Did you know?

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I learn something every week. I’m sure many of you do as well. Just as many of you, okay more than enough, pick up various factoids.

For example, did you know that Coca-Cola makes a special blend of their Coke just for McDonald’s? This is why the taste is never the exact same as anywhere else.

Or did you know that there are rock bands from the ’70s and 80s who continue to make new albums and perform those songs at concerts, where the attendees only want the hits from the ’70s and early 80s? (I’m talking to you Styx).

Or that once Phil Collins bolted from Genesis, there is no doubt that if MTV didn’t exist, Mike and the Mechanics would have hit the fair circuit the next week.

Well, just now you learned of these amazing tidbits.

As there are a lot of interesting tidbits across the board, so are there within the e-learning space, specifically around learning systems. While there are plenty who think they are in the “know”, get ready because what you are about to read, may surprise you, or at least more than most.

Did you know that another jargon term is here?

PXP. It stands for Personal Experience Platform. The term was coined by a well-known individual, many moon ago, but how vendors are starting to use it today, is not the angle it was seen back then. In fact, I’d argue that it never really got any traction when it first rolled out, nevertheless, there is now new interest in using it, even though, again, how it was defined, is not the same.

Vendors, and there are a few, are jumping over to PXP, which is really an LXP with more skill capabilities spun to angle the workforce development approach. Now since we all know that an LXP, is really a giant resource/content aggregator with feature sets, that started with some skill specifics such as skill ratings (and some LXPs have definitely gone further than that, but so have other learning systems, such as LMS vendors) and some LXPs have dropped the term themselves to switch to a TDP, Talent Development Platform, the PXP angle really is an angle.

The vendors are betting that people in L&D and HR more so, will see a PXP as this amazing new learning system, that is so vastly different than anything else, they must have it. They will be thrilled to see the spin of a combo of an LXP with vast skills capabilities. Excited to think that they can have 3rd party content (via a marketplace, but you still have to buy it). Wait, there is more, and sorry, it does not involve a set of steak knives.

PXPs will not be, from an LXP standpoint, a mass amount of 3rd party content, that is part of the spin. It will have some partners (as they develop, PXPs that is), but by no means match (as a whole) the level of a LXP, or even an LMS or TDP that has a huge content/course marketplace.

I could easily see vendors leveraging a PXP, as part of a suite if you will. “We have an LMS plus a marketplace + PXP.” Personally, I think it is just another term to confuse, an audience that is already having so many challenges figuring out the entire learning system space. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of TDPs, switch over to PXP, if the term gains any traction.

Did you know – that LMS vendors are including an LXP, even though they could always..

Land of Confusion, was a solid song by Genesis, and it fits here, because this is going to get confusing. I was trying to think of way to explain it, so that it will be clear on the angle. I am going to go bullet point, and hope it makes sense.

First, you need to realize that LMSs from the beginning, had the ability to offer personal and professional development courses (and even had a course marketplace) and where never seen in the early days, okay for nearly two decades, by anyone as just a content management platform.

However, thanks to various individuals in and out of the space, and the heavy push of such a moniker, many LMS vendors have adopted this, without publicly saying it, and therefore the add of an LXP (whether it is within the LMS itself or as part of a suite or module) enables them to create a new paradigm for learning/training.

Here is how it works

  • LMS vendor accepts that to the greater audience (prospects, buyers, consumers) that they are a system that was designed for housing courses/content tied into metrics and feature sets were wrapped around this premise. (Even though they know it is not true). I mean the anaytlics and metrics are true, and yes, you needed a place to house your content/courses, but they were designed to find out what you (person running L&D or Training) didn’t know what your learners knew and didn’t know, due to ILT only.
  • LMS vendor accepts that even though they offered social learning as early as 2000, informal as early as 2000, marketplace as early as 2000 (just wasn’t visible, you had to request), they have bought into the spin and push being forced upon them, by consumers, who they themselves think an LXP, were the first ones to do this.
  • The LXP component is pushed around being something that offers informal learning, social, playlists, skill capabilities, and other features that are unique and not at all, anything you can find in an LMS.
  • Even though every LXP offers formal learning (assigned), too many people, thanks to the greater industry, has effectively angled that an LMS only offers formal, never informal (again not true), and an LXP only does informal (not true)
  • Plenty of vendors who push the LXP component of their LMS, either mentioned as an LMS with an LXP, or a learning suite with an LXP system or another spin, do not have a course/content marketplace, which uh, is a core component of any LXP. In fact, every commercial LXP offers it, they have to, to be one.
  • Even though there are plenty of LMS vendors who have a playlist, and robust skills, they are being forced, into angling those capabilities as an LXP. Market-driven here 100%.

