Workday Launches Learning: Brings Video to the Enterprise

The Learning Management Systems (LMS) marketplace is over $3 billion in size, and includes hundreds of platforms to help companies manage all aspects of their employee training. The problem is that most of these tools were designed in the early 2000’s when the phrase online learning meant “e-learning,” virtual classroom, and classroom education. Our research shows that while almost every large company has an LMS (often mandated by compliance regulation), more than 2/3 really don’t like them and employees find the systems very difficult to use.

Today, of course, everyone seems to want to learn on YouTube. Some of the most popular education programs on the internet, for example, are Tasty, fun and entertaining videos that teach you how to make sweets. Tasty videos receive millions of views, and yes, they are actually teaching you how to cook. And let’s face it, video is taking over the internet. (Kleiner Perkins estimates that 60% of all internet traffic is now video, and with new tools like Snapchat, Facebook Live, and Periscope, video is quickly becoming a primary way we communicate.)

In the corporate space, we have been somewhat underserved. MOOC companies like Coursera, Udacity, Udemy, EdX, NovoEd, and others have built thousands of courses on almost every topic, but some are fairly long and take time to complete. Video learning platforms like (LinkedIn Learning), BigThink, and Udemy are growing rapidly, but they are still islands of their own, making it difficult to integrate them into a corporate environment. Traditional LMS vendors can manage video content, but the learning experience is based on a course catalog (which is often cluttered with thousands of courses). So everywhere I go I see companies developing, publishing, and sharing video, but the employee experience is not integrated.

Driven by this growth, vendors have been building enterprise products for video learning. One of the pioneers was a small company named Jambok (spun off from Sun Microsystems) that built a platform for video sharing. Jambok was acquired by SAP in 2011 and is now branded SAP Jam. Jam is a part of the SuccessFactors suite and positioned as a video learning and enterprise collaboration system. Oracle recently launched a new video learning platform that looks like a video library, and it is now becoming a strategic part of the company’s HCM suite. Saba has redesigned its video learning solution and now positions video learning management a core offering. SumTotal acquired a video learning company and now integrates video with books and courses. Cornerstone resells TED videos and includes video learning in its mobile app. And startups like Fuse Universal, Wisetail, Grovo, and others are building next generation video platforms that publish, curate, and manage video content in a highly compelling way.

Despite all these efforts, however, an enterprise-class, integrated approach to video learning has yet to hit the market. Companies want the equivalent of “YouTube for the Enterprise,” including tools to author, share, and manage video in a scalable way. And they want it delivered in a way that personalizes and directs learning to each employee based on their needs.

(Last week LinkedIn made a major announcement in this area, announcing LinkedIn Learning, a new platform that integrates LinkedIn’s social network with This integrated experience promises to make video learning available in a much more personalized and directed way, but is not yet an enterprise-focused solution.)

Workday has been looking at this opportunity this for several years.  Seeing an opportunity to innovate in the learning market, the company focused its learning platform on the end-to-end video experience. They acquired a video learning company (Mediacore) and build a product that integrates video learning and communication throughout the Workday system.

Enter Workday Learning.

Imagine a system that lets employees create “campaigns” of content, stream video on any device, produce recommendations and prescriptions based on job role and level, and enable anyone to record content, add navigation, and add quizzes and assessments. This set of features extends video beyond traditional training into a variety of new applications:  communications (ie. benefits plan changes), change management (ie. CEO messages), employee transition management (onboarding, new manager transition, job change), and general knowledge sharing.

I’ve had the opportunity to watch Workday build this product over the last several years, and to me it is an example of a new breed of employee-centric HR solutions. The system delivers a modern and compelling mobile (and web) experience, it scales, it’s simple and easy to learn, and it is fully integrated with the Workday platform. While it may not replace an existing LMS in some cases, the product brings scalable video publishing to the enterprise. And its deep integration into Workday make it a highly configurable solution for complex organizations.

Rather than being focused on the course catalog paradigm, Workday Learning is a “campaign-based” system. Administrators set up campaigns and the system recommends content to groups of people through a mobile app, email, or messaging.  The system includes storage and streaming tools to store and publish video (with unlimited storage), play quickly through any device, and track usage and feedback. And through the acquisition of another small company, Workday includes a simple and intuitive tool set to author video content with branching, assessment, and testing.


The content architecture is simple:  courses and lessons. A “lesson” can be any digital object – a video, an e-learning course (SCORM and AICC are supported), PDF, or other document. This means Workday Learning is a light-weight content management system, one that can store all the video, courses, and content you produce. (Today it does not accommodate external web-based content, but that’s announced for an upcoming release.)The Workday team focused heavily on the quality of the mobile user experience. Through the mobile app, employees can quickly see required learning, recommended learning, or Netflix-like categories of content to consume. Because the system is fully integrated into the Workday infrastructure, content is customized to each user. The campaign feature lets administrators set up rules to create required learning and recommended learning in prescriptive paths with pre-requisites and branching if needed.


The playback experience is managed by the MediaCore technology, so it is optimized for the device, buffered, and starts quickly.


Content Authoring

A new tool from Workday lets any user add branching and testing to a video, enabling people to take self-authored content and add instructional elements. While this tool is not a full blown video editing system, it’s enough for many instructional needs and appears to be easy to learn and use. Workday expects the system to unleash user-generated content, which is a major trend in L&D organizations around the world.


Workday understands the need for reporting, analytics, and diagnostics to manage a large library of content. The system includes out-of-the-box reports that help administrators see which content is being used, flag content based on usage, and add workflow to prevent people from uploading content without management permission.  Workday  has features for instructor led training management and in the next release (2017) will include a full capability to manage third party content, MOOCs, and external content providers.

Many Workday customers have purchased another LMS product to manage their traditional training operations. Workday learning, with its deep integration and integrated video experience, will likely compliment these products and give customer a new “communications” platform to complement their existing LMS infrastructure. I would see Workday Learning being used for onboarding, transition management, integrated training for new product and operations launches, job transition, and leadership development.

I applaud Workday for the years of effort and hard work it took to put this integrated product in place. The polish, fit, and finish shows a meticulous focus on detail and I expect Workday customers will be very excited. This is a product that will push the industry forward, and become an example for others to follow.


You may also like...