The things you find in the lessons app are worksheets we developed for our own training courses. We tried to come up with a new approach where the worksheets are focused on the learner's doing things and figuring things out themselves and not so much ‘follow the bouncing ball’ instructions.
The latter are ok but very hard to maintain and in our opinion, the learners don’t learn as much as when they have to work stuff out themselves.
Previous versions of these lessons were managed as libreoffice documents. The original repo for those is here QGISTrainingWorkshop
These lessons are also intended to be instructor lead - you need a competent person guiding the learners through the materials and filling in extra bits of info beyond what is presented on the sheets.
We would be interested to hear feedback from those using these lessons for self-study to see how they work in that mode, but that wasn't the design intent.
We wanted to make it so that each worksheet could be used independently and that it fits on two sides of an A4 sheet so that the activities are in nice bite-sized chunks. We devised a fairly tight structure for the sheets so that learners get the rhythm of the training and start to move through the materials easily.
Another design intent was that we could quickly assemble courses customised to the user’s needs. For example if a group wants to focus on digitising we can pull out a set of sheets relating to that topic area.
We have run quite a few training courses with these sheets and they work pretty well for us. Once students grasp the fact that they are not being spoon fed, most of our learners feedback to say they enjoy using their brain more during the training.
Each lesson has an exercise with a list of specifications. We really try to avoid making particular reference to GUI elements, and rather give instructions like ‘open the vector layer properties and set your line thickness to 4pt, colour to red and opacity to 50%’.
This makes the content less vulnerable to a developer tidying up the UI and breaking all the documentation for it, and makes it more fun for the learner to hunt around in the GUI for the different options. We didn't always succeed completely in avoiding specific GUI references but we try our best to do so.
One of the other motivations for shifting to the web is to make it easier for people to get the content formatted nicely - the lessons are created using a structured form that asks for different elements (intro, further reading etc.) and then we assemble the content into the lesson layout.
You can also use markdown in the lesson content for basic styling. We have some work in progress to have a ‘curriculum designer’ that will let you tick off one or more sheets on a form and assemble your own PDF and unique URL with your curriculum so that when you present a course you can link to the sheets being used for the course.
At some point it would be nice to link this to the certification app too so that you can say ‘Joe did our course and it covered these modules’...
We don’t know if our approach will work for everyone, but if others are interested to use the platform for QGIS everything we made is open content and the platform is open so feel free to use it - and if you are interested contribute new content.
If QGIS.ORG as a whole is interested in making it an official part of the project (e.g. to replace our old training manual work) that is fine with us too - though we don't have the same level of coverege for QGIS as the manual has yet.
Also, we would probably want to move the translation system into QGIS.ORG sphinx since it will probably be tedious to support ~26 languages or whatever the count we have currently in QGIS.ORG. If you want edit rights to tweak and improve what you see in the lessons app, just pop us a note and we will give you the needed access.