Content curation is the active sifting and culling of Internet content—identifying valuable content, gathering it in some organized fashion, and making it available to others. It’s a topic that’s been getting much attention in eLearning circles lately. There are many reasons to make content curation an integral part of an eLearning development strategy. Here are a few:
- Curated content offers learners a multitude of perspectives. Even in the largest companies with robust eLearning development staffs, the experience and expertise is limited to the same group of employees. Seeking well-written, thoroughly researched and documented expert content—on any topic of study—exponentially expands the knowledge base. Curation provides the manager or eLearning developer the opportunity to select that content carefully, ensuring that key topics are covered in the appropriate depth. It also exposes learners to a wealth of information, expertise, and perspectives that in-house content might lack. Curators can even go a step further, encouraging social and collaborative learning by creating discussion boards where learners can chat about the content they’re reading.
- Some eLearning content can’t be created in-house. Creating eLearning content on certain topics might be beyond the abilities of in-house instructional designers or developers. The perfect course might not be available in a neat package that can be linked to your LMS. But that content might be available online in the form of a MOOC, a webinar, an open-source academic article, a blog… Careful curation can steer employees to needed courses, providing a solution for resource-starved eLearning developers striving to meet diverse learners’ needs.
- Curating content saves learners’ time. Learners may know what they need to study; they definitely know where their skills gaps are. But they might not know where to find the best material online, and they can waste a lot of time looking or, even worse, end up with poor-quality or unsuitable materials. Reaching out beyond the instructional designers to subject-matter experts throughout the company and asking them to recommend the best articles, courses, and other online materials can lead to a top-notch curated content site—where all of the content is relevant to at least some learners in the company.
- Curated content is easy to update. Keeping eLearning content current is always a challenge. But periodic review of curated content can prune dead links and outdated content. New content should be added regularly and in response to specific requests or when new topic areas become relevant.
- Curators add value and context. During curation, curators generally add a sentence or two that offers some context for the content. It can describe the content or offer suggestions on who might use it and how. It might link the content with a particular course or learning objective. Providing this context enables learners to make informed choices about which content items to use to explore beyond their eLearning courses—or learn about topics not addressed in their eLearning courses.
- Learners love options. With curated content, it’s easy to offer articles, blog posts, videos, podcasts—a variety of content formats in different lengths. Providing choices makes it easier for all learners to find something of interest, something that will engage their attention, and something they can use when they have a few minutes available.
Whether curated content takes the place of formal eLearning courses or enhances them, it’s a great way to get targeted knowledge to learners.