One of the popular terms of the last eighteen months or so, both on the wider web and specifically in L&D circles, has been ‘curation’ – indeed I mentioned it back in August 2013.
Well, inevitably the backlash has begun:
or at least the backlash against people who “don’t get it”. Ultimately my take on this has not really changed…
Curation is nothing new.
Directories drove the early web until search improved. We now see ‘live’, largely automated, directories aggregating content on an ongoing basis – albeit at the risk of rehashing old ideas and not moving the conversation forward. Quality curation is one way to raise, above the noise, genuinely new insight, research, data, etc.
Information skills are essential to any non-automated approach and there would certainly be an argument that where ‘time is money’ some level of automated curation (as part of a personal learning and information system) could be supplemented by people focusing on information management/curation and distribution in your organisation (rather than the potential for duplication of effort, etc by everyone spending time managing their own). However, I see two major challenges:
- Personal network versus “supported learning network”. The inevitable problem for any kind of internal awareness, communication or learning curation will be that it has already been captured by an individual’s personal system. For example, a colleague may share something on my team’s internal social tool which I have already engaged with via Twitter. We have moved past restrictions enforcing only ‘work tools on work time’ so how can we balance this without boring ourselves and our audiences via multiple sharing/discussion streams?
- ‘Human touch’ curation capabilities are limited. The cutbacks of recent decades to information-related teams mean that the focus is more likely to fall on the individual, supported by groups such as internal communications (for distributing key messages) and knowledge/record management (for longer term curation). I see the recent focus of L&D on curation, to capture quality content and share appropriately as one area where my information background and learning technologies crossover – quality content has been the core reason for libraries and now we are seeing transformation of learning away from ‘our stuff’ to recognizing the value in UGC and integration with 3rd party materials. Ultimately we would want everyone’s daily work to be built around a single company virtual space which can do everything we might need around learning, sharing, communication, etc. The challenge is that this system realistically does not exist and, in all probability, existing businesses face fragmentation and silos.
So I would say lets strive to ensure our organizations appropriately curate but recognize it will have failings and is not the solution to every form of learning/content need.