Did you know it is better to get a system that is “all-included” rather than piecemeal?

First and foremost, I am a huge fan of the term “learning suite”, if the suite includes all the modules, and you do not pay extra for the whole package.

If a vendor pitches “learning suite” and it lists a bunch of systems/products but you have the option to purchase them separately, or a bundle of two or so, then while suite is applicable as a whole, it is not a get it all.

Why do vendors go “learning suite” but offer the buy what you need know, often referred to as “tailored”? Because of the money. Think this way, you can get everything, and then turn it on when you need it or want to use it (which is what you should do, and can), is one price. If you buy a couple or one now in the suite, and then down the road, buy another platform/tool in the suite down the road, you are paying again. And again.

That is additional revenue. The typical mode of operandi is that those modules (often pitched as different systems or platforms) are in the learning system to being with. The vendor, after you buy say Advanced Metrics, turns it on. Tada! Now it appears in your system. What that LXP? But do not need it know? Buy it later, and tada is it turned on by the vendor.

Vendors who are wise to this ‘tailored and you buy later on” will instead say ‘everything is included” regardless if they list their system as part of a learning suite. This is because all those capabilities already exist in their system, and you, at no additional charge, activate them or starts to use them, when you want. You, are not forced to do it out of the get-go, if you do not want to.

Why do vendors, see this as a competitive advantage – i.e. all is included versus buy as you need? Because it is. The key is explaining to the buyer, that it isn’t any additional cost, and they turn it on, when they need it as they grow.

What are the pluses – for all is included?

  • Learning and Training needs could change in three months or six months or next week. You, are ignoring the reality, that change does exist. There are buyers today, who wished their system had XYZ, but because they didn’t see that as a need earlier on, or even something that may be of interest, are now in a pickle.
  • Budget. A system is a big-ticket item. Why be willing to spend more in a year, for something you can have right out of the gate, the first time around?
  • Your audience will change. Remember any learning system should be about the learners, not personally you. Nobody could have foreseen the mass interest in content consumption, until the pandemic.
  • The committee who is involved in your decision making (if this occurs), will want this and that – surprise, you can do it – because everything is included. Then, feel free to ignore them thereafter, trust me, most will disappear anyway.
  • I tend to find systems that everything is included, are normally as a whole more forward-thinking and committed to constantly adding, than those who are not. After all, if within the suite (let’s say four offerings), two are hot sellers and one is so-so, and another is a dud, they – the vendor will invest with those that are hot, and not so much with the dud. Plus, that dud, may eventually disappear. Thus, if you have purchased the dud, well, a lemon is a lemon, and there are no car laws to protect you. With all is included- everything gets updated, at various points.
  • Lastly, you leave your company and go to another place, that selected a system, that doesn’t have everything included, and thus, you are now scrambling to find the money to buy the other add-ons you need for the system. This happens way more than you might think.

Simply speaking, I’ve never met anyone who purchases a software product that has a suite, that would rather buy separate by separate. They want it all included. And if not? I surmise the piecemeal will be higher than the suite itself.

Did you know that implementation times have dropped dramatically?

Assuming you do not need mass config (and the majority of vendors do not offer it), the avg implementation time is one month, even with 10,000 or 20,000 end-users. At 50,000 or more, maybe three months.

Even with some mass configuration, of the vendors who offer it, you can be up and running, within four months.

