Working assumptions

The DITA learning and training specialization applies DITA principles and best practices for using topic-based and modular content to plan, develop, and deliver learning and training content.

A learning objects approach to learning content

The reusable learning objects, or RLO, approach to learning content derives from the pioneering work of learning content designers at several companies, including Autodesk®, Oracle®, and Cisco®. Author Peder Jacobsen defines an RLO as "a discrete reusable collection of content used to present and support a single learning objective." With this approach, it is possible to gather a pool of information objects and make them available for reuse and repurposing in a variety of learning delivery contexts.

There is thus a strong affinity between the DITA topic-based, modular approach to content in general, and the RLO approach to learning content in particular.

Learning objects and DITA topic types to support them

Working assumptions about learning content and how to support authoring and delivering it with DITA include the following:
  • 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, and courses.
  • DITA specialization provides the mechanism for creating learning-based topic types, domains, and maps needed for instructional and information object content requirements.

Opportunity: Learning Objects and specialized DITA topic types

This figure shows the composition of learning objects as a) instructional objects, b) information objects, and c) the specialized DITA topic types to support them.


Learning objects and the DITA learning types that support them

Learning content design, authoring, and delivery through DITA specialization

This picture shows the end-to-end process for designing, authoring, and delivering specialized learning content with DITA.


The end-to-end process for designing, authoring, and delivery specialized learning content with DITA.

Fitting it all together with DITA learning content: maps, metadata, and topics

This figure shows the specialized topics, map domain, interactions domain, and metadata domain used by the learning and training specialization and how they relate to the DITA core types.


The specialized topics, map domain, interactions domain, and metadata domain used by the learning and training specialization and how they relate to the DITA core types.