Self-help and business books are one of the fastest growing segments in book publishing, and with the advent of electronic publishing, there is more content than anyone can keep track of. Professionals often turn to the internet to seek knowledge, with content going far beyond electronic books. There are blog posts, articles, economic reports and videos, all different mediums for presenting information, each with a different style and tempo.

The unfiltered cloud has its own issues, including how to efficiently find relevant and quality information rather than plowing through thinly-disguised marketing content. Curated content from trusted and vetted sources, distilled to a concise summary form, provides a solution for today’s information-saturated professionals. Such “compressed knowledge” provides relevant information in a quickly accessible form, enabling learning and development executives to find the right books and media from the sea of content to help their teams and companies grow and thrive.

In a fast-based business environment, abstracts are a great way to acquire knowledge efficiently. They allow the capture of relevant content from books, articles, TED talks and other media easily and quickly, enabling employees to upgrade their skills and stay informed about relevant business trends. Abstracted content can have a standardized form, including a rating, significant quotes, top take-away points and the author’s biography. But how should the L&D manager select curated content?

Curation is not easy. Curators must have an in-house editorial team, structured like the editorial board of a newspaper or media outlet, with an editor-in-chief, department heads, editors and proofreaders. In addition, departments retain their own content area specialists. Selection of content can happen through two methods: top-down and bottom-up. In the top-down method, the editorial team looks for new publications, skimming promising books and media and deciding which ones are worth summarizing, with only the highest-rated content considered for abstract. Community crowdsourcing is the bottom-up approach, enabling employees to suggest books and content for summary, with the editorial team reviewing and evaluating suggestions for abstract production.

Hundreds of global companies use abstract services to train and develop executives and managers. Companies already using a learning management system (LMS) can integrate a curated abstract service into their existing platform, with the ability to create custom training programs or pick from hundreds of preconfigured courses. Businesses can work with a learning consultant to identify problem areas within the organization, then select relevant topics and build reading lists and courses, as well as recommend other learning materials.

E.ON, one of the world’s largest energy providers with over 36,000 employees, recently modernized its learning processes. Due to structural and operational changes, the company needed an efficient, cost-effective solution, including digital learning platforms providing answers to increasing employee learning demands.

Among the features of E.ON’s new HR platform was a LMS offering resources and that incorporated an online library focused on delivering objective non-fiction abstracts, providing employees instant access to thousands of business books and video summaries. Users can access content anywhere, anytime, whenever it suits them and wherever they need the information.

E.ON worked closely with the online library to identify the learning requirements of the various departments and to select appropriate topics. Other learning resource providers also took part in the discussions to maximize learning benefits for each employee. Learning consultants from the online library are assisting E.ON in implementing its 2020 executive leadership program to help executives embrace their roles as leaders and encourage them to become pioneers of change, using relevant content, discussion and collaboration on the online library platform.

In the digital age, lifelong learning is more important than ever, while time becomes more precious in an always-on world. Today’s employees need ways to acquire new knowledge quickly and easily. Abstracts, succinct summaries of business books, professional articles, TED talks and other media enable readers to identify what is important within minutes, quickly providing benefit to them and their employers.