6 Myths Of Learning Content Curation

smiling man working on a computerThis March we’ve been taking a closer look at some of the myths around learning and development (L&D).

Like Zeus hurling a lightning bolt, we took aim at the myths of content creation earlier this month. Now, like a senator with Caesar’s back in his sights on the Ides of March, we’re closing in on our next target: myths about content curation.

Let the myth-busting begin!

What is content curation?

The word “curation” is most often used when talking about museums. Curators develop specific collections by choosing pieces of art that fit a theme, such as ancient sculptures in color, for example. The curator might build this exhibit using pieces already in their collection as well as pieces from other museums or private collections. The exhibit and all of its pieces serve a purpose: to make a point or teach a lesson.

L&D content curation works in much the same way. It is the process of finding and gathering relevant learning content for your learners and their needs. Ideally, the act of curation adds value because like a museum curator, you have selected the information to serve as part of a collection. You might curate content from your own courses and modules, but you may also use open source information (like YouTube videos) or off-the-shelf content.

Off-the-shelf learning content is particularly popular with those who curate learning; according to a recent report, the demand for packaged e-learning content is on the rise, with off-the-shelf learning content taking up 58% of eLearning market share.

Despite the popularity of pre-made learning modules, many learning pros don’t completely understand content curation. Below are some of the most common curation myths:

More is better

You have 98 million courses?! Great — whose job is it to sift through all of that?

There are so many options out there when it comes to finding and purchasing content libraries, and buyers can be tempted to choose quantity over quality. When it comes to libraries, however, buyers should think of the learning admins and the learners, who are likely to be intimidated by all those courses. Nobody needs to know how to peel an onion 34 different ways!

When choosing a library, look for quality, such as course duration and engagement potential, not just how many courses there are.

One size fits all

Learners have different needs, and so do organizations. Don’t assume that just because you’ve built it, they will come. Test your new collection with focus groups to try to understand the styles of content that land well in your particular organization, and then offer options for different learning styles.

Some learners are podcast addicts who love listening to content while another may only learn when there are images, tasks, and tests involved. Cater to the different learners by offering a few alternatives.

Sticking with the factory defaults

Are you only seeing Accessibility, Accident Prevention, and Accountability in the Workplace when you look at your learning management system (LMS)? There’s a reason for that. Some LMS libraries automatically order your course suggestions in alphabetical order, not order of relevance or even most recent.

Check if the content you are seeing is in alphabetical order. If it is, skip the factory defaults and choose different parameters to ensure you don’t miss a gem you’re really trying to find.

Compliance is the biggest priority… or else.

There is no better way to fill your learners with dread than creating a learning path called “Mandatory Compliance.” There is no better way to make them want to take a permanent vacation than by filling that learning path with 40 courses they need to complete by yesterday.

While, yes, compliance is a priority, a host of compliance courses is overwhelming. Instead of a huge pile of compliance modules, break down this learning path by smaller compliance topics, stagger the completion dates, and you have a much more manageable compliance schedule. You’ll also probably be more popular around the office.

You should only look for what you need

The off the shelf content world is a vast, exciting place with many talented people curating learning paths, matching skills and recommending learning materials that will benefit you! Next time you fall down a rabbit hole, looking for a specific title or piece of content, open your eyes and see what other content has been recommended – you might just learn something new.

You need to stay on topic

Creating a really great learning path on the benefits of green finance? Throw in a course on mindfulness, that’ll confuse them! Just kidding. A curve ball is a good thing for learners. Adding a course or opening up people’s minds to other content creates the spark you need to pique interest in other topics and self-directed learning. It can be an amazing opportunity for growth and that’s what learning is all about.