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
Your Learners Got Attitude!
Your learners got more and more attitude!
Your learners’ choices are changing. Their attitudes as learners in the middle of learning experiences are shifting. And, their assumptions about the yield of learning time invested are evolving.
Your learners are not being rude or arrogant, but they do have a new attitude, which may be surprising, disappointing, or confusing to us Learning and Development veterans. Some of your learners, who are normally grateful recipients of all that you can give them for development, may be showing new behaviors that look a bit more like “online dating”. Your learners look at a learning offer and…
- Quickly give it a swipe left or a swipe right – “keep it” or “let it go”.
- Ask “Is this good? Will my time on this be worth it?”
- Want to know “Did other employees like this or is it just not worth my time?”
- Ask “Is there a quicker or better way to learn?”
- Say “Hey, give me the good stuff and skip the fluff!”
Your learners are better guardians of your wage time than you! Set up a 75 minute webinar for every regional manager and their attitude kicks in:
- “Is there really 75 minutes of new and valuable stuff?”
- “Do I really need to participate live? Will my absence be noticed?”
- “Could I watch the archived version and skip to the few minutes of important info?”
- “Ah, let me order my lunch, check my emails, and have a side telephone call during this very long webinar.”
Your learners have attitude and it will grow as the panorama of learning options expand. They will make personal swaps:
- Skip the leadership videos that your Learning and Development group purchased and watch a few 18 minute Ted Talks that seem more engaging!
- Ask to take the assessment quiz before the class – in order to skip the teaching and jump to the certification!
- Resist the sense of “newness” for each announced corporate strategy and find the old slides that look almost exactly the same (with a few text changes).
- They might even partner with other colleagues to gain efficiency in their learning assignments. One person goes to the important meeting and sends real-time internal tweets with updates. Or, Joe does module 1 and Karen does module 2, and they collaborate to save time and energy. Both pass.
Your learners have attitude because the times are changing and the choices are getting more complex:
- Memorization is becoming less important. The learner knows they can get content online, so why pretend to memorize it? Navigational readiness may be all they need or want.
- The employment lifespan of a new employee is much lower. Some new hires want to jump in and start performing quicker since they may not be sticking around for long.
- They may be way more interested in the CONTEXT rather than the CONTENT. They can’t look up the real backstory online, so context is their hunger in a classroom, much more than the PowerPoint slides.
Your learners have fewer boundaries or barriers to keep them from getting the best learning experiences. Beware!
- Given an IT problem, they may call their friend who works in the IT department of another company for help! Why? They trust them and will get a more targeted answer.
- They will likely validate or confirm knowledge from a trainer via a real-time search. I mentioned a statistic in a leadership program last year and five minutes later one of the participants kindly corrected me based on real-time research on my stated fact.
- They are more drawn to a short video and FAQ instead of a well-formatted instructional layout.
- And they want us, as teachers and facilitators, to more deeply honor what they know already and sort by what they really need to know now!
Your learners have attitude, and it is time for learning departments and professionals to adjust our own attitudes:
- Encourage your learners to be “in charge” and own their learning process.
- Toughen up and tighten our assessments to be of more value and guidance to learners.
- Expand the curation skills, tools, and strategies of our organizations to harvest and target more personalized content for our learners.
- Take the “school” branding out of our learning resources, treating learners more as colleagues, employees, and candidates - rather than students.
- Allow our own attitudes to shift. My lectures can go on video. My ice breaker activities may be way too familiar. And, my learners want to connect with my knowledge more than my curriculum.
Learning deserves some new attitudes!
Published in CLO Magazine, March 2017