Learning, design, and curated resources

Design Curated Studio Contemporary Creative

Content curation to me is not just one thing or one methodology. I see content curation as different techniques for using (and sometimes modifying) already existing resources rather than creating from new. From this perspective there are a lot of different ways curated resources can be used for learning. Here are some ways content curation techniques can be implemented into learning and learning design.

Pure resource curation

 

“The hunter gatherer of content curation”

 

What does this look like?

This is gathering existing resources/information/artefacts on a topic and putting it in one place to grab at your will. You’ve hunted (or used a tool to hunt) for the content and now its gathered in one place. Although you’ve filtered and selected the best content there is no rearrangement of it. It is simply made available in it’s raw form.

Here’s a personal example; at the moment I’m learning about interactive video and 360 video as a learning solution. To research this area I’m using a content curation tool http://www.anderspink.com. I have kept all my curated content in one area:

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When content curation is mentioned it is this usually this method that is being referred to. Where information is hunted and gathered into one place and then utilised and/or shared.

Ideas of when you could use pure content curation:

  • Researching a specific topic
  • Watching trends in an industry
  • Gathering resources to support Special Interest Groups or learning communities

Don’t stop here though, this is only one method. There are more ways to use curated resources, such as, story based curation.

Story based resource curation

 

“Using existing resources and arranging them to create a different point of view”

 

What does this look like?

This is where resources are collected to make a new idea or story that is separate and different from the individual resources. They are arranged together to tell a story. The resources could be organised into a timeline or simply tell a story from comparing their similarities and differences. Good curation means you won’t need to overtly tell the story as the resources will do this for you.

“The whole is greater, than the sum of it’s parts” – Gesalt Psychology

Many museums are particularly good at this type of curation. Look for examples of this method at your local museum.

 Ideas of when you can use story based resource curation:

  • Showing changes over time
  • Using similarities or differences to tell a story

 Audience based resource curation

 

“Crowd sourcing and sharing curated resources based around a topic or task”

 

What does this look like?

The key difference here is who is finding and sharing the resources. Instead of resources being shared out from a central point like a Learning and Development department, they are instead being sourced by those who will use them and then shared into a central point. It is more active as it involves the audience in curating resources themselves.

An example of when I’ve used audience based curation are the research and share activities I designed in a university level course. Students were asked to search for relevant examples of the topic being studied and then share those onto Twitter with a set hashtag so others could view. Read more about this example here

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Ideas of when you can use audience based curation:

  • Great for micro search, find and share activities
  • When you want the audience to find examples of content that are relevant to their own experiences
  • Good for audiences with a wide range of different backgrounds or experience levels
  • Good for when the content or topic is rapidly changing and developing – a technique to keep the content current

These aren’t the only ways you can use curated resources for learning. How do you use content curation for learning? I’d love to hear your examples or thoughts.

 

Developing flexible modern content

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Over the last several weeks I have been participating in Jane Hart’s Modern Workplace Learning group. This weeks task is to look at developing flexible modern content in the workplace.

So what does this mean? In Jane Hart’s Modern Workplace Learning she identifies that technology and web is enabling new ways of learning. That people are becoming more self directed to solve their own learning and performance problems and this approach is very different from traditional learning approaches. Modern content is continuous, on demand, bite sized, on the go, social, not designed, serendipitous and performance orientated. Read more in chapter 2 of Jane Hart’s Modern Workplace Learning – A resource book for L&D.

I agree with all of Jane Hart’s observations on the characteristics of modern learning. Here’s a personal example of modern learning in action. My husband recently built a pizza oven at our house. He had never laid a brick and is a bus driver and stay at home dad by day. He did not go on a pizza oven building workshop, nor did he get tutored or mentored on how to build pizza oven. Instead he was self-directed in his problem solving and researched the web and found websites and Youtube clips with how to build different types of pizza ovens. He took bits of information from different sites, sometimes commenting and asking the bloggers specific questions. He trialled techniques and went back to research when more info was needed. From this he built his own customised pizza oven, in his own time, that met his own specific needs (i.e. fitted in the limited space and used the fire bricks we bought cheaply). His performance was measured through the results – which I must say are delicious!

pizza 3

So how do we bring this modern learning into the workplace? It is such a contrast to what happens within workplaces as most view that learning can only happen and be believed to have happened if it is delivered to the staff (workshops, online courses, programmes etc). Completion and attendance can be checked off and the job of learning is done – then we move onto the next learning job.

