OpenDocument Format + Flash = Open Content Templates?

A thought just occurred to me, and I hope it spurs some discussion from the Flash coders that are among us.

So OpenDocument Format is an approved ISO standard for Office-type documents, including spreadsheets. In fact, ISO is in the process of moving the standard forward to version 1.2, where it’s expected that tables will be supported in the presentations created in ODF.

Lots of us who build custom courses are using our own XML Schema to fill-in the content of Flash-based online courses. But… what if a bunch of us used the same format for our XML? A little over a year ago, some of us got together via the [os-flash.org](http://www.osflash.org/) project for “Edumatic” and after a couple of very nice “how do you do?” emails, it plain died. I was reminded of its existence yesterday when I got my automated notice about my subscription to the newsgroup in my email.

But back then, we were talking about how do we even write the XML format so it’s the same. Well… we *have* an open standard that’s not only approved and maintained internationally… but it’s freaking FREE. So here’s my thinking:

There’s no shortage of tools that can create an ODF presentation (OpenOffice.org and NeoOffice on the Mac are but a few). But Google is supporting ODF, also with their online GoogleDocs application. So the authoring tools are there. We just need a common way to support them.

That’s where some Flash scripting and graphic/multimedia design moxy comes in. Imagine a workflow where anyone can author the learning content anywhere on free-to-use tools that are also easy to use (in other words, not much change management needed to do it). Then with a little scripting savvy, a developer simply takes the ODF export of the presentation, uses it to populate a course and makes the tweaks required (goal state: none) to put it into an LMS.

Now you have an incredibly fast way to take the abundance of content in your organization and put it into a digestible format for online learning in current systems.

So if you’ve read this far, the next question is… who’s interested? Because this is definitely not a one-man job.

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