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Should I curate or create learning content? Answered in 3 minutes

If we’re going to answer this in three minutes, we best get our skates on! The short answer is that this one isn’t an either-or answer, it’s a pick your moments answer.

The trouble is, many companies go down this binary route, becoming wedded solely to either creating all their learning content or curating every resource that’s available to their employees.

Like a jilted lover left at the altar, it’s often because of a bad experience with the other option. Let’s look at two common scenarios where using just one approach alone leaves L&D teams in despair.

L&D becomes the bottleneck by trying to create every piece of content

When it comes to members of your L&D team, demand is almost always going to outpace supply. That’s why it’s strange that so many companies try to create all of their learning content in-house!

If you’re in a startup or fast-growing company, there’s a fair chance you’ll be leading the L&D charge alone. If you’re lucky, you might be in a small team with a few others. But the common situation is a handful of people are trying to deliver L&D to everyone in the company, meaning keeping up with the need for content becomes a challenge. 

Typically this means that employees are left waiting for the information they need to do their job better, while the L&D team delays the process by obsessing over its format. Nobody wins in that case – people need the right information when it’s relevant and important.

Course libraries and blanket curation lead to low engagement 

Other people are at the opposite end of the spectrum, running out of content is no concern because they’ve signed up to a content library OR bulk imported a shed load of content from one into their learning space.

But while our struggling L&D team from the first scenario is facing a content drought, this time, we’ve got employees drowning in a sea of resources.

A kneejerk response to people asking for more opportunities to learn is to buy mass licences to a content library. The trouble is, there’s too much content to sift through, and it’s not all relevant – meaning employees become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of options at their fingertips.

According to Backupify research, “38% of these licenses go unused over the course of an average 30-day period”, meaning that we’ve essentially curated too much content, not organised it in a way that’s easy to find or haven’t helped people see the value in accessing it.

Remember, people don’t just want more content, they want the right content to solve the problems at hand.

Like so much in life, it’s about balance! How can you strike it?

Start by understanding the difference and establishing some rules around what you need to create and what can be curated.

For example, if it’s mandatory for employees to complete a GDPR course, chances are you’ll be able to curate one that fits the bill. If it’s a detailed breakdown of your pricing structure and how to sell it, that’s worth the time and effort it’ll take to create it. Doing more of the former will free you up to do the latter!

And when you do curate content, consider how it’s organised and stored – the learner experience is key to driving engagement!

Auditing is your friend here too in many ways! If you have data on existing content, what does that tell you about what resonates with people? No point creating more of the content that’s fallen flat before! At the same time, ask people where they go for information and why it’s their preferred choice.

The more you understand people’s existing habits, the better equipped you are to create and curate more of the good stuff that gets them engaged, learning and progressing.