Real learning is a part of the work, not apart from it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Curation in the Enterprise

Being a digital curator gets much attention today and rightfully so as information is being created exponentially and knowledge is in a state of ever-change. Having people and tools to help capture the relevant and make sense (and use) of it is critical.  It's obviously easier to see curation happening in open social networks as tools like Storify are used and we can easily follow those who share consistent, vetted content.  Likewise curated courses like "How to be an Effective Digital Curator" led by Sam Burrough recently using Curatr were open and available to all.

However when the conversation shifts away from ones own professional development and into curation by individuals in organizations its a little harder to see. For me, all curation activities align pretty well with Harold Jarche's model of Seek-Sense-Share but with the benefactor of the new understanding not being just the one curating, because curation is what one does for others.  I think the goal of curation, like learning, is a change in behavior.  Traditionally if one attends a curated art exhibit are they not intended to walk away with a deeper understanding and an emotional reaction?  In work contexts curation should serve to help people better understand in order to do their work, do it more effective and/or efficiently.

For example, recently having numerous people obtain a foundations level certification became a growing interest in our organization.  Like any certification it was assumed by leaders that testing and coursework were required.  The initial request was to "look into how much it will cost us to get X amount of employees trained and certified."  Normally L&D would run off and either develop or identify vendors that could deliver the training.

excerpt of curated materials
My colleague Nona Gormley and I decided to go in a different direction. I asked her to dig around a bit and gain a better understanding of the needs of obtaining the certification [seek].  She followed by processing the resources and information she collected. Reflecting individually and collectively (with me) and adding context to each resource [sense]. And then made this information available in our ESN within a conversation to encourage people to openly discuss and share the information [share].  The context she added was extremely valuable as the research and the story she crafted was ultimately that the 90% of people who took the foundations certification exam passed and training was not required.  She provided links to resources, tips, practice assessment questions and videos. In her web search for this information she drew upon the crowd sourcing to help determine the most valuable content; items most highly rated as useful in the passing of the exam. This is a topic that we will continue to monitor but more importantly encourage others to contribute to.



In essence this is an example of curation in the enterprise.  With collaborative tools we can openly model curation approaches and help others learn how to help themselves and their colleagues. I think too that conducting activities such as curation really shows (not just tells) a shift to the new value of L&D in organizations.


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