[This guest post was authored by Stephen Walsh, Co-Owner/CEO – AndersPink.]
We all know we need to stay personally informed on the latest developments in our sectors, in our client organisations and our competitors. But there’s too much content and too little time to read it all.
To make learning more personal, we could all spend a few hours every day checking multiple sites, sources and social media every in search of the most relevant content. But, let’s be honest, that’s not really that realistic. Most people are simply too busy to do the digging and would prefer to get content from a trusted source.
Ideally that source is someone who knows your specific interests and professional goals, and delivers you relevant external content, in the right place, at the point of need. That’s a great opportunity to make learning very personal for your teams through great content curation.
Content Curators: Your Personal Learning Heroes
The best way to make learning completely personal is to curate content for yourself, of course. But most people do not have the time to check multiple sources every day.
So what we need are people who find, filter, share and add value to external content and make it much easier for time-pressed teams to stay up to date on the things that matter to them.
That’s what content curators do. L&D professionals are perfectly placed to be curation heroes who can bring highly relevant external content to audiences, much faster and cheaper than a piece of custom learning.
5 Ways To Make Learning More Personal with Curated Content
Here are five ways that L&D professionals can make learning more personal by curating content for your teams.
1. Know Your Audience: Curate with Them in Mind
Like any learning intervention, effective curation begins with a why. Each audience in your organisation will have a need for a constant feed of external content.
The curator’s job is to understand what type of information is needed, from where, and how often. For example, that could be:
- For sales teams: Daily round-up of recent developments by our top 3 competitors, news and announcements from our top 10 customers, and developments and trends in our top 3 industries, and tips for effective selling
- For leadership teams: Regular updates on best long form articles from their top 5 favoured sources (e.g. Harvard Business Review, Institute of Leadership and Management, CIPD and so on)
- As part of a blended programme: Curated content could be used as part of an overall blended learning experience, for example:
- As a precursor to a formal experience (like a dynamic reading list)
- As a launching off point after a formal programme, encouraging people to continuously learn about a topic
- As microlearning, delivering a new tip or insightful article every day
Pro Tip: In this way, effective curation is like scoping any learning initiative – you need to understand what kind of content works best to help your specific audience succeed. Ask questions to uncover the types of content your team want. Except some trial and error here – share some sample content and ask for feedback on its quality and relevance.
2. Filter Efficiently: Algorithms Can Be Your Friend
Once you’ve got a sense of the type of external content that will help your team to stay informed, you now need to personalise the experience. This means filtering content so your audience only sees what will be genuinely of value to them.
You can do this manually, and use a combination of tools and sources, for example:
- Create a Twitter List that includes key influencers for the topics you want to curate in your team and monitor it for relevant content
- Create Google Alerts for key terms e.g. competitor names
- Monitor RSS feeds from key industry blogs and publications using an RSS Reader
- Do a daily check of your preferred websites
- Choose the most relevant content from all of these sources
- Filter that content into a shared, curated resource for your audience
In practice, that’s a lot of work – especially if you’re curating for multiple audiences, every day. Ideally you want to use tools that will aggregate and filter from multiple sources for you.
Pro Tip: Automate your filtering: Some curation tools will enable you to automatically filter content based on rules you set up. For example: Only show me content on ‘HR’ or ‘Learning’ or ‘Talent Management’ and only from Harvard, TED, Wharton and McKinsey, and refresh it every four hours.
Using automated filters like this isn’t the same as personally choosing articles, but it gives you a huge time saving and a baseline of content you can then review to hand pick the most relevant for your audience.
3. Add Value with Personal Commentary and Insights
Filtering content as described above is a critical step in making a more personalised experience. By blocking out the noise, you can help your teams to focus on highly relevant and valuable information. But to go the next step to personalise this content, you need to add value to it.
This means more than just passing on a link to an article. This is about adding commentary, context and insights and removing irrelevant content, so only the highest quality makes it through.
As Robin Good says, good curators are trusted guides that add value to content. You need to be continually uncovering new content, and be discerning about what you share.
Pro Tips: Add value through:
- Commentary – “I thought this article was a good analysis of the challenges faced in our sector when it comes to pricing specific features and add-ons”
- Context – “You asked after our pricing course for some real-world examples, this article shares some live pricing pages”.
- Comparison – “I see our competitor has just published these case studies on financial services and are getting a lot of shares. Should we be doing more of this?”
- Questions and conversation starters – “This long-form article from HBR suggests that the best managers are information seekers. Do we agree? Can we do more to help with information seeking?”
- Saving articles – I’ve added this article to a saved list of the very best on pricing strategies, you can access all of these here”
If you’re using a social platform that enables discussion, then you can spark conversation and promote social learning through curated content and related discussions.
4. Place Curated Content in the Right Place
Curating content to make it personally relevant to your audiences takes time. But if your audience don’t see it, then it’s a waste of time. So it’s crucial to place your curated content where your audience are most likely to find it and engage with it.
You don’t want another login to a different platform to be a barrier. Instead, go where your audience hangs out. That might mean displaying your curated content
- Within a Learning Platform or LMS, alongside related formal learning
- On your intranet, e.g. within a Sales area or academy
- Within your Social platforms
- Pushed via branded newsletters or simple digest emails to your audiences
Pro Tip: Work with your internal stakeholders to find the right channels for each audience.
5. Be Relentless
Finding, filtering and curating content to make it personal is not a one-time thing. New content emerges hourly. If you’re not keeping up with it, you’re missing out – and so are the audiences you curate for.
Make personal, daily habits to check your sources and share articles. Agree with your audience if a daily or weekly set of curated articles, or other frequency will work best for them – and stick to it.
Pro Tip: Take your own medicine and curate for yourself first. What topics interest you professionally? Can you use tools to find the content that engages you? If you can see the value in curating content for your own personal learning, it’s easier to bring that value to others.
Get Started with Personalised Learning Content
There are many other ways that curation can be used to personalise learning, but to make it a time-friendly activity, you really should be looking at investing in some tools to make it easier for you.
Anders Pink is a content curation tool that gives you and your team a personalised daily briefing, filtered the way you want. Using the Anders Pink API, L&D teams can automatically pull curated content into your LMS, or learning platform.