Content curation isn’t new to the L&D space. In doing research for this article, we found references to curation on the ATD website as early as 2012. Since then, not much has changed. There’s still a wealth of quality educational, informative content online; in fact, there’s more content now than ever before: It’s been reported that 90 percent of the content online today has been created since 2015. There’s literally something on every subject, and you can leverage all this valuable content—including articles, podcasts, blog posts, and videos—to enhance your training programs. Want to know how? Read on!
First, let’s do a quick recap of what we mean when we talk about curation. In the context of L&D, curation is about finding high-quality instructional content online. At Intellum, that means scouring the entire Internet to find the best of the best for our clients—whether that’s an article from the Harvard Business Review, a podcast from Wharton, a video from Y Combinator, or a blog post (like this one) from TD.org. We’ve used curated content to develop courses on everything from leadership to customer service to design thinking to information security. We believe in the power of curation so much that we have an entire team of people dedicated to it!
The process of curating content isn’t hard. There are a lot of different ways to do it, including the Seek-Sense-Share framework from Harold Jarche and the Listen-Analyze-Share model from David Kelly, among others. (We’re developing our own model as well—stay tuned for that!) There are a ton of different curation tools to use as well; we won’t go into these, but Robin Good does a good job at providing an overview.
Speaking of which, if you’re not familiar with the great work of people like Steven Rosenbaum, David Kelly, Robin Good, and Beth Kanter, we’d encourage you to take a look at their valuable contributions to the field of content curation. (Would it be an article on content curation if we didn’t rely on curated content to help us explain what we’re talking about? Also, if you’re counting the number of times we use variations of the word curation, we’re up to about 12 now. Please don’t turn this into a drinking game, because you won’t survive.)
Now that you’ve had a quick introduction to what curation is and how to curate learning content, let’s dive right into how to use this content that you’ve found. At Intellum, we’ve identified three ways you can leverage curated content in your training programs:
Provide curated content along with existing e-learning courses. Some learning management systems (including Exceed, our learning delivery platform) allow you to include open assets (or URLs) alongside other types of files like SCORMs and AICCs. By including these web-based resources with your training, you can reinforce key points for your learners. For example, if you’re putting together a course on customer service, why not share this great resource from Dale Carnegie? Leveraging curated content alongside e-learning gives you the rare opportunity to add external (read: real-world) context to your internal (read: perfect-world) objectives.
Leverage curated content to provide context around future training. Flip that classroom! For your next in-person session, assign pre-work: a video to watch, an article to read, something that provides your learners with just a bit of information that explains a key point that you’ll review in your in-person session. If I were presenting a class on leadership, for example, I’d assign this Mindtools video about different styles of leadership and this quick quiz to help my students identify their own leadership style. This way, they’ll come to class with a basic understanding of what we’ll discuss.
Replace training content completely. That’s right. We’re working with a few forward-thinking learning managers who are replacing their old-fashioned SCORM packages with fresh, engaging, high-quality content that can often be found for free online. (You can see an example of that, our class on Millennials in the Workplace, at the bottom of this page on curation.) We also know that curating content can save you time: It takes, on average, more than 100 hours to create a SCORM package, and from our experience, a curated course can be developed in under 40 hours. You can spend your extra 60 hours reading more great content on the ATD blog!
If you’re planning on using curated content in your learning strategy, don’t forget to include an evaluation and review process to ensure that your curated content stays fresh and continues to resonate with your learners. The great thing about content curation is that there’s a never-ending source of quality learning content online; if something you’ve curated isn’t up to par anymore, you can easily replace it with something that is.
We’re sure there are other ways to use curated content; these are just a few suggestions to get you started. Comment below—we’d love to hear your ideas on the subject!