Monthly Archives: April 2013

Lots of interest in OLab3

At the Canadian Conference on Medical Education #ccme13 this weekend, there was lots of interest in what has been happening with OpenLabyrinth v3 over the past few months. Some nice new collaborative activities arose out of this as well.

Just before launch, one of our development teams at Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, added semantic indexing capacity to OLab3, which really opens up the discoverability of case material on an OLab3 VP server. Lazaros and his team have done some really nice work there – more on this shortly. This generated quite a bit of discussion in both technical and clinical author groups. Powerful stuff.

Also some useful discussions with groups who are looking at ways to connect OLab3 with other educational resources such as Moodle. At the moment, it looks like the IMS-LTI approach holds the most promise here. We will be working on a spec to insert the LTI Provider Layer within the OLab3 code base. For those who are less technically inclined, this basically means that we will be able to integrate OLab3 into other educational resources and systems in a much more seamless manner. Gone are the days when a virtual patient engine could be entirely standalone.

OLab3 featured in several workshops and presentations. The new Visual Editor interface was well received by both clinical and technical authors. Nice and easy to use – the concept mapping approach seems to be a nice intuitive approach and provides much more power and flexibility than a simple fill in the blanks linear model.

It is clear that most clinical authors need more in the way of examples and how-to cases in order to move them further towards creating decision branch points in their cases that are truly challenging and thoughtful – this is not a technical issue. It is a faculty development issue around basic teaching/learning principles. More examples coming soon.

So lots of development work to go and lots of ideas coming in. Let us know if there are particular aspects of OLab3 that you would like enhanced or strengthened.

Out to Launch!

This weekend we are officially launching OpenLabyrinth v3 at the Canadian Conference on Medical Education in Quebec City.

Our main case site is at

For those of you who have been following along with the progress on OpenLabyrinth v3, you will have seen that we have a number of servers already running OLab3 code and cases.

OLab3 is an ongoing open-source project, still under lively development. This is a signficant milestone for us this weekend, but you will see continuing changes to this platform over the coming months as we build in more capacity and useful features.

For a peek at the latest examples of what can be done with beta code, check out

Now is a good time to give us feedback or to put ideas into our heads for wish-list features. Of course, we cannot accommodate all of these but nevertheless, all ideas are welcome, big and small.

Example cases for OLab3

We have created a simple list/directory of example cases that can be played in OpenLabyrinth v3. This is not an all encompassing list of cases out there – there are hundreds! These examples show a variety of styles and learning designs.

Sorry about the long and horrible URL. We put them on Google Docs for now so that you can search for various criteria, parameters etc. At some point, we need a better way to show and describe these cases onĀ – but I want to make that list tied to underlying data so that we are not duplicating work etc.

Some of this will tie into what we are doing with mEducator2 semantic linking, but we still want a simpler way to linking such a table to underlying case metadata.

In part this also relates to some upcoming work, linking OLab3 to other systems such as Entrada, Moodle, Git wiki or Atlassian Confluence, through IMS-LTI and other mechanisms.

User Guide updated for OpenLabyrinth 3

We have significantly rewritten the User Guide for OLab3. In this, you will find tons of new resources and improved features.

  • Visual Editor – details on cool new features
  • Powerful MCQ and other styles of Questions
  • Conditional rules and logic syntax

Check out our main case repository at but for the latest OLab3 code features, see

Podcast on Visual Editor snippets in OpenLabyrinth3

One of the more interesting features that has been designed into the new Visual Editor for OLab3 is the ability to work with predefined sets of nodes

We have created a short podcast which gives you some idea on how to do this. Check it out at:

You can select set of nodes from a case, copy them to your clipboard and then paste them in elsewhere. You can also do this between cases. This really opens things up in rapid case design. If you have a useful set of nodes that present some common choices in a case, you can reuse them. 

Thinking along these lines, we have been creating a few generic set of nodes, which we call snippets, that can be copied into your case, thereby speeding up authoring. 

The other useful feature that we now have in the new Visual Editor is the ability to insert predefined sets of blank nodes, called templates, set up in common node patterns. Over the past year, we have been making great use of a node pattern called a dandelion to present better options to players. But dandelions are a bit of a pain to code by hand. The new Visual Editor allows you to drop predefined dandelions into your case. 

Exemplar VP cases

Want to find some great examples of what you can do with OpenLabyrinth v3?

We will have a list of exemplar cases posted on the main web site at shortly before we launch version 3. Watch this space.

The list initially will be a simple list of cases and descriptions. But we are also working on a neat feature where this list will be automatically updated with rich metadata, generated from the cases themselves. 

More on this soon… we are quite excited about this. 

Podcast on Visual Editor basics in OpenLabyrinth3

We are really pleased with how things are coming along with the new Visual Editor for OpenLabyrinth v3. The code is not yet released to the public but for those of you who have an account on our demo/test server at, you can get a taste of it now. 

We have created a really simple podcast about how to use the basic functions of the Visual Editor. You can catch it here on YouTube:

No finesse to this podcast, I’m afraid. We’ll do up a fancier one when the features etc in the Visual Editor have stabilized. For now, it is changing and improving day by day.