eLearning

The how and why of Content Curation for eLearning

If you’re an avid content creator, be it for training courses development or not, you must have heard about “content curation” several times by now. But how easy is it to create content from scratch? If anything, you always need some form of inspiration from other sources. And if you do look for it, one thing is for sure: simply copying, pasting and then re-writing content will exhaust both you and your learner. So what is the answer then? But of course, providing your content in curated chunks!

Undoubtedly, the Internet has become your No. 1 source to retrieve any information you need. From learning how to change a flat tire to looking for a recipe for the Chocolate Lava Cake your son had at his friend’s place, it usually is the Internet to the rescue. And guess what! Same goes for education and eLearning!

Even as a learner who’s enrolled in a top training course – despite being under the tutelage of an expert trainer – you are probably still tempted to look up some fundamental answers over the Internet. You may have even found yourself exploring different search engine tools to filter out the best one, namely the one which will give you the answer you were looking for.

By all means, there are certain criteria that lead to your final selection. You usually need your search engine tool to:

· Be able to provide you with search results that read individual words in the search expression: eg. New + York.
· Be able to provide you with search results that read the entire phrase of the search expression: eg. New York.
· Be able to customize searches according to your searching behavior
· Cut down commercial and advertisement laden searches to a minimum
· Trustworthy and viable information

And say you’ve gathered the information you need. What do you do with it?

First, you browse through the first page of the search results, one by one. Next, you make sure some information is common in all search results, before you start considering it as reliable. And then you gather differentiating facts on each piece of information.

That’s how some online course developers go about structuring their content. But, if that’s the case, who would ever blame learners that fall asleep in the middle of an eLearning course? (Yes, this happens!)

Let us break it to you: No amount of bells and whistles will keep the learner awake if the content does not mean much to them!

Even you as a learner enroll in a course to gain the required information. The information needed for work. Period.

So now, having experienced a horrible eLearning course is created, will you create one as an eLearning developer? Unfortunately, it’s hard to kill the habit of compiling research results. But it’s not impossible!

So how do you gather content for your eLearning course using a natural information hunting technique called “curation”?

When gathering content for your course, here’s how you can reuse separate chunks of information as meaningful, curated content for eLearning:

Collecting

Hunt for topics under your keyword. Collect website content you like using tools, such as EverNote, OneNote etc. After you are done collecting, take a break! Go back to your collected items and filter the information you can relate with easily, or information related to the work context of your learners.

It is a good idea to create criteria by which you’re filtering before you start the process. You will be amazed at how customized the content will look just after this.

Curating the content

Your next step is to prepare learning materials for your learners. Instead of sharing these links with your learners directly, analyze the content and link it with their context. Once you have made a connection, use images for support.

This process of combining source with the context (learning goals and performance context) is called curation.

The combination of the link/source and the fact/insight is a single information unit (SIU) and the entire phase is called “adding the value”.

You have now connected a learning goal with real-world examples available in your links – this is what proper content curation for eLearning means.

Chunking the information

Instead of bombarding your learners with all these SIUs, decide how to divide them over the course. You need to prevent information overloading. This phase is final and is called “chunking information”.

As a result, the learner gets a set of several short-learning episodes, instead of a weather worn and, more often than not, too long online course format. In other words, you just present information in a lighter way, which happens to be the manner in which adult learners naturally seek to learn!

You actually put together multiple SIUs to create a whole course that is easily absorbed and internalized by your learners.

Finish off your eLearning course by offering an optional page called a “learning path”. Here, you demonstrate how to make the best use of the learning materials you’ve provided – content and resources combined. Give them keywords to search for in the desired hierarchy. Your learners will enjoy looking up and verifying information in your course.

Be prepared for better course reviews and learner achievement!
Creating content can be challenging, especially if you are not a subject matter expert. Going through the Internet without a search path can be overwhelming. By curating, chunking and organizing your content in a manner explained above, you can keep yourself and your learners grounded to the content!