Curating Content: Simple Ideas to Get Started

Notebooks out with person holding pen and binder

Faced with rapid evolution of technology and changes to the way we do work, organizations have been met with the dilemma of how to keep their workforce appropriately skilled. The traditional approach of developing, delivering, and distributing formal training has become unwieldy for many topics—by the time a carefully edited web-based training module is ready for deployment it’s often already outdated. In other cases a full-blown instructor-led session is overkill and material can be delivered in a more efficient, quicker manner. The breadth of topics also poses a problem; employee requests are both varied in scope and specific in nature, asking for much more than most learning and development teams can keep up with.

Content curation helps address these challenges. It allows an organization to take advantage of timely, targeted materials developed by experts and practitioners, and to provide this information to employees to consume on an as-needed basis. Curation also enables stretched learning teams to supplement existing internal materials or third-party content to keep things fresh.

If you are just getting started, the truth of the matter is that there are no right or wrong ways to curate content for enterprise learners. However, if you follow some simple guidelines you may find curation an easier exercise with greater impact.

1.) Leverage In-House Strengths and Interests

The more the curator enjoys the topic itself, the easier the curation process is and the level of quality improves. It seems like a simple idea but most companies are not using subject matter experts (SMEs) to help identify appropriate content. Leveraging internal talent will drive the curation process and help gain greater adoption of your informal learning program.

For many topics, finding SMEs is easy, you know who they are or where to look in your organization. This is a great place to get your program started. As a next step, allow employees to suggest content topics that they are interested in. We as humans love to talk about the latest thing we read or saw online, and content curation provides a forum to share that information with a wider group of people.

2.) Document Resources and Links

After that five-minute conversation at the water cooler where Mary just talked about change management, document it somewhere. She took time out of her schedule to read an article or view a video that left a good impression and she was telling others about it. We are all guilty of not making notes of these types of conversations, but try to organize these interactions somewhere for future use. Be it an app like Keep, Pocket, OneNote, OneDrive, or Evernote, there are tons of options out there to choose from.

By documenting these interactions, as well as your own favorite articles and videos, you can amass a great reference resource library for future curation topics.

3.) Pick a Focal Point and Build Off of It

When approaching a topic, it helps to pick a focal piece or theme that can be built upon with other secondary pieces. The focal piece should be the keystone of the concept or message targeted to the expected audience. Starting with a focal piece also helps to shape the rest of the content—you can supplement the main piece with items sharing different perspectives, do a deep dive into a particular aspect of the topic, or provide additional content that introduces more advanced concepts.

Don’t be afraid to play around with the placement of the focal piece within the overall structure. Some will use it as the center piece of content within a path while others use it as the last defining piece. To add to the focal piece, think about using content that is humorous and providing pictures. Visually appealing content keeps users engaged.

4.) Provide Context

It is not enough to make a set of links available and tell your employees to check it out. Give an overall description of the content you are offering and tell the story of why you are promoting it. Is it relevant to a specific business initiative? Will it help improve the way they do their jobs? Is it thought-provoking in a more general way? Providing the “what’s in it for me?” is essential.

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