2022 Turkey Awards

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Well, hello there. Did you know Turkeys are on the endangered species list? That’s right. According to Turkeys everywhere, this is what they tell uh, turkey farmers. That is why, this year, you should switch to Spam or Tofurkey or Soylent Green.

The Turkey Awards brings out the best for consideration of this amazing award. It isn’t just one award, rather different awards for different categories with the big one tying around learning systems. There have been a lot of well-known winners in the past years, with only one time repetitive winner. That says something about the entire process.

Let’s take a brief look at this year’s categories. BTW, while it is supposedly true that Ben Franklin wanted the Turkey as the National Bird, it is very true that he spoke with a British accent. Come to think of it, all the patriots of that time, including George Washington spoke with a British accent of some kind. This is why, I call on filmmakers to make a George Biopic starring Christian Bale, speaking in his native tongue. George only had one real tooth (very true), so Bale can do a lot of gumming food.

Categories

  • One Term that needs to be kicked to the curb – Always a reader favorite. This year, we have some real candidates deserving. I can’t wait.
  • One Learning System Terms/Types that isn’t what you think it means – Oooh, this is always a favorite, because it always trips up people.
  • One functionality that needs to be sent to the sun, with no return trip – So many to choose from, will we have a repeat winner?
  • Learning System of the Turkey Year 2022 – It’s like the best of the worst, I promise this one includes a true story, that is just too hard to fathom, well not really, but seriously, it was a stunner. Oh, and not the first vendor I’ve seen this route, but that was more than a decade ago. This one? This year.

As always – here is our official Turkey Gobble Icon

One Term that Should be Kicked to the Curb

Nominees

  • Kirkpatrick – I had a great discussion on this term just yesterday (11-9) with a couple of readers, that were in total agreement. Kirkpatrick is something that many of us, Training included, and definitely L&D are told is the way, the only way for learning. Well, I guess for ILT, and even then as time has evolved, it hasn’t. Definitely not for WBT now known as e-learning. I truly believe that the majority of people in our space do not know what the term is, or entails, or cares. There are vendors who pitch they have it, and there are folks who oversee L&D who still believe in it. What anyone should be doing is Impact of Learning which makes L&D and Training into a business partner. IOL has been available, as a method since 2004. I used it.
  • ROI – Anyone who oversees L&D and Training, knows this term isn’t really tangible. I mean there isn’t any meat to it, more like feathers. We can manipulate or spin that X = Y, ignoring other variables that might impact that and go – see ROI. It it hard to show as a data point, that people are happy when they learn, or that the #1 reason people leave companies is due to the lack of professional development. ROI sounds good, it is widely used, but it doesn’t make you into a business partner. What does? And what can show those data points? IOL.
  • 70-20-10 (for online learning) – I know Charles, and he is a great guy, and he knows that I do not believe that 70-20-10 is applicable to online learning. I remember him saying to me that it isn’t about the number, the number can be anything – which after explaining it to me, made more sense. Too many people are stuck on the number 70, yet he noted that they have found that with gender, the number changes. I think informal/formal was designed and suited for ILT, not e-learning, because from the days of Corporate in 2000, you could do informal with your LMS. There were systems that offered it. And in 2002, many more – I used Geolearning – it offered lots of informal options. Finally, it is what the client wants to do with the system, not the other way around. I’ve never been a fan of assigned learning (formal), so I rarely did it – except for compliance. Others are big fans of it. Folks forget that the LXPs – nearly all offered – formal learning, and today, those upskilling platforms? They all have it.
  • Formal/Informal – Speaking of which, dump it. Again, a lot of folks do not know what is really means, you have people in Marketing, Product, HR who do not know what it means – and they could be the ones overseeing the learning system, among other training/learning. Does it really apply to customer education/partner training/channel partners, B2B? I’m not seeing it. I never thought in those terms of formal/informal, because coming from academia, why would I? Sounds wonderful, but so does Vegan Turkey that tastes like Turkey – which just isn’t the case.

