Digital tools have transformed workplace learning. Gone are the days when everyone in a team followed the same learning programme, regardless of what they already knew or what skills they needed for their specific role. Today when we want to know anything – whether it’s work-related or not – we Google it or find it on social media. And with more mobile devices on the planet than people, according to some estimates, employees can now learn whenever or wherever they happen to be.
These changes have had a big impact on learning design and development. As HR and talent management expert Josh Bersin has pointed out, we’re seeing a shift towards employee-centric design, with learning support that is as easy and intuitive to use as the apps we rely on to book a taxi or order food.
But that doesn’t mean organisations can just leave it to employees to decide what they need to know and where to find it in the same way that they choose between Uber or one of its competitors. “Yes, we need to give our employees freedom to explore and access information they need for their jobs from whatever source they can find,” says Mark Oliver, Managing Director EMEA, Raytheon Professional Services.
“But there are times when employers need to set parameters to make sure, for example, that learning content helps employees meet business objectives or comply with the organisation’s cultural expectations.”
Navigating a way through an abundance of content
In addition to setting these parameters, developing learning content is also increasingly about making it accessible. But this presents its own challenges in a digital world that has seen an explosion of information, including learning content.
Whether this content has been developed specifically for companies, bought off the shelf or pulled from the internet by individual employees, it’s often stored in multiple systems. A recent article gave the example of a company storing learning content in over 200 different places!
This lack of attention to the way learning content is stored and organised makes finding the right content difficult, if not impossible. As one recent study put it: “There is an abundance of learning material available. The problem is how to find it, how to match content to your needs and how to get an indication of the quality of the content.”
Curation – the key to an effective learning strategy
Digital technology has disrupted the way we work and learn; that’s why successful learning & development teams are increasingly turning to content curation, with 81% of respondents to a recent survey saying this is now part of their learning strategy.
Curation gives organisations control of large volumes of web-based or internally generated learning content. The process involves organising content so that learners can find the information they need quickly and easily – on any device. Curation is also about making sure that learning content is accurate, relevant to employees’ jobs, aligned to business goals, and up to date. There isn’t much point, after all, in equipping people with the knowledge and skills needed for yesterday’s jobs.
Next steps to curating learning content
To get the content curation results your company needs, start by taking a long, hard look at the quality of your organisation’s existing learning content. Is it up to date and relevant to specific jobs? Does it support the goals of the business? Is there any unnecessary duplication of material? Is the learning portfolio optimised for maximum learner effectiveness? And are there gaps that need to be filled by buying or developing new content?
Answering these questions will put you well on the way to curating your organisation’s learning content. Further ideas for optimising your learning portfolio through content curation will be explored at the 6th annual Raytheon Symposium “Enabling Learning for Maximum Impact” which takes place on 13th September in London and 19th September in Munich. For more information about the symposium, visit www.corporate-leaders.com/go/raytheon-symposium-2018.