Creation, Curation, or Adaptation of E-Learning Content

When creating training solutions, some of the first questions we ask are tied to the specific training need and our collaborators’ theme or topic:

  • Where do we get the content to build our training solution?
  • Are there existing sources for the subject or subjects that will be considered?
  • If there are not preexisting sources for the content, will we create it from zero or adapt similar content?

It is important to consider that content creation should be aligned with the type of training that we are going to offer. In-person and online training are different, and their content cannot be identical. Moreover, we might be leading experts in one subject or—if we’re not—we can find the best expert, but if we are not capable of “hooking” our participants, the value of the content will be of little importance. Here are some keys for effective content creation:

  • The content of your e-learning courses should not consist of a simple digitalization of the contents that you already have for in-person classes. There are many differences between the two formats, and they cannot be treated in the same way.
  • Consider a logical structure and sequence for your content. Try to start with the simplest concepts and work toward the most complex.
  • Like all processes, content creation requires analysis, design, and development. It should take all of your audience’s needs into account. Whom is the content geared toward and what do we want to achieve with it?
  • Don’t forget to incorporate elements that get the participants involved, making them interact with the training so they can go from just being spectators to transforming into active subjects of the learning process.

If it’s not possible for you to create your own e-learning content, you can also adapt or curate content.

For both of these options, it is important to clarify that we are not referring to recycling or republishing content without citing it correctly. It is not about copying or plagiarizing.

In short, what does adapting or curating consist of and what is the difference between them?
Adaptation is basically taking content and altering it without losing its main message or meaning, thus transforming it into accessible material that our participants can understand clearly. An example could be using certain content from another language, translating it into the needed language , and adapting this material to our training needs.

Moreover, content creation consists of selecting what is relevant for your target audience from the vast universe of existing information and distributing it effectively to fulfill the learning needs. In other words, it is a way of filtering information to find what is most relevant for the particular needs of a specific audience. What is important to consider in the content curation process?

  1. Look for the information you need in an organized fashion and with defined criteria.
  2. Filter and select the content that has the greatest value and that best relates to your approach and the needs of your audience.
  3. Analyze the content once you have filtered it. Review what is worth including and sharing and whether something needs to be modified to make it more understandable for your audience.
  4. Measure and optimize. Share it with your major internal clients or key external clients to hear their opinions and get feedback. This will allow you to make adjustments and fine-tune the content to better meet the learning objectives or to address the competencies that need to be developed.

Remember, don’t lose sight of the fact that both creation and content adaptation or curation aim to satisfy users’ needs with quality information that is relevant for their professional and personal growth.

And you? Do you create, curate, or adapt when you design content?

About the author:

Cristina González
 is an IDESSA consultant. She has worked in the eLearning industry for over 15 years, gaining experience as an online tutor and instructional designer. She specializes in storyboard development for the online courses of educational institutions and companies.