Concerned Learning Material Developers


Illegal Material – Plagiarism Rife

This topic contains 17 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 1 year, 10 months ago.

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  • #63421

    Tass Schwab
    Participant

    I write this with a heavy heart and a certain amount of fury and indignation. I write this because I feel that small providers are being done in, and people like me who are independents are being held liable for extremely shoddy material. Yes, an agreement is made between the developer and the client but sometimes these developers just disappear!

    We recently were engaged by a company that wished to purchase material for a SETA. We acquired it in good faith, paid a fair amount for it too. Only to find that 80% of the Material is plagiarised straight from the internet and without any references. We now are being held liable – legally by the said company for this for damages because they unfortunately had already uploaded the material at great cost to their online system. We are a tiny company that pulls in experts when needed and there is no way that we can carry costs for legal action. This is not the first time we have dealt with extremely poor material in the last two years. There is just no integrity or ethics left!

    What has happened to the development industry? It used to be so very good? I now only purchase from two well known development companies and refuse to touch anything else.

    With hands in my hair, what can we do to stop this? Suggestions?

    I end this short, indignant, despairing rant with the following quote:

    “If I had a prayer for you, I would pray that you would get the disease called integrity. And I would pray that you would have it so contagiously it would travel around and you would follow it up with loving and demonstrate it by being that.”
    – John-Roger, DSS

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  • #63426

    My advice would be to make sure you have a contract in place with the content developer that states the content is their own. Then the liability is not with you but with them. We had the same issue and consulted with our lawyers.

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  • #63427

    Nigel Shipston
    Participant

    Hi Tass,
    It would appear that there is amost a syndicate out there, because I have come across the same materials from a number of sources. I have to agree with Heinrich regarding placing the liability on the developer, but it is necessary to sort out the real developers. I had to threaten the sellers with rather dire consequences on two previous occasions until they refunded the monies paid by providers, but apparently this is not a common occurrence. It would appear that too many providers basically shrug their shoulders at having wasted a whole lot of money and just move on. And believe me they don’t disappear, they simply reappear somewhere else in a different guise and carry on operating as before. This lot have been around for the better part of five years as far as I am aware.

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  • #63428

    We have taken a strategic decision NOT to provide any material to other training providers. That is why we started to write textbooks that can be purchased through our publisher.

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  • #63430

    Jan van Dyk
    Participant

    Hi Tass, It is the developers responsability to visit the end user that will make use of the training material to ensure that the information that is in the Learning material are job relevant. They must also give the end user time to proofread the material before it is distrributed to the end user. After approval from all then payment can be done.

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  • #63434

    Zelda Rose
    Participant

    Definition of plagiarism: “the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own”
    So not only content but actual product 🙂
    Helene and I have actually been informed / seen for ourselves that there are other so called ‘developers” that are selling our learning material as their own. When we then try to contact these people – they have left the face of the earth.
    I really do wish that the SETAs would do what they did a few years ago and that is to send an email / make a phone call to the developer, to confirm that the material was indeed sold to the client and that the SLA is valid.
    We can but live in hope

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  • #63435

    Name and shame!!!

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  • #63436

    Alcon Dube APR
    Participant

    It’s better to name and shame these scammers, by both trade names and individual names. That way we will retain the integrity of the industry. This is sickening!

    So the whole transaction is a reap off! Making money on someone else’s sweat!

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  • #63439

    Carl Roodnick
    Participant

    While I am sympathetic with the valid sentiments stated above, the elephant in the room is Evaluation – as per the ADDIE Model of Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation.

    Granted, this is usually applied as ADDIE; but under circumstances such as these, there is a strong case for applying it as ADDEI; where the necessary due diligence and checks other than fit and proper are performed prior to trade and roll-out.

    If you are a training material broker, it would be irresponsible for you to trade in content that is not Subject Matter Expert (SME) vetted and checked for plagiarism and/or a lack of proper attribution.

    It is inexcusable and unfair for the third-party client to have to discover what they have purchased in good faith from a reputable material trader, is in fact suspect or dodgy.

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  • #63440

    Colette Tennison
    Participant

    I think it is a very sad state of affairs. The other side of this is that those of us who are developers committed to integrity and delivering a high end product lose out as we cannot compete cost-wise. I am always very wary of so-called ‘specials’ on material, particularly for technical qualifications – it is not possible to develop it as cheaply as some would like. I saw this again the other day – a provider bought material for a technical learnership, vetted one module (which was of a good standard), but when the rest of the material arrived it was shoddy. It’s very much a case of ‘buyer beware’.

    At least one SETA checks the SLA between the material seller and the provider to confirm that the material has been secured through legal channels but I guess at the end of the day it’s up to you try your best to make sure that the contract you have with the developer is clear – and possibly builds in a percentage to be paid only after all the material has been evaluated.

