Who’s The Best: Learning System Tourney

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Look around and you see folks trying to figure out who is better, who is the best.  Sports? Yep, it is achieved via playoffs.  Politics? Here in the states, it is called the primaries, then mid-terms (this year at least).   Books? Top 10 lists from publications such as the NY Times.  Land on that, and well, they say your book is a top seller, which infers one of the best.

Sure, you can have upsets. And yes, you can have questionable winners, which doesn’t mean they are the best.  But, putting that aside, the whole idea of some type of process to determine the winner of this or that, is fun.  Okay, maybe to the folks who make it to that round, and uh, not so much to those who don’t.

Besides my Top 50, I’ve toyed with the idea of having a tourney of learning systems. As with any tourney, not everyone gets to play or be in it. 

I decided that this debut tourney would have different divisions if you will, just as you might find with say the NCAA tourney here in the states, which go by regions. 

The process

I picked the systems via various categories of consideration.  If you think to yourself, well, the folks who ended up at X rank in his Top 50, will automatically win, I’d say, that isn’t always the case.   In fact, plenty of the systems in this year’s tourney are not in my Top 50. A different process for selections played a big role.

Just as in the sporting world, the higher seeds are those that tend to be seen as better, but as with anything, there can be upsets. 

Especially since the divisions are broken up by areas such as employee-focused,  NexGen, who are you, and so forth.

While there are plenty of vendors who cross over into all sections, I placed them into one specific segment of the learning system space.  For example, Cornerstone could argue they can be in employee-based, and customer-based and talent suite.  But since this part is subjective, you are in talent suite. 

For this debut, I went with just 64 systems.  I could have done 32 or 50 or 128 or 500, but uh, yeah, I didn’t.  Lastly, I based the tourney selections from the period of Jan 1, 2018, to April 25, 2018.

And to add to the excitement, readers will get to decide one of the divisions.  If you are a vendor and post yourselves, it won’t be considered.  This is for the fans, err readers of consumers. 

The Divisions – 8 Systems per division

NexGen (LMS, Learning Platforms and other types of learning systems)

Learning Engagement Platforms and similar (content management – heavily focused)

Employee-Based System.  These are systems who push heavily into job role and skill-based learning/training.  Compliance plays a big role in these systems. 

Systems you never heard of.  While there are a lot of them out there, I identified eight who most people would be like, “Who?”.  All of them have the basic standards of an LMS. But I surmise, that as a whole, the reader will click the link to the vendor to see where it takes them.  It is like search and rescue.  I’ve rescued you from obscurity.

Talent Suites.  Learning has to be a component here and more than just simplistic. Performance management has to exist and is noted as such in their pitch to consumers. Can be a separate module.  Sure, there are a lot of LMS vendors and other learning platforms that can slide here, but I went with systems that heavily push towards talent suites.

Watch this Space Segment – Includes folks such as the new segment of LMSs – customer training based systems – I should note at this time, the market is extremely small.  They are systems whereas e-commerce is not a required component.  And the term “training customers” is noted as part of their sales and marketing pitch.   Others listed are systems that are coaching/ask an expert only systems, sales enablement platforms and mobile-driven knowledge-based systems including Knowledge reinforcement tools, content learning tools – but mobile is the core here. Minds-I, for example, slides under a knowledge-based system with content as an entity here, as well as a to-do or daily task list as a component.  Again, KBS can be slide into numerous divisions. 

Best Marketing of System (based on value proposition, how good are their websites are, marketing/branding perspective)

Readers of The Blog

End of the Day

At the end of the day, there are plenty of segments in the learning system market, but for this debut tourney, I tried to steer away the common ones such as best in Social/Gamification/Mobile,  B2B/B2C,  Enterprise (whereas the term doesn’t really apply since folks can be as low as 300 in one system, 1,000 in another and so forth), breakouts by employees i.e. SMB, Mid-Size, Large, or by verticals or by regions in the world.  i.e. the best system in the UK or in Europe.

I just said to myself, and no not in the third person with a different voice,  “let’s pick unique divisions, have some fun to it.”  Best of all, a vendor who ends up winning can note they are the best in blah blah.

What’s Next

On Friday, May 16th, systems will be announced.  

Here is how to submit your reader selections

For the reader selection, you have a few options – a. Leave your recommendation in the comments section.  b. Leave it under the Linkedin post this will appear in, i.e. in my update, there is a link to this blog post, and you can leave comments.  c.  State the name on Twitter.

Please be aware that the vendor you list, may already be in one of the divisions.  To save you some time for consideration, here are some vendors already identified – but I am holding off identifying what division they slide under.   And they are not in any order, so do not think they are ranked in seed order.  Again, this will be announced on Friday.

Entrants already in.  And not every entrant is listed below.

  • eLogic Learning, Litmos, Unicorn LMS, Growth Engineering, CrossKnowledge, Docebo, Cornerstone, SumTotal, Thought Industries, Learn Amp
  • LearnUpon, Torch, Workday Learning, Saba, Degreed, Toolwire, Player Lync, Pathgather, Grovo, Axonify, Gameffective, Mind Tickle!, QStream
  • Schoox, Blackboard for Corporate, CD2 Learning, Tessello, Eurekos, Skilljar, Thinking Cap, Fuse Universal, Rehearsal VRP, Spoke, Minds-I, Intellium

Hey at least they are honest

I won’t say who this vendor is (and no they are not in my list, but I did find it funny that they put this right out there on their website)

The statement “We don’t have the budget to spend on a results-based Learning and Development Solution

Vendor’s Response: “No worries, maybe we’re not for you at this time.”

What they are really saying, “You can’t afford us, so don’t call, e-mail or contact us in any form whatsoever. Carrier Pigeons may be shot.”

Bottom Line


June 2nd – Rounds of NexGen, LEP, Employee-Based, Talent Suite 

June 7h – Rounds of Never Heard, Emerging, Marketing, Reader  

June 11th – The Finals for all divisions.   And who wins each Division of course.  Trophies may be provided, but more likely each winner will receive a snack gift box, courtesy of The Craig Weiss Group. 

I mean trophies are nice.

Eating snacks that are not good for you,

Is better.

And Delicious.

E-Learning 24/7

Final note – Process identified i.e. how the entrants were analyzed will be noted prior to each division.  For example, functionality is not a consideration under “Best of Marketing.”  Value proposition, web site, marketing materials are.








One comment

  1. Brilliant idea – this will be very interesting. Looking very much forward to the “battles” ahead 😉

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