2018 Turkey Awards for E-Learning

2018 Turkey Awards for E-Learning

I have the most important shirt of the past four decades.  The shirt that announced on that terrible day, the turkey drop of WKRP in Cincinnati.  Who can forget the live feed of Les describing the ill-fated promotion.   If you have forgotten, no worries – here it is


While Ben Franklin was turning over in his grave (he wanted the Turkey as our national bird), others were fleeing for their lives.

I get it.

Eating a turkey is one thing, watching its attempt to fly is another, but winning a turkey award is something entirely different. 

Award Insight

Winning a Turkey Award I think is right up there with winning an Oscar if said Oscar is for “what the heck.. or ” huh?”.   It should be a badge of honor, I mean not everyone is in the running here, and its just a select few per category.   I know some of you will disagree with the nominees, perhaps feeling that your company or vendor should be in there, and I totally respect that.

This is why, in the comments section, you can list your own nominees for Turkey Award of the People, then a vote will take place (not valid in Florida – I mean its been what 18 yrs and you still haven’t invested in new voting machines).  Please refrain from naming people’s names or folks you just despise.  In other words, don’t include me in your nominations. 


Web Conferencing  – There are some really good ones out there this year. They have to be paying services and not the free ones.   Otherwise Blue Button would win hands down. 

Learning Systems that need an update or several aka “Let’s not party like its 1999”.   Pretty self-explanatory, although I still can’t understand why that seems to be a challenge.  I mean if a turkey can wear tennis shoes, why can’t you update your system?

FunctionalityTotally in learning systems here.  Some functionality are just turkeys.  Pardoning options do not apply.

Terms used in the industry –  I surmise that are turkey retiree places, where you know they are safe from consumption and live out there days, gobbling around, chilling with the weeds and doing whatever turkeys do when they are bored.   These terms should be retired. Feel free to hang out with Timmy, he likes to run at the sound of a dinner bell.

Award Icons

fleeturkeyRepresents Nominees

 turkeywinner – Turkey Award Winner

Category 1

Web Conferencing

A sound crop (you thought I would say something else – admit it) of choices this fine year.  Finalists were based on the quality of call on average (based on the number of times I was on a call with this tool – used by various vendors showing me their products or having a briefing, etc.).   Extra points for freeze ups, lags and bring you in as “mute” so when you talk, no one knows, not even you. 


GoToMeeting –  You have only been around for a long, long time and yet you still seem to be stuck in the “pre-mute you” approach.  I as only one voice, hate that.   I think others do as well, they just can’t tell you, because they are on mute.   UI/UX needs a serious overhaul.

join.me Recording should come as a standard with this tool.  I mean, there are freebies out there that can have more than five folks on, and record automatically (join.me at their Lite version – recording is not included).   Another needs a UI/UX update. 

Blackboard Collaborate  I actually liked this when it first came out, but since then I have heard from folks who use it, that well, it isn’t as great as it could be, let alone good.  Shame really. 

Turkey drum roll please…

turkeywinner GoTo Meeting.  Funny story, years ago, I had a web conference call with the folks from GTM and during the call, the video froze and people got kicked off the call.  Not a good sign.  Anyway, it’s better now, but still the controls are not intuitive as much as they should be, and Zoom is far superior, even though they haven’t been in the market as long as GoToMeeting. 

Category 2

Let’s not party like its 1999

I understand that cost is building/adding/enhancing or downright removing is pricey.  This is why I looked at vendors who I know have the cash flow and deep pockets.  So there really isn’t any excuse.


OLM  I sometimes get folks who ask me about Oracle’s Enterprise LMS, better known as OLM.  After a brief chuckle (I’m kidding here),  I let them know that this system is not good – this is just an example of a system that needs a major revamp. 

Anyone remember those old Oracle CDs they gave you for training?  I think I used them for Frisbee practice.  You can buy so many systems that integrate well with Oracle, so why stay in-house with their own platform?  No, seriously, I’m asking why.

SuccessFactors Yes they have some very good functionality, but the system as a whole is a major letdown.  I mean Plateau was really garbage and then SF took it over and made it way better.   Then, the updates while they kept coming, seemed to be just “eh.”  I get that SAP sees SF as an HCM (the product was initially ideal for recruiting, as I recall), but it is pitched to large companies as this amazing offering which includes learning.   I should note that the SAP LMS (which as one exec years ago told me, is like a toss-in for folks who want to stick with SAP), is even worse.    

This is one reason why if I was SAP, I’d strip out some things with SF, place those extras as a mod for Litmos by SAP customers so that Litmos is your only LMS. 

SucessFactors has a good chance of being a repeated winner.  Turkey wings crossed.

Canvas by Instructure –  There is plenty to like in this LMS for HigherEd and K-12, and while they are strong of the functionality, they are weak IMO with the whole UX for educators who are the ones adding the content, courses, etc.   Students I can see how they would like it, but I wouldn’t buy this platform if I was in the K-6 crowd (Frog wins hands-down as the best LMS for K-6). 

