By guest blogger Kelly Meeker, Community Manager, OpenSesame
Today’s World of Work: Information Everywhere
We live in an information age, exposed to ever-increasing amounts of data, news, ideas, opinions and conversations about information. Talk shows, tweets, blog posts, newsletters, email, instant message, news tickers, cable TV. We feel required to keep up — but it’s completely impossible to catch up, let alone keep up.
Take me. I use Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader, Gmail, Quora, Google+, Pinterest, Gchat, voice mail, subscribe to countless newsletters and am a member of several professional organizations. Every time there’s a hot new social network or tool on the scene – Tumblr! Google Buzz! — I feel compelled to take it for a spin. My morning to-do list is getting longer and longer, but I’m definitely not getting any smarter.
Now imagine that every employee in your organization is in my shoes – spending an hour every morning just wading through content, not sure when to draw the line – and too overwhelmed to feel clear-headed for actual projects.
You have to be able to do work while still making time to learn about your work. That’s the magic middle ground the modern employee is trying to find, and they need help.
Scalability: The Big Shift for L&D
Enter the new learning and development. We can’t all be our own curators, but training managers can — and should — shift their role from creating content (courses, curricula, PowerPoint presentations) to curating content.
Curating means researching, finding and buying the best training resources (whether off-the-shelf courses or otherwise) – and creating content only when necessary.
The new training manager is ruthlessly focused on scalable activities. What does that mean? One training manager can only create a limited number of courses or curricula. It takes time to research, design, storyboard, develop and test courses. Most organizations don’t have enough trainers to meet all their needs.
But one training manager focused on developing curated resources and communities of practice can reach many, many more people – even as they transform the way they do their work.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that training managers everywhere are changing their ratio: Instead of spending most of their time creating content, they’re spending most of their time curating content and connecting people. The side benefit? They can focus creative development efforts on topics and courses that are most valuable and important to their organization.
Getting Started: Tools for Curation and Network Building
If you’re shifting toward a curation model, remember that access is as essential as the content, itself. The easier it is to find and use pathways to information, the more likely your learners will engage with it and benefit from it.
Start by considering your current state: Does everyone in your organization know what resources already exist – and how to locate that content? Probably not.
If you haven’t conducted a comprehensive audit of all information and learning resources, this is a smart first step. It can provide a baseline for gap analysis and needs assessment — and it can inform your communications to users about content available to them.
Also, you may want to start thinking of yourself as a “learning” librarian — a wiki manager or collector of your organization’s institutional knowledge. With that concept in mind, check out these resources for finding, sharing and organizing content, and building communities of practice:
- Definition of Content Curators, at Dan Pontefract’s blog
- A Curator’s Tools & ToDo List, at eLearn Magazine
- David Kelly’s Curation series, at The Learning Circuits Blog
- Communities of Practice thesis by social learning expert, Jane Bozarth
- Leveraging Social Media for L&D, slides by Tom Gram & Dan Pontefract
- 5 Tips for Great Content Curation, by Steve Rosenbaum for Mashable Social Media
In addition, it might help to consider technologies that support an open, curated approach to learning content. For example:
- Cloud-based “continuous learning” platforms that make it easy to develop and manage diverse content repositories, while making it easy for learners to find and use relevant resources. The ExpertusONE cloud LMS is a leader in this type of solution.
- Tools that connect learning management systems to content catalogs – for example the OpenSesame API, which makes it easy to integrate more than 13,100 digital training courses into your learning environment.
Clearly content curation, communities of practice, and continuous learning processes are rapidly redefining learning at its core. As we apply these new tools and techniques, we’ll all benefit from sharing lessons learned. We invite you to offer feedback and suggestions here, and we look forward to discussing these concepts with you in the future, whenever our paths cross at industry association events and online forums.
Editorial Note: Thanks to our guest author, Kelly Meeker, Community Manager at OpenSesame. To contact Kelly directly, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. And for additional information about how our next-generation cloud LMS platform makes enterprise learning more accessible and effective, contact us at Expertus email@example.com.
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