Techniques to learn

Authors moving from style-based authoring to structured authoring in a DITA environment will need to build chunking, labelling and linking skills, and to understand the technique of separation of content and form.

DITA authoring requires you to have skills that you may have used in style-based authoring, but which you will certainly need to use differently. Some skills may be entirely new to you. These skills are:
Chunking
Chunking refers to the way in which you break down information into smaller pieces. The term is particularly (but not exclusively) used to describe the way in which information is broadly categorised into information types, or topic types.
Labelling (or metadata creation)
Labels and catalogue information are part of a topic's or collection's metadata. Metadata allows content to be filtered, sorted, processed, and otherwise manipulated. Choosing accurate labels will result in more flexible documents.
Linking
Linking can be viewed as a technique for defining relationships between topics. In DITA, best practice is to link topics by defining the ways in which topics are associated, rather than manually choosing what text is linked to which topic.
Separating content from form
In the writing phase of structured authoring, there is no place for form (format, style and presentation). Form is not the author's job. Content can be so separated by using semantics to identify each element of the document. For example, rather than think that a word needs to be displayed in bold, you need to think about what it is that makes it necessary to distinguish that word from the others.