Content Curation: An Essential Part of the Future of Training

73% of workers say that they suffer from information overload every day. However, Professor Clay Shirky’s (New York University) opinion on the issue is interesting: “There’s no such thing as information overload. There’s only filter failure.” In his view, the problem isn’t that we’re exposed to too much information but to too much wrong information. And that’s not our fault: before the internet, it was expensive to publish content in print, and content therefore had to be of a high enough quality to guarantee a return on investments. Publishers and editors therefore acted as quality control filters. Nowadays, however, the cost of publishing content has gone down so much that anyone with time and internet access can publish anything they want. The burden of quality control has shifted onto us. That’s a huge challenge!

As training and development leaders, one challenge linked to this issue lies in helping associates at our companies manage their information filters and protect themselves from overload. Content curation is particularly important, as it’s possible that part of the content needed for training already exists (online and in other sources). It’s still necessary, however, to focus our efforts on finding and sharing the types of content that participants need and prefer based on the most reliable resources we can possibly find.

Content curation is a term that describes the act of finding, consolidating, organizing, or sharing the best and most relevant content on a specific issue that benefits a business’s training needs. To expand this idea, we could say that content curation means:

  • Finding the best content from multiple sources, usually external content.
  • Filtering it so only the most relevant content is considered.
  • Sharing it with the appropriate internal audience, at the right time and in the right places.
  • Adding value to that content with comments, adjusting it to the context or profile of an organization.

Marketing expert Rohit Bhargava’s five models of content curation offer us a guide to the best practices that can help us with content curation for training:

1. Aggregation

Consists of searching for and identifying relevant content online and gathering the links to that content in a single location. This frees associates from having to search for content on their own.

2. Distillation

Instead of limiting oneself to aggregating content, this model consists of filtering and classifying information in order to share the most important, valuable, or relevant content. The result is a cluster of higher-quality resources that are better focused.

3. Elevation

This is a process of analyzing tendencies on social media and websites and identifying a greater tendency or idea based on small, everyday thoughts published online. Elevation is considered to be the most complex approach to content curation, since it requires more analytical experience than other approaches do.

4. Mashups

This implies combining content from two or more existing sources in order to create a new perspective or subject. In the training world, mashups tend to be produced in discussion forums or wikis, where many participants offer their contributions in a single document.

5. Chronology

This curation strategy organizes information from a sample of content in chronological order to show the evolution of an idea. This is very easy to do and can provide an interesting way to see how ideas and information evolve over time.

When it comes time to choose a curation method, we obviously have to keep our audience and their needs in mind, as well as the resources available and limits on time. There are many scenarios in which content curation applies for training, for example:

  • Social learning: Curation promotes social learning by supplying the raw material of relevant and up-to-date content to share, comment on, and contextualize.
  • Microlearning: The curated content is by nature independent and tends to be brief and specific articles and content that make up an important part of learning through brief capsules

As you can see, content creation is a growing need within companies and as such is an important capacity that those of us who work in training and development must develop ourselves. In a not far-off future we will work more and more as content creators to support performance, connecting employees with relevant resources that they can use immediately and that will teach them and let them improve their work. Are you up to the challenge?

Conoce a la autora: 

Yolanda BarqueraYolanda Barquera is Director of Talent Development at IDESAA. She is a business coach and consultant in talent development and process analysis. She is passionate about development and processes of change and loves to get new opportunities to continue learning. She is a specialist in e-Learning project design and implementation.