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Developing Content: Curate, Don’t Create!

Informal Learning Theory suggests that most learning experienced by individuals in the workplace accumulates naturally with time, practice and experience. Conversations with colleagues,  ‘learning on the job’, exposure to industry specific vocabulary and, participating in workplace social events are all examples of ‘informal learning’ techniques [i.e. not led by an instructor].

By facilitating informal learning, experiences become more useful for building skills, such as problem solving, more so than traditional ‘absorption through instruction’ techniques. This is because learners are handed the opportunity to find effective solutions to real-world scenarios and problems they might face as part of their job role. Learners are then required to use their own initiative in finding, engaging with and providing feedback on the resources needed to find the solution.

Thus, adopting a more social approach to the workplace eLearning, at the expense of heavy-content based courses, becomes a much more worthwhile approach.

This is where Curation came in.

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The role of the Instructional Designer is to produce a course with a sufficient amount of content readily available for users to interact/engage with as part of their learning journey. This can be incredibly time consuming and expensive, especially where several roles/interests are apparent within any given organisation.

Innovators began asking:

“How can we build training materials rapidly enough to catch up with the pace of organisational change?”

In a bid to relieve these pressures, many organisations began curating, not creating,  their learning content from a wide range of sources, to be shared as content within the levels of their courses.

Quite often however, we are asked by both current and prospective clients whether curating free content found online is legal or, whether the act is breaking all kinds of copyright laws.

Well, if you’re one of the many wondering the same thing, it might just interest you to know that Content Curation is completely legal – of course, there are a handful of tips/tricks to be mindful of, to ensure you remain within the legal confines of curation and, avoid offending the author/creator of any original content you wish to curate.

Why Curate?

Now you understand the how and the what of Content Curation but, you might be wondering why Content Curation. What are the benefits? Why Curate and not Create?

Curating content for your organisation comes with a whole host of benefits but, most simply:

“With the increasing quality of online educational content, it is no longer necessary to create new learning content each time.”

But, if you need a bit more convincing, we’ve compiled a list of just a few of the most significant reasons for you to mull over.

Increased Industry Knowledge

When designing an eLearning course, it is your intent to expand the knowledge of your colleagues and employees yet, when curating for others, your own knowledge and insight increases too.

“Curation is a way of approaching and making sense of the world by engaging in a collective rather than an individual process.”

Content Curation is now one of the most interactive ways of spreading your industries knowledge – no longer are the days of simply sharing a link to an article you haven’t yet read yourself.

By curating, sharing content with your colleagues, employees, even clients, you are now encouraged yourself to engage with the material, to provide your own thoughts and ideas alongside it.

Increased Brand Awareness

Sharing, commenting or liking another thought leaders, organisations or customers content and updates doesn’t go unnoticed. Especially if your engagement with the original content drives traffic to both yours and the original creators platforms.

Continue to engage with other brands content, a simple like or brief comment. Invariably, they are quick to return the favour.

This could go as far as developing a rapport with another brand and, even has the potential to lead to another customer or collaboration for your organisation.

Brand Loyalty

By curating content for eLearning purposes, organisations are collecting, transforming and sharing resources centrally, using said information as a trigger to inspire action or deeper involvement.

Effectively, this raises awareness to an article or report, encourages engagement and proves your investment in the ongoing development and impact of issues occurring within your industry.

If the same curated content is shared on your social media for your followers to also interact with, this proves to individuals outside of your organisation that you care about the greater issues – rather than simply producing content that discusses your brand and its accomplishments ALL THE TIME.

Time & Cost Effective

Creating original content is a job role in itself.

As our CEO, Ben Betts, explains:

“Blending resources from the outside world with a selection of resources from within the firewall can decrease the time to delivery and, cut costs dramatically for the L&D department.”

This is especially the case where an organisation has many employees for several different roles completing similar courses at any given time.

So there you have it – that’s an introduction to the  what, the how, and the why of Content Curation. You should be all set to start developing and curating your courses but, if you’re still a little stuck, we have a few helpful tips to help you on your way…

Our Top Tips For Curating Content

Don’t Overuse a Single Source

Avoid simply producing a copy of another person’s work. Even when you’re acknowledging the original author, there is little value in producing  a mimicry of what is already available.

Use a whole range of sources, presenting a balanced view of the topic in question.

Keep it Current

For any given topic, there is usually no lack of previously published information. Do not curate something from sources that are outdated and, heavily overused.

Keep your content fresh and, ensure it is still relevant to the subject you are discussing.

Do your research!

Before you produce a course with required content for your learners, do some thorough fact checking!

Ensure that what you’re reading is factually correct and, that the information is coming for a reliable source.

Try and avoid supplying content that will contradict what you have previously posted – unless, you’re presenting a new development of a topic.

If you’re still unsure of the specific legalities of curating content our CEO, Ben Betts has already got it covered. Head on over to our blog to read ‘Curating Content for Learning: Is It Legal’. You can also refer to his book, Ready, Set, Curate for more information.

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