway introduced a new category into their 9-Grid analysis of learning systems, Next Generation Learning Environments (NGLE), to acknowledge that a new type of system distinct from the LMS was being seen in the market.

In November of the same year, Craig Weiss published a blog post proposing the term "Learning Engagement Platform" and saying that the Learning Experience Platform/Learning Engagement Platform was a stronger product than the LMS in an inevitably expanding niche [3].

Gartner’s Market Guide for Corporate Learning Suites, published on May 15th, 2018, recognized Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs) as a separate vendor category from the LMS. In the same year, Gartner's analyst Jeff Freyermuth placed Learning Productivity (Experience) Platforms at the innovation trigger point on the beginning of its hype curve for Human Capital Management Technology, indicating that it is expected to reach mainstream adoption in the next 5 to 10 years [4].

The Learning Tech Market Is Starting To Shake Out

The 2018–19 edition of Sierra Cedar’s long-running HR Systems Survey includes LXPs, describing them as an emerging trend in the Talent Management application space [5].

Writing in June 2018, Michael Rochelle, chief strategy officer and principal HCM analyst at Brandon Hall Group, hailed the coming together of Degreed and Pathgather as groundbreaking in the industry: "This is just the beginning of a movement that has been set in permanent motion to transform how organizations look at learning and improving individual and organizational performance [6]."

Despite some divergent opinions about naming, it can now confidently be asserted that the LXP is a significant new product category in learning platforms, a separate—although related—species from the LMS, and a strong indicator of a forward path for the development of learning technologies.

In Josh Bersin’s work, we can see a number of drivers for the emergence and subsequent enthusiastic adoption of LXPs by buyers. His commentary on the rise of the LXP ties into his other work on changes in the behavior and expectations of learners—notably his writings on the modern learner [7]—as well as the needs of L&D and HR professionals.

Further Reading

In order to fully understand what has led to the emergence of the LXP, it is also necessary to look more broadly at macro changes in the business environment that have helped make the LXP not only a valid need of organizations (i.e., not a solution looking for a problem) but, in some senses, an inevitability. The eBook Powering The Modern Learner Experience can help you understand the history, the present, and the future of the LXP while explaining the current situation of the market and the amazing potential it has.


[1] The Learning Experience Platform (LXP) Market Expands

[2] Learning Technology Evolves: Integrated Platforms Are Arriving

[3] Learning Experience Platform - WRONG

[4] Know which human capital management technologies are emerging and see their timelines for likely evolution and possible adoption.

[5] The Sierra-Cedar 2018–2019 HR Systems Survey White Paper, 21st Annual Edition is Now Available

[6] Degreed and Pathgather, a Groundbreaking Combination for Transforming the Learner Experience

[7] Meet the modern learner

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