OLab4 Help


How to import and export OLab maps
The Import module works reasonably well in OLab4. It can handle zip files from OLab3 that have been saved in Medbiquitous Virtual Patient (MVP) format. If you do not know which format has been used -- the Importer should detect this automatically.
Generally, we have found that most maps play quite well after import and do not need too much editing. The same pathways, links, nodes, and general structure of the map will all be preserved and migrated without problem.
There are certain components that have been deprecated and so should be removed or replaced. See https://openlabyrinth.ca/olab4-redesign-items-to-be-deprecated/ for notes on what is being removed in OLab4.
There is a challenge or two that becomes evident because the rendering component of OLab4.5 that displays the HTML text is much more stringent than the old version in OLab3. It will refuse to show pages with HTML errors, bad links and missing objects.
So, if you plan to migrate an OLab3 map to OLab4.5, here are some steps that will make the migration more successful: https://olab.ca/importing-maps-into-olab4-5/
To access the Importer, login to the OLab4 Player and then look for the Import button at the bottom of the page:
This has changed - update this section

Step-by-step: how to import OLab3 materials into OLab4

  1. 1.
    Create a zip file using the Labyrinths | Export Labyrinths menu in OLab3
    1. 1.
      For most cases, it is not crucial which format you select:
      1. 1.
        Medbiq MVP -- this is the more generic and widely accepted format
      2. 2.
        Advanced Export -- in OLab3 versions 3.3 and later, some function could not be supported by the MVP format so we developed the Advanced format. Try MVP first.
  2. 2.
    Copy the zip file to somewhere from where you can upload it to the new server (usually your laptop).
  3. 3.
    Login to OLab4
    1. 1.
      with authoring privileges.
      1. 1.
        Generic or learner accounts cannot do this
    2. 2.
      The example here refers to our demo server. Substitute the URL for your own server.
  4. 5.
    Upload the zip file and import it
  5. 6.
    The importer will tell you if there are any errors.
Add notes about file cleanup -- because OLab4.5 is no longer based on PHP, it is now less tolerant of incorrect or poorly formed HTML. We find that some cases need quite a bit of cleanup before they can imported cleanly.


There are few things that are not handled by the Importer:
  • Avatars -- make a screenshot of these and convert them to images. See below
  • Skins
  • Clusters
  • Rules
There are also some OLab3 capabilities that have been deprecated. You can see a list of them here:

Why dump Avatars?

In the above section on Exceptions and things that have been deprecated from OLab3, we include Avatars.
"Oh, no, not the Avatars! I loved those wee cartoon figures." Yes, we know that OLab2 and OLab3 avatars are oddly popular as a feature. Even though they were very simplistic, many authors loved how you could use them to inject a personal face into the case.
So why are they gone?
OLab2 avatars were built on a neat little Adobe Flash tool. Many browsers no longer support Flash. Even in OLab3, we considered changing to HTML5 and a fully integrated system. However, while OLab3 Avatars are popular, we hit a limit on what we could do with them, unless we sank a lot of money into improving them. And there are now lots of other ways to create avatars that you can use in your OLab materials.
The Import tool does not handle Avatars at all. In fact, your Import will go smoother if you delete them from your OLab3 map before you export it. If you want to still use them, you can simply save them as an image file and then attach that to the OLab3 map in the Files section. Such images are easily imported.

Other ways of creating Avatars

There are several other tools out there which you can use to create static and moving images. These can then be integrated into your materials.
  • Bitmoji -- easy to create with lots of existing themes
  • idAvatars - unclear pricing model. Formerly CodeBaby
  • MovieStorm - we had fun with some of these but can get pricy
We do want to point out one small caution. We have found in the past that some authors spend a lot of time on creating attractive avatars. And they do make your cases appear more engaging initially. Good avatars have been rated well by students in software assessments in the past. But there is little evidence that they increase learning, which is a more important outcome.


Use the Export function to create a new zip that you can use to copy your map to another server.
OLab4 Export is not yet supported. We are working on it.