And the winner is

Kirkpatrick

Why isn’t there a cartoon with Turkeys battling creatures from another world? I’m seeing revenue here. Has to be better than seeing has-beens and never will be folks dancing to tunes.

One Learning System Term/Type that isn’t what you think it means

Nominees

  • LXP – Besides the term meaning Learning Experience Platform, the functionality and capabilities are not what exists in systems that note they have an LXP. Or that they offer an LXP module. I’ve written about what an LXP actually is, but the way it is being used now isn’t close. Vendors who push it, see it as a content marketplace (may call it eLearning marketplace, which yes, eLearning should be hyphened and lower case e-learning) – which consists of 3rd party publishers/providers. Some learning systems include their own content (they created or acquired)and give that away fro free, but the rest is fee-based. The client pays for it (some vendors have a virtual wallet, so the end user can buy it- but the credits come from the client) or the client buys the content or content platform – think all you can can eat buffet model, and then everyone gets it for free. Plus, they – the systems tend to tie it with content curation. That’s pretty much it. There are vendors who show it as a playlist or offer multiple playlists. Some show the playlists as similar to “a job role” or skills, note a recommended playlist, trending, most popular – and thus in those vendors they are nearly an LXP – the metrics is what stops that. Thus if you have done a lot of research on LXPs, you are thinking this way, and they – a chunk of vendors are not. Fun fact – the two earliest entries and biggest players in the LXP space, no longer refer nor market themselves as it. One calls themselves an LMS with Learn and Skills, the other? Upskilling platform.
  • Employee Engagement Platform or Workforce Development Platform or similar – where learning is a core component. To all of these, I say yuck. Nobody is sitting around their zoom call nor the conference room, saying, “you know for learning, we need an employee engagement platform”. Most people say “LMS”. Regardless of what you think of an LMS, and vendors who pitch they are not, usually have most if not all of the standard features, plus many have no idea why they were created in the first place(not for compliance BTW or formal), it is spin here. Unless you are truly a talent development platform, which makes up 50% or more of your system, but learning is in there – you can refer to yourself as a TDP or talent platform or something similar. Oh, and there are vendors who say they are a training management platform, but unless they focus solely on scheduling, they aren’t.
  • Talent Platform whereas it is all tied around learning with job roles tapped to skill development, and maybe some opportunities (internal) which could be one offs such as a project manager role, or move to another department or upward role (which are not one offs). Again, this is starting to confuse folks who think Talent – the word itself is aligned to a full blown talent management/performance management system, but unless they (the consumer) buys additional modules (common practice), then it is not. It has been for more than 20 years, that talent must include success planning, leadership development, goal management, and mods that start bordering an HCM (but often lacks two mods). More and more learning systems, are starting to offer workforce development capabilities (as I refer to it), that include goal management, succession planning (may not be full-blown), leadership development – which you could do in an LMS, going back to 2000, ditto on the SP aspect.
  • Micro-Learning. I continue to be stunned at vendors who pitch their system as a micro-learning platform, ignoring the “hyphen” so it shows up as microlearning. That isn’t the full stunner though, the bigger one, is they think this is a new concept, and thus something so different, than what they say are long courses. I won’t get into why WBT was created, nor the length of the course, except to say, people learn differently, so even if the course is short, it doesn’t mean I am going to complete or focus on an area for X time. Regardless, micro-learning isn’t new. I want to stress this. You could do it in 2000. It just means short. Can you have multiple short mods? Yes. Can you have a TOC? Yes. Can you bookmark and rumble back at a later date? Yes. It depends on how you build it. Oh, and here is the kicker – EVERY LEARNING SYSTEM can do micro-learning. Every one of them. Even video learning platforms. There were a couple of “microlearning” platforms at DevLearn, and one guy was incredulous when I told him that this wasn’t a new concept. Don’t buy into this spin that it is new, or unique. It is 100% NOT.

