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DITA for eLearning Content Development Brian Driscoll SoftAssist, Inc.
What Is DITA? DITA, or Darwin Information Typing Architecture, is a W3C standard for organizing content by concept, topic, and task. First created by IBM, DITA is now an open-source standard that has wide support across many different industries.
The Purpose of DITA • Create modular, topic-based content. • Single-Sourcing • Multiple Delivery Points
A (very) Brief History of DITA • 1960s • 1970s • 1980s • 1990s • 2000s
Who Uses It Now? DITA is used primarily in the technical writing and publishing communities, where it receives a great deal of support. However, in recent years the DITA standard has received attention from the training industry, from which the DITA Learning Specialization is a result.
Model Overview • Content created and styled, then added to Presentation layer. • Logic provides functionality for navigation, interaction. • Widely used and supported method; common for eLearning produced in PowerPoint, Articulate, Captivate, HTML, and Flash.
CPL Model Advantages Disadvantages Content and Presentation, and sometimes Logic, are inextricably linked - which severely limits reuse without significant additional effort. • Training created with familiar tools/languages, making it easy to create/edit training. • Many vendors provide SCORM support and can produce a SCORM package. • Third-party developers provide ready-made interactions, layout templates, etc to make it even easier to create good-looking training. • Generally no need for a developer unless creating a complex module or complex interactions.
Proprietary Models Advantages Disadvantages Requires significant capital investment, technical expertise Not necessarily user-friendly for course authors Content may not be reusable outside of the model No community of practice outside the building • Can be tailored to the needs of the organization • Content can be reused within the model • Inherently supported by organization
John Hunt’s Proposition • Use DITA standard to create eLearning content that allows authors to: • Minimize duplicate effort • Use material from alternate sources • Supply course topics to alternate deliverables • Build to company-wide standardized methods • Create custom courses quickly
SCORM • Provides standard packaging mechanism for Reusable Learning Objects as launchable assets • Wide adoption by LMS and LCMS vendors • But, only works for web based eLearning content - a single delivery point... • And, content packaging occurs at the course/lesson levels, meaning that the smallest reusable piece of content is actually quite large (an entire lesson!) • There is no standardized content model (so the eLearning content could be built from CPL model or a proprietary model, or something else altogether...)
DITA • DITA provides a structured model for content (and thus content reuse) at a more granular level (topic rather than lesson) • Allows content-only reuse, meaning that presentation and logic are completely separate • Allows content to be reused and/or repurposed across different delivery media (print, online, CD-ROM, etc)
SCORM + DITA • DITA provides content model and structure for topic sequencing • SCORM provides delivery structure and packaging
Authoring Tools • Can use any text editor to write DITA XML directly • only good for those who are comfortable writing XML • Use a DITA-aware editor, such as: • XMLMind (Personal Edition is free) http://www.xmlmind.com/ • DITA Open Platform Editor (Free, but requires Eclipse) • Many retail/enterprise editors like XMetaL, DITAStorm, XMLMind Professional, <oXygen/>, Arbortext...
Publishing Tools • DITA Open Toolkit • Retail/Enterprise Authoring Tools w/ Publishing built in (XMetaL, XMLMind, DITAStorm)
(the end) Fin.
Talk To Me, Goose • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • Phone: (610) 265-8484 x11 • Twitter: briand_at_SA(http://twitter.com/briand_at_SA)