Where Content Curation meets e-learning


Where Content Curation meets e-learning

By Sam Marshall

Content curation is on the rise in the e-learning industry, and it’s no surprise. More and more, clients are looking to provide a holistic learning experience in the shortest time possible, and content curation provides learners with a direct link to the content. In this case, we don’t try to become an expert, the content comes straight from the experts themselves.

However, this doesn’t mean the learning design can go out the window; it still has a role to play in this method of training. So, keep your LD hat on even when curating content, as you can transfer those skills to transform clever content curation into a well-constructed package of resources to be the envy of any organisation.

Firstly, remember: objectives are still all-important, and they are your first port of call when defining the focus of your content curation. No matter what your target audience, they are all individual learners with their own training needs, and you need to consider how to bridge those knowledge gaps, which means you need to figure out what they are, and how you target them. Doing research into your target audience can make content curation easier at every stage.

With this in mind, you can brave the sea of content with an idea of how to filter out the noise. Selecting the right content sounds easy enough, but content curation is more than finding articles or documents with the right buzzwords in them. For instance, does this source deliver content efficiently? How much of it is relevant to your objectives? Too much waffle could confuse audience members, and render even the best bits pointless. Consider the tone of your content – is it consistent across the board? Does the writing style fit your target demographic? Be ruthless – presenting a few sources that meet all of your criteria will be much more effective than a huge pile of articles that only tick a few boxes.

Like a gallery owner hanging paintings in a specific way, the arrangement of content is as much a part of content curation as the collection. Just as you would order content for formal learning, it’s important to give your sources cohesion, and there are several ways to do this. Perhaps you have found two blog posts that give different views on an issue; you could merge the content together and differentiate the authors visually, allowing the learner to compare the perspectives in a single place. Creating a timeline and placing articles in chronological order could help to clarify the development of an idea or process over time.

Finally, remember that content curation doesn’t have to end once it’s arranged and released: going back to check your sources regularly can be helpful in several ways. Some subjects may be very time-sensitive, and we can respond by making curation dynamic: swapping old, out-dated courses for new insights means your content stays up-to-date and is always relevant to the learner. This dynamic approach could even lead to a two-way conversation between learner and curator, with direct feedback on which sources were the mot helpful, and which ones would benefit from adaptation.

Content curation is becoming a popular alternative or supplement to traditional learning, but the role of content curator is far from replacing learning design. Indeed, it can be a powerful addition to the learning toolkit, requiring similar skills, while offering new opportunities to learners and designers alike.

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