By Chris Benz
“The key to understanding how DITA works is to understand how DITA uses topics, maps, and output formats. I will describe each of these in detail, but here’s the big picture: You develop your content in DITA topics, use DITA maps to specify which topics go into which deliverables, then process those maps to DITA output formats to generate your final deliverables.”
Many of today’s instructional developers face a significant dilemma.
Learners have minimal time to comprehend and effectively use complex products and systems. To drive time-efficient learning experiences, developers must provide high-quality training content, customized to specific learner roles and delivered in a timely manner. At the same time, many instructional development budgets are shrinking. In short, learners have less time and money to learn what they need to know, and developers have less time and money to deliver what those learners need.
One way developers can address this dilemma is to become more efficient at reusing content. For many developers, the best way to achieve that efficiency will be the Learning and Training Content (L&TC) Specialization, soon to be released in version 1.2 of the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) standard.
“The what?” some readers are surely asking. Before I answer that, let me give you a taste of the “why.” In a test project for the DITA L&TC Specialization, a team at IBM studied content reuse in an existing training course. They discovered that 50% of the course content had been copied from the product documentation. Using the Specialization, they were able to automate much of that reuse, not only avoiding the cost and potential errors of manual copying and pasting, but also providing an efficient way to synchronize content updates between product documentation and training materials, and saving on the cost of translating essentially the same content twice. Does this sound like something worth learning about?
Originally published by Learning Solutions Magazine, an online publication of The eLearning Guild. Reprinted with permission.
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