Comparison is the thief of joy. Or so says former US president Theodore Roosevelt. Sometimes you can’t help but play the comparison game. By all means, please stop comparing yourself to Instagram influencers, but we need to sit down and talk about 2021’s top learning experience platforms (LXPs). Let’s deep dive into a comparison world of Degreed, Valamis, Edcast, Pathgather, and Cornerstone. All of these LXPs were featured on the Training Industry’s Top Learning Experience Platform Companies of 2020. 2020 may be behind us, but these LXP companies remain game-changers in 2021!
What’s LXP again?
Here’s a very speedy run-through for you. LXP is a little bit like LMS 2.0. It is all about creating personalized learning experiences. Additionally they:
- Use xAPI, or Tin Can API, as the new standard due to its ability to track learning outside of traditional parameters.
- enables networking with different learners
- curates individual learning content
- is employee-driven rather than administrator driven
- creates career pathways to follow
What to Look out for in an LXP
We will dive into the comparisons in just a second, but here are a few things to bear in mind when you’re trying to choose the ideal LXP for you and your learning and development needs.
Degreed is on a mission to allow learners to get the kind of education and skills previously reserved for drafty halls of bricks-and-mortar universities. Self-describing themselves as “jail-breaking the degree” shows you what vibe Degreed is going for with their offering.
How Does Degreed Work?
Degreed connects learners to over 250,000 online courses, more than 3 million articles, and thousands of videos. It gives learners the freedom of a daily learning playlist, different learning pathways, and easy sharing. Colleagues can quickly learn from one another by making learning public and letting other learners follow them and their learning paths. All learning is tracked via Degreed, which allows learners to track via their profile and dashboards. That learning record belongs to the individual learner, not the company. It can be taken with them and help them in their future career.
- Fully customizable. You can either follow pre-created pathways or create your learning path. These pathways stop information overwhelm.
- Very easy to share and add content. It also allows users to bookmark content for later perusal.
- Degreed studies with each learner and can recommend better eLearning offerings.
- Attractive design.
- A free upskilling platform for individuals is available, as well as the paid-for enterprise version. It is unique with its direct-to-consumer offering and positions itself as a platform for lifelong learning.
- Available in various languages.
- The mobile app is not as easy to navigate as the browser counterpart.
- More credit is given for content from professional sites.
Valamis is all about new skill development with a mission to make learning both productive and engaging. Its complete learning ecosystem looks to serve both the individual learner and the organization. As Valamis has explicitly been designed with larger organizations in mind, if you’re a smaller fish (read: under 10,000 users), this one isn’t for you.
By the way, Valamis is a word in Eastern Finnish dialect that translates to “ready and complete.” Get ready to complete all the learning your department could dream of at night. Wait, am I the only one who has dreams about online learning?
How Does Valamis Work?
Valamis works by first analyzing the learners’ skill levels and then upskilling the workforce needed for learning and development ideals. They are all about learning at the point of need.
- Valamis is highly engaging. Learning paths are highly flexible, and the design is intuitive, making Valamis easy to use and engaging. Additional AI-based content ups both the ‘coolness’ factor and engagement.
- Both content creation via built-in course authoring and external course marketplaces are fully supported.
- Valamis can be connected to existing company software to integrate learning into the average workday. Additionally, you can access learning via the web browser or the app.
- Like most LXPs, Valamis also recommends learning on the side in an almost Netflix-style queue.
- Natural language processing allows users to find what they need at the click of their fingers.
- Highly collaborative and a supporter of social learning.
- Offers in-depth analytics and built-in LRS.
- The price is high. High enough to warrant requiring a product demo to be advised on pricing. If you’ve ever admired watches in a shop window, you know what this means. Rest assured, most users say it is excellent value for money.
Edcast wants to motivate and energize the worker bees by fostering a culture of continued learning.
How Does Edcast Work?
This culture of continued learning is based on all-around social knowledge. So-called subject experts can create and share content on their specialist subjects (via videos, blogs, or articles). This democratization of learning also extends to on-the-go learning as Edcast is also set up for live streaming knowledge via mobile devices.
- Quickly disperse knowledge by putting the learning into the hands of learners.