And the winner is

LXP

Put a fork in it already. Or one of those prongs I saw in a Copenhagen restaurant. At first, I am like, this is weird, why would I use this? By the end of the night, I wanted to buy one. They didn’t sell them – it was customized designed for them. Should have just walked out with my new prong friend, but guilt stopped that.

One functionality that needs to be sent to the sun, with no return trip

Nominees

  • Discussion Forums – Yep, a repeat nominee. Why are these things still in any learning system? Half the time nobody uses it. Those who do, may or may not get a response to whomever is overseeing it – like in the EdTech space (which means K-12 and Higher Ed), and it is so dated. I had one on a web site I built in 1994. 1994. You know who else had discussion forums? AOL and CompuServe. Exactly.
  • Worthless data that means nothing to anyone trying to ascertain success/work in progress for learning or training. The big one is “views”. Unless your learning system is a search engine, this means nothing. It tells you nothing. So I viewed the course. What does that mean? Did I take it? Did I go into certain chapters versus others? Did I actually view it, or was I surfing the internet at the same time (there are some clients who have required time periods for each page, which is worthless – see above as reason). Licenses. Why is this on the home page? This should be in settings. And if you say licenses, then don’t say seats in your pitch. Seats are licenses, but most folks say seats. Stick with one term. Regardless, having it on the home admin page is about as valuable as Turkeys who can’t fly. Which is all of them.
  • Assigned learning – nah just kidding or am I? Personally it ruins learning and training IMO, and should only be used for compliance. So, yeah, I would boot that into the sun. If you are using a system with an algorithm or not, but it pushes out most popular or most used as the recommendation – well, it is skewed – because what will be that exactly? All the assigned learning. Then that back end data you rely on? Also skewed.
  • SCORM listed as SCORM on the admin side. Okay, considering that most folks in L&D and Training, have never known exactly what it does or is, and considering that 20% of your folks overseeing the system, come with zero background in L&D or Training, even if they are in education – background or otherwise, SCORM isn’t a well-known term in EdTech. Plus, what version of SCORM is it? 1.2? 2004 3rd edition, SCORM? Can I upload AICC? If yes, where is the AICC button? What about xAPI? One vendor shows the button on the learner side, like they are going to know what this means. Dump it, and instead just have “upload course/content” – I would do drag and drop personally. If the system can do this behind the scenes – i.e. identify the course or course standards it accepts, then whatever you upload if it is alignment will work. Tada. Simple. Simple. And yet, vendors continue to make things difficult for the admin, the person overseeing the system. When you train folks – you can say, hey, we accept blah blah blah types of content – if you need to say SCORM fine. If the buyer asks do you accept XYZ, and you do – then say yes. Then during training, you can say, we do this via upload content – which also takes other types of content too – video, audio, ebook, PDF, and so forth. Again, why have various buttons for content. One for all, all for one. If the Musketeers could do it – so can you.

And the winner is

Worthless Data

Views on the home page or anywhere and licenses/seats on the home screen. Oh there are a lot of systems that have such worthless data on the home screen – yep, views.

Turkey of the Year 2022

I know what you are thinking – okay, fans of the previous year, will he put SAP SuccessFactors on this list once again? They are after all, two time winner. It is tempting I admit, but this year, they missed the cut.

Nominees

Microsoft Viva Suite – Yeesh. Some of you might be thinking, well Viva seems to be more of the system I want, but if you want analytics dubbed insights, and their “topics” thing which they have pushed from day one, then Suite is the only option. If you have LinkedIn Learning Enterprise, then you get all the LinkedIn content as part of your solution. The Price Point is not cheap at $9 per user/month – that equals $108 per user, per year, and it is just a major hyped learning system that hasn’t taken off. You have to use MS Teams for it. It’s interface reminds me of EdCast within Teams, which BTW is far better. You get to purchase 3rd party content/courses – but you can do this in many learning systems. Yes, you get a 60-day trial, but if you are really interested in a learning system vendor, most will give you a 30 day trial. I’ve seen 60 days, too – for a couple of users. This was an ill-timed launch IMO, and I never understood the benefits of going with them. I still don’t.

