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Enhance Performance with Content Curation

by Pamela Hogle

August 3, 2016

Spotlight

by Pamela Hogle

August 3, 2016

Informal learning accounts for as much as 80 percent of workplace learning; this includes networking and conversations with others, as well as self-directed study. A curated content site facilitates all of these enriching activities.

Why curate content, some managers wonder, when employees can find any information they need with a quick online search? But searching is akin to aggregating content. It casts a wide net into an ocean of information … and comes up with a lot of bycatch, along with a few keepers. Curation is the act of winnowing the bycatch: discarding the outdated, inaccurate, irrelevant, poorly documented, or just plain bad content and showcasing the gems. A curated database or resource page should be an integral part of your eLearning strategy. Here’s why.

Your employees’ time is valuable

Appointing a curator in your organization or in each work team or department saves time. This may seem counterintuitive: Won’t curation take a lot of time? It will take time, but only one person’s time. If the best, most current information is right there at their fingertips, the rest of your employees won’t waste time looking for it. They won’t all have to sift through the same useless content; they won’t all get distracted by the same clickbait—content that has a great headline or sounds useful but is more glitter than gold. In a department of only five or 10 employees, cutting out redundant searches could save many wasted hours each week; think about the impact on a larger group of employees.

You can steer employees to the best online information

In a curated content list or database, you can include only relevant, high-quality content. Who gets to decide what constitutes “the best” content? You do. Or your handpicked curator does. Either way, if you are eager for employees to learn about a particular topic, you can ensure that they are learning about it from reputable sources, not picking up the latest puffery from marketing pieces and blogs.

Sharing curated content will engage employees in learning

Encourage employees to share great content that they find and to discuss articles posted in the curated site. Many LMSs include discussion boards or other features that allow learners to share and discuss content. Incorporating curated content into this framework adds value to your training and facilitates team collaboration. Employees or work groups will also become more engaged in their eLearning, which can lead to better retention.

The curated content will reinforce and refresh the material in your training modules

Posting relevant materials—and encouraging learners to read and discuss these materials—reinforces the material you are presenting in eLearning courses and modules. Employees can apply their new knowledge as they interpret and discuss related articles. In a January 2016 Learning Solutions Magazine article, David James argues that contextually relevant content, available when learners need it, increases engagement. A well-maintained curated site is also a place for employees to refresh their training knowledge weeks or months after they’ve completed their online training.

Curated content complements the content in your eLearning modules

If eLearning takes place in structured modules, a curated resources site turns your eLearning program into a personalized adaptive-learning experience. How’s that? It provides deeper discussion of relevant topics and allows interested learners to dive in.

Providing curated content supports employee performance

At the completion of a learning event, whether instructor-led or eLearning, participants might show a high level of mastery of the knowledge or skill. But that doesn’t last. Authors Conrad Gottfredson and Bob Mosher argue that strong performance support can enhance learning transfer—employees’ ability to move from learning to retaining knowledge and applying their new skills to their jobs. And, in a related article, Gottfredson and Mosher point out the difficulty of finding the information needed at the moment it’s needed. Quick access to that crucial information, they say, enhances performance. Enter the curator—by finding and filtering information, the curator provides excellent and much-needed performance support.

Learning is social; most learning occurs outside of formal learning “events”

A curated content site, particularly when paired with discussion opportunities, facilitates informal, social learning. An eLearning Guild research report states that informal learning accounts for as much as 80 percent of workplace learning; this includes networking and conversations with others, as well as self-directed study. A curated content site facilitates all of these enriching activities.

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