Lessons are created in the tool called Lesson Studio. There are many various options on how to create them, be it creating all the content from scratch or importing files to be converted into lessons.
- Creating a Lesson
- Editing Lesson Content
- Element Types
- Lesson Versioning
- Device Views
- General Settings
Creating a Lesson
To create a new lesson, open Lesson Studio and follow the steps:
- Click New lesson. You will have several options to choose from:
Compose a new lesson from scratch.
Import a file to be converted to a lesson. It could be a lesson ZIP file (from another Lesson Studio), PDF, PPT(X), video, or audio file.
Provide a video URL from Youtube or Vimeo (here, API configuration is not required, but recommended for fetching cover images, info, etc.)
If you click the first option, you will see the following window:
- Fill in the basic information of the lesson. Later on, this can be edited anytime without composing the lesson.
- Lesson language - add the localizations you want this lesson to have.
- Lesson title
- Cover image (a 4:3 JPG or PNG image under 200kb is recommended)
- Categories - these are pre-defined via Content Categorization
- Estimated completion time - this field is shown in the info card for users. You need to assess the content of your lesson and estimate the completion time.
- Click Compose to go directly into lesson content editing or Cancel to do it later. A draft will be created.
If you choose to upload a file instead of composing the lessons, the outcome will depend on the type of file:
- ZIP Package- this is a lesson draft from another Lesson Studio (another course or even environment). It can be fully edited after the upload.
- PDF or PPTX- creates a page for each PDF or PPTX page. The original content cannot be edited, but additional content can be added on top.
- Audio or video files - creates a single-page lesson with an audio or video element on it. The resulting lesson can be fully edited.
Each time the upload is finished, you are given an option to either publish the lesson immediately, edit its basic info, or open the content editing tools.
Editing Lesson Content
A Valamis lesson consists of pages and various elements on them.
You can add new pages and use various templates via the buttons in the top-left corner.
Note that each page can have its own title. Page titles are then used in lesson navigation by learners, indexed by search engine, and reflected in some xAPI statements. You can decide to not name the pages, which will simply make them numbered.
To add a title to the page, simply click on the text field above the top-left corner of the page.
To add elements on the page, click on the elements bar above the canvas.
You can drag elements around, snap to grid, and change their size as you see fit.
- Text - a basic element for adding text paragraphs, headings, titles, etc. The styles (e.g. Headings) will use the default style settings or the ones you've set for them in the Style editor.
- Image - upload an image from your computer, Media Gallery, or Google Drive. Note that a background image is not the same thing as an image element. For this element, a file size of less than 200kb is recommended.
- Embedded element - You can embed iframe in your lesson using this element. To do so, add its source to the Element settings.
- Video - upload video from your computer, Media Gallery, Google Drive, or Youtube/Vimeo. Supported formats: .mp4, .webm, .ogg. Note: to improve performance, use Youtube or Vimeo instead of uploading a big video file into the lesson from your PC.
- Question - questions are interactive elements of lessons that register user answers and provide feedback. The answers are used in calculating the lesson score. The Content Manager is used to create and manage a question base.
- Audio - upload the file from your computer, Media Gallery or Google Drive. Supported formats: .wav, .mp3, .ogg, .wma.
- Math element - Use LaTeX format to render math expressions. A link to the tutorial is provided in element settings.
- PDF - upload PDFs from your computer or PDF/PPTX from Google Drive. This is added as a scrollable element on one page. Note that this differs from the Import PDF/PPTX function from the main view, where each document page is added to the lessons as a separate slide.
- Hotspot - a hotspot is a button on a slide that the user can click to expand a piece of content. You can add text, image, and video elements to the hotspot.
Each element may have different element settings, depending on its type.
You can add an alt-text description to image, audio, and video elements using the Description field in the element's settings.
Element types that imply a file (like an image, audio, pdf, or video) provide tools in the settings to upload files from your computer, from the Media Gallery (the environment's document&media), or Google Drive if such integration is enabled. Video elements can also be added from YouTube or Vimeo.
You can hide elements from different device views by clicking the Hide button when the relevant device view is opened. This will hide unnecessary elements from showing up on the screen of that device when viewing a lesson. This is useful for decluttering the lesson display for small screens.
Once your content is ready, make sure to make everything pretty by using the Themes and Style editor.
Uploading large videos
Even though we support a video file size of up to 2GB, you should be cautious of doing so because it increases the lesson loading times and, in turn, worsens the end-user experience.
We advise using video streaming platforms for large files, such as YouTube and Vimeo. Just upload the video to your channel and add it to your lesson via the corresponding channel.
If you don’t want your video to be public on your channel but still available to those who view the lesson, use the proper privacy settings for this video on your streaming platform.
For YouTube, you should choose the "Unlisted" type of video visibility, which makes it available only to those who have the link.
The "Private" type won’t work because it requires the viewer to be signed in. The "Public" type will work since it makes the video available to everybody.
For Vimeo, it has a similar setting available, provided you have a Vimeo subscription. If you don’t, it’s better to use YouTube.
When you edit the lesson, the new changes will be auto-saved. Each time when you finish editing, a new lesson version is created.
Older versions are archived and are available for viewing and cloning in the Version History window.
You can restore to a previous version by choosing the one you want and clicking Restore this version at the top of the page or create a Duplicate lesson based on the older version (currently selected).
Each lesson can have different layouts for different screen sizes. These include Widescreen, Desktop (5:4), Tablet, and Mobile. Once enabled, each one is independent and may have hidden elements or have different sizes and placements for them.
To enable or disable device views, click the Lesson settings button and choose Set devices. Then, toggle the ones you want to have.
These settings are accessed via the lesson settings menu (second option):
The settings will apply only to the currently opened lesson. Here is what each setting does:
- Save lesson state on exit - the user will be able to continue from the point where they left off.
- Set time limit for the lesson - the user won't be able to continue after the timer has passed. This timer goes on after starting the lesson, even if the user has closed it. The lesson timer for each user can be reset in Gradebook.
- Allow vertical navigation - enables subpages for your lesson. They will be visible on the Lesson Viewer navigation sidebar. It's useful to create chapters in your lesson.
- Answer cannot be modified - as it suggests, the user can't change their previous answers.
- Review required - this setting turns on the mandatory grade by the instructor for the lesson. It means it will only count as completed after being graded. This can be done via Evaluations.
- Strict progression - if enabled, the users will have to complete the lesson in a strict manner - page by page - and won't be able to skip further than the next page on the navigation sidebar. If there's a question on the page, they'll have to answer it first.
- Title shown in Lesson Viewer - defines what kind of titles for pages is shown to learners: Lesson title, Page title (set by the user or numbered), or no title. This setting can be overridden by individual page settings.
- Set passing score -set the score limit that decides when the lesson has been passed or just attempted. This is done automatically, based on the number of pages viewed and their success in answering questions.