Part I:  Jumping on Bandwagons

Whenever a brand new ‘be-all/end-all’ craze threatens to move me to immediate adoption as a solution to my problems as a training professional, I always try to remember ALL  of the fad diets I have bought into during my now rather lengthy lifetime.  Learning the hard way that absolutely no new fad solves complex problems has led me to share cautionary warnings relative to CURATION.

Definition:  “Content curation is the act of continually identifying, selecting and sharing the best and most relevant online content and other online resources (and by that I mean articles, blog posts, videos, photos, tools, tweets, or whatever) on a specific subject to match the needs of a specific audience”(Ann Handley, TopRank Online Marketing Blog 2011 ).

If your organization has listened to ‘curation hype’, which indicates that putting together digital course materials will replace trained instructional designers, substantially lower course development costs, and result in training that will measure up to your current professionally developed courses, be prepared to be disappointed.  Actually, almost all professional trainers have been ‘curating’ for decades.  All of us identify available online digital products for supplemental use in our courses including media, visuals, sound, etc.  I am unaware of any trainers who ‘start from scratch’ in every single aspect of their course design and development.   Supplementing and adding digital content will undoubtedly continue and increase, and is well worth the search to enhance good training design and development.

On the other hand, if you have staff who think they are able to design effective training by gathering web-based content and combining already existing digital course content, the clear recommendation is say NO before they even begin to try.  Certainly, don’t ‘fire’ your professional instructional designer or vendor.  Excellent digital materials exist, but it takes skilled, trained professional design/developers with content area expertise to identify and select these digital products and then use them effectively in course delivery.

One of the best uses of curated digital course materials is using these products as resources for classroom activities.  As digital ‘natives’ increase in the workforce, use of digital products enhances learning and motivates participants.  Classroom experiences that let trainees search for, identify, and utilize digital products who ‘curate’ their own learning experiences with internet exploration definitely results in increased learning.

As with any new innovation, caution and analysis should be used before organizations automatically make rapid decisions about adopting new products and ‘miracle’ solutions.  Certainly, many opportunities to utilize digital course content materials exist.  However, you won’t successfully substitute curated courseware for professionally designed training that is developed to meet the specific needs of your organization and your employees.

Good luck with using curation to supplement well-designed courses that will work successfully!


Blended learningChanging face of L&DLearning contentLearning curationTechnology on May 28, 2015 by Carole Bower.

“Create or curate? Pros and cons of learning content curation”