2019 Turkey Awards

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Welcome. Welcome to the annual Turkey Awards. Last year’s 2018 Awards were all the rage.  Truly coveted by those in the know, who know, they really shouldn’t be in the e-learning industry. 

In 2018, we also had the Worst Awards (after all, way too many best out there), but for 2019, the Turkey Awards combine the two.  That’s right, the Turkey represents both fine qualities – bad and worst.


Just as last year, the Turkey Award focuses on systems and marketing spin.

  • Web Conferencing – Will last year’s GoToMeeting win again? 
  • Functions that should retire like that floppy disc you have in your drawer
  • E-Learning Marketing Words – Stand on your Soapbox and Stop the Madness
  • Learning System


Absolutely none. I spent the past year, seeing a lot of systems, products, tools; attended a few trade shows (that should be a future category), observed trends of this and that, and whalla, the list. 

Plus, with what is happening everywhere in the world these days, having a smile isn’t such a bad thing is it? Unless, you win one of these awards, than it should be euphoria.

Web Conferencing fleeturkeyfleeturkeyfleeturkey

GoToMeeting  – Last year’s winner, has improved, okay, not really, but the “Mute” which all of us so enjoy, is a default. Most folks, never pay attention and leave “Mute” on, this when you go into a online meeting with GTM, you are usually on “Mute”.  I should note, that I also find the folks I’m trying to talk to, on “mute” too.   Sure, who doesn’t love a good pantomime, but on a web conferencing call?

WebEx  –  The granddaddy of the web conferencing space. They have been around for at least 19 years, and yet, no one ever calls them traditional.  Their features? Traditional.  Their download app thing you have to do? Why, traditional.  I mean, it’s a conspiracy.  Someone reach out to Devin, he’s always looking for one.

Adobe Connect –  Lots of things you can do with it? Yes. Cumbersome? Yes. Once a darling of vendors who used it to show their demos, now? Not so much. In fact, in 2019, I did not see one demo from a vendor on Adobe Connect.  You tell me, is that a good thing?

Blue Jeans  – If I could tell you that there is one web conferencing tool, where every time a vendor (and there are a few) who use this product, never connects, hangs way too long, requires you to download their app, and in the end each of those vendors have to switch over and use the web conferencing tool, I use, then perhaps Blue Jeans is not the right one to buy.


winturkeyAnd the Winner is  – Blue Jeans.  The David Bowie video Blue Jeans, is a fine representation of this web conferencing tool.  You recall your 80’s days, thinking the video rocked. Then you watch. And realize, just like the WC tool, you are left hanging around.  To connect to your memories.

Category – Stand on your Soapbox fleeturkeyfleeturkeyfleeturkey

Micro-Learning – Last year, this buzz word made the list, and some folks were surprised it did not win.  Personally a vendor can call their system whatever they want, but there are a few factoids to remember about micro-learning

  • Every system on the entire planet and probably in the universe, since 1998 (ET are you there?) are able to accept and will work with micro-learning courses. 
  • Micro only means short, not that the quality will be good.
  • Micro is based on duration.  Not the person’s learning style and thus, how long it will take them to complete the content
  • Micro is vague, some people say Micro is 10 minutes or less, others say five minutes or three minutes. 
  • True micro should be three minutes maximum and focus on only one key idea to get across to someone.  And you can create mini-micro content too, even at 10 minutes, you can do a TOC. 
  • Lastly, for video micro fans, more data is coming out saying that folks are not even watching the entire video (even at three minutes)

Mobile Learning First –  Here is something that might shock you, but most of the vendors who say their are mobile learning first, do not have an on/off synch in their native apps. A few do not have a mobile app.   And, every system can be seen in a mobile web browser. Now, how it actually looks is another story.  I’m always surprised at the number of vendors whose native apps haven’t been updated in six months or more. If you are mobile first, that would seem to be a good place to start.

Employee Engagement/Development Platforms – The best way to ensure that anyone looking for B2B external, or B2C to avoid your system?  Bring in these words to your marketing pitch.  Perhaps toss in workforce management, that for sure, will get an professional association running – away. 

Traditional –  Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a few pet peeves that rank higher than the planets. 

