Award for all awards

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Everyone likes to win awards. They are great to announce to your fellow competitors, general public and potential customers.

The problem I have is when there are so many awards it becomes hard to distinguish, which solution is truly award worthy.

For some organizations that hand out awards the plethora of categories is at the heart of the matter, especially when each category offers a #1, #2 and #3 or gold, silver and bronze.

Organizations that hand out awards

I huge kudos to Thinking Cap, who has a wonderful list of organizations that hand out awards. Granted it does not include bloggers (I hand them out- more on that in a sec) or believe it or not – other vendors, but it is a nice list nevertheless.

Based on the list, I counted 32 organizations that give out awards. That is a lot of organizations, especially when you consider other industries. The movie industry doesn’t even have that many organizations, and this industry is known for giving out lots of awards.

Some of the organizations, not only give out awards in one category, they give them out in multiple categories. I have no problem with that. My problem is when the categories contain so many sub-categories or award x for this and x for that, it becomes over-saturation.

I like Brandon Hall. They are a solid organization which offers information which can be useful. However, what I don’t like is the number of awards they hand out.

For example, they have four categories. Fine, but in each category they give out an enormous amount of awards.  From that list, they give out a Gold, Silver and Bronze. How bad is it?

  • One category has 11 awards – so you are talking about 33 winners
  • Total count, including another two categories – 33 awards – 99 possible winners

That is a lot of winners. When you take into account that in order to win an award, you have to submit an application to be considered, that is a lot of time and effort on the part of participants.

Nothing wrong with that, mind you, after all when a company or vendor wins such an award it makes for great advertising and marketing. Heck, if I was one of these folks, I would advertise, pr and push numerous marketing channels for the announcement.

Categories of Awards

Who else falls into the mass amount of awards?

  • CODiE – in one category under “Software”,  32 awards are available, at least two winners per award, one has three: 65 winners – some of the awards do not fall under “e-learning”
  • CODiE – under “Education”,  23 awards are available, at least two winners per award, a couple have 3 winners
  • LearnX – 37 awards, some go to individuals, but the vast majority are vendors – at least two winners per award, some have more than that – even better, some of the awards, there are multiple “Gold” winners

How can the end user distinguish who is truly deserving of the award? I wouldn’t have any clue, because there are so many of them out there. By the way, this is just a quick hit of a couple of organizations.

To see how many award categories and the number of awards that are available, I recommend checking out the “award” organizations list.

There are organizations that hand out only awards for a few categories, and it is just one winner per category.  That makes sense, and eliminates these “white” noise that takes place, when everyone can nearly win an award.

Award Season

Here is where the “awards” announcements become funky. At one time, awards were handed out in December – ala the end of the year, but nowadays, it seems they are handed out monthly.

Some organizations have already handed out awards, which seems strange, since the year isn’t over yet – well, at least not on Planet Earth in the 21st century.  I’m not sure if they are using some calendar prior to the Gregorian, because that is the only way, I could understand the announcements.

When the through out the year awards are in play, saturation equally comes into play. It is as though it never ends, a continuous cycle of awards.

How about starting to hand out awards in November? Or maybe a shorter version of categories and award winners, with the “award” time period beginning in October, would be better served.


There are a couple of ways that a firm, company, vendor or individual can win an award, depending on the organization that is selecting winners.

  • The potential victors submit an application 
  • Readers nominate and from that list, winners are selected
  • Monitoring of the industry, following it and then selecting winners (E-Learning 24/7 aka this blog, follows this approach)


With this process, only those companies, vendors or individuals who fill out an application or entry form are eligible to win an award. Those who do not fill out an application or entry form are not eligible.

In the LMS market alone, there are over 395 vendors. Trust me, not all of them are submitting an application.

Reader Submissions

For some organizations they never state on the number of readers who “nominated” a company, firm or whatever.  Granted there are those who do, and they should be commended for it. I would be impressed myself, if 10,000 readers selected “ABC” for whatever award, more so then if 50 people did, but that is just me.

E-Learning 24/7 Approach

I admit to giving out awards. I recall that I gave out awards to “Rapid Content Authoring Tools” and “LMSs”. One category had multiple winners.


  • RCAT Product of the Year: SCORM Cloud
  • Open Source Product of the Year (i.e. its FREE) – CourseLab
  • Innovators of the Year: Rapid Intake, Scate Technologies, Inquisiq
  • I Didn’t Know it was Possible Award: Composica

LMSs – Products of the Year

  • Big Dog LMS – Saba
  • Open Source : Academia: OLAT, Corporate: OpenElms
  • Extended Enterprise: Absorb Anywhere
  • Social Learning Management System – Upside Learning

This year, I plan to give out awards in the following categories, with only winner per award.

  • RCAT of the year
  • RCAT Open Source of the year
  • RCAT Innovator of the Year
  • Social Learning Platform/Product/Solution
  • Mobile Learning Platform/Product/Solution
  • LMS of the Year
  • Lite LMS of the Year
  • Open Source LMS of the year
  • Innovator of the Year

The breakouts I think make sense, since it a system that is “Lite” typically does not have the same feature set as a standard system. I haven’t decided, if I will have Web Conferencing system of the year and assessment tool of the year, but it is probable. If “WC” is added, then there would be a category for “Open Source”.

LMSs or other platforms that have a RCAT built within it, are not eligible for the “RCAT” awards. Rather, these are stand alone products, either via SaaS or desktop.

Bottom Line

The mass amount of categories and potential winners per category creates confusion in the marketplace. I fully understand the value of winning such an award, and find no fault with the vendor or whomever wins the award, nor to a degree find fault with the organization or blog that gives out awards.

Rather, it the amount of winners and categories that I have an issue.  When people start seeing on a company’s site that they are an award winner, they maybe unaware that there can be (depending on who is giving out the awards), multiple winners for each category.

This is the problem.

I’m curious to know if readers of this blog, feel the same way. Let me know via my comments section or by e-mail at [email protected] – Iwill post the comments via my Linkedin Group, later this month.

However, from my side of the fence, it seems to be too many categories, too many award winners and in turn is lessening the value of winning such an award.

I am recommending that we hand out an award for all awards. I’ll be standing by to see who wins such an award.

I am told the announcement will be made today, tommorrow, the day after that and so on.

The award will have 30 categories and three winners per category.

This way everyone wins. Or do they?

E-Learning 24/7


  1. Award numbers and categories here are nothing compared to wine.

    Despite the huge amount of wine from scores of countries and the huge number of competitions, awards make a difference to the:
    Consumer (who can tout the wine at the table; award impact varies by country)
    Retailer (who uses the award to sell the wine)
    Producer (who often may get placement with a distributor/importer as a result.)

    The reality is awards are sales tools – whether from the producers, the sellers or the oh so important client (client needs to convince those who say “yes” or “no” that they are making the right decision…). Unlike wine, consumers are not part of the mix.

    We have you to let us know if those who get awards are worthwhile. Thank you.

  2. Here is another competition: the MEDEA Awards: only 4 (+1) awards to give away,
    1 for User-Generated Educational Media,
    1 for Professionally Produced Educational Media,
    1 for European Collaboration Educational Media,
    1 for Educational Media Promoting Volunteering
    (optionally 1 MEDEA Jury Special Award)
    Too late to participate this year, but next year you can:
    On the same website also lots of links to interesting showcases. Winners for 2011 will be announced at the Media and Learning Conference Nov 24 and 25 Brussels

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