Content Curation as part of your L&D Strategy
In a world where workers have access to a huge amount of information, content curation is critical to prevent information overload. Content curation enables you to ensure your learners have access to the most relevant, important content, and many organization have adopted content curation as part of their L&D strategy.
In this article, we will define content curation, explain how to create a successful content curation strategy in your organization and provide an example of content curation in the context of compliance training programs.
1. What is Content Curation?
In his book Curation Nation, Steven Rosenbaum describes it this way: "Curation replaces noise with clarity. And it's the clarity of your choosing; it's the things that people you trust help you find."
Content curation is the process of continually finding, filtering and sharing the most relevant content and presenting it in an organized and meaningful format.
With the shifting demographics of today's workplace, learners are increasingly comfortable with technology. In 2016, a study by Degreed found that 47% of learners search the internet for answers to their questions, while only 28% use their employer's LMS. Note that this doesn't mean that the content isn't on the LMS, merely that the LMS hasn't been curated to most effectively and efficiently meet the modern learner's needs.
Content curation appeals to these modern learners by creating an eLearning program that is well-organized, meaningful and comes in bite-sized pieces.
2. Leveraging the Power of Content Curation
According to an IDC report, employees spent 9.5 hours a week searching for information. If workers are spending so much time searching and analyzing information, it should be done effectively to bring value to your organization.
You can leverage the power of content curation by providing content that is:
- Aggregated. With content curation, users should be able to easily find in one place relevant online and offline resources in one place.
- Empowering. Both your learning and development team and learners should be involved in curating content. It is important to ensure that content not only meets learner needs, but also meets business goals and learning objectives.
- Meaningful. Ensure the content is relevant to your employees' needs and desires. Learning and development professionals should track evaluation performance, and take note of questions that are routinely missed; this will point to a likely gap in training, that careful curation could solve.
- Encouraging continuous learning. Content curation encourages continuous learning in the organization and builds a culture of learning. Learners should be able to build custom learning paths, share and consume content whenever needed.
- Motivating. Employees who contribute to curate content should be rewarded for their collaboration, recommendations and learning achievements.
How to successfully curate content to meet L&D goals and objectives?
3. Steps Involved in Content Curation Applicable to Learning and Performance
There are multiple steps to content curation, all applicable to learning and performance. According to Rohit Barghava's The 5 Models of Content Curation there are five layers:
- Aggregation: Gathering relevant information on a specific topic from different sources.
- Distillation: Filtering information to only share valuable content relevant to learner needs.
- Elevation: Recognizing a larger trend from seemingly less-important content.
- Mashup: Enhancing the value of the content by merging related pieces of content, and adding your point of view to create a new message.
- Chronology: Tagging and organizing chronologically different pieces of content related to one topic to show the evolution of an idea over time.
Hopefully you are excited to start your own curating but, before you begin, you must remember to consider the issue of intellectual property.
One of the greatest advantages of curation means that you are leveraging others' efforts. But remember that some of the materials that you pass on may require various sorts of rights. Ensure that you are giving the right people credit for the information you use, and, if you aren't using publicly available information, always ask the original source for permission to use it.
4. Content Curation Strategies
As a learning and development professional, you can enhance the impact of content curation using those proven strategies:
- Crowdsource your content: Get your employees involved in the process. Ask your learners to propose topics, content sources, references. Provide a forum for discussion, either in-person or online, and foster a spirit of honest and open communication. By creating communities around common interests, you support a culture of learning in your organization.
- Rate your learning: Create channels to get your learners' feedback, let your employees rate and recommend content based on relevance, and make appropriate changes to the content based on results. Then display the most popular content to increase visibility amongst learners.
- Integrate content into your eLearning courses: Include a list of additional reading links at the end of each online course. Remember to include a brief description of what is covered in order to contextualize the links for your learners, and let them chart their own learning.
- Stay in the loop: Measure engagement and take feedback to ensure learners are still participating and motivated to learn.
5. Content Curation and Compliance Training
What if you're curating content for compliance training, or in a highly-regulated industry? While the options above are still possible, they are less feasible when the training (and topic in most cases) is mandated by the government.
There are, however, still a few things you can do to curate interesting compliance-based content:
- Have your SMEs work with an instructional designer. An instructional designer can take mandatory content and present it in interactive and engaging ways.
- Find ways to take broad content that has been mandated by external, often governmental organizations, and contextualize it for your learners. Make sure they can see how it relates to their specific job roles and responsibilities.
- Ensure that the information is curated to a manageable level, both in terms of the amount of content and the ease of digestion. Ask yourself if a learner can read or listen to what you've developed in a reasonable amount of time, and if they will be able to comprehend it and apply what they've learned back on-the-job.
Your LMS is only as effective as the content it contains, and, even then, poorly organized content can be as off-putting to your learners as no content. Not only must you build an effective training program, but you must organize it so that learners may easily find what they are looking for, and curate it to best meet the training needs of your organization.
The best curation will result from the use of non-traditional methods, and pull information from all different corners. However, mindfully curated content is the ultimate goal, and this article has provided a few examples of where you can start.
Sarah is an Instructional Designer at BaseCorp Learning Systems and is currently completing a PhD in Educational Technology. Her research focuses on implementing competency-based learning systems in all types of organizations. When she doesn't have her nose in a book you can find her at the gym, on the ice, on the ski hill, drinking wine or in a coffee shop … with her nose in a book.