Why use DITA for education and training?

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 provided 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 lifecycle. The multichannel delivery capabilities of DITA means training material and exams can be delivered to screen as easily as they are delivered to print whilst mark schemes can be fed into online assessment systems. Instant and comprehensive branding changes can be quickly implemented through XSLT.

How can XDocs help organizations?

As well as providing a central repository for all content XDocs CCMS supports organizations throughout the entire lifecycle.

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.

Workflow

Documentation in Education supporting both specifications and qualifications is highly regulated and consequently needs to be consistently created. Contract specialist staff are often used to create and review content, these need to be notified of tasks and timescales kept to. 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 binging 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 coupled with XDocs Workflow, SMEs can be notified by email when content needs their attention, clicking on a link will take them onto a web page where functionality mirroring that found in MS Word will let them accept the content, add notes or suggest changes. The easy to use and intuitive 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.

Knowledge Base

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 mobile device whilst commuting home.

XDocs Knowledge Base is our own dynamic delivery platform and lets you deliver DITA content to multiple devices and platforms including websites and self-service portals. Fully customisable the Knowledge Base 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 and as soon as content is approved for publication it can instantly be made available.

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