In an information abundant digital age, Organizational Learning and Development programs are riddled with information overload. Learning content from multiple sources, channels, disregarding boundaries of time and geography can be disorienting. However, employees need to know what is important or not important from the perspective of the vision and goals of their organization.
Employee development happens when a competency-led approach is mapped to learning needs. HR leaders need to curate the right content to align it with specific competencies and then design the learning paths. Because of this need, learning content curation is rising.
In order to provide authentic and scientifically attested learning material, it’s imperative that an expert should curate authentic learning materials. Without this streamlining exercise, it would not be surprising for employees to spend time on learning, only to find that the content is not relevant.
What is Content Curation?
With so much information in many formats at one’s fingertips, it is very difficult to make a streamlined, beneficial use of these learning resources. Curation is the art and science of identifying and contextualizing the best information and format for the content. The advent of digital technologies and learning media gives employees a plethora of options to learn from. Each of these platforms comes with its own delivery style and content.
The danger of using online materials is that they may not be authentic or up to date. In order to provide authentic and scientifically attested learning material, it’s imperative that a subject matter expert working closely with employees verifies course content and organizes learning modules.
Without this streamlining exercise, courses may lose relevance to the job, leading to a decline in both the learning effectiveness as well as learner engagement levels. There is a pressing need to move from mere “information” to “ideation,” to deliver a relevant and immersive learning experience.
Content curation requires effort in terms of time, personnel, funds, technology platforms etc. Why would an organization invest so much time in curating learning content? The reality is that content curation is a necessity for developing skills for the future.
- Makes up for the lack of time:
The ‘lack of time’ is a commonly quoted reason by employees to not invest in their own skill development. According to Bersin by Deloitte, “1% of a typical workweek is all that employees have to focus on training and development.”
Moreover, if learning modules are too time consuming or boring, there is the risk of the employee abandoning the learning journey in between. For example, if a learner needs a particular input to solve a problem at a particular time and hundreds of options come up, it can be overwhelming and frustrating for the employee. It is, therefore, important to curate content to create an experience that’s personalized. This means presenting the content in an organized manner so that it optimizes the time spent on it and engages the learner.
- Provides context:
L&D must guide learners by contextualizing the learning offerings to job roles. This means that L&D professionals need to spend time recognizing learning styles, learning needs and the required competencies of learners.
Providing context is all about helping learners apply their learning to their jobs so that they understand the importance of why and what they have learnt. For this, they must design relevant and engaging job aids, assessments, simulation tools etc.
- Enhances productivity:
More information means more time spent looking for the right information, which in turn translates to reduced productivity. According to McKinsey, high-skill knowledge workers spend 19% of their day searching and gathering information. That’s nearly one day per week lost. This is the antithesis to what learning intends to achieve viz., increased employee productivity. To enhance the productivity of employees, L&D must go beyond “push learning” and strive for learners to find what they need organically. Some of the useful features in the learning system are a timely reminder system and stacked learning content with curated channels.
- Adds value:
Every employee who spends time in learning ultimately asks “What’s in it for me?” And offering limitless learning choices can end up confusing and overwhelming time-starved employees. Having an employee go through a laundry list of learning options will certainly put him or her off and give up on learning. Curation can offer personalized, expert recommendations on a regular basis. When employees receive guidance and structure which is tailored to their needs, they can realize their full potential.
It is said that “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” similarly, “Having too many choices lead to poor learning and therein, poor business results.” Curating content for employees is the answer to make sense of this clutter and achieve a better return on learning investments. Well curated content has the power to create a “learning pull”, empowering the learners by helping them develop the skills to improve in their job function and can maximize what little free time they have by focusing on the most impactful content.