Curated learning: How to get more from less

Have you ever slaved over a guide, policy or how-to wiki, only to realize months later that only a handful of people read it? Or maybe you’ve seen some content online that would be useful for others, but don’t know how to get it in front of them. Before you resign yourself to creating a new solution to share, consider curating what’s already out there.


What is curated learning?

Curated learning is a learning experience made up of existing resources presented in a new way, as opposed to created from scratch. The name might make you think of art galleries and museums, but the truth is that curation happens everywhere, all the time. We curate our photos into captioned albums, curate our favorite online content into bookmarked folders and even curate the events of our lives on social media. Learning content curation isn’t that different. It’s all about selecting the right resources, adding value to enhance the learning and attracting people to it.

Elucidat’s recent Elearning Project Toolkit is our own example of curated learning, built with our authoring software. It takes a selection of pre-existing free resources we offer customers, and wraps them up in a new interactive experience that helps anyone in the industry overcome their elearning challenges.

Let’s look at the three steps we took to get there.

Filter: Curate only the most useful resources

Just as an art curator wouldn’t use every impressionist painting from the twentieth century in an exhibition, as learning professionals, we wouldn’t use everything ever written on a particular subject for a curated learning piece. Instead, the trick is to use our understanding of our audience and objectives, as well as our quality radar, to filter out the noise and select the most useful resources for a specific need.

With those factors in mind, consider:

  • What problem are you trying to solve by providing this information?
  • What does your audience need to know, and what’s nice to have?
  • How much time does the audience have?
  • Are they likely to respond best to quick guides, long reads, fast feedback?

We had a wealth of resources to choose from for our Elearning Project Toolkit – check out our Blog, Resources page and Showcase page for proof! – but our analysis led us to focus on some core guides and toolkits to help our audience solve problems, complemented by some examples for inspiration.

useful resource guides

Add value beyond the curated learning resources

You know that your audience will find the resources you’re curating useful – but they don’t. And no matter how useful the resources are, a long list of things to go and look at will be overwhelming.

So, just as a curator painstakingly plots the journey around a museum and the explanations that sit alongside the artwork, we need to consider how we can pull our curated resources into an attractive package that hooks the right audience and guides them to what they need once they’re there.

Our Elearning Project Toolkit does this with the promise of helping the audience solve their problems, fast. By adding introductory text, a Top Tip associated with each resource, we give learners something immediate and explain how the resources will help them. By getting users thinking about their needs and challenges and giving them instant tips, we add value above and beyond the curated resources with minimal effort.

curated resources

This format won’t be right for all situations. To come up with your own, think about:

  • Can you design a one-minute introductory activity that shows learners the knowledge gap they have and how your resources will fill it?
  • Why aren’t the resources working in their current location, and how can you alter that experience here?
  • What can you give away immediately as a teaser for your resources?

Make it easy for the learner

Finally, don’t expect people to make the leap from their need to your resources on their own. Make the journey as quick, seamless and relevant as possible. To do this:

  • Make sure your curated experience is easy to access – ideally, easier than wherever else you have resources stored. A simple URL that you can email directly and doesn’t require a sign-in is ideal.
  • Ask a few questions at the start of the experience to profile learners and only show them what’s most relevant to them
  • Keep any preamble to the resources short and purposeful; everything needs to add value rather than waste time
  • Advertise your curated experience to the right people and in the right places

Check out the profiling questions we used to prioritize content in our Elearning Project Toolkit:

project toolkit screenshot

Curate your own learning content

As you get started with learning content creation, keep your eyes peeled for tools that will help speed up your process. Apps like Anders Pink have been designed to curate up-to-date content from around the web to your specific brief. It’s a great way of keeping yourself up to date with new information out there, and even sharing the results with your audience as part of a curated learning piece:

curate content anders pink

anders pink time management

Check out these 2 examples of curated learning (built with Elucidat):

If you’re branching into curated learning for the first time and would like some support as you filter, add value and make it easy for your audience, just get in touch.