For several years now, L&D thought leaders have explained that one of the core responsibilities of an L&D professional is increasingly that of the curation of, as opposed to the creation of, the most effective and relevant learning opportunities for their learner communities. There is so much off-the-shelf learning content available (both free and paid for), that for many learning agendas L&D no longer need to invest time and effort in developing expensive new material; rather they need to acquire or direct learners to the best materials that are already created.

However, replacing the activity of creation with curation should not be seen as a lazy or easy option. Just like creation, effective curation requires a sound understanding of the subject domain and learning pedagogy, together with well-developed research and analytical skills. It still takes time and effort to achieve a good learning outcome. And this is where I fear things are all-to-often going wrong in the digital world of L&D today.

All too often the digital content decision is focused on procurement efficiency as opposed to learning efficiency. A procurement efficient process favours selecting the content solution that offers the widest choice of content for the least amount of investment. This is driving organisations to procure vast libraries of digital learning assets based on driving down the cost per asset through the ‘all-you-can-eat’ or Netflix purchase models now offered by an increasing number of content aggregators.

Is a Netflix purchase model right for digital learning? Sure, it will give you the peace of mind that you have the greatest likelihood of having access to any learning asset that you may ever need in the business; but at what cost to the organisation and to the learner? The organisation will almost certainly pay a premium for the content, of which over 80% will never ever see the light of day. And what about the learner? Are you expecting the learner to do their own curation to find the right learning content for their needs? Will they know what good looks like? Once purchased, will you apply the necessary time and effort to curate the right learning for each and every learning need? In my experience, once the content purchase is complete, organisations consider that is ‘job done’ and insufficient focus is given to curating learning material for specific individuals, teams, or initiatives. The only curation applied is that of the supplier whose interest is in serving as many clients as possible, as opposed to considering an individual organisation’s needs and priorities.

Treating learning as a commodity is just plain wrong. To my mind, it greatly undervalues everything we believe in as learning professionals. As learning professionals, we need to apply our expertise to ensure our organisations always invest wisely and purchase only that which is required and that will add demonstrable value to our organisation. This is the domain of curation, to offer a carefully selected library of learning assets that will make the biggest impact on peoples’ productivity. Treating curation as part of the purchase process is the most cost-efficient approach that also goes a long way to ensuring the best learning outcomes for your organisation.

Here at Core Learning, we support our clients by offering an aggregated (and in so doing, curated in terms of content quality) catalogue combined with a consultative approach in which we work closely with each client to curate a tightly selected content library to match their specific learning objectives. In this way we ensure that the content procurement is closely targeted to the organisation’s needs and is cost-optimised.

If this has offered you food for thought in terms of how you want to direct your digital learning strategy for the coming year, why not research our comprehensive multi-publisher catalogue offering a huge range of courses on all these subjects here to find the courses you need to support your organisation in 2021 and beyond?