Curated Insights: Curation on Curation

Posted on: May 31, 2017Updated on: June 19, 2023By: JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect

We’re about to get very meta! This month’s curated post is about curation. To quote Deadpool, “A fourth wall break inside a fourth wall break? That’s like, sixteen walls.” Curation is an emergent trend within L&D. Therefore, it’s important that we take a step back and dig into what it really means as well as examine the benefit of curation and related behaviors within modern workplace learning.

Curation is more than collecting or bookmarking. As Marc Rosenberg wrote in his June 2016 Learning Solutions Magazine column, “Content curation focuses on the accuracy, relevance, usefulness, value, and other aspects of knowledge assets. Curators are less focused on finding more content than they are on making sure what they have is the right content.” (I’m willing to bet I’m the only person to ever quote both Deadpool and Marc Rosenberg in the same article).

curation on curation

Our May curated insights post explores the value of curation as part of workplace learning practices and provides a few practical examples from the recent ATD International Conference & Expo (#ATD2017).

Curation: Multi-Cycle Support for Learning by Elliott Masie

One of the big reasons curation has become such a buzzy term is the overwhelming volume of information available in today’s world. Without some form of help, it would be difficult to sort through the noise to find useful signals. At work, the problem is a bit different. Information is often much less accessible than in real life, especially in an employee’s moment of need. The information exists, but it’s often difficult to find or it’s locked in people’s heads. In his CLO article, Elliott Masie describes the myriad of ways everyday curation behaviors can be applied within the workplace as part of traditional learning activities or surrounding these activities. Curation isn’t just about bringing together materials. Rather, it’s the tactical assembly of insights about the work—from recommendations to assets to context—to help people make better decisions.

Why Content Curation is Here to Stay by Steven Rosenbaum

Curation is a topic of conversation well beyond the bounds of L&D. This FastCompany article dives into the impact curation is having online, especially as related to the creators who are initially responsible for the shared content. As the author quotes, “Curation comes up when people realize that it isn’t just about information seeking, it’s also about synchronizing a community.” In a world where anyone can become a publisher, informed intervention is often required to point people in the right direction and bring together meaningful resources that can help them accomplish their goals. At the same time, we can’t focus on curation to the detriment of the initial creation. Otherwise, we risk lessening the value and impact of shared knowledge. After all, you can only curate what has already been created.

The 2017 ATD ICE Backchannel: Curated Resources #ATD2017 by David Kelly

All hail David Kelly, King of the Backchannel! Whether he attends the event or not, David is known for his resource curation efforts. This is of great help to both L&D pros who are at the event but cannot hit every session as well as those who are not able to attend. For ATD 2017, David continues to pull together a list of conference resources on his website, including pre-conference posts, recaps, session presentations and other materials. To continue our theme of going meta with curation, David also facilitated a session on the topic during the conference: How to Curate – Putting Curation into Practice for Learning & Development. Long story short, David is a great example of an L&D pro who not only works to evolve L&D practices but also applies them for the general betterment of the industry. Bravo!

How to Curate: Putting Curation into Practice for L&D from David Kelly

#ATD2017 Flipboard Magazine from JD Dillon

David Kelly clearly owns the L&D event backchannel, so I wouldn’t dare challenge that reality. Instead, I took the spin-off approach and focused on the experiential side of the conference with my curation efforts through my Flipboard magazine collection. I followed the #ATD2017 hashtag throughout the event and “flipped” photos, insights and resources I thought were particularly interesting into a new online magazine. The end result is a scrapbook-like, highly visual snapshot of the ATD 2017 experience. You can scroll through quickly to get a sense of what it was like to attend the event. Or you can click into each shared resource and link to the original source, whether it be a tweet or a website posting. Flipboard also offers the opportunity to comment on each item to add further context to why that item was selected for curation. (However, I didn’t use this feature this time).

Modern technology often leaves us information-rich but knowledge-poor. Curation can help offset the firehose of shared information by applying meaningful context to collections of valuable resources. When done effectively, it can serve as a backbone for workplace learning and help enable employees to solve their own problems in the moment of need—just like they can at home every day.

JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect's Headshot

JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect

JD Dillon became an expert on frontline training and enablement over two decades working in operations and talent development with dynamic organizations, including Disney, Kaplan and AMC. A respected author and speaker in the workplace learning community, JD also continues to apply his passion for helping frontline employees around the world do their best work every day in his role as Axonify's Chief Learning Architect.

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