Perhaps it’s an unusual analogy, but when I think of learning leaders’ attitude toward content curation, I can’t help but think about what my mother would tell me when I wanted to move on to dessert. “Eat your vegetables or you don’t get any dessert”, comes to mind. In today’s learning organizations, it’s sometimes easier to just go out and find new content when learners are dissatisfied with existing materials or leaders think they are outdated. But it can create challenges when learners discover duplicate content and are not sure which is valid. The newer content may also not be part of the approved curriculum.
So, as my mother would note, sequence of events is important here. The first thing learning organizations should do before acquiring new content is conduct a thorough curriculum analysis, understand the content they have and the deficiencies that exist.
If you asked three learning leaders, inside or outside your organization, their definition of “curation” you will get a variety of views. Before you begin acquiring externally curated learning content, it’s important to first gain internal consensus and agreement. A frequent comment that we hear from learning leaders is, “why should I pay to create new content when I can find it outside our organization for a lower cost – or no cost?” That’s a great question and definitely needs to be considered.
Wow, look at that shiny rock…
Over the last three years, many new curation tools have become available that can aggregate content, filter and quickly provide new learning opportunities.
One of these new tools could be perfect for your company but it is wise to step back and determine how it will blend into your existing infrastructure. It’s easy to get excited about a new adaptive curation tool… only to realize after you’ve made the purchase that it has significant shortfalls or creates new challenges. We’ve seen numerous instances where companies have acquired new tools for their learning organization only to realize they should have thought through how the tools might impact their current learning backend structure.
Some key questions will be:
- Why do we need to obtain a new curation tool?
- Is our current content missing what our learners need?
- Is it too hard or too slow to find the answers the learners are looking for?
- If we provide new learning content, will it replace existing content or just supplement?
- Do we have a plan and resources to fix our existing content?
Start with the end goal in mind
The companies we’ve seen that are most successful in embracing these newer tools and curation strategies are those that have taken the time to review the existing learning strategies and approaches they have in place. Think about where you want to be in three years and be open to challenge past approaches.
A vision planning session can help get the key players together to talk through all the important elements that will need to be evaluated and potentially revised to take full advantage of the new tools, avoid learner confusion, and plan for a smooth adoption.
Finally, this takes us back to that pointed question, “why should I pay to create or fix existing content when I can get content for free or a lower cost?”
Even free, external content can carry the elements of confusion, duplication, or worse – the wrong method or procedure for performing a task that could impact organizational liabilities and individual safety. In an organization, even “free” needs to be moderated at times.
Need more information?
Plenty of tools and applications have been developed to support curation needs. At Raytheon Professional Services, our learning consultants can provide strategic workshops, guidance and solutions to address challenges related to curriculum analysis and content curation.