A lesson is one or more pages of content. Lessons can be delivered stand-alone, or can be bundled with other lessons to create a course. A stand-alone lesson can be designed like a mini-course in the sense that a lesson can contain its own header, footer and background graphics, resources, and navigational elements.

Lessons typically have 5-30 pages of content. You should avoid making lessons too large because only one person can edit a lesson at a time, and large lessons are less reusable across multiple courses.

Sample lesson

Create a new lesson

To create a new lesson:

Open a lesson

Lessons can be opened from a variety of places.

Preview a lesson

You can preview a lesson or a template from a variety of places.  Authoring Previews and Published Previews are different.

Create a Snapshot of your lesson

Create a Snapshot of your lesson that will be displayed as the preview thumbnail in the selection list Details Pane.

Edit Meta-data

Besides being launched when you first create a lesson, you can open the Meta-data window from a variety of places.

Import & export text from a lesson

You can export all the text from a lesson to a spreadsheet.

After making changes, you can reimport that spreadsheet to update your lesson.

This is useful for allowing Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to directly change the text in a lesson, or for running Find & Replace functions on a large scale.

Notice that text objects from SmartBuilder that have multiple formats will be split across different cells.  Be sure to preserve this separation.

This can only be done with lessons that have a Work In Progress copy.

Export a media list

You can create a list of the media used in a lesson, with the locations, titles, descriptions, sizes, and types.

This can be used to externally keep track of the status of a lesson's various media.  This can be used to coordinate with a third party artist, or simply for your own organizational puproses.

Note: If you want to copy and paste the HTML output into an Excel spreadsheet, be sure to highlight the title as well to preserve proper formatting.

Import a PowerPoint

You can import all the text and regular graphics from a PowerPoint file into a new SmartBuilder lesson.  It will bring in all the text, preserving size, color, and location.

The following items will not be imported:

  • Font
  • Shapes*
  • Certain graphics (like clip art)*

* To bring these into SmartBuilder, you can Right Click on the object, and choose "Save as Picture".  Then upload the resulting PNG or JPG file into SmartBuilder!

To Import a PowerPoint:
  1. Save a PowerPoint lesson with an extension of ".ppt".
  2. In the Work In Progress > Lessons folder, click Tools.
  3. Choose Import PowerPoint.
  4. Select the PowerPoint that you want to import.
  5. Enter in a new title or any Meta-data.

A new lesson will be created in your Work In Progress > Lessons folder.

Publish a lesson

This does the same thing as publishing a lesson from the Authoring Stage.

It will disappear from the Work In Progress > Lessons folder because there is no longer a WIP version of that lesson.  You will have to open up that lesson from the Published > Lessons folder to create a new WIP version.

For more on the differences between Published and Work In Progress, check here.

Manage owners

You can add or delete owners of lessons, templates, courses, media and assets.  This can be done in the Work In Progress or Published folder:

  1. Select the lesson, template, course, media or asset that you wish to change owners on.
  2. Click Manage.
  3. Select Owners.

From the Edit Owners window you can Add or Delete owners, provided you have the permissions to do so.

There must be at least one owner.

To Add an owner
  1. From the Edit Owners window, click the Add button.
  2. Navigate to the user group of your choice (you can use the Search feature for quick selection).
  3. Select the user you want to share your content with.
  4. Click Select.
  5. Back on the Edit Owners window, click OK to confirm your changes.

    About third party lessons

    Third party lessons are those created by another program that are imported into SmartBuilder.  There are virtually an unlimited number of programs and thus file types that can be used as third party lessons.

    When uploading a single file, such as a PowerPoint file, you do not need to specify a launch file.  Likewise, if you are uploading a SCORM compliant package, you do not need to specify a launch file.

    When a third party lesson relies ona local file structure, and sources several files, you will need to zip those contents into a single .zip file.  Said .zip files require that you specify a launch file.

    Different file types will be treated differently by the SmartBuilder system.  Certain programs will allow you to export documents in a number of ways.  You may want to test out different exported file types to find the type that fits best with your needs.  For example, if you upload a Microsoft PowerPoint file, the course will launch the file, ask if you want to open or save it, and if you choose to open it, it will display in its own pop-up window.  However, you can export the PowerPoint content to an .html format, zip the folder contents, specify a launch file, and the content will display within the course wrapper just like a native lesson.

    Delete a lesson

    To delete lessons, courses, media or assets from SmartBuilder:

    1. From the Home window, select the content that you wish to delete.
    2. Click Manage.
    3. Select Delete.
    4. Click OK to confirm your deletion.

    The Master Page

    Objects on the Master page will appear on all pages of a lesson.  Similarly, any interactivity (eg. navigation buttons, exit buttons, etc.) built into the Master page will also work on all pages of the lesson.  Use the Master page to create a consistent look and feel for your lesson.

    The Master page can be layered above or below subsequent pages by changing the setting in the Properties panel of the Master page. If you are going to create popup resources on the Master Page (such as a help, or menu), it makes sense to set the Master Page to be layered On Top.

    The Master page has a built-in page navigator.  Alternatively, you can create your own page navigation by inserting buttons and creating actions in the Action List to move to the next page or previous page.

    To communicate between regular pages and the Master Page, you can use Global Events (such as disabling or enabling a button on the Master Page when a learner clicks on something in a regular page).

    You can also place a lesson level background image by using the Background Graphic setting in the Properties Panel.  Here is a diagram of a Master Page, Regular Page, and the Background image.


    You can also just change the Background Color property, which will change the normally white background.  This can even be used in conjunction with a transparent PNG background image.

    master page properties

    A common issue with new users is to place a large graphic on the Master Page, and it is above their regular page content, blocking their page content from view, or blocking users from clicking on things.  The video below shows you how to fix this issue:

    this video will show you how to properly set Master Page backgrounds