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How do I add step-by-step instructions to my labs?

Want your users to be able to complete your labs without having to refer to an external document or have a separate monitor for the lab manual? If yes, you can add manual content to your labs to provide your users with step-by-step instructions in place of a separate manual.

There are three methods to add content to your lab: 1) add each step to the content area of the lab, 2) import content from another source, and 3) inherit content from another lab profile. This article will cover the first method. The other two methods will be covered in separate articles.

To add content steps directly to a lab, in the Lab Profile, click Edit on the Lab Profile page. At the bottom of the Basic Information tab, check the Has IDL Content check box. If you want your exercises to be automatically numbered, check the Show Exercise Numbers check box. This check box only appears after you have checked the Content check box. Click Save. Notice the Lab Profile now has a Check Out option in the command bar below the lab title.

Next, click Check Out. This locks the content area of the Lab Profile to keep others from changing the content while you are working on it. Notice the new Launch option in the command bar and the message bar that appears stating you have this Lab Profile checked out. There are two locations to add content to your lab: the static interface that provides everything but the VMs, and the IDL Studio, which will be covered in this article. Click Launch in IDL Studio.

Once the lab has completely launched, notice the Developer menu on the lab title bar and the Content tab on the right side of the lab interface. You will use these to add your content. On the Content tab, click New Exercise. This will open the New Exercise window with the following required and optional fields:

You can either type in the fields or copy from the lab manual or other location. For rich text fields, use the Formatting toolbar that appears when you click in the field to add formats to content. You can also use the Source Code window for each rich text field to manually correct HTML codes or set new codes. To access the Source code window, click the <> button from the toolbar. To exit the Source code window, click OK or Cancel.

Once you have completed the exercise fields you want, click OK in the Edit Exercise window. This will open the first task window with the following fields:

Covered in other articles:

Like the Exercise fields, you can type or copy/paste the content into the Task fields and use the Formatting toolbar and/or Source code window for the rich text fields. When you have finished building the step, click either Add to add the step and return to the lab interface or Add and create another to add the step and open the New Task window for the next step.

Content is saved as it is added. To add another exercise or task after the currently selected task, click New Exercise or New Task on the Content tab on the right side. When you have finished adding all of the exercises and steps for the lab from the lab manual, you can cancel the launched lab. Finally in the Lab Profile, click Check In to release the content.

For a comprehensive guide on building lab content, review the Learn On Demand Systems Integrated Digital Lab Authoring Guide.

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