In recent years, most L&D professionals have been faced with the challenge of identifying a solution to help our overwhelmed “learning consumers” sift through (curate) the vast amounts of data they are exposed to each day – a solution that offers information to learners in a way that provides context in a personalized format at their moment of need. Modern learners typically want relevant internal and external content and real-time connections to support their personal development goals.

Thinking about the amount of information and resources available, the idea of content curation can seem daunting and downright unachievable. Curation has been a hot topic over the past few years, and many of today’s learners are already curating outside of work. How might we support them internally using the same methods? Cognitive solutions such as artificial intelligence and machine learning can help us achieve curation to support our professionals in a successful way and allow L&D to keep up with the pace of consumer expectations.

One possible solution to consider that can support curation is a learning experience platform (LXP). LXPs are an emerging technology that use artificial intelligence and machine learning to curate personalized and relevant content and people recommendations to enable professionals to continually develop. Implementing an LXP can help employees become smarter, faster and confident and in their moments of need. LXPs can also capture informal learning activity, providing L&D professionals with rich data to help us make more informed strategic recommendations to the business.

During our journey, we have identified some tips and considerations that you may find useful if you are considering, starting or currently part of a curation implementation effort. There are several key areas of L&D to consider if you decide to use an LXP to support curation:

People

User-centric design: The focus of curation design should be centered on the learning consumer. Engage learners in defining requirements and the learning experience framework. This legwork is an important part of the vendor selection process.

Broader organization considerations, such as outlining key stakeholders and potential partners to help drive this effort, are important. In addition, discuss resources and how the new technology might impact your organizational culture.

Process improvement in talent development: Identify the processes that will be impacted, including what you will phase out and what will be a new process. LXPs have the potential to be L&D’s super power, and they might shape how you approach learning experience design.

Adoption is the goal. A well-thought-out change management plan is often critical to the successful adoption of the curation solution. Modern learners tend to use curation in their everyday lives, such as deciding which movie to watch on an online streaming service or when shopping online. We need to change their mindset to see how curation can also benefit the learning experience on the job. You might ask yourself two simple questions to start with: What do learners typically think about when they think of “development” at your organization? How will curation change the way they learn today?

Technology

Internal systems analysis: Understanding how your consumers find resources in their moment of need today, and your current technical ecosystem, will enable you to design a seamless experience. This type of experience meets the users where they work and is not just another place to bookmark. Here is an opportunity to dream big and work toward that goal.

Measurement and data analysis processes should include both the learner experience data and the impacts curation has on the business. Define what success looks like and which data are valuable to your organization.

Content

Content strategy architecture includes content identification, content taxonomy and preparation plans around what content you will allow into the solution (e.g., internal/external content and mobile-ready content). Content terms of use may be different for each population, and your risk and legal teams should evaluate them. The goal of curation is to provide a full picture by blending internal and external content into a unique experience. If a user needs to go to Google because he or she can’t access external content in your solution, then the system is not doing what it is meant to do.

Digital/social learning awareness includes providing a social learning component to go along with content. Highlighting opportunities for connectivity and the benefits of building a knowledge network can help users see the full benefit of using the LXP for curation.

We have learned several lessons throughout our journey. First, this effort requires significant coordination across talent development, IT and knowledge management. Second, stakeholder management is crucial to success. Third, using this technology will impact the way we work in talent development – for example, letting go of the control of prescribing all learning. Lastly, we have identified a number of risks that open-source curation can have on an organization – risks that legal and risk groups will consider when reviewing and approving contracts of this nature. This process is new territory for all organizations, so there are a lot of unknowns. We look forward to continuing to learn throughout our project journey.

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