September 26, 2017

Are You Curating the Right Content?

Most organizations going through a digital transformation of their business processes include the L&D function in the strategic change. The goal is to use technology across the enterprise to improve the performance deliverables of key processes to better meet the needs of diverse stakeholders.

Embracing digital learning involves the delivery of “always on” learning experiences on any connected device. Learners no longer depend on L&D to “deliver” formal training but can access educational resources 24/7. Curated content is a centerpiece of digital learning. Internal and/or third-party curators gather, organize, and update information from across the enterprise and the web. The focus is on making existing (explicit) knowledge on selected topics accessible to all workers.

Unintended Consequences

Curated content is intended to provide highly personalized and relevant information to each individual.  However, the reality is that many people are overloaded with content on a broad array of learning topics – many of which are not focused on helping improve their job performance. This content also doesn’t reflect new knowledge gained by employees solving present and future problems.

Spending work time perusing information and support tools that may not be relevant can result in reduced productivity and even confusion. Another unintended consequence of this smorgasbord of information is the tacit knowledge and successes of exemplary performers may be overlooked or never even captured.

Performance-based Content: What’s 70:20:10 got to do with it?

Do you want quantity or quality in your digital library? L&D organizations have access to a wide variety of commercial curated content platforms, so quantity is certainly not the problem. Finding a balance between the two is the challenge.

We risk missing the mark with vast digital learning libraries because some of the most important learning content is not being collected or shared. What is this content?  It’s what demonstrates how people in similar jobs put into practice what they learn – from formal and informal sources – in ways that improve their performance. We call this performance-based content.

Curating performance-based content doesn’t always start with formal learning experiences (the “10”), whether instructor-led or web-based. Instead the process begins by capturing real world examples of learning from experience in the flow of work (the “70”) and the social learning from others (the “20”) that leads to verifiable performance improvement. This 70 and 20 learning is often self-directed problem solving that leads to improved workplace results.

This means the most valuable content to curate is what has been generated by people in the context of their work. Once curated, others in similar jobs can use these success stories and best practices to accelerate their ability to achieve exemplary performance.

Five Steps to Curate Performance-based Content

We recommend five steps to identify and curate performance-based learning content. It’s a social process that begins with collaboration between at least two people: a manager and a top employee, a cross-functional work group, a coach/consultant and a high performer, or a team successfully addressing a business challenge. Capturing and sharing tacit knowledge often involves someone else pointing out the value of what a highly competent person or team is doing unconsciously.

Step 1: Identify and define the problem solved or opportunity seized.

Managers and team leaders can help prioritize the high payoff activities that support optimal business results in his/her team or department.

Step 2: Capture the actions taken and steps followed that led to improved performance.

This can be achieved by using video, audio, photos or any visual combination of storytelling along with a description.

Step 3: Pinpoint who or what helped in solving the problem.

Step 4: Show validated performance outcomes and value created.

Step 5: Share the success stories in an engaging way.

Selecting a Platform to Gather and Share Performance-based Content

Content curation platforms are effective at organizing and presenting vast quantities of explicit information for people, often oriented toward the individual’s position, recommended courses (10’s) and personal preferences. They are not often designed to activate, document and share new performance-based content.

Collaboration platforms are effective at providing a shared virtual space for people to post and share user-generated content, but most usually don’t have a way to sharpen the filter on performance-oriented content.

Fort Hill’s 70-20® platform enables people to document progress and outcomes on challenges related to informal development on the job as well as formal programs. 70-20 addresses all five steps for creating and curating new performance-based content. You can learn more at  www.70-20.com.

Curating the Right Content to Optimize Digital Learning

As your organization embraces a digital learning transformation, you have the opportunity to go beyond offering generic content by creating and capturing new knowledge that solves current problems. Building a digital library that curates explicit knowledge and information, as well as tacit performance-based content gained from 70-20 learning on the job, will bring extraordinary value to your internal customers.

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Author
Written by:
Kathy Granger President, Fort Hill Company

Kathy is the President of Fort Hill, the industry leader in web-based learning activation solutions. With over 15 years of experience working with Fort Hill’s global clients, consultants and executive education partners, Kathy now leads the company’s R&D of new learning transfer technologies. The team successfully launched 70-20® in 2015.

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