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ABCs of Creating Tutorials

ABCs of Creating Tutorials

Author: Mark Flannery

The objective of this learning packet is to help new Sophia users create their first learning packet.

This lesson takes a new Sophia packet author through the packet creation process.

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Quick Video Tutorial

The Packet Creation Process

Are you interested in authoring a Sophia learning packet and not sure how to start?  You've come to the right place.

Sophia is designed to allow great flexibility in the packet authoring process.  You can start and end anywhere you like.  Some authors like to dive right into the content creation by adding text, image, video, slideshow, and audio sections right away. Others prefer to complete all the description information first, starting with the packet objectives and summary.  The right way of creating a learning packet is simply the way you prefer.

In this learning packet we are going to walk you through the steps of creating a learning packet using a deliberate approach. Once again, you may prefer a more random style.  There is no wrong way to create a learning packet.

So here we go...

Step 1 - Name your learning packet

Step 2 - Draft your objectives and summary

Step 3 - Complete the description information

Step 4 - Create or find your cover art

Step 5 - Create an outline

Step 6 - Teach

Step 7 - Review your objectives, summary, and description information

Final Step - Publish!


Step 1 - Name your learning packet

The first step to creating a learning packet is to click on “Create New” and “Packet” at the top of the screen.  You will now be asked to name your packet and assign it to a primary subject.  Don't worry, you can change the name of your packet whenever you want, as many times as you want.  Go ahead and be creative.  The title can be straightforward like "How to Factor Polynomials" or more whimsical like "Factoring Polynomials isn't just for breakfast anymore." We do recommend you try to use the subject’s primary keyword in the title as that will increase the packet's relevance score when people are searching for content.  Note:  You will get the chance to include many keyword tages later when completing steps two and three.


Step 2 - Draft your objectives and summary

It is important to take the time to capture what you hope others will learn from your packet and to provide a summary.  Do not worry if you are still working this out.  You can come back this section whenever you want. Writing down your objectives and summary will help you create your lesson and, more importantly, will help others find your learning packet.  When searching and browsing packets, the objectives and summary information is what is visible to the user.

To enter your objectives and summary, click on the gear icon and the edit option.


Step 3 - Complete the description information

In addition to your title, objectives and summary, there are a number of additional description items that are important to complete.

Tag List - This is a list of keywords that will help users find your packet.  Use your imagination.  What words might you search for when trying to find information contained within your lesson?

Licensing Info - You own the copyright to all original work you post in Sophia (unless assigned otherwise in a separate written agreement).  Please be aware that by posting your content on this site, Sophia has license to use your content.  We also encourage you to give all Sophia users license to use your content beyond this site by the granting of a Creative Commons License.

See Wanna Work Together?  Creative Commons

(after clicking on this link, simply click your browser back button to return here)

See About Creative Commons Licenses

Subjects - Add the subject, or subjects that your learning packet addresses.  Please do not create learning packets that fall outside the scope of Sophia's academic subjects.  To request a new academic subject please contact us at

Related Courses - Is your content related to a particular class at your school?  Go ahead and add that information here.  This will help others taking that class find your learning packet.

Related Textbooks - Is your content related to a particular textbook?  Here is where you can add that information which will allow others that are using that textbook to find helpful learning content.  When creating your learning packet please make sure your lesson is supplemental to the textbook and does not infringe on the publisher's copyright.

Educational Level - Who is the target audience for your learning packet?  You may add multiple educational levels here. 


Step 4 - Create or find your cover art

Give your work an identity and add interest by adding cover art to your learning packet.  Many Sophia users are visual and the cover art speaks as much about the packet subject as the title does.  This is a chance for you to use one of your own images, or find a copyright friendly image that speaks to you.  If you do use someone else's image (with appropriate license) please remember to give them attribution by citing the source.

See Copyright Friendly Sources


Step 5 - Create an outline

This is an optional step, but one we recommend.  Simply take a few moments to jot down an outline of what you want to include in your learning packet.  Are there terms learners should know?  What are the elements of your instruction?  What media do you want to use (text, images, links, slides, audio, video)? Are you going to have questions for the learner to reflect upon to enhance their learning?  (btw - slides work great for exercises and study questions)


Step 6 - Teach

Now the fun part.  It is time to express yourself and enjoy sharing your knowledge.  It is important to let your personality and teaching style shine through.  The best packets are engaging, personable, and feel like they are created for an individual learner.  Imagine in your mind a single person that you are teaching to.  That learner represents your target audience.  Sophia users come in all educational levels and have many learning styles. Letting your style shine through will help learners of a similar style find you and benefit from your teaching.

Tip:  Your learning packet does not need to be perfect.  Matter of fact, it is more important to be personable, engaging, and insightful than to create a learning packet that is highly polished.  

Text, Links, and Images - You can add text sections to your learning packet that contain text, links, and images.

Slideshow - Slides are a great way to communicate information and add interest.  Sophia uses the MS PowerPoint 97-2004 file format (.ppt).  Please note that slide animations, builds, or voice overs are not supported.  If you would like to include animations, builds, and voice overs with your slides we recommend you create a video using a screen recording method (see below).

Audio - Audio is a nice way to add personality and interest while also supporting  auditory learning styles.  We support MP3, MP4, and WAV audio file formats.

PDF - Adding PDF documents allows you to have highly formatted documents, and provides the opportunity for the user to download and/or print the document.

Video - Video is an extremely powerful way to teach and make presentations. Video allows learners at a different place and time to be right there with the teacher. It allows learners to go at their own pace, backing up and fast forwarding as it suits their learning. And there are so many different ways to use video to capture your teaching.  Here are the most common methods:

  • Screen Recording
  • Video or web camera
  • Document Camera
  • Interactive Whiteboard
  • Embed YouTube and Vimeo videos

See ABCs of Video in Sophia for much more information on using video in your packet.


Step 7 - Review your objectives, summary, and description information

Now that you have created your content and captured your teaching we recommend you go back and revisit your packet description information.  Remember, it is through this description information that the world will find your contribution.


Final Step - Publish!

Congratulations!  You have now completed your first learning packet.  The first one is always the hardest.  Now it is time to share your contribution to the world (or a group).  Do not be afraid to publish - it is easy to unpublish at any time.


We hope you have found this learning packet on creating learning packets helpful.  We would appreciate receiving your feedback on how to improve this tutorial. 

If you have additional questions please submit them in the Q&A section.

Thank You!