In times of change, learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists. ~ Eric Hoffer
These are certainly times of change. The world before no longer exists, and the world to come is being enacted into existence every minute of the day. We need a workforce of learners now more than ever before.
And that workforce of learners requires L&D support that is rapidly available, not necessarily customized. To meet emerging needs, we can curate from the vast resources of the internet, thereby providing valuable learning resources on tight timeframes.
You can imagine what is possible. For example: Do you want people to learn to work (and manage) remotely? The internet is rich with good advice about what works. Do you have to retrain people quickly so they can redeploy where needed? You no doubt have resources that can provide the orientation they need.
In this new world, we’ll often be called on to curate targeted learning resources that people can engage as their schedules permit. Here’s some advice that might prove useful if you’re new to this role in L&D.
Key principles for curating in L&D
Take the time to understand the need. You may not be able to conduct a full-scale needs analysis, but do check in with some of the people you hope to help to understand their questions and their context. Be careful about making assumptions, especially in this disrupted environment.
Curate rather than aggregate. The mark of curation is solid human judgment about what resources would be the most useful. Often, fewer resources – carefully selected – is better than a wide range of resources.
Look for varied resource types. Some people like to read deep details, and some are more inclined to engage with video content. At times, a job aid is what is most needed, at other times, people need to talk to a subject matter expert. Be sure to look for internal sources as well as external ones. Try to give a variety of options.
Vet your sources. Be sure to check the authors of your materials to be sure they have the credibility to offer information and advice in the topic area.
Contextualize. Provide a brief introduction that explains the benefits of the materials and summarizes key points that people will find therein.
Annotate. People need to understand what each resource has to offer before they click it open. Provide just a sentence or two to let them know the specific value they’ll gain. Bridge the gap between a generalized resource and your organization’s particular application of the knowledge or skill being learned.
Organize a learning flow. Where warranted, recommend a learning path: the order in which to tackle the resources and the activities you have curated to solidify learning and support application. Just as you would design the flow of a course, organize learning resources to build knowledge and skill over time.
Include social learning. Be sure to find ways to connect learners to experts and to each other to support their development. This is a critical resource that sometimes gets overlooked when we think about curating resources. Help people to engage with each other.
Include suggested activities. Many people still stumble a bit when they are expected to engage in self-directed learning. Just as “telling ain’t training,” reading (or watching) ain’t learning. To truly learn, people need to engage critically with the material – reflect on it, discuss it, translate it for their own use, and apply it to their own work. Give employees some guidance on what they can do to deepen their learning: offer reflection and discussion questions and devise short activities so people can practice.
Deliver at the point of need. Make your curated resources available in the simplest way possible. You don’t necessarily need a robust learning management system (although use it if you have one!) – you can deliver your resource list in email, or a blog post, or a PDF document.
Curated Resources 🙂
L&D has been utilizing curation to support learning for quite a while now. These links will take you to some of the best resources for you to learn more if this is a new skill for you.
- Content curation: A guide to content curation for learning and development (L&D)
A robust overview of curation specifically for supporting learning and development. Describes three kinds of curation: repositories, streams of content, and learning experiences. This resource will give you a lot to consider.
- Ben Betz Conversation with Curation Lab
with Elliott Masie from Masie Talks
A 25-minute open conversation on video with Ben Betz, one of the authors of Ready, Set, Curate. Discussion ranges from useful practices to usable tools.
- Disruption Series: Curation – Making it Useful for Your Audience – Martin Couzins
Learning Uncut Podcast with Michelle Ockers
In this special Coronovirus response episode, Michelle speaks with Martin Couzins, a curation expert, about how to employ curation in these challenging times. Good timely advice. Transcript available.
- Ready, Set, Curate: 8 Learning experts tell you how (book)
Ben Betts and Allison Anderson (ATD Press, 2015)
For an overview, check out The Power and Practice of Digital Curation: A Conversation with Allison Anderson and Ben Betts on the eLearning Coach Podcast.
If I can help you to curate, or support your team in learning some of the best practices in curation, contact me to discuss what’s possible.