10 Myths About Content Curation

Although curation can be a powerful tool in establishing relevance, curation initiatives have failed to deliver on the promise because they can’t break past the myths. The following are the top 10 myths we have encountered in our content curation work with partners.As learning professionals, it is critical that we debunk curation myths and establish a deeper, shared understanding of what it takes to succeed with a curation approach. I would love to expand the list of myths; if you have a great myth and corresponding reality, we will update the conversation.

Matt Donovan, VP, Learning Solutions

Matt Donovan, VP, Learning Solutions

Early in life, I found that I had a natural curiosity that not only led to a passion for learning and sharing with others, but it also got me into trouble. Although not a bad kid, I often found overly structured classrooms a challenge. I could be a bit disruptive as I would explore the content and activities in a manner that made sense to me. I found that classes and teachers that nurtured a personalized approach really resonated with me, while those that did not were demotivating and affected my relationship with the content. Too often, the conversation would come to a head where the teacher would ask, “Why can’t you learn it this way?” I would push back with, “Why can’t you teach it in a variety of ways?” The only path for success was when I would deconstruct and reconstruct the lessons in a meaningful way for myself.

I would say that this early experience has shaped my career. I have been blessed with a range of opportunities to work with innovative organizations that advocate for the learner, endeavor to deliver relevance, and look to bend technology to further these goals. For example, while working at Unext.com, I had the opportunity to experience over 3,000 hours of “learnability” testing on my blended learning designs. I could see for my own eyes how learners would react to my designs and how they made meaning of it. Learners asked two common questions: Is it relevant to me? Is it authentic? Through observations of and conversations with learners, I began to sharpen my skills and designed for inclusion and relevance rather than control. This lesson has served me well.

In our industry, we have become overly focused on the volume and arrangement of content, instead of its value. Not surprising—content is static and easier to define. Value (relevance), on the other hand, is fluid and much harder to describe. The real insight is that you can’t really design relevance; you can only design the environment or systems that promote it. Relevance ultimately is in the eye of the learner—not the designer.

So, this is why, when asked for an elevator pitch, I share my passion of being an advocate for the learner and a warrior for relevance.
Matt Donovan, VP, Learning Solutions

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