Interactive training courses are fun! They immerse the learner in different experiences – all designed to maximize retention. Of course, all of these won’t be possible without the valiant efforts of the course creator. Now, let’s move over to the side of the course creator.
Every course creator knows all too well the time and effort invested into creating those fun, interactive courses. Countless hours are spent on research. Sleepless nights are devoted to designing courses. And the frustration seems endless when jumping from revision to revision just to ensure the quality of each module.
There is, however, a much easier way to create interactive training courses quickly. This is where training content curation comes into play.
What is content curation?
The current definition of content curation identifies it as looking for relevant content on a specific topic. It also involves grouping content together and organizing it into simplified and easily accessible ‘buckets’ or groups. Finally, it also includes creating and sharing the curated training content to learners.
What is curated content?
Curated content can be any element found in different media related to a specific topic. Content can be eLearning courses, infographics, articles, tweets, blog posts, news, articles, and videos – basically, anything relevant to the subject matter.
The curated content then goes through different processes (which we will discuss below) – all depending on the situation. Everything is then combined into a single medium that presents the topic in a more organized, concise, and sensible format for the learners.
How to curate content?
There are five common content curation strategies for corporate learning. Learning professionals can use these to complement, supplement, and update the content of their current training courses.
The first method is called aggregation, and it’s the most common flavor of learning content curation. Aggregation involves gathering relevant information about a topic and storing it in a single location. To put it more simply, aggregation is collecting and compiling information for easier, on-demand access later.
An example of training content curation through aggregation is an RSS feed that features a collection of learning videos about a topic. A website that specifically compiles content from different niche blogs is also an example of aggregated curation.
Distillation is another training content curation process. Like aggregation, it also includes collecting and storing information. In contrast though, distillation requires sorting and filtering so that only the most relevant content is presented to the learner.
There is an almost limitless amount of content on the web. Although everything is searchable through Google, trying to compile all of it will be an almost impossible task for any curator. With a distillation process in place, training content curation can be easier – especially if paired up with training content curation tools.
Some examples of distillation include gathering and sorting content based on relevant keywords and hashtags on social media. There is also a multitude of available online tools and apps that will help a curator do this easily.
Elevation is, arguably, the most complex training content curation approach, because it incorporates the identification of a current trend based on every piece of content. This intricacy and complexity in implementation makes this method much different than the others.
Using elevation to curate online learning content can be quite challenging. Technology-wise, an algorithm or program is needed to closely analyze each piece of content, look at everything in the bigger picture, and elevate certain trends.
There are a few of these technologies available; and the perfect example of such tech is the Trending feature of Twitter. This fancy piece of automation analyzes all tweets and determines the trending topics over a certain period of time.
To add, if a curator is planning to do this manually, it will require more expertise and analytical ability on that person’s end. This complexity is what makes elevation the most intricate method in training content curation.
However, equipping a very capable curator with cutting-edge curation technology can give the organization’s online training content a much-needed edge.
Aside from elevating already-known trends, there might be new ones that have yet to be discovered and capitalized on. From a learning perspective, these might be new learning needs, new approaches, or even new trends in the industry.
Merging refers to training content curation that puts two or more different sources together. When merged, these sources are then used to come up with a new perspective on a certain topic. Not only does the method concern combining different content sources, but the most important part is building on existing content to present the topic in a new light.
The classic example of merging is the use of wikis in learning. Wikipedia, for example, allows people to collaborate on a certain topic through wikis. In doing so, the resulting wiki is composed of different points of view by different individual contributors.
This is probably the easiest and the most interesting way to approach training content curation. Chronological arrangement is just aggregating and arranging content based on publish dates. Simply put, it’s arranging content in a timeline.
The most interesting part of chronological curation is that the evolution of a certain topic can easily be tracked. More importantly, how the understanding of a certain topic progresses throughout time can also be discerned through this method.
Take the term ‘eLearning’ for example. Information from the late 80s to the early 90s will most probably discuss it from a ‘computer-based learning’ context. Go ahead a few years to the 2000s and eLearning’s definition won’t be limited to just computer-based training, but will also include classroom tech integration.
Fast forward to today and that term has now become very broad – encompassing computer-based learning, to tech integration, even up to apps, the cloud, and virtual reality.
Some Content Curation Tips:
Find reliable sources. Always remember that, on the internet, not all sources are equal. For every credible source, there are thousands upon thousands of unreliable ones.
Make sure that instructional designers and eLearning creators undergo some form of content curation training. It might save a lot of time and effort knowing that they don’t really have to create their own content from scratch.
Training content curation is not just for instructional designers, content curation for trainers is also a good idea. This can be done so that current learning content can stay up-to-date, while the trainers are also updated on their respective fields. As mentioned, above, it can be easy as subscribing to an RSS feed.
Make sure that the training content curation strategy is based on the actual needs of the intended audience. Get information on online learners’ needs. Find out what their goals are and what they want to achieve; then choose the best curation strategy to complement those.
Include the curated content with eLearning courses – even if they’re just clickable links. Learners would appreciate being given more info on the topic. Moreover, it also maximizes curation efforts by making the entire collection available to course-takers.
What is curated learning without the learners?
At the end of the day, all training content curation efforts still boil down to one category of people – and it’s not the curators, but rather the learners.
There might be a rush to set-up what’s thought to be the easiest, most efficient, and most effective content curation method fit for the organization. Always remember though that all these curated content, methodologies, and tips will be for naught if they do not meet the learners’ needs.
The success of any training content curation strategy is largely dependent on what learners can get from it. A strategy that helps learners fulfill their learning needs, attain their goals, and assist them on what they want to achieve are good indicators of a program’s success. So, always make sure that the content curation strategy is aligned with the learners’ goals.
With that said, adieu, and have fun curating!