Znanja conversion tool

Another ‘what am I using’ type post today following a quick look at a trial account of Znanja, from GTSLearning.

Rapid eLearning is too slow. You need instant eLearning

znanja (NAN-ja) converts your documents to editable, SCORM-compliant eLearning in seconds.

Experimenting with different types of collaboration, authoring and assessment tools was a big part of my previous role and I am trying to stretch back into that area after two years in my ‘new’ job.  This is partly out of personal interest but also as I think we’re starting to see a more mature HTML5 market and a lot of new options in the ‘post-PC’ age.  So, over the last couple of days, I have been experimenting with Znanja.  Initial thoughts below.

It is the first tool (since Wimba Create) that I’ve used to easily convert styled Word docs directly into (SCORM) eLearning content.  Overall, this idea of super-rapid eLearning is one which at least gets the debate going …

  • Do you really want to convert Docs and PPT as your start point, rather than considering the instructional design of eLearning in a more specific way?
  • Should you be authoring material in Office products anyway?
  • What about reuse?  For example, Xyleme-like tools for breaking materials down into their components and rehashing via xml?
  • Do we need to convert to SCORM if people can simply track they have read an item via Tin Can and Learning Record Stores?

Overall, I’m impressed that Znanja seemed to work smoothly (in IE and Chrome on W7), picking up your document styles correctly.  The browser-based editor then allows for easy customization (you can, for example embed YouTube and quiz questions).

In a way it might actually be preferable to go for this approach, rather than the embedded within Office approaches of Wimba and other tools as it means you do not need to worry about plugins or custom styles.  Instead your source files can be kept simplistic and you could create a workflow where, for example, learning technologists deal with the importing and customization bits – keeping your authors/academics/SMEs away from anything remotely techy.

Longer term – if we perhaps all switch to less feature heavy authoring tools (Office for iPad, etc) then perhaps we will need to create new workflows where secondary, web based tools, can perform customization and branding…or perhaps we are reinventing the wheel?

Lots of questions, although one thing is for sure – I’m not sure about the name…

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