Curation of e-learning content is simply the systematic search, sorting and sharing of content relevant to your organization in a single application.
It’s no secret that the amount of information generated on the internet every minute is immense. While the vast majority of the content and interactions generated may not be relevant to you, every organization should be able to find relevant press or blog articles, webinars, white papers, Youtube videos or podcasts that enrich their learning environment.
If content curation involves the orderly integration of external content into your learning environment, it is also possible for content to be generated internally using a User Generated Content (UGC) approach.
These two concepts are complementary.
Not only do they help bridge the time gap between the need for training on a particular subject and the creation of formal training on it (also called Time to learn or supply versus demand metrics), but they also make it possible to combine non-organization-specific training with organization-specific training.
They also allow easy access to content on issues that are not very common, that concern only a few employees and for which it would not be profitable to invest time (internal to a trainer or external) in the production of content.
In this article, we will look in detail at these two concepts and give you some tips to get you started.
What are the advantages of content curation and User Generated Content (UGC)?
First of all, by integrating curation and UGC to your environment you guarantee the continuity of your employees’ learning process.
They can, for example, complement formal training with articles, tutorials, podcasts, webinars, white papers…
They may be recommended complementary content to formal training according to the forgetting curve.
They can easily keep up to date with the latest innovations and developments in their field of expertise. How? By having several trusted sources of content via referenced sites, and by automatically proposing content on themes related to training to a person in charge of curation.
This way, the use time of expert trainers and L&D is freed up (regarding content creation) and the shorter time can be allocated to more added value by selecting things already recommended.
Content curation can also improve the use and engagement of your learning environment.
By rewarding information sharing, you will be able to give a social dimension to your learning activities, identify and value your subject matter experts, and offer a greater variety of content formats to your learners.
You will use learning methods and tools that are naturally attractive, that your learners use on a daily basis, at work and outside (Google, Youtube, press, podcasts…). In this way, each employee feels valued by his or her peers by offering quality content that is recognized for its expertise.
In the same way as for automation via trusted sources, it is quite possible to add a validation process for resources created by end users before a more massive sharing but just as it becomes utopian to make prior moderation of messages posted on social networks, we advise you let the community of learners in your company be the judge of the production via likes / comments. In this way, the least qualitative UGCs will naturally be pulled down while the others can be reviewed monthly and added to the company’s “formal” training programs.
The UGC also allows managers and experts to share content, best practices and methods with their teams.
What are the different approaches to content curation?
There are two main approaches to content curation.
The bottom-up approach and the top-down approach. Each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages and they are not mutually exclusive. It is entirely possible to adopt both in a hybrid approach, and indeed that is what we recommend.
The bottom-up approach, which could also be called the collaborative approach, involves your learners and L&D managers finding and sharing the content. For this, you need a sharing tool that is integrated with content sources such as Youtube, Spotify or Deezer for podcasts, Google for articles…
It has the advantage of being, as its name suggests, more collaborative, more social. It creates more engagement among your learners, encourages sharing and helps create a true culture of learning and excellence within your organization as well as better information sharing and communication within the organization.
That said, in order to take full advantage of curation, the content must be well organized, well tagged so that a recommendation engine can easily recognize the content and provide relevant recommendations. While it is possible to tag content by hand, depending on the size of your organization, it can quickly become complicated to maintain a large volume catalog.
The top-down approach, which could be called the automated approach, is to use technological tools that scan the web and perform semantic analysis on the content to identify the topics covered and then integrate those of interest to you or your organisation into your learning environment.
As you may have guessed, the advantages and disadvantages of this approach are exactly the opposite to those of the bottom-up approach. In short, no collaboration, but, since the content will be better organized, you will have a better chance of getting the proposed content to be relevant.
At Bealink, we have opted for a hybrid approach by mixing the two approaches.
The platform allows learners to share content, integrate it into playlists, consult content shared by colleagues, follow experts within the organization, create microlearning content… content is tagged using a semantic analysis tool. This is the bottom-up approach.
Bealink also makes it possible to integrate automated curation tools such as Anders Pink into the environment for better monitoring and more diversity, or to automatically integrate content from RSS feeds into playlists. It is also possible to index sources such as the intranet and company documents. Thus, both approaches are used according to the principle of contextual learning and Learning in the Flow of Work. This is the top-down approach.
How to get started with content curation and UGC?
Getting started is very simple, many tools are available to make your work easier.
Before starting to search for tools, it is essential to define your curation strategy.
What is my goal in integrating curation?
How do I integrate User Generated Content (UGC)?
What is the best approach for my organization (bottom-up, top-down or hybrid)?
How will I measure the quality of contributions?
Once your strategy is in place, you can move on to looking for tools.
All in all, of course, we recommend a Learning Experience Platform because it is a tool designed around the mechanics of recommendations and curation.