According to research conducted by Charles Jennings, Only 10% of what we learn is covered through formal learning. The rest comes through people finding relevant content through different sources.
In my previous post, "5 Ways Your Content Curation Can Win the Day", finding information is not the problem. Finding trusted sites to source and relevant information to share, finding the really good content - that's the problem.
Here's where building a Content Curation strategy comes into play.
Here are the 7 Steps to Get Your Learning Content Curation Groove on:
Many people seem to think that content curation is just scooping up articles, podcasts, posts, courses, and videos from around the web and then blasting the content out to a willing audience. This is a common misconception. Content curation isn’t super hard, but you can't just plop it on plate and serve it up either.
These are the most common actions you must pay attention to:
- Aggregating: This refers to collecting information from multiple sources. Be aware of the curation code of ethics. Don't be THAT person...
- Filtering: This means sifting through mountains of information to narrow the scope to those that are the most relevant and interesting to a target audience.
- Organizing: This means chunking the content to categorize, give it structure and make it more accessible. Let’s say you curate 10 pieces of content a day. In a year, you may easily publish more than 3,000 pieces of content. Organization through grouping, keywords/tags, trends, ratings or topic becomes essential to manage content overload.
- Contextualizing: Contextualizing adds value to the content by adding your own comments, brief overview, helpful information, and/or tags. Contextualizing helps people understand more about the content you have presented to them. Providing people with the "what’s-in-it-for-me", how the content is relevant to the need, how the information will help them in the workplace, and what can people can expect from any included data.
- Sharing: Sharing does not just mean putting up a blog post or intranet site to introduce content. Content curation is effective when you share the resources with a targeted audience. Sharing specific information to specific groups on channels that people can readily access.
- Storing and Archiving: You will need to store, catalog, and archive the curated content so you can find it later. Why? You so you can update the information. You don't want your people accessing old or obsolete information, this brings down the credibility of curation efforts. Tags/keywords are critical. Is there another person helping with the curation efforts? Then you will need to have guidelines in place, so people are on the same page when they name the files or use specific words within the contextual information.
- Receiving Feedback: Actively seek feedback from the end-users. Are they finding the content helpful? Relevant? Engaging? What would they like to see more of, less of? Was the content easy to access? Or was it buried deep in the LMS or intranet and no one knows it exists?
Bonus Tips for Aggregating Information:
The biggest question I get is, “How do I find creditable information to share?” During your curation efforts, you’re likely to find there’s a lot of content out in the interwebs that is not relevant. The end game is to make sure the quality and relevance of content increases for the people, but time and effort to find that content decreases for you.
To start your curation efforts, ask yourself and your subject matter experts these questions:
- How do you currently stay current with industry information? Which sources do you use?
- Do you subscribe to industry newsletters? Follow blogs? Look at key websites? Which ones?
- Do you follow industry influencers on LinkedIn or Twitter? Who?
- Are you a member of industry groups or networks? Which ones?
By building a list of creditable sources, websites and knowledge share groups, you have a place to start looking for information that will matter to your organization. This may mean having several feeds for specific topics. For example: You may have a feed which aggregates for sales tips, processes, best practices and another for customer service tips, best practices, and case studies.
Now it’s time to put the sources together and find your content. The best way to find good information is to start listening and reading. Remember, aggregation is not curation. Following Harold Jarche's model of seek / sense / share , we’re seeking out content from combined sources. Then you'll need to sift and filter to identify the most relevant content, make sense of it and then share it.
So now it’s time to work with your seekers/SMEs to pull all the information sources together. You could do this using a range of different tools:
- Create Google Alerts for key terms e.g. competitor names
- Monitor RSS feeds from key industry blogs and publications using an RSS Reader
- Set up feeds for information to migrate to an aggregation tool such as Zite, Feedly or Flipboard.
- Do a daily check of the recommended websites
- Create a Twitter List that includes the influencers in the industry who are recommeded by the team. Monitor their stream or hashtags for relevant content (bearing in mind they might Tweet on anything, not just their professional topics)
Curation is a long and winding road, as Jay Baer put it. It’s iterative and continuous. There will always be new information to find and old information to purge or archive. Curation is about the journey and pit stops along the way. Connect with subject matter experts or "seekers" to encourage good curation habits using the 5 steps listed at the beginning of this post.
By investing 10 minutes a day to keep on top of what’s trending, you and the team can make an huge difference in the quality and quantity of relevant information going to teams in your organization. Alternatively, if you can convince departments to work with you to do this, you’re building collective intelligence which is a factor known to contribute to high performance.
But it starts with you. Curate content on learning/training trends for yourself by committing to 10 minutes a day. You can’t look your colleagues in the eye and ask them to invest 10 minutes a day in staying up to speed, unless you’re doing it yourself. GO YOU!