When it comes to your learning technology, content is only king if it’s timely and relevant to a learner’s individual journey. Whether you use a learning management system (LMS) or learning experience platform (LXP), ask yourself:
- When did you last conduct an audit of the learning content you have available?
- What learning content is being accessed regularly and how much is being ignored?
- How easily discoverable is your learning content?
The modern L&D practitioner no longer ‘spoon-feeds’ content to learners by creating content and pushing it to learners in classrooms and traditional online courses. Today, by using the appropriate technology, you can grant the learner control of their own journey to give them a more personalised, empowering and engaging experience that supports continuous learning.
Let’s talk about content strategy and curation in learning and development.
Why do you need a content strategy in L&D?
A content strategy is more often associated with marketing, but marketing skills are becoming increasingly useful for L&D professionals. By definition, a content strategy “focuses on the planning, creation, delivery and governance of content”. It needs to address what content is required, when it’s required, who will be producing the content, where it will be delivered and why.
For example, your content strategy for a customer service course might involve a mix of articles, informal quizzes, video content, quizzes, workshops, scenario-based learning, roleplays and a final assessment. You may have trainers delivering workshops and subject matter experts within the organisation producing the content.
You might also want to link to third-party content by industry experts. It may include line manager involvement by observing learned behaviours in the workplace. If equipped with the right capabilities, these can be managed within your learning system, allowing you to track sign-ups to online/offline events, send timely reminders, monitor engagement rate reports and keep track of assessment scores.
If you’re going to make sure your learning content is contextual and useful, a solid content strategy aligned with the skills being learned improves relevancy. It’s the ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘why’ of your learning content.
Knowing your strategy helps you in curating the right learning content for the right people at the right time.
What role does curation play in improving learner engagement?
Curation is the process of selecting, organising and managing a collection of items – in this case, your learning content. It involves you aggregating the relevant content according to your strategy and delivering it to your learners. Curation saves you both the time and cost involved with creating all content from scratch – instead, you can aggregate ready-made learning resources from multiple channels in alignment with your strategy.
This isn’t about reinventing the wheel or overcomplicating things. Curation is all about keeping your learning content simple, engaging and relevant.
How can learning technologies improve the curation process?
The curation and aggregation of learning content is a key part of more advanced learning systems such as the learning experience platform. If you’re in the process of considering which learning technology you need, we’d first recommend looking at our free guide to help you identify your needs, ask the right questions and gain stakeholder buy-in according to organisational priorities.
A robust content strategy is something you need to have in line before making your decision to ensure the learning content aligns. Today’s learners need high-quality, personalised content that’s easy to access when they need it – inundate them with a mass of unrelated resources and the overwhelm will have them logging out faster than you can say ‘cognitive overload’.
The majority of today’s learning systems come with a built-in informal learning library for housing your content. Also referred to as a knowledge bank, content repository or digital learning library, it allows you to keep your content in one central location. It provides a hub whereby you can aggregate and curate a wealth of training tools and resources, and in turn encourages the organic growth of ‘good’ content – particularly when coupled with user-generated ratings and reviews.
Thinqi’s Playlists feature enables you to aggregate content from both the Digital Library and external sources in a few clicks, combining them into a single piece of learning content. This is achieved through a simple search function and drag-and-drop tool. Found a brilliant video on a particular topic that would complement a presentation? Add it to a content playlist or feature it to a cohort of users studying that topic as a recommended resource on their personalised learner dashboard.
Tags are also another feature within informal learning libraries that guide people to the most relevant content associated with their chosen topic (much like the way hashtags work on social media). Clicking on a particular tag they’re interested in will take the learner on a Smartie trail of related resources aligned with the initial content strategy.
Rather than spending all your time creating endless unsorted resources, the curation approach enables you to guide learners to the most relevant content as part of a self-led learning journey.
However, this is not to say that content creation has had its day – bespoke, high-quality learning content is still necessary for filling the gaps and complementing external curated resources. Content creation and curation, in alignment with your learning content strategy, means time and money saved, and improved engagement by helping learners overcome the barriers of content overwhelm.
Content strategy and curation: it’s about the right resources, aligned with the right strategy, at the right time.