Curation: A Multi-Cycle Support for Learning

“Curation” is one of the hot words in the talent field in 2017. As the quantity and diversity of content multiplies, learners and organizations are yearning for order, structure, efficiency, and targeting of knowledge and information options. Let’s explore the role of content and curation in a shifting landscape:

Content Explosion & Panorama: Start with a simple investigation about the growth of content at your organization. Ask 10 random employees what video clips, news reports, PDF’s, briefings, or other content they have viewed or read in the past 3 months in order to be better at their jobs. You will be amazed at the volume and diversity of sources that they will report.  Here are a few predictions of what you will hear:

  • TED Videos: For leadership, management, and organizational content, TED is often the prime source for our workforce. Even when the organization has spent $$$ on great content from a learning provider, TED Videos are more viral, short, and externally validated.
  • User Content & Knowledge: Workers want to watch or read what their peers have to say about almost every topic. They often would rather see/read that than use a well-designed learning packet from a validated Subject Matter Expert.
  • “The Amount of Content is Overwhelming!”: Prepare to listen to learners, their managers, and even designers say that they are overwhelmed by the number and range of content choices. And, there is rarely help in sorting, ranking, or choosing which content piece is most effective for “me” at any given moment.
  • Fake News: In the age of “Fake News” and “Alternative Content” conversations, learners are not fully confident in the truth of a white paper or article. I recently read a review of a new learning product and later found out that the author had received a fee to evaluate and promote the innovation. Yet, that wasn’t indicated for the reader.

Here is where Curation is playing and will continue to play a key role in the future of learning and development. And, let’s view Curation as a 360 Degree process that can play a powerful role before, during, and following a learning activity or experience:

  • Curation of Learning Choices: When I choose a restaurant, I have 100% reliance on user ratings. I open an app to see how other buyers have rated the offering and I want to be able to drill down to look at greater details, such as menus or dress code. Learners want to evaluate the range of content choices (from both internal and external sources) with curation assistance and context.
  • Recommendations from Curation: Soon, we will see the rise of a special form of Curation System that will provide Recommendations to the learner based on preferences and backgrounds, and maybe even assisted with a Machine Learning form of predictive analysis. Workers will want to have their choices optimized and sorted for them.
  • Curation Coming Attractions: It works at the movie theater, so why can’t we scroll over an eLearning module’s link and get a 30 second preview of its content, focus, and activity formats? Curation helps the learner prepare for their learning moments ahead.
  • Curation in the Learning Moment: My favorite textbook from college, over 40 years ago, was Economics 101 by Paul Samuelson. It was the only textbook that had the important sentences already highlighted in color. Curation can help the learner absorb, sort, and notate (or notate for them) the key takeaway elements.
  • Curation of Extending Content/Context: As I read or view content, I often want more as a learner. Learners should have the ability to touch or click to get personalized extensions of the core material. And, give them a choice to see these now or at their moment of choice later.
  • Curation “Jump Aheads”: Often, we already know 80% of the content in a new learning activity. Organize it with tabs, chapters, and even instant mini-assessments to help the learner “jump ahead” to their new and needed segments. And, use this Big Learning Data to better curate the content for the next set of learners.
  • Curate by Summarizing and Repackaging Content Later: Take the content from a real-time class, webinar, or even conference and re-package it into a high energy “Readers Digest” roll-up of the content. Here is an example from our recent event, which was consumed by tens of thousands of colleagues: http://www.learning2016.com/curated-content

Curate before, during and after an event, for learning is truly multi-cycle and lifelong.


Published in CLO Magazine, May 2017

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