Teaching new skills is only part of the Education landscape and today there is more and more legislation being brought in to try and improve outputs. Although not immediately obvious, XML and DITA has proven the perfect foundation for several major projects with education customers.

Anywhere there is legislation, there is the need to ensure your documentation is consistent and compliant, from the submission of specifications for approval to the creation of exam questions and mark schemes. XML and DITA can help throughout the entire content lifecycle. The multi-channel delivery capabilities of DITA mean training material and exams can be delivered to screen as easily as they are delivered to print while mark schemes can be fed into online assessment systems. Instant and comprehensive branding changes can be quickly implemented through XSLT.

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How can XDocs help education, training, assessment and certification organizations?

As well as providing a central repository for all content, XDocs CCMS supports organizations throughout the entire lifecycle. Having worked with leading education and training organizations in both Europe and North America, Bluestream understands many of the challenges faced by businesses in this sector. When added to the most flexible and adaptive enterprise class CCMS on the market, powerful ‘game changing’ solutions can be created. These solutions are further enhanced by the technical capabilities of XDocs including:

Metadata Management

As content repositories grow exponentially each year and content reuse grows more complex, content management challenges are also increasing. XDocs Extended Metadata Module provides a system to help you transform content tags into information operatives that help you retrieve and deliver your content with greater precision.

XDocs Extended Metadata Module allows you to harvest glossary terminology from your DITA directly into XDocs. After the harvest, the Extended Metadata Thesaurus can organize the terms according to your classification structure.

Harvested terms can also be used to Browse and Search through content, and you can associate non DITA files with the terminology.

Within education, training and certification organizations metadata can be used to classify question levels, link training material to questions, identify reusable content and much more.

Workflow

Documentation in Education supporting both specifications and qualifications is highly regulated and consequently needs to be consistently created. Contract specialist staff are often retained to create and review content; these resources need to be notified of tasks and schedules. The XDocs Workflow Module is based on the BPMN 2.0 industry standard and the de facto standard Activiti workflow engine. XDocs workflow process definitions can be created using other tools or within the system, and the potential is limitless.

Subject Matter Expert Contribution

SMEs often play a vital part in the creation of educational content, but historically bringing them into the document production process has proved difficult. Time restrictions and a reluctance to learn new software applications has caused pushback when it comes to structured content. Bluestream XDocs CCMS v5.1 introduced WEX – a web-based application that can be used to review, amend and even create DITA content from scratch without the need for any training.

When WEX is coupled with XDocs Workflow, SMEs can be notified by email when content needs their attention. Clicking on a link will take them to a web page where functionality mirroring that found in MS Word will let them accept the content, add notes or suggest changes. The intuitive, easy-to-use interface speeds up the process, and once their task is complete the workflow engine advances the project to the next task, for example notifying the originating author that the review has been completed.

Localization

Many companies and organizations offer qualifications, from software certification through to hi-tech machine maintenance. The ability to deliver the training resources and assessments in multiple languages can be essential.

Bluestream XDocs Localization Module can seamlessly handle the entire localization process, creating work packets and moving the content cyclically from the source language through translations and back into the system—localized, link-checked, and ready to be published for a global market.

Dynamic Delivery Platform

In today’s modern world it is no longer sufficient to deliver just printed documentation, and with a growing move to mobile devices PDFs can become a hindrance more than a help. Users want to be able to find answers to their problems quickly, often preferring a self-service portal over long waits on the telephone. Students will often study material on multiple devices; for example someone may start on a PC at work, then migrate to a mobile device during their commute home.

XDocs Dynamic Delivery Platform lets you deliver DITA content to multiple devices and platforms including websites and self-service portals. Fully customizable, the Dynamic Delivery Platform can be configured for a wide range of solutions and the content comes directly from the XDocs CCMS. This means there are no conversion processes to run; as soon as content is approved for publication it can instantly be made available.

Unlike some rival systems, XDocs Dynamic Delivery Platform can be fully configured and maintained by Administrators — there is no need to come back to Bluestream every time you want a change.

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