Instructor-Led Training

The Content Wrangler offers a wide variety of public, instructor-lead software and soft skills training classes for content professionals of all experience levels. Check out our roster of upcoming classes and let us know if you have special training needs.

TCW Training Workshops

Upcoming Training Sessions

Becoming a DITA Author

(2 Days — October 28-29, 2013)

Moving from the traditional approach to technical writing to topic-based content creation can be a tough challenge. Many have succeeded; but an equal number have failed. These failures can be traced back (more often than not) to a lack of training. We aim to change that.

That’s why we’re offering “Becoming a DITA Author” — an intensive, two-day training workshop — taught by technical communication maven, Leigh White and brought to you by The Content Wrangler. The class is designed to equip you with the information you’ll need to return to the office and get started.

The two day class is divided into two sections: DITA Authoring and DITA Publishing. Students must attend both days. There are no one day passes available. A certificate of completion from The Content Wrangler will be issued to all students who participate fully and complete the entire course.

Here’s the scoop…

DAY ONE: Becoming a DITA Author: Authoring Workshop

The full-day “Becoming a DITA Author” Authoring Workshop teaches attendees about the concept, reference, task and topic information types, including the purposes and components (elements) of each. The workshop begins with an overview of XML to familiarize attendees with concepts such as elements, attributes, parent/child/sibling relationships, DTDs, schemas, stylesheets, and well-formed vs. valid XML. Following the overview, attendees create a task, reference and concept topic from scratch, learning in detail about the most commonly-used elements. (The DITA editor used is a trial version of oXygen.) Next, attendees learn briefly about maps and bookmaps to assemble topics for delivery. (Maps and bookmaps are covered in detail on day 2.) Finally, attendees learn about reuse strategies including conref, keyref, and conkeyref and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Attendees must bring their own laptops. oXygen will be installed at the beginning of the workshop or attendees can choose to download it and install it themselves beforehand.

(Download link:

Working files and other resources will be installed at the beginning of the workshop.

DAY TWO: Becoming a DITA Author: Production Workshop

“So I’ve got a pile of DITA topics. Now what?”

The full-day “Becoming a DITA Author” Production Workshop shows you the different ways you can assemble topics for different audiences and outputs. The focus is on hardcopy/PDF output and HTML output. The day begins with a detailed hands-on look at ditamaps, the building blocks of your publications. You’ll learn how to assemble topics and set ditamap-level attributes that enable you to customize the output. In addition, you’ll create ditaval files and use them to filter the output to include or exclude certain content based on attribute values. Next, the workshop introduces you to the DITA Open Toolkit (OT), explaining the various files and their functions (with a focus on stylesheets and build files) as well as associated applications such as Java, Apache ANT, XSL processors, and XSL-FO processors.

A discussion of HTML output follows, with demonstrations of some of the most common customizations. Following the segment on HTML output, we take a look at PDF output, again with a look at some of the most common customizations. There are many ways to customize Open Toolkit output and this workshop cannot cover all aspects of customization; however, attendees will leave with a basic working knowledge of the DITA Open Toolkit and a foundation for exploring additional customizations on their own.



leighwhiteLeigh White is a technical communicator with over 18 years of experience as a content creator, information architect, XML technologist, and trainer. One of her primary interests is exploring ways that small technical publication groups can leverage existing tools and improve processes to maximize the reuse of their content, improve their efficiency, increase their offerings and save their sanity. To accomplish these goals, Leigh advocates that effective technical communicators need to be more than writers; they need to be part programmer, part designer and part project manager. She brings many years of personal experience as a writer on a small team with a small budget; having made nearly every mistake possible, she offers her experience to save you from those same mistakes. Leigh is also a devotee of XML and structured documentation and she believes that DITA might just save the world.

