Author: Karen Moloney

As part of my preparation for the latest Immersion virtual summit, I have been researching content curation.

While my experience with curation in the last 18 months or so has been from a digital marketing perspective, I’ve now been looking at how to adapt this for organisational learning.

There are several pros and cons to using curated content for learning:

Pros

  • There is a lot of great quality content already available in the public domain that can be curated for use as learning assets
  • Using existing content will significantly reduce the budget required to create learning
  • Learning teams will be able to produce courses and learning assets quicker in order to keep up with the pace of current day business needs
  • Learners are already self-directing their own learning so L&D can tap into that resource and use learners as SMEs for where to find good content on a given topic
  • The quality and content of learning provided could end up being a richer experience for the learner as it has not all been created in-house with a given viewpoint, limited subject matter knowledge, set of requirements or reliance upon specific tools for production.

Cons

  • Curated content needs to be reviewed and maintained
  • There will be inconsistencies between learning assets in terms of look and feel and quality (which is only an issue if your organisation has a need to brand all in-house learning materials)
  • It may take time to find content which fits the selection criteria for topic, relevance and quality of output
  • All content is protected by copyright – even if there is no © symbol or terms of use displayed on the work itself. A basic knowledge of copyright licensing is a requirement for a good curator to ensure that they are not putting their organisation at risk of copyright infringement when using curated learning assets.

Looking at the above, my view is that the pros far outweigh the cons, especially in this fast-paced world where learners are already bypassing L&D and using Google and YouTube as their new learning function of choice.

I believe that with a bit of strategic thinking and organisation, any L&D team can integrate curation as a key part of their overall learning strategy.

As part of my research I wanted to see how others were using curated content in learning. After searching and not finding very much (helpful) discussion about it in my LinkedIn groups, I then did what most people do – a Google search.

My search was “how to use curation in learning”.

I did search on some other phrases, but they all yielded similar results – which were all good quality articles, however they focused more on the “why” of curation, the strategy behind it and the skills we need to have as curators.

There wasn’t much on “how to use curation in learning”.

Here’s the top 10 Google results on the day I did my search:

  1. Content Curation | Training Industry
  2. Is Content Curation in Your Skill Set? It Should Be
  3. What content curation, chunking information and micro learning have in common
  4. Curation in Learning 
  5. Learning the art of digital content curation
  6. Four ways to use digital curation in learning – this one looked to be the most promising but sits behind ATD membership…
  7. Content curation in learning and development
  8. The six key skills of learning curation
  9. The role of content curator in workplace learning
  10. Take note: How to curate learning digitally

Now, before the comments section goes on fire – this is not an academic research paper.

Yes, I did look beyond page 1 of the results but the relevance of the content served up got a lot weaker after that first page.  I did not have several days or weeks to do this research – and neither do most people who are looking for help on a topic.

Hence the inspiration for this blog post.

Marrying together my knowledge of digital marketing and my experience as an instructional designer, here are my 11 practical examples of how you can use curation as part of a learning strategy:

  1. In blog posts. This blog post is an example of curated content. I sourced and read a range of content around curation, filtered out what was relevant to this post, gave it context and shared it with you in a way that is meaningful to your learning on this topic.
  2. To create prescriptive learning pathways or MOOCs. The instructional designer will create the learning blueprint and then source content rather than create it
  3. Micro learning. Share videos or PDF how to guides as easy digestible chunks, ensuring to give context and make sense for the learner as to how this fits with their role or learning pathway
  4. Industry news bytes. Find and share individual articles, blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc., through company intranets, newsletters and social forums to keep employees up to date with industry happenings.
  5. To supplement other face-to-face or eLearning as part of a blended solution, e.g. lists for further reading/viewing on a topic to reinforce key learnings
  6. To inspire and reinforce culture.  Give examples of people outside of the organisation and industry who have demonstrated behaviours that the organisation desire of their employees
  7. To create a wiki. This could be organisation-wide or topic or department specific.
  8. To create a regular newsletter on a given topic or industry. There are many tools available that enable you to curate content from a range of sources and publish pieces of content together easily in an online newsletter/newspaper format.
  9. To help identify trends or patterns over time, e.g. statistics, commentary, visual design, etc.
  10. To help learners get exposure to and connect with thought leaders, industry experts and peers through their content (e.g. blogs, videos, podcasts).
  11. To promote innovation.  Sharing what others are doing, inside and outside of the organisation, and inviting comment, discussion and action to take a service, product or business to the next level.

Are you using curated content as part of your learning strategy? If so, I’d love to hear how that’s working out for you in the comments below.