LMS aka Learning Management System. LXP – Learning Experience Platform. Learning Platform. Cohort-based learning platform. Employee Experience Platform (bad name for it). Employee Development Platform.
There is a lot there for types of systems as I have noted before. I can’t forget the joke of micro-learning platforms, ignoring that micro-learning has been around since 2000, every type of learning system can do this because it is based solely on how you or whomever creates the courses/content. Plus, duration is highly misleading – so much so, that it ignores the basic tenant of Web Based Training (WBT) the precursor to the word e-learning, which initially was used as an umbrella term, for all types of e-learning solutions. Authoring tools. Web Conferencing solutions. LMS. LCMS (Rip, albeit a few are back, like zombies). Learning tools – now referred to as learning technology. Courses – regardless if self-paced (which they have always been, hence the reason around WBT) or synchronous-based, think the syllabus or stop and wait approach that EdTech – meaning K-12 and higher education use frequently. Cohort-based learning incorprates quite a bit around synchronous based learning, but it could easily do asynchronous which is the whole self-contained course/content so many folks create today. No one really says asynchronous or synchronous anymore, but they are/were the terms readily used.
I suspect that many readers were not aware of the above. A Did You Know? paragraph. Information such as this is essential in the understanding of the history, the terms and what has become of the terms whether gone the way of our climate on this planet, or still used but in another form.
Take e-learning. It means online learning. It was as mentioned above as an umbrella term representing all different types of offerings that were, well online. Think of e-mail. When did it appear? When the Internet as you see it, okay not all that garbage that exists, but in 1993 with web sites. E-mail means electronic mail. Nobody, used the term before that, although I am sure someone out there will stipulate they did.
We all know what e-mail means, or more so, how to use it. Snail mail has arrived to as a term. It’s been around several years, and means the postal mail. Hence snail. It isn’t used when your postal carrier talks about the mail service, but it does exist as a term.
Getting back to e-learning. An umbrella term no more. When you check out a learning system and they are discussing the content, you may see (and I see it quite a bit) being used to refer to an online course. A vendor says “elearning course” ignoring that it really has a hyphen between the e and the l. I never understood why a vendor does this. I say it because it should be extremely obvious to anyone, especially when the other course options which I do see are classroom (ILT, Face to Face) or ILT, webinar (not highly used, but that means web based seminar, in EdTech they love to say flipped classroom – it is a web conferencing, with a boring approach). If it is a document or material – you often see PDF or the icon, or resource, or some other nomenclature. If it is a video, I have seen all types of weirdness – content (duh), resource, self-paced (no kidding) and the dreaded ignorance of elearning. Why can’t a vendor simply say video? That to me, is quite clear.
I’ve seen SCORM as a type mentioned, which nobody nowadays knows what that means, and nobody cares – as a learner, and honestly as an admin. Plus, if they system accepts other SCORM types or AICC or xAPI, you will never see those mentioned or listed. This goes into the back-end too. I see way too many SCORM package- meaning to upload a course. Yet, you are really uploading content. So, just say content.
Content can be lots of things, including your SCORM or whatever type of course standard you are uploading that aligns to what the vendor can accept. Way too many vendors ignore this, sitting back in the early days, as though someone who is new to this space, gets it OR even someone from whatever department overseeing the system understands OR even your admin. I think of Kirkpatrick – hello – nobody cares – ok, the majority don’t. Use it in your marketing. Pitch it to the CLO – who for whatever reason, often like the whole Kirkpatrick piece. If the person you are dealing with inquiries and you have it, say so. Otherwise, don’t.
Another did you know comes to the content in of itself that appears in the catalog. A lot of vendors will list the publisher of the content, as if some learner says, “Holy Moly – you have IT skills? I am picking that baby.” Nobody – and I repeat Nobody cares. They are looking for content that ties to what filters they are seeking. A skill. An Interest. A job role. Popularity, whatever. Unless you as a vendor have to mention or note the 3rd party course provider based on your partnership agreement, remove it. Here though is the problem – a lot won’t. They are stuck in the mud. And budging from it, is sacrosanct.
I give out huge kudos to Docebo, because they went from listing publisher – due to their partnership with GO1 who lists them; and now – Docebo that is, just have the courses/content under the categories – with no mention of the publisher. Why can’t everyone else do this? As they say it is not rocket science here, although for some vendors, they will push back with “Nobody has asked or said anything, ” as a way to refuse to do it. Well, I think it is simply because they are unaware or think themselves, who cares. It isn’t though about who cares, it is about easy to understand without a bunch of gibberish.
Speaking of terminology, I saw a system yesterday and they used unlimited as a term in their catalog. What it means is that the client, has purchased in the system an unlimited package of courses/content for their learners. Here is the kicker though – they learner doesn’t care. It isn’t relevant.