    Also, I think that providers need to allow more leeway instead of expecting to roll out before all the necessary checks have been done. I know that they want to secure the client but over-promising on delivery dates is a sure-fire way to get into trouble.

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  • #63441

    Kate Sani
    Participant

    If you have sufficient evidence of plagiarism, report them on http://www.hellopeter.com

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  • #63442

    Daunton Ogilvie
    Participant

    During the course of the past two months, I discovered that material for two learnerships was inundated with plagiarised content. It was so bad that I had no option but to refuse to facilitate the programme using said material. Providers have paid substantial amounts of money and as a small business does not always have the expertise to vet the material and buys in good faith. Given the contractual agreements or SLA, providers should also have some other recourse as it is tantamount to fraudulent misrepresentation. I am of the opinion that the onus rests with the developer to ensure that material provided is quality assured.

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  • #63445

    Tass Schwab
    Participant

    In reply to to Carl, the Developers often provide their “best”sample, so even if we do check with our experts and run it through a plagiarism check one cannot guarantee that the rest of the material is of any good content. This as said earlier has me having to narrow my market down to two development companies whom I trust. I simply cannot afford to look anywhere else!!
    Collette your idea of the rest of the percentage being paid post evaluator is a good idea. Our accreditation expert insists in some cases that the material go through moderation PRIOR to submission. However the reality remains is that some developers just vanish despite every check and balance we have done. I would love to name and shame but I need to see what my legal route is first with this awful developer.

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  • #63446

    Fiona Cameron-Brown
    Participant

    Tass, I feel for you. I come at this from the perspective of a writer: I have lost jobs, and in fact, now seldom write materials because contractors (providers) generally want something that’s as cheap as possible. Quality materials that are researched and unique (i.e.) take a great deal of time and effort and for many prospective providers, makes them too expensive. That said, and I’m going back nearly 25 years: I developed a fundraising course as part of a collegial consortium. Central to this consortium was the agreement that I would facilitate the training. Then I discover not only that said “colleague” had found someone else to facilitate the course, but also used and reproduced my materials – without so much as a “by your leave”. I am also clear, when I engage with prospective clients that I bring pedagogical expertise and not necessarily subject matter expertise. An adult learning methodology should be inherent in learning materials/curriculum design. Sadly it is often not.

    Here endeth the rant and all the best, Tass, for resolving this and good on you for warning everyone out there to watch out for charlatans.

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  • #63807

    Shari Mattera
    Participant

    What really freaks me out, is that these people could be selling me material as we speak. Not know who they are hands them the power in the situation and puts many of us further in the dark. These plagiarizers have out smarted our human systems of checking with referencing checks we use, such as end note etc. So I would greatly appreciate the names and company names of the individuals who are to be cautioned against (even in my inbox).

    Also, the cost of material is so vastly different, one does not know whats a good costing anymore.

    Will you please advise what the material cost for a full qualification of an BANKSETA Generic Management NQF 5 qualification should cost?

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  • #63823

    Anonymous

    Buying material from a broker is quite risky, Taking into account the fact that the material is not redeveloped to suit the clients needs but just passed on. It would be irresponsible to purchase material and resell it without ensuring the client will be satisfied with the product. I have come along shocking material which would be a crime for anyone to resell without reviewing and moderating for quality purposes. I think as a seller you have a responsibility to make sure you’re representing your business not the person/organisation you buy from.That way we can improve the way/what we deliver to clients. I wouldnt want to name and shame that would be very embarassing considering this issue at hand but please do take responsibility as you are the one selling the material. It is very unfair to be sold material that is being passed on without evaluation so not only is the person selling to you to blame but you as the seller are, We will improve if we own our mistakes and change ‘change starts with you’. The fact that most people who buy material from you (organisation) dont knoww much about training material does not mean they are dumb, they will simply not come back to buy from you again. I’m talking big names (organisations) in the training Industry not small providers.When you are hired to facilitate/Asess/Moderator as well you recognise nonsense from the beginning and you get shocked when you realise it is the same big organisations who claim to know it all on this site, its utterly disgusting.Should i name and shame?No its not my place but the client’s.The provider of the material was asked to provide missing guides but couldnt, you cannot tell me that when the broker(provider of the material) sold it they did not know something was missing since they are always passing material on to different clients, that is if they didnt create the rubbish themselves. Taking esponsibility will go a long way.

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  • #63828

    Anonymous

    If you are an organisation who buys material and pass it on without evaluating it properly for your clients,shame on you. That simply means you are a big part of what is wrong with this industry, more like spreading the poison. And the amounts these same brokers (whatever they are called) charge clients are exhorbitant, talk about reaping clients off for doing nothing other than sourcing rubbish. Seems like it is very simple for us to shift the blame than fixing ourselves first.

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