Create a Lesson Folder and XML File

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Overview

This page shows how to set up a new lesson folder. This folder will be the work area for your lesson - i.e. the place where you'll put the lesson's audio files, etc.

We'll also show you how to create a "lesson XML file". This is a text file that contains information about the lesson, such as its title, what language it teaches, etc.


Creating a Lesson Folder



Go into the Lesson Development folder.




In the Lesson Development folder create a new folder for your lesson. Use the lesson's "lesson ID" as the name of your folder.

Lesson IDs are explained on the Your Content Provider ID & Lesson IDs page.


Creating a Lesson XML file

Note: The content on these pages that describes the process of creating an XML file will soon be obsolete or, depending on your perspective, perhaps it already is. We've developed a tool that we're calling Lesson Creator which auto-generates the XML file based on your script. This is currently under development but is mostly finished. We use it here at the Language Collaborative and wouldn't dream of writing lesson XML files by hand. If you'd like to be a beta tester for this tool, we invite you to contact us so that we can provide you with a copy.

Select your lesson folder, then press F2 to go into "edit folder name" mode.

Press Control-C to copy the name, then press Esc to exit out of edit mode.




Go into the lesson folder.




Create a new text file.

To name it, paste in the lesson ID that you just copied. This ensures that the two names are identical, which is important.

Give it an ".xml" file extension.

Open the XML file and paste this XML into it:



Save the file.




This is a template which you'll edit. You'll replace the hash marks (#######) with your own text.


A very quick introduction to the XML format

We'll explain how to edit this file shortly, but first we'll give you a quick introduction to the XML format. If you're already familiar with XML you can skip the rest of this page.

XML is a text format that is used to structure information in a way that is easy for both computers and people to understand. While it can be complex, the basic principles are quite simple. These basic principles are all you'll need to understand in order to create and edit Language Mentor's XML files.

XML contains "elements". For example...



... this XML has a lessonNameelement.

Elements are defined by a "start tag", like this:
  
and an "end tag", like this:
   

As you can see, the two tags are identical except for the forward slash at the beginning of the end tag.

Elements can contain other elements. The terms "parent element" and "child element" are used to describe this relationship.




For example, here a parent lessonelement contains a number of child elements. The chunkselement has a chunkchild, which in turn has children of its own.

Some elements contain text rather than children...




Here we've edited the lessonNameelement so that it contains the text "Saying Hello".

XML is very logical. For example, the fact that this XML has a lessonelement that contains all the other elements indicates that this XML describes a lesson.

The fact that the lessonelement contains a lessonNameelement which contains "Saying Hello" indicates that this lesson's name is "Saying Hello".

Pretty simple, isn't it?


Questions?

If you have questions about the lesson creation process, please contact us on our Creating Lessons forum. We're here to help.


What's Next?

Once you understand these concepts you're ready to continue on to the next step - editing your lesson's XML file.