LMS vs. LXP vs. PEP Part 1: The Past and Present of Seller Enablement

It’s difficult to imagine the development of business over the past three decades without considering learning technology and L&D software. From the initial introduction of the Learning Management System (LMS) in the 1990s to the growth and adoption of the Learning Experience Platform (LXP), learning technology has helped businesses engage and educate their workforces while saving costs on expensive training programs. 

But have the old models of L&D software outlived their usefulness? And are they effective in the marketplace today? Particularly for sales forces, is “learning” the right target for enablement technology? (If you already know about L&D software differences and wish to learn more about technology that goes beyond learning toward more concrete KPIs like profitability, go ahead and request a demo of Rallyware right away.)

In the first part of our series on LMS vs. LXP vs. PEP (more on what this is later), we break down the differences between the three models of technology development. And we begin to answer the essential question. What kind of sales force enablement technology is best suited to a more uncertain consumer market, plagued with inflation and full of more hesitant consumers? What type of enablement lies beyond learning for learning’s sake? 

According to the Conference Board, productivity is set to increase only 1.2% in 2023. That won’t keep up with corporate needs. In such a situation, is a focus on learning alone still valuable? 

Traditional Learning Management Systems (LMS) are software applications or web-based platforms designed to facilitate the administration, tracking, and delivery of educational content or training programs. They are commonly used in educational institutions, businesses, and organizations to manage and organize learning materials, track learner progress, and assess performance.

What is LMS L&D software and how did it emerge?

Historically, the emergence of Learning Management Systems can be traced back to the late 20th century. Generally speaking, LMSs have one course or pathway that each workforce member follows. These paths are determined by administrators based on what they determine to be the most effective learning journey. These systems serve the company’s Learning & Development needs and help them save costs on manual or in-person training.

Below you’ll find a graphic visualizing the LMS structure. Everyone receives the same journey and proceeds down the same path.

L&D software 1

The evolution of LMS L&D software can be divided into several key phases:

  • Early Systems (Late 20th Century): The earliest forms of learning management systems were basic and often limited to basic course administration and tracking functionalities. These systems were primarily used in educational institutions and focused on streamlining administrative tasks.
  • Integration of e-Learning (Late 1990s – Early 2000s): With the rise of e-learning and the internet, LMSs began to incorporate online learning features. This shift allowed for the delivery of educational content and training materials through digital platforms, making learning more flexible, digital and accessible.
  • Commercialization and Expansion (Mid-2000s): During this period, LMSs became more commercialized, with the emergence of proprietary systems and a growing market for learning technologies. Companies started investing in LMS solutions for workforce training and development.
  • Open Source LMS (Mid-2000s – Present): Open source LMS platforms, such as Moodle and Sakai, gained popularity. These platforms provided flexibility, allowing institutions and organizations to customize and adapt the systems to their specific needs without relying on proprietary solutions.
  • Mobile Learning (2010s – Present): The advent of smartphones and mobile technologies led to the integration of mobile learning features in LMSs. This allowed learners to access educational content anytime, anywhere, and on various devices.

The historical development of LMSs reflects the ongoing evolution of technology and the changing needs of educational institutions, businesses, and learners. Today, LMS continues to play a crucial role in managing and delivering educational content and training programs in various contexts. However, during the period known as the “digital transformation,” it became necessary to improve on the LMS model with more automation and user customization. That’s where the Learning Experience Platform (LXP) emerged.

What is LXP L&D software and how did it emerge?

A Learning Experience Platform (LXP) is a more recent development in the realm of L&D software. It goes beyond the functionalities of traditional Learning Management Systems (LMS) by placing a stronger emphasis on user-centric learning experiences, content curation, and social learning. LXPs adapt to the user’s preferences, progress, and skills with a wider variety of integrations and a smarter use of big data and experience design. 

Below you’ll find a graphic visualizing the LXP L&D software structure. Each member of the workforce receives a smart, non-linear journey based on their inputs into the platform. Of course, the emphasis here is still on learning–completing lessons to enhance one’s knowledge.