There are exceptions, but the days of six months or more, are falling by the wayside.

Did you know costs are rising?

Does it stink? Yes. And while there are vendors who offer lower costs across the board, the market as a whole, is not. Never confuse price means excellence. I’ve seen price points at more than $75 per user per year for 1,500 users. How do they pull that off? Because folks look only at the price per user/per month and never think about the total cost.

Did you know that learning system vendors see the Customer Excellence Pledge as a must need in the industry?

Every day we are getting vendors who have signed the agreement to adhere to a higher set of standards in the learning system industry around, customer support and service.

It is my personal belief that vendors who sign and agree to a rigorous process – think ongoing certification, should be higher on your buying list than those who do not. Everyone knows the number one reason people hate their learning system or leave it, is due to poor support and service. Vendors themselves know this. There are systems today, who I know that privately acknowledge they have bad support. You won’t know until it is too late.

This is why the CEP was established. To tell you, who is willing to place their reputation on the line, by signing onto a series of checks throughout the year.

They are vendors you can trust, to provide elite support and back it.

The latest list -is here.

For those who just want some names, right away – Learn Amp, EdCast, Fuse, enabley, Rockstar LMS, D2L, Gyrus Aim, Biz Library, Agylia, Tesseract Learning, Jolly Deck, G-Cube, SmarterU, Knowledge Anywhere, Eurekos, eCom Scotland, edTek.

Did you know – the mid-year rankings for top learning systems is out?

The Top 15, and yes they are in order. (CE- Customer Education, Employees, TDP – Talent Development Platform, Combo – they target CE and Employees) – This is based on systems that are available today, to buy – and are “live”. When a vendor says Customer Education they are referring first and foremost as B2B. This means that the business (the client) is providing the training or learning to their customers and perhaps some of their own employees. Employees refer to those clients who are providing learning/training internally to their own employees at their company or companies, etc.

  1. Thought Industries (CE)
  2. Schoox (TDP)
  3. Degreed (TDP)
  4. Fuse (Combo)
  5. EdCast XP (TDP, but first vendor within TDP that can do extensive CE) – They are tied for fourth with Fuse
  6. Learn Amp (Employees with some CE, but not full combo)
  7. Intellum (CE)
  8. Cornerstone Learning + Cornerstone Content Anytime + Cornerstone PXP (Employees with some CE – if you just select Cornerstone Learning – they are pushing it for employees only – big mistake IMO – because it can be for CE too)
  9. Absorb LMS (Combo)
  10. Docebo Learn (This is for the entire suite, sans Shape) (Combo)
  11. Eurekos (Combo – Customer Ed first, with some employees – internal)
  12. D2L – Brightspace (Combo)
  13. Juno Journey (TDP)
  14. SkillJar (Combo – the message heavily around CE, but nearly half their audience are employees)
  15. Blue Volt (CE)

On the Rise

  • Rockstar LMS (vendor to watch in 2022, has made great strides, even though they just rolled out this year)
  • enabley – Something cool is going on there
  • Acorn LMS – From down under, and no, Crocodile Dundee isn’t there – Vendor to watch
  • Knowledge Anywhere – Somewhat streamlined, plays nicely in SMB. Quite robust functionality.
  • G-Cube – Continues to get better
  • Access Learning– Once great, then hit a roadblock, now coming back

Sliding

  • SAP Litmos – Biggest bummer for me. I liked this system in the past, but what is up with those metrics and UI/UX? On top of that, they just seem to be lost
  • CrossKnowledge – Just two years ago on the top of the industry. Now in free-fall. Seems to have hit a wall.

Who I am waiting for to see – (they are not yet live)

  • Biz Library – They are launching a TDP with extensive skills capabilities
  • Microsoft Viva Learning with all their modules tied around it – The entire package is the only way to assess. Not just one piece.

Lastly, the majority of these vendors can be found on FindAnLMS. We always want the best systems on there. And only the best.

Bottom Line

What can I say?

Now you know.

E-Learning 24/7

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