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Learning Curation Software, Opening the door

The hottest trend in learning today is curation software or what some are calling Learning Ecosystems. A few players have been in the market for about 3 years, a few added last year and this year it seems that many new and old companies are saying they do “curation”.

So what does that mean to the Enterprise learning leader?

I have researched over 6 current players and talked to many users in the past several months and one thing is clear: Adding a product like this opens the door to move learning to be more engaging and more accessible to businesses. Enterprises who have felt limited by their LMS and not responsive to needs can, with these products, open up the full spectrum of what Bersin by Deloitte calls “Continuous Learning.”

(Note: I highly recommend taking the webcast by Bersin on Continous Learning)

In this article, I will start the discussion why enterprises should be investigating adding this software to their solution set. I shall not, however, talk about specific products. Moving forward, I will dive deeper into what and how, or you can contact me to chat.

Learning Demands Today

As learning professionals, we are increasingly reminded that learners’ expectations have changed. Today, people google questions; they do not have time to wait for a class and take 2 or more days to learn what they need right now. For better or worse, reality is they want Just in Time answers, social learning and experiences.

I know, you are shaking your head and saying, but…. I understand, there are some topics that do not seem to fit within this paradigm. Throw out those thoughts. Throw out the sage on a stage way of learning. Let’s talk about how can we adjust and adapt.

To me, the answer is flexibility and blending. But blending like we never have before. And the answer requires a more flexible system for learners to find what they need, to drive them down a path and to network with peers and SMEs. That, my friends, is the door we are opening.

An example

Take a two day class – virtual or face-to-face – on a specific behavior you wish to impart. New managers, for example. One that I worked on several years ago had about 9 topic areas to impart in a class or cohort of about 25 new managers. Each topic was described and tools provided followed by the class breaking out in small groups to do exercises. Lots of new tools in a short period of time. New managers would wait 1-6 months to take this class. It was followed up with a few reminders.

Business challenge: what if the new manager needed one of those tools while they were waiting? What if they were overwhelmed by the number of tools and tuned out? What if they were called out during one hour and missed a critical concept? Lots of what ifs can make this method less effective today.

Let’s reimagine this “course” today. For each topic, we can create a path or curriculum to cover each topic in short videos, animations, or short simulations that are accessible anytime, anywhere. HTML5 content created in any number of platforms that can be viewed on a phone, a PC or whatever is needed when needed. That content is backed up with articles, more reference material. And that path can be customized locally, by a business or by a manager or SME.

If a new manager needs that topic, they search in the curation software. OR, the combination of the 9 topics can be pulled into a pathway that is broken into two or more parts. A cohort of new managers can take the pathway together and meet with a coach/facilitator to discuss the topics and to practice with exercises. The cohort networks in the curation software for the next 3-6 months.

Opening the door

Curation software allows input that is mobile, modular and personal. It opens up the possibilities with social learning while accurately tracking real time use inside and outside of “courses” in an LMS. Learning becomes personal, accessible and open

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