Linkedin Learning – We are talking the learning platform here – pitched for business, and as skill building. Excuse me, while I stop laughing. I have written an extensive review on LinkedIn Learning, which granted it is from several months back, but from the functionality standpoint and approach it hasn’t changed that much. I am not a fan of the content – it just isn’t great, let alone good, but I understand how people would love, and like it. That’s cool. But why pray tell would you buy the learning platform? What data does it provide that really benefits? Views? On another page. Completions? Okay, but if you just want folks to access it, and you do not care about completions. Licenses? On the main home admin page. That skill building? So misleading. Just like their initial pitch of office hours, which was totally not. Yes they have comparison skills data, which is nice, but the whole “hub hoopla” was a joke. The playlists are so skewed, I could cook veggie kabobs with them.

Workday Learning – Last year’s winner of the Turkey award. This year? I will just say no. No do not buy it. A lot of learning systems today, can integrate just fine with Workday. Why buy this turkey? BWAAAAHHHHH.

Adobe Learning Manager – True story. Earlier this year, a top executive from Adobe (whose title and role were not the usual person in charge of the LOB LMS per se) reached out to me asking to know more about the LMS market (as they noted – “bring me in for LMS insights”). They wanted to schedule a call to know more about the space, etc.. Anyway, I thought to myself, why would this person be asking about other LMSs (and really the learning system market), when Adobe has their own LMS? We never got to that point of their objectives for seeking some information (they expected the call to be free, and it is fee-based, which they declined).

Besides the above story, the system is so behind the times. LXP? No surprise they pitch as what I noted further up, about the whole content angle. What they define as “headless” is not what “headless” – truly means – to see that – go check out my recent blog (and FWIW, other sites identify headless technology as the same way). Although they now offer this piece where the elements of the front can be embedded or something similar with the other Adobe offering – it is not truly separate “and thus headless”. As for the back-end? Nope.

Based on how Adobe defines it, guess what – most systems can do exactly that – and yes, some note this as headless (expect headless to be a very popular term in the industry). The system as a whole, seen that many times over. The data has some interesting things on it, but not enough to say, let me buy it. In fact, Adobe generates a lot of money with all their other offerings combined. They could easily invest millions and make Adobe Learning Manager (which screams L&D, even though they also target customer education), amazing. But they haven’t. And that is another factor on why they are here. They can’t claim funding issues – well, I guess they can.

And the winner is

Microsoft Viva Suite (and Viva Learning)

A combo effort. Look, could Microsoft made something unbelievable? Yes. Did they stumble out of the gate with this, too early, than it really ready for prime time? I believe soundly yes. Is there any WOW factor in this? No. Does it cost a lot? YES (I know they have volume discounts, but still). Unless you are a hardcore Microsoft reseller/partner or someone who thinks everything Microsoft makes is the best, then I can’t see why, you would want this. I use Microsoft360, have for years, and like it. Albeit the Booking app isn’t good. But, even in my early tests, I never saw the allure of Viva Learning. At one time, they were thinking of having a health component as a module. That disappeared – as it should have. If you want LL content, but have not purchased LL platform, then you pay for it. Again, as you should, but uh, Microsoft has a stake in LinkedIn, so they could just toss that in. The money is the system in this case. I think they are similar to Adobe in this way – they generate a lot of money with their other offerings, and easily could invest a lot of $$$$ into Viva Learning to take it to the next level, but what I have seen so far, that isn’t the case.

Bottom Line

This year’s Turkey Winner, will receive a special benefit – I will be making a $200 donation to an animal shelter. The shelter I have selected will be Wildlife Rescue. For the donation, I get to select any animal – so I selected a bird…. Yellow-Headed Amazon.

On behalf of everyone here at TCWG (aka as The Craig Weiss Group) I wish each and everyone of you, a good tiding over this holiday season.

E-Learning 24/7

Please note, there will not be a blog next week – Week of 11-14. However, there will be a blog post on the 23rd of November. The DAP post has been moved to early 2023.

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