L&D software 2

Here are a few salient differences from the LMS L&D software.

  • Content Curation and Personalization: One of the key features that differentiates LXPs from traditional LMSs is the emphasis on content curation and personalization. LXPs use algorithms and data analytics to curate relevant learning content based on the learner’s preferences, interests, and performance. This approach allows for a more tailored and flexible learning experience.
  • Social and Collaborative Learning: LXPs often incorporate social learning tools, encouraging collaboration and knowledge-sharing among learners. Features such as discussion forums, user-generated content, and social media integration contribute to a more interactive and community-driven learning environment.
  • Microlearning and Bite-Sized Content: LXPs often support microlearning, delivering content in small, easily digestible chunks. This approach aligns with modern learners’ preferences for short, focused learning sessions that can be consumed on the go.
  • Continuous Learning and Skill Development: LXPs are designed to support continuous learning and skill development. The focus is not only on formal training but also on informal learning experiences that occur on the job. This aligns with the evolving needs of the workforce in a rapidly changing digital landscape.

The historical emergence of Learning Experience Platforms reflects a shift in focus from administrative efficiency to creating engaging, personalized, and continuous learning experiences for individuals. While LXPs share some similarities with LMS L&D software, they represent a more evolved and learner-centric approach to corporate and educational training.

What is PEP and how did it emerge?

This is an age of market uncertainty, with secular inflation, mass layoffs, and higher interest rates. In B2C selling, consumers are more hesitant, more likely simply to turn to Amazon. In such a situation, is it correct to focus on learning siloed off from sales performance and productivity? Or can learning become one component of a larger platform targeting sales performance through a variety of integrated solutions?

This is the role of the Performance Enablement Platform, or PEP, as developed and implemented from 2021-23. As consumers have become increasingly unpredictable and hesitant, and workforce productivity growth has fallen, it has become necessary to use the advances of intelligent technology to boost performance and revenue growth. This is what the PEP model does, combining learning and enablement activities to drive concrete KPIs, rather than less tangible and revenue-oriented targets like product knowledge. 

Below, you’ll see a visualization of the structure of PEP, which uses personalized activities for every member of the sales force to impact the corporate bottom line.

pep L&D software

What are some of the components of PEP?

Differential Activities in the Flow of Work: PEPs combine multiple solutions in a single platform to be used in the flow of work. For instance, a seller might receive a notification to reach out to a past customer based on their past purchases, then an hour later get a suggestion to complete a training video. The journey automatically adapts to the individual seller to intelligently help them sell. This is different from LMSs and LXPs in that it’s using technology similar in framework to the latter while emphasizing sales performance, rather than learning in isolation. 

Business Rules and AI-Driven Recommendations Engines: PEPs are guided by business rules defined by the company and recommendations engines with AI capabilities. The recommendations stem from individual seller decisions, goals, performance data, and other inputs. They combine with the business rules to generate the most personalized, relevant, and growth-centric experience possible, while engaging each step of the way.

BI Analytics to Track Sales Performance: Smart Business Intelligence (BI) helps businesses, and PEPs themselves, track seller data to determine what the most optimal and profitable seller behaviors are. The company can then use the PEP’s business rules to help generate these revenue-boosting behaviors in the sales force. 

Centralized UX for Seller: PEPs bring the entire seller lifecycle under a single umbrella. This unified, holistic User Experience brings the seller’s entire day-to-day operation into one streamlined hub for productivity. This centralized environment provides each seller the just-in-time and just-in-case activities, like visualizing goal progress, suggesting customer retention actions and outreach scripts, of course delivering the right lessons at the right time, and more. In the modern age each seller needs a “home base” for their sales cycle, and PEP is exactly that.

In the next iteration of our LMS vs. LXP vs. PEP series, we’ll dive deeper into the technical differences between LMS, LXP, and PEP.

To learn more about Rallyware’s PEP technology, and what seller enablement beyond mere learning looks and feels like, click here to request your demo.