Embedding iSpring Courses into DITA Learning Content

We've been using DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) at iSpring for two years now, and it has been a great experience. DITA is a perfect solution for our documentation needs because of its single-sourcing and content reuse. This technology allows us to publish manuals in different formats hassle-free. The learning curve for DITA is steep, but it's really worth the effort.

It's not just a complex tool for technical writers anymore. DITA has made a move into the eLearning domain.

Arquimedes Paschoal

With iSpring Suite we can produce amazing 3D book, create Quizzes to evaluate comprehension and put all the material (converted by iSpring to Flash format) in our site!

In short, it's now possible to create SCORM-compliant courses using DITA.

In the article below, I'll show how you can use DITA-OT to generate a SCORM package and how to embed an iSpring-generated course into it. You can download the resulting SCORM package here.

Installing DITA

Here is a quickstart to DITA Learning:

  1. Download the sample content.

  2. Follow these instructions to publish the sample content to SCORM.

  3. Unzip the archive with SCORM Schema Files to the output folder, but don't overwrite the imsmanifest.xml file - you will need the file generated by DITA-OT.

  4. Zip the content of the output folder. That's your SCORM package.

You may upload this package to your LMS, or you may use SCORM CLOUD to test the package.

Adding iSpring Courses to DITA

In our documentation we often use Flash presentations generated from PowerPoint with our iSpring software. So I decided to check whether this would also work with DITA learning content and share it with our readers, early adopters of new technologies.

We created a short course to illustrate DITA use cases, which are described in the sample DITA content.

The following steps show how to insert a Flash course (converted from PowerPoint with iSpring software) to DITA content. You can also download an archive with sample DITA Learning content,  where we already inserted our course.

  1. Download this Zip archive with a PowerPoint presentation converted to Flash with iSpring software.

  2. Open the index.html file from the archive in your text editor.

  3. Copy all lines between <object width="100" height="100" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"> and </object> tag lines for the XHTML document to clipboard.

  4. Paste these lines to the [path_to_DITA-OT]\samples\learningsamples\lc_spec_overview.dita

    • Find the string
      Some use cases for using DITA for learning and training content include the following.

    • Insert the copied lines AFTER the </p> tag.
      Note: You can read, where you can insert the <object width="100" height="100" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"> </object> tag in the DITA Language Specification.

  5. Copy the Flash course to the source folder with DITA documents ([path_to_DITA-OT]\samples\learningsamples\).

  6. Run startcmd.bat in the DITA-OT folder.

  7. Generate the SCORM output - execute this command in the DITA-OT command prompt window:
    java -jar lib\dost.jar /i:samples/learningsamples/ditaref-learning-rlo_samples_scorm.ditamap /outdir:samples/learningsamples/scormout /transtype:scorm

  8. Unzip the archive with SCORM Schema Files to the output folder ([path_to_DITA-OT]\samples\learningsamples\scormout), but don't overwrite the imsmanifest.xml file - you will need the file generated by DITA-OT.

  9. Zip the content of the output folder. You can download the output here.

That's it. Now the sample SCORM content includes an interactive Flash course. This way, you can make your eLearning courses much more engaging and deliver information more efficiently.


If you are interested in DITA, you may find the following links useful:

  1. Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture
  2. DITA Specifications [html, pdf, chm]
  3. DITA-OT
  4. DITA Forum

You’re welcome to visit iSpring Knowledge Base to find how-to articles with step-by-step instructions. Join our Community: share your experience and get your questions answered by seasoned iSpring users.

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