There are a lot of did you knows that could would take a massive tome to write. I’ll hold back on those, because there will be a “Did you Know?” Vol 4. This one is Volume 3. Volume 2 exists here. In researching past posts of Did you Know? I found the very first one I wrote – in 2013. This is Volume 1.
Did you know?
It is essential do know why WBT was created and what are the benefits for it. Remote learning a term I truly despise – and no surprise is refers to EdTech – which again, a lot of vendors content included think educational technology refers to corporate learning. It doesn’t. Please read this again – It doesn’t. It means K-12 and higher education. And here is the kicker – it always has.
The next time some vendor’s salesperson or CEO shows off a system that ignores the basic principles of WBT you will know they never took the time to find out what it is, how it works or anything else. Sad really. But money drives the industry, and I mean who cares, right?
Well, they should – because it eliminates the nonsense of duration, self-paced, micro-learning and that other confusing spin vendors espouse to entice you to buy.
Why WBT was created. Read here.
Did you know?
There are vendors who will white-label a mobile app. This means that instead of your learners going into the Apple IOS apps or Google Play and finding the vendor’s app, with their name on it – they could go into the app store/Google Play and find it under your name.
This is ideal if you are doing B2B (aka extended enterprise, aka customer training/client training/partner training). I also think it is ideal for any association, and any vendor who offers online content via an app store that goes direct to consumer (formally known as B2C, now referred to as D2C). There are companies who will do this, even for their own employees.
There is always cost to this, but do not assume that a lower priced system or a system you would never think will do this, because there are plenty who do. And there are big name vendors who won’t. Cornerstone for example, won’t – they should, but that is another story.
Then there are vendors who do not have a mobile app (WHY???), that will build a custom mobile app for you. Again there is a fee-involved. I really like Thought Industries, but one of my biggest gripes was the lack of a mobile app. They do give you the files and offer you to do it – yuck. But, they will build a custom mobile app for you – white labeled with your name on it, and aligns to the system.
Some vendors will say they have white-label with their mobile app, but what they really mean is that within the mobile app, the end-user will see your name and logo in it. That’s it.
Did you know?
AI. When a vendor says they have AI, do not assume it means Generative AI which is all the rage. It could mean machine learning, which is not the same as Gen-AI. If a vendor says neither, then clearly, they have no clue. I am unaware of any vendor who is using deep learning tied to their NLP (Natural Language Processor).
Did you know?
That many vendors do not train their salespeople on a regular basis. Think about this for a second. What industry are many of you in? L&D or Training. And what do you provide to your employees, customers, members? Training. On a regular basis – with e-learning or the yuck of ILT (excluding those who do OJT in retail for example).
On top of that, there is often a disconnect within the company – the vendor- whereas the product dev team does not let the salespeople know what new features are being added, how the process changes, nor and this is the KING of it – review the RFP that the salesperson or whomever has filled out – to make sure what they are writing is accurate. The last part is huge. And it should be part of the internal process of checks and balances, before that RFP goes out.
You are about to be in a shock mode or yeah I figured mode. I’ve heard way too many times from folks who oversees sales tell me that they have salespeople who will say anything to land the deal – even if it is wrong or misleading. Now if they are aware of this, you would think they will do something about it. The folks I spoke with who told me, never do anything. In the end it is all about getting the sale. As with any industry the majority of salespeople are honest. And their are bad apples too.
I know of a CEO of a company – learning system who told me they would do whatever it takes to land a deal, even if what they say they have doesn’t exist. Thankfully, the CEO is no longer in our industry, but their approach wasn’t why they are gone.
Did you know?
That if you have a request for a special integration or requirement that the vendor doesn’t necessarily do on a regular basis, that you cannot rely on them saying yes, we can do that.
What you need to do:
- Request that they explain in details on how they will accomplish it
- Have them create mock-ups or screens on the approach and method – seeing is believing
- Ask if it will be an additional fee and if it will require a 3rd party dev team to do it – and will the vendor oversee this – i.e. the team, with checks and followups? The additional fee is common.
- If they say that another client did the exact same thing – ask to speak either to the client or for the vendor to show you how it looked. I prefer talking to the client. If the vendor declines, ask them who the client is – and then on your own go to LinkedIn and search people for that company. You will find that person. They reach out via message. I’ve never had someone decline.
There isn’t much more to say in this edition. After all it is volume three.
Though, I will leave you with this
Did you know, that I added another rescue to the pack?
We named her Nava. So don’t be surprised if she takes over a blog post, as a narrator.
I’ll need to make sure she can’t access the keyboard.
She might try to eat it.
Or use it as a dog toy.