Leigh has spoken on XML, DITA, content management systems and content conversion at a number of conferences, including the STC Summit, Intelligent Content, WritersUA, LavaCon, DITA Netherlands, FrameMaker Chautauquas, DITA/TechComm, Real World DITA, and Summer XML. She has also presented hands-on “DITA In a Day” workshops to groups in several cities. Leigh is a member of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and Content Management Professionals (CM Pros). She is an active participant on a number of discussion forums, including DITA Users list and the FrameMaker-DITA list. Leigh served as the editor of the Tools and Technologies domain of the STC Body of Knowledge and was on the committee for proposal evaluation for the 2013 STC Summit.


Past Training Sessions

CSW Vancouver BC

Content Strategy Workshop Summer Session

It’s time to take content strategy seriously. In order for the discipline to move forward, we need skills. Serious skills. Skills that will enable us to solve complex content challenges without introducing a boat load of new ones. Skills that most other content professionals lack. Skills that will differentiate us from the competition.

That’s why we’ve created Content Strategy Workshops, the only event focused solely on equipping you with actionable skills you can actually use when you return to the office. Our next event takes place July 11-12 in beautiful Vancouver, BC at University of British Columbia, Robson Square. Early bird registration is open now. Discount pricing in effect until May 15. This workshop will sell out fast.

Attend our Vancouver session to learn how to:

  • build a content inventory
  • perform a content audit
  • model and type content
  • plan for translation
  • develop a taxonomy
  • analyze audience needs
  • leverage social content
  • develop an omni-channel content personalization scheme
  • and more

The list of presenters is outstanding. You won’t find more experienced instructors anywhere else.

  • Rahel Anne Bailie
  • Branka Kosovac
  • Gordon Ross
  • Scott Abel
  • James Romano
  • Kevin Nichols
  • Laura Creekmore
  • Laurence Dansokho
  • Paula Land
  • Robert Rose
  • Sarah Beckley
  • Selma Zafar

Content Strategy in a Day – January 23, 2013

Instructor: Rahel Anne Bailie

Content is only as smart as the content strategy behind it. What happens in the analysis phase informs how the content behaves in the tactical phases. Content has its own lifecycle, and any misstep early on means that the next iteration of that content will be harder to implement and maintain – and degrade the user experience. This workshop discusses content within the phases of its lifecycle, and illustrates the interdependencies within the user experience. Participants will discover a framework for developing content that aligns with user-centered design, from user research through personas and scenarios, to wireframes and content development.

Note: Do bring your laptop to get the most from the workshop – templates will be provided for in-class work.

This workshop is for you …

  • if you work in marketing or are otherwise involved with pre-sale content
  • if you work in technical communication or are otherwise involved with post-sale content
  • if your organization isn’t treating all of its content strategically and you want to be part of the change
  • if your organization creates software with various kinds of content embedded in it
  • if you wonder how content strategy and user experience interrelate
  • if you wonder what types of deliverables content strategists produce
  • if you’d like to try a mini-project for yourself under the guidance of an expert

What will you learn?

  • to develop a strategic content plan
  • to leverage content in compelling ways
  • to identify the key deliverables of a content strategy
  • to prepare specific deliverables in the context of a content strategy
  • to become a content advocate on a user experience team

Participants learned to make a business case for investing in content strategy, creating a base process for implementing a content strategy in their workplaces, and took home a series of work templates to get them started.

About the Instructor

Rahel Anne BailieRahel Anne Bailie is a content strategist with a skill set encompassing content management, business analysis, information architecture, and communications. She operates Intentional Design, helping clients analyze their business requirements and spectrum of content to get the right fit for their content development and management needs, and facilitates transitions to new business processes, content models, and technology implementations.

Her experience gives her an intimate understanding of end-to-end processes, from requirements-gathering to implementation. She is a Fellow in the Society for Technical Communication, and holds memberships in various associations to stay current in pertinent practice areas. She presents on the topic of content strategy at conferences across North America and Europe, and was recently cited as one of the top ten most influential content strategists in the industry.