For me, it needs better capabilities on the admin side and as with other HE platforms out there the authoring tool that comes with it focuses the whole synchronous angle – which you know, is not the way to build an effective SBL, let alone an engaging course.

turkeywinnerSuccessFactors.   I know I couldn’t believe it myself.  I mean after I got the envelope out of Cali’s mouth  (named after Baja California), and was able to see thru the chew marks, I just had to let folks know.   I will say it once more SAP, let Litmos be your primary system and not this, wait for it, turkey.

Category 3


As a vendor in the learning system space, you need to constantly evolve. Offer new functionality and capabilities beyond the standards that exist (what I define as min. standard functionality).      That isn’t to say, you dump standards like a learning path – which is a must for any system,  but there are functions that should be tossed on the heap like COP (remember communities of practice in the mid-2000’s? I still try to forget).


Chat Rooms –  I am excited to announce that same vendors in the space have put this one out to pasture. However, the majority have not.   Let’s see you offer a web conferencing integration or maybe you have one; so that should take care easily of a text-based chat room.  How old are text chat rooms?  I built a website in 1994 for teachers and uh, it had a text-based chat room, and a forum discussion board too.   I say no more.

Forum/Discussion board –  This is another feature that not even cranberry sauce should save.  Outdated.  If you are wanting features of the soon to be Gen Z and yes the millennials, then this is not one of them.  Go voice messaging or video boards or heck anything that is not an actual I read what you wrote, then I respond, then the teacher or instructor responds back thing.   Better yet, go with a robust coaching/ask an expert component (the best way to resolve this old-school method).

Are you seeing a trend here?  Hmm.. why..it is in social

Facebook like design with a wall for streams etc. –   I mean honestly, who wants to be Facebook right now (excluding the $$$$ coming in).  Privacy issues? Check. Subterfuge going on inside the company to deny, even when they knew the fake articles existed? Check.  Those same millennials leaving the system in droves? Check.  Yeah, let’s stay with this amazing approach to social.  I guess MySpace was unavailable?

turkeywinnerForum/Discussion boards.   Another retro classic from the mid 90’s, popular with higher education and education systems.  Mixed with corporate (i.e. some folks love it, others do not).  As they say, a turkey dressed up for Halloween is still a turkey with silly clothing and a pirate eye patch.  BTW, ever tried to use a forum/discussion board on a mobile device?  It’s not pretty.

Category 4

Terms in e-learning that Need to be Retired


micro-learning –  Enough already.  Please realize that every system on the planet can have micro-learning courses.  You could have had a micro-learning course in 1998.  I had a few in 2000.  In other words, it has been around forever..  So, why do you ask is it such a hot term?  Marketing 101.  Vendors, who pitch they are a micro-learning platform, sometimes have courses/content longer than five minutes?  And as noted way back when, micro means nothing, since e-learning is based on the learner’s learning style and length it takes to comprehend, retain and synthesis.  What takes you three minutes to watch, may take someone else 30 minutes, because they are watching snippets and repeating.   In other words, micro isn’t micro for everyone. 

Social Learning The term was originally devised based on two components, a – learning, b – social media.   Yep, that’s right, that is how social learning the term came about.  Now its morphed into what you see today (which overall isn’t that awesome), but it has some opportunities to change that.  A better term to use in the 21st century (2018 and beyond)? Social Engagement.   Let’s make the switch today and move social learning to the wonderful “Whatever happened to…” group.

Training Management Systems –  What exactly are these?  It is one thing to be a training operations system (which does exist and I can see how folks who seek one, would use one), but the TMS angle, is sort of a hodgepodge.   Some TMSs are really LMSs, but refuse to use the name, because you know, they are not an LMS.  Other TMSs pitch themselves either as ideal for B2B or for folks who want to manage training, which uh, is why an LMS was created in the first place and of which, you can do B2B/B2C as well (if the vendor offers e-commerce and multi-tenant).    I firmly believe we as an industry come up with way too many terms to describe essentially four different types of learning systems.  Thus, the consumer gets confused.  And so do many others too.

turkeywinner Social Learning.   Yes, a stunner.  I know many of you were thinking, “micro, it’s going to be micro,” sorry to disappoint.   

Again, time to change to Social Engagement which is more apropos.

Bottom Line


Let’s recap the Turkey Award Winners for 2018

  • Web Conferencing – GoToMeeting 
  • Let’s not party like it’s 1999 – SuccessFactors
  • Functionality – Forum/Discussion Boards
  • Terms in e-learning that Need to be Retired – Social Learning.

Congrats to each of the nominees and of course to the winners.  Not everyone gets to be a turkey.  Some end up as a chicken or tofurkey.  I mean the options are endless.

Just ask Honey Ham.

(Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!)

E-Learning 24/7

There will be no blog post next week.   However, I am conducting a survey on the learning system space, content and mobile too.   Results to be published in the blog in Dec. You will make an important role, so please take a few minutes (avg time is just under three minutes) to complete this quick survey