Lesson Studio


In Valamis, lessons are the main experience blocks for digital learning.

In its essence, a Valamis lesson is an interactive and responsive multi-page piece of content that can contain text blocks, images, audios, videos, iFrames, hotspots, PDFs, and question elements.

Thanks to the abundance of different elements, a Valamis lesson can serve as an interactive presentation, quiz, exam, or anything else you want. The user activity and progress in lessons are tracked and recorded with the help xAPI statements, which describe the actions and their context. This data can then be used for analytics and reports.

All lesson styles can be customized with the integrated Style editor. Themes can be created to be re-used in another lesson.

Lessons are also fully localizable - meaning that users with different languages will see their own localized version, if you add one.

In Lesson Studio, you create, compose, and publish lessons. The main view features a list of draft and published lesson, filterable by category, name, and date. List and grid views are available.

Lesson Studio screenshot

Creating a new lesson

Click New lesson.

You will have several options to choose from:

  1. Compose a new lesson from scratch.

  2. Import a file to be converted to a lesson. It could be a PDF, PPT(X), video, or audio file.

  3. 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.

Creating a new lesson

With the rest of the options, you'll get a choice to edit information or publish it immediately.

Fill in the basic information of the lesson. Later on, this can be edited at any time without composing the lesson.

  1. Lesson title
  2. Cover image (a 4:3 JPG or PNG image under 200kb is recommended)
  3. Description
  4. Categories - these are pre-made in Liferay Vocabularies.
  5. Estimated completion time

Lesson localization

You can choose the languages that this lesson should be available in, as well. The list of Available languages depends on what languages are enabled in Control Panel -> Instance settings -> Miscellaneous -> Available languages.

All the above fields support localization. You can edit your translations by selecting the language and adding relevant content to that language.

Please note, that to change or add translations to existing Categories, you need to do so by editing the relevant categories in Liferay Vocabularies:

  1. Click Go to Other site and open the Global site.
  2. Go to Content -> Categories -> ValamisPackageTags
  3. Edit these Valamis categories by adding new translations for the titles.

Click Compose to continue.

Composing your lesson

A Valamis lesson consists of pages and various elements on them.

You start out with an empty page. To add elements, click on the elements bar above the canvas.

Note that each page can have its own title. This title is then used in table of contents, search, etc. You can decide to not name the pages, which will simply make them numbered.

You can drag elements around, snap to grid, and change their size, as you see fit.

Element types

  • 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.
  • 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, Liferay 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 is different to 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 into the hotspot.

Note that you can add alt-text description to image, audio, and video elements, using the Description field in the element's settings.

Once your content is ready, make sure to make everything pretty by using Themes and Style editor.

Lesson versioning

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).

Lesson settings

  • 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 have closed it. The lesson timer for each user can reset in Gradebook.
  • Allow vertical navigation - enables subpages for your lesson. They will be visible on the Viewer sidebar.
  • 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 instructor for the lesson. It means it will only count as completed after being graded.
  • 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.
  • Apply question category scores - enables question category scores when counting the overall lesson score.
  • Show category title - a category for each question will be visible to learners.
  • Title shown in Lesson Viewer - defines what kind of titles for pages is shown to learners: Lesson title, Page title (set by user or numbered), or no title. This setting can be overridden by individual page settings.
  • Set passing score - set the score limit that decides whether the lesson has been passed or just attempted. This is done automatically, based on the number of pages viewed and success in answering questions.

Importing and exporting in Lesson Studio

In Valamis, you can import and export lessons to other environments. It's important to note that you can only import lessons to the same tool you've exported them from - Lesson Studio to Lesson Studio, Lesson Manager to Lesson manager - because the exported data is different. 

In Lesson Studio, you do it in order to be able to compose imported lessons on another environment afterwards. In Lesson Manager, you only deal with published (think finalized) lessons, where you can only edit the details and settings, not the content. The lesson info in Lesson studio and lesson details in Lesson Manager are independent. If you update the lesson in Lesson Studio and publish a new version, the lesson details in Lesson Manager will be overwritten. 

To export a lesson from Lesson Studio, click the Export action button on it.

To import it, click Upload button in Lesson Studio and choose the exported file. Lesson Studio files look like slideSet-export-date-time

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