Create or curate? That is NOT the question

To kick off ASTD2012 session M100, Sarah Bloomfield (Senior L+D Specialist from Google) says its tough to get up and talk at people so anonymously. That’s not her style and it doesn’t help her focus on us, the learners. That’s the topic of the session: Focus on the learner and the rest will follow…

..but can we really learn from Google?


Let’s see….


According to Sarah, the L+D world is changing. You know this… so don’t dismiss it too quickly as “Google-only-relevance”):

  • Learning participants are the experts
  • People prefer casual learning
  • Companies (and people) are evolving at hyperspeed
  • L+D departments are disconnected from their clients

In my world (Belgium, training sector) there is a little bit of stress about this in the learning community: If everyone is expert, casual, fast-changing and somewhere else, how can I help? Will my role become extinct?

“NO!” the minority answers. “You will become curators of content.” “Community managers.” “Nodes in a network of people who don’t need your expertise.” “The guide on the side.”

Sarah Bloomfield has a different vision. An holistic vision. (An Eastern “zen” vision?)
It’s not either/or. It’s both!


Creation or Curation?

In this social-media enabled New World of Work, should L+D people just curate everything, like some kind of super-librarian? NO

Sarah says its not really about what we should do, but what we should stop doing?

  • What should we stop designing?
  • What should we stop delivering?
  • What should we stop measuring?
  • When should we let people figured things out for themselves?
  • When should we let a need go unfulfilled?

Very often, enthusiastic L+D people hear a learning need and jump to the chance to make a programme. