Curation: Multi-cycle Support for Learning

Curation is a 360-degree process that can play a powerful role before, during and after a learning experience.

curation, learning delivery, strategy, organization, impactCuration 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 targeted knowledge and information options.

The role of curation in that shifting landscape includes a panorama of content types. To figure out what you need, start with a simple investigation about the content in your organization. For instance, ask 10 random employees what video clips, news reports, PDFs, briefings, or other content they have viewed or read in the past three months to be better at their jobs. You will be amazed at the volume and diversity of sources they report. You might hear:

TED videos: Even when the organization has spent money on great content from a learning provider, TED videos are more viral, short and externally validated.

User content and knowledge: Workers want to watch or read what their peers 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!”: There is rarely help in sorting, ranking or choosing which content piece is most effective for the user at any given moment.

Fake news: I recently read a review of a learning product only later to find out the author received a fee to evaluate and promote the innovation.

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 after a learning activity or experience:

Learning choices: When I choose a restaurant, I have 100 percent 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 internal and external sources with curation assistance and context.

Recommendations: 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.

Coming attractions: It works at the movie theater, so why can’t we scroll over an e-learning module’s link and get a 30 second preview of its content, focus and activity formats? Curation helps the learner prepare for the learning moments ahead.

Curation in the learning moment: My favorite textbook from college 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 — key takeaways.

Curate extending content/context: Learners should be able to touch or click to get personalized extensions of the core material. Give them a choice to see these now or on their own time later.

Curate “jump aheads”: Often, we already know 80 percent of the content in a new learning activity. Organize it with tabs, chapters, even instant mini-assessments to help the learner jump ahead to their new and needed segments. Then, use this big learning data to better curate content for the next set of learners.

Summarize and repackage content later: Take the content from a real-time class, webinar or even conference and re-package it into a high energy “Readers Digest” content roll-up. Offer it online.

Curate before, during and after an event, because learning is truly multicycle and lifelong.

Elliott Masie is the chairman and CLO of The Masie Center’s Learning Consortium and CEO of The Masie Center, an international think tank focused on learning and workplace productivity. Comment below, or email editor@CLOmedia.com.

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