We present results from measurements of Lα x-ray production cross sections of the elements W, Pt, and Au by impact of electrons with energies in the range 10-30 keV. The cross sections were obtained by measuring Lα x-ray intensities emitted from very thin films of the studied elements deposited on thick carbon substrates. The directional and energy spreading of the electron beam within the active film and the x-ray enhancement due to electron backscattering from the substrate were accounted for by means of Monte Carlo simulation. Recorded x-ray intensities were converted to absolute x-ray production cross sections by using two different methods; the first employs measured values of the sample thickness and the number of incident electrons and estimated detector efficiencies; the second is based on a comparison between measured and calculated bremsstrahlung intensities. Experimental data are compared with the results of simple analytical formulas of common use in practical electron probe microanalysis, with calculated cross sections obtained from the distorted-wave Born approximation and with other experimental data available in the literature.