  • Trade shows that forget that a lot of people can’t have dairy; thus they serve dairy products and their food always has cheese on it – (ahem, ATD)
  • Vendors who still do NOT understand that L&D is different than Training; and yes, Training as a department does exist.  
  • People who drive 55 or 60 in the fast lane.  For some reason, they tend to drive either minivans with lots of stuff that blocks the windows or a Volvo.  Age isn’t a factor, although, I tend to see a lot of people who still follow the 10-2 rule with the steering wheel.
  • Traditional

Vendors love to pitch it, consumers end up picking it up, and then you have those whole traditional spin over and over again.  It only happens in the learning system space, and specifically in the LMS market in the corporate space no less.  Education? Never hear it, even though Blackboard has been around since the late 90’s (as online that is). 

But flip over onto corporate and the floodgates open.  When someone says traditional, they often are referring to Cornerstone, SumTotal, Saba, SuccessFactors and alike.  Or they refer to the fact that people are using their LMS for compliance and required, forgetting that it is not due to the system, rather the person who bought the system.

Is there a time when Traditional is appropriate? Sure.  When you are talking about the holidays and dinner.  Turkey is traditional for Thanksgiving dinner.  Not at a baseball game.

winturkeyAnd the winner is – Traditional!  Timmy the Turkey wants to let you know that the Plymouth rock, is not the real rock the Pilgrims landed on.  Sorry to disappoint. $10 please.

Category – Functionalities to Retire fleeturkeyfleeturkeyfleeturkey

Forums/Discussion Boards – I always bring this up, story wise, because I believe it truly represents why discussion boards and forums from the text standpoint should end.  I had each of these fine items on a web site I built in 1994.  Yes, Mosiac was the browser. IE did not exist.  Netscape was just a few years away.   And yet, in 2019, you will still find a majority of learning systems that have a forum or discussion board or both.  Folks who seek systems often ask for it, but it is outdated.  And premise is totally re-active learning.  I post a thought. You respond. Wow, talk about interactive and engaging.  On the HE side, it is even worse. I, professor, tell you to read some stuff, then post your thoughts on the forum. Others have to respond.  Then you hope your professor does too. 

There is only one word that describes this entire experience.  I’ll leave it to you to figure it out.  A hint – starts with “S”.

Outdated Social Features –  “Facebook like experience,” “Profile with my face on it, and some general information that nobody cares about, except maybe HR – I mean the department I work in – how is that beneficial to learning?”, “blog” and “wiki”.   I often note that Instagram is massively popular, Tik-Tok is popular and how many systems offer those type of experiences in their system?  Better yet, how many can API to that?  I can count on one hand, how many.  If you look at education and Higher Ed systems – NONE have integrations with the hot apps such as Tik-Tok and Instagram, let alone WhatsApp.  You have to go where the kids are.

By the way, for vendors who are targeting Millennials , time to move on, it is Gen Z now and Edge coming.  How about having some social functionality that targets them, heck, even the rest of us.  (Side note – the most popular age for online gaming? Seniors.  The most popular age for video games? 35-40)

Chat Rooms – Another nominee from 2018.  If you have web conferencing integrated via an API or whatever, why would you want a text-based chat room?  Did I mention I had one of these too? In 1994.

Pie Charts on the administration side –  Pie Charts are great, but wow talk about outdated. I love Pie. Cheery. Apple. Pumpkin – personal fav.  But as an visual on the administration side? No.  Not unless it comes in Pumpkin.

winturkey– And the winner is –  Forums/Discussion Boards.  If you are going to have one, then let’s update them by having the ability to record audio/leave my voice on it, even audio and video.   

Category – Learning System fleeturkeyfleeturkeyfleeturkey

By far the toughest category in this year’s awards.  So many systems out there, so many, I ask myself, why are people buying this system,  are they unaware of XYZ?  Perhaps they like the folks who sell it.  Perhaps there is something in the system that says, “hello, I’m the best choice,” or perhaps it just works for them. 

