DITA Proposed Feature #12058
Design and language specification for DITA learning and training
We live in a complex world with many inter-related
bits and pieces of information, many different ways to access that information,
and a strong need to identify connnection points, objectives, and context
for what we need to know, and what we need to learn.
In this environment,
the challenges faced by developers of learning and training content are many:
- How to find the context for developing and delivering the right content
to the right person at the right time?
- How to identify the learning goals and objectives?
- Who and how many are the audiences?
- How to pull together and integrate context from many different sources
and content providers?
- How to enable customers and partners to add, integrate, assemble, and
deliver their own content?
These key challenges and issues for learning and training content
and delivery mirror long-standing customer pain points and requirements for
consistency of content and learning experience, for management of content
to make it shareable across and within teams, for addressing and simplifying
the information needed to support the complex environments, and for enabling
the assembly and delivery of custom content to address specific customer contexts
and use cases.
Statement of Requirement
Objectives of the DITA learning and training content specialization
DITA Learning specialization has the following objectives:
- Provide a general top-level design for structured, intent-based authoring
of learning content with good learning architecture, following DITA principles
and best practices.
Some specifics of good DITA design for learning content
- offers a starter set of specialized topic types that support structured,
intent-based authoring of content for learning and training, including assessments
- provides a map domain for structuring the specialized learning topics
as reusable learning objects, and for managing the linking and relationships
- offers basic map-driven processing to support topic linking, relationships,
and simple sequencing
- includes a starter set of commonly-used learning interactions, for use
in testing and assessment
- provides support for learning metadata based on the IEEE standard for
learning objects metadata (LOM), for use in both topics and maps
- Establish guidelines that promote best practices for applying standard
DITA approaches to learning content, which include:
- separation of presentation and content (as much as possible)
- separation of content and context
- single sourcing, repurposing, and reuse
- Provide basic support for processing DITA content for general delivery
as learning and training, including print and presentation delivery to support
instructor-led training (ILT) and web delivery for distance learning.
- Provide a framework for developing targeted support for processing DITA
learning content for delivery with standards-based learning, specifically
targeting SCORM. Extend DITA processing to support basic SCORM packaging and
required SCORM LMS runtime behaviors. Build on best practices for behaviors
to drive and present the interactions.
- Build on existing DITA infrastructures as much as possible, so learning
content developers do not have to start from scratch.
Working assumptions about learning
content and how to support authoring and delivering it with DITA include the
- The DITA learning specialization builds on a reusable learning objects
(RLO) approach to learning content.
- In this approach, a learning object comprises a "discrete reusable collection
of content used to present and support a single learning objective," and consists
of two primary information components:
- instructional objects, which provide the structured framework for
a learning experience - the overview, the summary, and the assessments
- information objects, which provide the source learning content
- the topic-based learning content and other supplemental content that supports
the learning goals identified in the instructional objects
- DITA topic types provide the meaning and intention to content contained
in instructional and information objects, and as such, comprise the basic
building blocks for learning objects.
- DITA domains provide the mechanism for defining interactions,
which can be used across the learning topic types and maps.
- DITA domains also provide the mechanism for defining learning metadata,
which can be assigned either in topics or in maps.
- DITA maps arrange the DITA learning topics into a hierarchy of
learning objects and organize such content for delivery as lessons, modules,
- DITA specialization provides the mechanism for creating learning-based
topic types, domains, and maps needed for instructional and information object
Some use cases for using DITA for learning and training content
include the following.
- Enable indexing, searching, and retrieval of learning content
- By structuring content with DITA topics and maps as self-contained learning
objects matched with appropriate DITA metadata, it is possible to enable fast
index, search, and retrieval of learning content that meets specific learning
goals and objectives.
- Creating custom courses quickly
- A company has a large inventory of topic-based content that is used to
provide technical and troubleshooting information about a set of componentized
software products. It desires to enable field engineers to quickly identify
technical content that is suitable for providing on-site training. With DITA
learning topics and maps, the field engineers are able to quickly identify
the specific technical content that matches specific learning objectives,
and pull together the learning content that meets specific customer problems.
- Making technical content available for direct sharing and reuse in learning
- A DITA learning specialization makes it possible to define a context for
and directly assemble and use existing technical content for delivery as learning
and training. The DITA approach identifies consistent structures and patterns,
and leverages them to enable a consistent approach for sharing content across
teams. The result is much more opportunity to share content between different
providers and across areas of expertise, to learn from each other, and to
deliver content and the learning experience consistently. As a result, instead
of copy, paste, and make unique as the norm, we have write once and share
with others as the new norm.
This proposal has the following impacts:
- Introduces a set of five specialized topic types for learning and training
- Introduces a map domain for defining structured sets of specialized topic
references to learning topics as a learning object or learning group
- Introduces a content domain for defining a starter set of learning assessment
- Introduces a content domain for defining additional learning metadata,
according to the IEEE standard for learning objects metadata (LOM).
For details about the technical requirements, see the "Design and
language specification for DITA learning and training content specialization."
Costs associated with this proposal include the following:
- Providing the DTD and XML Schema implementation of the learning topic,
map domain, interactions domain, and metadata domains.
- Developing sample content to illustrate the use of the specialization
design with sample content.
- Extending DITA editors and processors to support the learning specialization.
- Extending DITA processors to support the learning specialization.
If accepted, this proposal provides the following benefits:
- Content developers can use DITA for developing learning and training content.
- Content providers can use DITA as the basis for reuse and exchange of
learning and training content with others.
- Content developers can use and re-purpose DITA content for learning and
training assembly and delivery.