To embed modern learning into the workplace is mostly a change of mind set and usually this is required first from the Learning and development departments that are wedded to courses and outputs. Learning and development departments need to take responsibility with showing the workplace ways people really learn and embedding this in practice. Learning is a continuous process not a one off event, a one-off training event will do little to solve performance problems.

Curating content and communicating resources to staff members is one way in which modern learning can be brought into the workplace. Here’s a blog on how I’ve started doing this in my workplace – learning resources from content curation. Why would we not point staff to useful bite-sized resources that they can pull and utilise as they need it? Why not even follow up on ‘learning events’ with curated relevant content? I know some excellent learning resources that would be useful for all staff such as Lynda.com, Tedtalks, Mindtools and many more. Why not promote these resources to all staff then they too can be familiar with resources that can help them grow?

Working as learning consultants rather than just learning deliverers is another way in which to build continuous learning practices into teams and management, teach the skills and practices around learning rather than just the content. Building new attitudes and culture towards workplace learning means that learning can be viewed as a continuous, embedded and forever improving approach to work performance.

Does this mean courses are bad and shouldn’t happen? I think no, courses (elearning or facilitated) will always have a place – just a smaller one. They shouldn’t be the automatic first or only offer of help from L&D. And when a course is deemed an appropriate learning response it needs to be more than a one-off event. Courses can and should be supported by other techniques such as learning plans, curated content, self-directed research, social learning and learning communities. The course anatomy will also need to adapt, for example, small bite sized chunks are more suited to modern learning now than a week out at a workshop.

How do you see flexible modern content? What are you doing your workplace to move towards this? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

 

Content curation how can it be used?

I’ve been dabbling in content curation for a few years now. My initial views on content curation in the learning space were rather limited, focused mainly on using content curation for course or learning resource design and development. I have an Instructional Design background after all!

My view of content curation has evolved and become broader. I now see many ways and levels it can be applied to the learning and development field and business.

Here are some levels I see content curation being applied to learning:

Content curation levels 3

Individual content curation

Individuals curate content for their own purpose and meaning. For example, I curate content for myself around learning topics that I’m interested in. I use my blog and other curation tools such as Twitter, Scoopit, and BagtheWeb, to organise the content I’m collecting. I refer back to my curated content when I have a project that is relevant to it.

Team content curation

Where a team collaboratively curates content and shares it within the team. The content is of common purpose and goals. I have worked in a team where we curated content on tools, templates, job aids, and useful websites around elearning and the LMS system that was in place. The content was curated within an Excel spreadsheet (old school but effective). It was used for team reference and was also used to help induct new staff members entering our team.

Learning resource curation

This is where resources are curated for particular audiences for a learning purpose. In another post I give an example of content being curated for customer service learning resources – learning-resources-from-content-curation.

Organisation curation

This is curating and putting meaning on content that is organisation wide. Examples of this could include databases or knowledge centres that contain business processes. Staff would look up the database when unsure on what to do and be advised of the correct process and any supporting documentation.

Industry curation

Curation that goes beyond an organisation or business and looks at the wider industry. This may include industry leaders or websites that curate content for their members, or just sourcing content from reliable industry sources. My own business is a learning solution business, specialising in elearning. There are some well known industry sites that provide curated content to help people in this industry, for example, The eLearning Guild, Elearning Industry, Articulate Storyline Community and eLearning Heroes.

What ways have you curated content for learning purposes?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how curated content can be used.