- Partners and external users can also access the shared platform.
- Learners can access learning offline and online.
- Soft skills are included in what is often a very concrete skill-specific learning environment.
- Learner paths are customizable for each organization, including the look and feel of the platform.
- Integrated LRC for tracking and compliance needs.
- Snazzy AI knowledge base with additional machine learning of your company and learner needs.
- Edcast only supports English at the present moment.
- New features have had feedback in regards to not being fully developed before being integrated into the platform.
- Some features, such as the search function, are known to glitch.
When you look into Pathgather, you will notice a little addition to their logo. That’s right, Pathgather is now a Degreed company. This company acquisition means you now get the innovation of two fantastic companies in one neat package. Their mission of making skill development accessible for all is standing firm. Additionally, the merger makes them a clear leader in a still relatively new market. However, Pathgather and Degreed are still two different products. Move aside, Degreed, and let’s take a closer look at Pathgather.
How Does Pathgather Work?
Pathgather wants to kick corporate learning and development up a notch (or ten). Empowering employees to learn in fun and engaging ways is the name of the game. Since education is scattered throughout the digital and physical world, Pathgather consolidates or gathers everything in one place. It gives administrators visibility and makes finding new learnings as easy as one, two click.
- Simplicity and elegance are key to Pathgather’s user interface, which learners can access via mobile or desktop.
- Well-calibrated and created AI creates unique learning pathways customized to each learner.
- Pathgather offers easy integration with most LMS, learning content providers, LRS, and company internal HR systems.
- A blank slate ability to attach your company’s unique brand and identity into the system.
- Social integration via learning groups and team dashboards. Teams can plan together and supports each other’s development.
- Provides data on how learners are engaging with the learning and with other learners.
- Like its big brother, Degreed, Pathgather’s mobile app is still a little behind its browser when it comes to access and features.
Cornerstone has long been a leader in the LMS department. But wait, weren’t we talking about LXP? Good job on not getting confused in the three-letter acronym land that is edTech. Cornerstone combines a well-established LMS with the bonus of a native LXP.
How Does Cornerstone Work?
Cornerstone On Demand is looking to support learning from two sides; business-driven and employee-driven. As Cornerstone’s learning environment is a robust LMS, it prides itself on facilitating a blended-learning approach. This approach means it combines online learning with traditional in-person training. The LXP comes set-up for instructor-led training (ILT), virtual-instructor-led (vILT), online microlearning courses, and many more learning modalities. When learners log into the LXP they are met with an attractive layout, ideally set up for prioritizing content according to business needs such as compliance due dates.
- The system comes pre-loaded with over 30,000 courses from over 20 different learning content providers and curated mobile-ready playlists.
- Personalization can be chosen based on learner locations, departments, personal interests, and needs.
- Alerts are easily set up by either learners or the business to stay on top of compliance needs.
- The platform is highly collaborative and lets learners discuss units and share courses/
- Badges add an element of social gamification.
- Learning and development managers can view skill metrics for learners to identify any gaps in knowledge. Assigning necessary learning can quickly fill any gaps.
- iPad compatibility has fallen behind (January 2021)
- Not the most intuitive of the LXPs. Many users online mention needing a long time to come to grips with the system from a management perspective.
- Limited reporting for instructors.
Which LXP to Choose?
Did you think I’d give you an answer to this question? Sorry to disappoint you, but you are the only person who knows your learners and your business needs inside out. For the most part, all LXPs do more or less the same thing. There’s a reason these five are the top 5 of 2021. You cannot go wrong with any of them.
Generally speaking, it is an excellent idea to utilize a blend of LXP and LMS for business success. Imagine having all of this in one system:
- learner-led and business-led education
- continual improvement across the board
Many of the above are starting to be able to do both.
Are you finding it easier to choose the LXP for you yet? Or have I made your choice even more difficult? An LXP will make your learning and development goals more achievable. How you get there is up to you. I’m very relieved not to be in your shoes. Choices like this one are complicated, and this one shouldn’t be taken lightly. Shop around and browse through the free trials. I wish you the best of luck and assure you that any of these will be an excellent way forward. Enjoy your learning journey.