When Employees Can Curate the Content, Training Becomes More Effective

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Sep 5, 2019

Today we have more knowledge than we’ll ever be able to study, and the content creation process still isn’t decelerating. That means the issue is no longer finding content, but rather selecting what’s worth keeping and delivering it in an organized way.

That is effective content curation in a nutshell. In this article we’ll dig deeper into the concept and outline some efficient way to curate content in corporate training.

Learners will look online

As good as any LMS’s material is, it can never stay updated forever. With the unprecedented level of learning material being put out every day, what we read actually becomes outdated faster than ever before.

However, new content doesn’t mean excellent, and excellent content doesn’t mean relevant. If additional learning sources are not available or applicable to the learner’s needs, they will have to leave their employer’s system and go after the knowledge elsewhere.

That will not only make the learning process more difficult — since they will need to curate content themselves — but also expose learners to unverified content.

And indeed many learners feel the need to look for knowledge externally. According to a 2016 survey by the learning platform Degreed, 47% of learners turn to the internet to search for what they need. Only 28% search for what they need in their business’s LMS. This is unwelcome news. The systems employees are supposed to rely on either lack indispensable knowledge or have it uncategorized.

No L&D group can do it all

Let’s also not forget that learners can profit from different perspectives. Or, to put it in a bluntly honest manner: No matter how brilliant your content creation team is, no one can develop fresh, spot-on, self-sufficient learning material for all the needs. No one can have all the answers all the time.

A seasoned writer might have put in clear words a comprehensive guide to a pivotal skill, or a highly-respected speaker may have condensed precious knowledge in a sweet 5-minute video they’ve posted on the social media. Why not curate what you need?

What do they need?

As is the case with training in general, the most effective approach is the one targeted at the learner’s real needs. So if you are committed to providing learners with extra content, it’s imperative to remember that not everyone needs everything. In fact, learners’ being given what they don’t need is only part of the problem.

What do specific professionals need to know in order to complete their job? What could add value to their experience in particular? When these questions are answered, managers can also understand and show learners why curated articles, case studies, videos, etc. matter; what they can accomplish by pouring time and intellectual effort into that link they’ve received.

A natural way of accomplishing integration is by attaching a list of additional reading links or a playlist of short videos at the end of a learning course. Those who have pursued that course will naturally derive value from further resources pertaining to it. They are an honest way of saying, “If you’ve completed this course, that means you work in this area, so this curated material will add to your knowledge.”

Crowdsourced knowledge

Crowdsourcing is one of the ways businesses can get their own learners engaged in the curation process. The logic behind it is actually not very different from when companies encourage customers to produce content themselves and share it with others.

In fact, businesses have long known the power of user-generated content with regards to customers. GoPro, for instance, has long capitalized on its users’ production to achieve a remarkable level of brand engagement.

But besides strengthening the brand and serving as effective marketing, user-generated content fosters the sense of community and makes customers realize they can be active in the process because their contribution matters.

Now, what if we applied this rationale to e-learning?

Learner-generated content doesn’t necessarily refer to articles written by learners, but to useful content they find and share with others so all are enriched by it. After all, bridging gaps between staff members and the competency levels required of them is more easily achieved when users are actively involved.

Besides the obvious benefit of an enhanced LMS, this user participation allows the system’s administrators to assess the L&D program in light of what content users upload. That might help detect insufficiencies that can be solved. In other words, content curation can lead to effective content creation.

Feedback helps improve training

The ultimate goal of content curation in a training scenario is to bring employees extra resources they might find useful. But there’s no way to know what truly helps a person unless that person is heard.

If encouraging users to contribute with resources is valuable, letting them rate and discuss content makes the experience really learner-centric. That is why businesses can profit from creating forums or other communication channels on which learners can discuss their findings. They are a clear window into employees’ unfiltered opinions.

For instance, if users can recommend resources and discuss them with their colleagues, they may surprise course administrators with their preferred patterns. Users know their own limitations. In fact, this can be crucial to ensuring the LMS reflects its users’ true needs, and not simply echo the administrators’ perspectives.

More than piling up resources, content curation is the process of delivering the best ones in the most organized way. Assess apparent needs, curate, publish, measure engagement, repeat. That is a loop one can’t stop; outdated, out-of-touch curated content will cause users to leave the platform and disengage.

In the end, keeping the learner in the center is the pervasive element no business can miss.