Yatsenko R.
PhD, Associate Professor
Simon Kuznets Kharkiv National University of Economics (Ukraine)

Modern approaches and technologies used in the preparation of content in the educational environment, require a lot of time and effort of the author. In preparing educational content (guidelines, textbooks, scientific publications, e-courses), the author often devotes most of his time not to the production of new knowledge, but to their visual design. Dissemination of different forms and mediums of content delivery, as a rule, entails the use of different software tools to create appropriate visual versions of the same educational content. At the same time, insufficient attention is paid to the application of methods and models in risk management, taking into account the particularities of the implementation of IT projects, in particular the methodologies used in the creation of software. In this regard, an urgent scientific and applied challenge is to improve the risk management processes of information technology projects by developing appropriate methods and models that combine the benefits of different methodological approaches to software development.

Many of these tools use the concept of user interface What you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) [1]. To implement this UI concept, content creation tools use the visual formatting tools of the document closest to the output, using a mouse and predefined keyboard shortcuts. Because in this concept, working on the external representation of content occurs simultaneously with its creation, this entails the following negative consequences:

  • working on the external presentation of content distracts the author from his content side, thereby reducing the author’s productivity and quality of the creative process;
  • content transformation when necessary to form another external representation of it, which often leads to changes in its content and the appearance of new versions;
  • Versioning the external presentation of content with differences in content ne-gates the quality of the first versions, which often leads to the need to make substan-tially the same changes in different versions.

Unlike WYSYWIG, the What You See Is What You Mean approach (WYSIWYM, which means I see) implies the use of content preparation methods in which the logical structure and content of the document are separated from its appearance [2]. This is accomplished by applying different design templates and styles to one original document content. In this way, content independence from form is achieved, which gives the following advantages when creating educational content [3]:

  • creating different forms of visual representation of content without the need to make changes to the content or minimize their volume;
  • making changes to the contents of a document occurs once without the need for duplication of changes in different versions of the visual representation;
  • at the same time, making changes to the layout in one version of the visual rep-resentation does not affect the content of the document and its other visual representations;
  • increases the ability to automatically analyze and convert content by using text storage formats.

The next step in the development of the WYSIWYM concept is the emergence of lightweight markup languages (Markdown Language, 2004, by John Gruber), which have taken advantage of the separation of content and form but use a much simpler model of content markup. Lightweight markup languages feature the use of a simple set of special characters to denote various logical blocks of content in such a way that its visual perception is as it is, without the involvement of additional tools, which in turn are only necessary to convert the format of the external content representation.

The rapid development and dissemination of the lightweight markup language family that has emerged in the coming years makes it possible to consider the use of the WYSIWYM approach as a basis for forming the concept of unified development of educational content. The proposed concept implies a technology for creating and disseminating educational content based on the WYSIWYM concept, which will meet the following requirements:

  • support of various formats of external presentation of content;
  • realization of creation of different types of content;
  • lack of significant and specific requirements for the level of technical compe-tence of content authors;
  • the use of tools with a friendly user interface;
  • providing version control and joint remote development of content;
  • extensibility by embedding complex visual elements of content, including those created in WYSIWYG editors.

Thus, an analysis of the approaches for educational content creation technologies allowed us to offer a cloud-based online editor, MarkHub (Fig. 1), which allows you to generate web books using Markdown markup language with advanced native notation. This is a major benefit of our online editor, with the MarkHub online editor not only simplifying the interface but also shortening the time when working with MarkHub.

Fig. 1. MarkHub Cloud Online Editor User Interface

The main advantages of the proposed solution over other editors are:

  • Extended Markdown notation;
  • Two windows for work, one of which you write, the other reformat your text in a proper visual appearance;
  • The ability to work together;
  • Sync content with Google Drive and GitHub
  • Support for media, audio files, images, tables, direct links, tests;
  • Export in SCORM, PDF, EPUB formats;
  • Help material in the form of tips for content collection;
  • Versatility of browsing the web through your phone, tablet or laptop.

The main element around which MarkHub’s cloud-based online editor is built is Markdown Markup Language [4]. Today, the use of this tool affects both the com-petitiveness of authors and gives wide opportunities to users of such popular systems as: Wikipedia, GitLab, Dropbox, Slack and many others. Turning to the benefits of Markdown, I would like to say that those who first encounter this tool, within a few hours, get used to its functionality and logic [5]. Now, the main thing is, why did we put this system behind the editor:

  1. Convenience of distribution

    In general, documents written with Markdown are a standard TXT file that is open in all applications. It should be noted that the TXT file will not have a visual design, it will require editors such as MarkHub or StackEdit. The document will only contain commands for the editor. Below you will see an example of how a TXT file was modified with the Markhub editor.

  2. Simplicity

    The syntax of this technology is very simple. When writing, you need to use char-acters such as: # (grid), - (dash), * (asterisk), and so on. For example, if you want the author to make a title in a document using MarkHub, just put # - # in front of the title.

  3. Rigor and predictability

    One of the reasons why we put Markdown technology at the heart of the editor is the existence of strict rules that cannot be ignored - service marks.

To sum up, Markdown technology has strict rules for content design. This can be considered a benefit, because the author who worked with MarkHub notation will easily understand the design of the material. In addition, the result will be predictable and live up to expectations with a clear and simple notation. If small bugs do occur, they can be quickly identified through a preview mode that automatically transforms the commands into visual content visualization. Thus, Markdown is a popular and progressive way to quickly design content that, thanks to its versatility and simplicity, saves considerable time when writing technical text, scientific articles or educational materials.

Using the WYSIWYM-approach to unifying educational content development can significantly increase the author’s productivity in the content creation process. The proposed workflow has a high proportion in the author’s educational activities, so their optimization is important in the current conditions of rapid creation and dissemi-nation of information in the world.


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  2. Khalili, A., Auer, S.: WYSIWYM Authoring of Structured Content Based on In: Lin X., Manolopoulos Y., Srivastava D., Huang G. (eds) Web Information Systems Engineering – WISE 2013. WISE 2013. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 8181. (2013)
  3. Lamport, L.: Document Production: Visual or Logical? Notices of the American Mathe-matical Society. (June 1987), 621-624.
  4. Yihui, Xie, Allaire, J.J., Grolemund, G.: R Markdown: The Definitive Guide. Chapman & Hall / CRC. ISBN 9781138359338. (2018)
  5. Leonard, S.: Guidance on Markdown: Design Philosophies, Stability Strategies, and Select Registrations. Accessed 11 September 2019