The CAPDM model is a helpful concept that can greatly improve the production and management of learning materials, eBooks and technical support manuals – in fact any substantial domain of content.
Applied to your organisation’s publishing processes, the model can assist with rapid growth in operations, implementing quality improvements, and in enhancing your production capabilities to meet new business requirements.
The Five Stages
The model is pretty generic to any industry, and proposes that with whatever information you are publishing there are five distinct stages in the process: Capture, Author, Publish, Deliver and Manage.
Your information (learning materials) ‘flows’ from left to right through these stages, starting with the Capture stage and progressing through to the Delivery stage where the information is consumed by your users in their personal and collaborative learning environments.
Throughout each stage and at all times, the model exerts management and control over the learning assets, which are held in a single master repository.
You may already have a large body of legacy learning materials on paper, or perhaps thousands of electronic files formatted in a variety of incompatible formats.
The efforts involved in rescuing these valuable assets into more healthy electronic formats comprise the Capture step in the CAPDM model.
There is little point in rescuing your old materials into new formats if they are just going to become tomorrow’s legacy assets again. So do it right first time.
Invest in the use of international information standards such as XML to future proof your materials, and do it once and forever.
Various kinds of authoring tasks are involved in designing and developing digital learning assets – from typing words into a text editor through to creating sophisticated software simulations.
Authoring tomorrow’s learning materials is no longer the task of a single author; it needs a skilled team of subject experts, programmers and interactive information designers to make best use of the new media.
Applying standards to the authoring process creates an opportunity to build a master source repository that contains the individual master versions of each valuable asset.
This encourages re-use, and greatly reduces the cost and problems of working with multiple master versions in differing formats.
Publishing activities focus on extracting learning materials from your master source repository and getting them all ready together for optimal delivery on a particular medium or in a chosen learning environment.
Key processes here include automatically generating large electronic publications using batch production processes. This allows delivered publications to be updated more quickly with less effort, year after year, providing a permanent publishing solution for all media.
CAPDM’s publishing tools also help you to build better learning environments that are personalised for each learner, helping them to organise their study better and to access the information they need more quickly from a variety of integrated sources.
The CAPDM approach gives your information the independence it needs for effective delivery on any medium and in any open learning environment.
The Deliver stage is the most important one of the CAPDM model in that if the publication fails in its delivery, the effort involved in the capture, author and publish steps goes un-rewarded.
Key functionalities related to the chosen delivery medium drive the capabilities of the entire production system you have built in the earlier stages.
Information may flow through the CAPDM model from left to right, but the functionality you have to support also configures it from right to left.
We all prefer to be able to choose how we consume information. Giving consumers different delivery choices for the same information content is more appealing and pragmatic.
The Manage step of the CAPDM model recognises that all the previous stages generate and use ‘meta’ information (information about the information you are working with) as part of the workflow.
People interact with these steps, and their access and involvement also has to be managed within a secure and traceable environment.
Keeping records of what was released to whom and when is important for version tracking and error management. Interchanging your information assets with partners, managing multiple workflows and process, administration, quality control and security are also management stage issues.
After the investment of much time and effort in producing valued assets, it is often surprising how poorly they are being managed.
The CAPDM model does not try to describe all aspects of the production and management of learning materials. It is a generic model.
Its value is simply in illustrating that it is wise to invest in an architecture that will help you to cherish your learning assets and the processes you use to work with them.
This may appear obvious but it is often overlooked, and the Internet and electronic reading devices have made multi-use publishing a strategic issue.
Combine a CAPDM architecture with a philosophical commitment to using standards, single source publishing, delivery medium impartiality and open information environments, and you have a useful foundation for your digital publishing renaissance.