And for these folks, I totally respect your decision.  Mine, on the other hand;

NovoEd –  I still debate on what they are and not are.  I initially thought they were more an LXP, because other LXP vendors run into them, more often than not, but I can tell you they are not an LXP.  They are definitely not an LMS.  They are a learning platform, but to try to put them into a segment, which I think would help them, isn’t doable.  I say this, because when I talked to them, I was provided with different responses to what they were (i.e. saw themselves as).  They have clients and they do some solid things, but saying you are not in the content business (a few other learning systems say the same mantra),  is befuddling.  If your client has content – and they do, then you are in the content business. 

Workday Learning – I never thought these two words would come out of my lips, when considering the Turkey Award.  Workday makes a great HRIS system, by far the best in the industry, but for learning, uh, no.  At one time, they were a good system, Top 20 to be quite honest, but those days are gone.  I can’t speak for their SIS platform, and I won’t, but for corporate learning/training, you can do far better than going with Workday Learning. 

As an analyst I received the latest following Workday’s big yearly event, information they presented, etc. – and in this year’s items, they talked about a swath of their products – and enhancements.  The one they left out? Workday Learning.  They were late to the game on adding a content marketplace, and while they were an early adopter of the Netflix like experience (due to their buy of Mediacore, which offered that), the system seems to be in middle of the road mode.  Fine, for companies who do not have the capital to do a few items, not for a company like Workday. 

SuccessFactors – Ha. Hello, my dear friend.  I’m not sure what you will look like by the end of 2020 – perhaps a combo of SAP Litmos and you or a re-brand with feature sets for everyone, and not just Enterprise, which uh, SAP Litmos does as well, but SuccessFactors is ideally suited for employees, and only for folks who I think have SAP to begin with.  I am still at a loss on why people buy SuccessFactors for learning. 

It just isn’t that good, and there are so many, so many systems out there that are better. Perhaps you miss your old legacy system.  Maybe, you own a Plateau Systems Rocks T-Shirt, and thus you just can’t toss it in the heap and move on. 

Bridge –  Based on some news reports, it looks like Instructure is putting Bridge on the market.  I’m not placing them here because of that, rather they are here, because it just isn’t a good system. It always seems to be a work in progress, which when you think about it, it has been around for a few years.  For a system that just a couple of months ago, called themselves an employee development platform, to now referring to themselves as NexGen learning solution/platform, that can be used for extended enterprise (multi-tenant, including B2B/customer training), and for sales enablement, sorry that won’t work.  To do SEP, you need to have robust sales functionality in it, not just the ability to do sales training – because every system can do that.  An SEP, is a first and foremost, sales related functionality with a nice training component within it.

Bridge isn’t the only system lately, to push the sales enablement narrative as part of their pitch, but, for a platform who overwhelmingly pushed a heavy focus on employee development, jumping over to try to grab SEP audience or extended enterprise is a bit odd. 

Just as odd as seeing a penguin wearing a wig at the zoo.  Yes, that odd.


winturkey And the winner is…. Bridge.

I had this witty retort all ready to go, but then I realized, that the sea breezes were calling me.  The sun is shining. The day is warm.

And Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

Happy Turkey Day everyone!

E-Learning 24/7

Bonus – FindAnLMS now has a mini-RFP component.  That’s right, if you are interested in a learning system, and wish to submit a scaled down RFP, now you can.  I recommend this as part of your due dilligence.  Add a use case, provide some basics, and start the conversation.  You can always provide a more detailed RFP later, but, by levering the mini-RFP, you are telling the vendor, you want to see more, a demo for example.  Too many people, look around, but fail to book a demo early on in the process.  Mini-RFP within FindAnLMS, changes that.   Best of all, it is 100% FREE.  (Vendors that list “Request for Proposal” on their catalog listing, accepts Mini-RFPs.  Simply click on the button for the RFP window to appear – Vendors who offer it include Absorb, SumTotal, CrossKnowledge, D2L Brightspace, Cornerstone, Udutu, Biz Library, Asentia, Inquisiq R4, Instilled LXP, Docebo, Coorpacademy, 360Learning, TalentLMS, eFront, Eurekos and Fuse  ) 

Next week’s blog – How to BUY the WRONG LEARNING SYSTEM –  Get ready to find out, what you need to do, to ensure you pick the wrong system.  Sadly, many people do this, i.e. pick the wrong system, and it is because they do the many if not all, of the exact items, I’ll cover.