Using DITA for Planning

The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is an XML model for authoring and publishing. When building curriculum, I love working with DITA to sort information into three basic categories:

  • Concepts definitions, rules, and guidelines for things you ought to know, but aren't necessarily actionable.
  • Tasks step-by-step instructions for things you can do.
  • Reference detailed, factual information which doesn't need to be memorized, but might come in handy later on. For example: command syntax.

As I collect information I want to share with students, I sort it into these three categories. Ideally each topic, will have a little bit in each of these three categories.

If there is a topic which has a concept, but not a practical task, I will often re-think if I'm approaching the information correctly as it's difficult to memorize information without seeing how I would apply the concepts without the task instructions. ... and it applies the other way around as well: if I don't know why I'm doing something, it is difficult to remember how to complete a task.