Education & Child Care Articles

Social Learning at Affordable Costs: Review of Knoodle

by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 24 April 2012

Learning systems are important for businesses because they inform, educate and enable knowledge transition between employees.

However, traditional learning management systems are similar to CRM and ERP systems of the past. They can be cumbersome enterprise software that requires a costly multi-year contract with a systems integrator to implement and deploy. Not really what is expected by businesses nowadays .

But if you want an affordable and user friendly solution, then Knoodle is to these types of traditional LMS as to what is to enterprise CRM - lightweight, easily accessible, and quickly implemented yet robust enough for "enterprise-use."

In this post, we will review Knoodle - a social learning platform - a possible solution for your learning needs. We will look at its interface and features, and see how it can be of use to you.

What Is Behind Knoodle

Knoodle was started as a better way to train and offer online lessons by utilizing PowerPoint and multimedia. The product was initially developed as a portfolio startup company within SK Telecom Americas, the technology incubator division of SK Telecom, which is South Korea's largest telecommunications company.

Knoodle's premise is different from that of traditional providers of learning systems, because learning and knowledge sharing should be tuned into changing workplace trends … and thus learning systems need to support these trends, not the other way around. "First of all, the millennial generation is changing the expectation and culture of the workplace, especially with their preference for social media and web 2.0 tools," says Tony Yang, Director of Marketing at Knoodle. "Secondly, learning happens on the fly. In fact, according to research, over 70 percent of learning happens socially and informally. It occurs organically and spontaneously and is not interruption-driven. Thirdly, the traditional approach to learning that takes place in a classroom or meeting room with a one-to-many person interaction is not effective or cost efficient with respect to the demands of today's fast-moving workplace."

Knoodle's platform was designed with these drivers in mind. "We believe that anyone and everyone in an organization has the capacity to be a teacher as well as learner," says Yang. This means that the tools used to share knowledge should be familiar and easy-to-use by anyone, without requiring a degree or certification in instructional design. Also, learning occurs openly across organizational silos and is not compartmentalized, so the learning content needs to be easily and quickly shared. Yang adds, "Knoodle makes it easy to capture and amplify social learning moments or opportunities that take place everyday and helps make them available anytime, anywhere, and on demand, with the goal of helping people learn faster and do their jobs better. We combine the depth of traditional enterprise learning technology with the immediacy and interactivity of social tools to make learning and knowledge sharing a natural part of your workday."

Although many of Knoodle's customers use it for employee training, on-boarding and development, Knoodle can be used by businesses of any size for other uses such as product demos, sales and marketing pitches, e-learning, certification programs and more.

How Does Knoodle Work?

Knoodle broadly works around the concept of presentations. You can upload PowerPoint slides and then add multimedia elements using a simple interface. You can add a voice recording to your timed slideshow, or you can synchronize your slides to play along with a video side by side, and even add a quiz or survey within your presentation for a true multimedia and interactive experience.

Because the presentations are hosted and delivered in the cloud, Knoodle also solves the problem of sharing large files. As an example, Yang cites the case of a 10 MB PowerPoint or even larger video files that cannot be sent via email. Websites such as Slideshare and Youtube come with riders such as stripping your presentation of multimedia elements or converting your PowerPoint to movie files respectively. In addition, both are consumer-oriented and do not have the security and data tracking that businesses require.

Once your Knoodle presentation is ready to share, you can provide your viewers with links to Knoodle's native player, publish them directly to YouTube and Google Docs, embed them as a widget on any website, or export them as downloadable movie files. What's more is that you can add social interactivity elements such as ratings, annotations, and discussion forums under your presentation/learning. Using the Knoodle Groups feature, you can also invite people inside and outside the organization to participate as viewers and discuss the content at hand or to contribute as content creators. Viewership details and test/survey results can be tracked using the solution's analytics dashboard. Because it is cloud-based, the solution comes without the traditional infrastructure deployment and management constraints. Thus, anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can access the solution anywhere and on any device.

What Does Knoodle Look Like?

A horizontal global navigation menu enables you to create and manage presentations. Other links in the menu enable you to configure emails, groups (for websites), and settings related to your account.

Should You Knoodle?

Knoodle magnifies the concept of simple learning systems.

"We let you take your already existing content such as PowerPoint slides and images, and give you the ability to amplify them by adding audio and/or video as well as tests and surveys so that you can deliver a more engaging, media-rich, and interactive presentation…all through an easy-to-use interface." says Yang. "Additionally, you can deliver it in multiple formats for easy and on demand access. And with our built-in social features such as comments, ratings, annotations, as well as data analytics, you have a complete feedback loop on the effectiveness of your presentations."

Count among its pros, an easy-to-use interface and analytics to measure learning.

Finally, the solution has excellent customer support including online help, video tutorials, and live support depending on your subscription level.

How Can You Knoodle?

The solution offers monthly subscription plans based on "Total hours of presentation time." This metric is based on the total amount of hours per month that your presentation or lessons are watched or viewed. To ensure that all viewers watch your presentations, the solution's developers have included a neat "Auto-pause Streaming Playback" feature. This feature ensures that your presentation stops after some time, requiring user input for further processing.

Knoodle: The Bottom Line

The majority of learning (whether it's in business, education, non-profit, or even every day life) takes place informally…such as simply chatting with a sales person by the watercooler on what helped him win the account. Most of what we learn in life and at work is learned informally and socially. Traditional learning systems do not allow the informal learning to be captured, leveraged, and scaled. Knowledge sharing, learning/training, and communication needs to also take place in an open an friendly context, and Knoodle helps to solve that.

Being a learning professional myself, I thought Knoodle was an excellent solution. It combines the convenience and low prices of cloud computing with a feature-friendly interface that enables you to create learning presentations and content on-the-fly. Try Knoodling; it might just be what you are looking for.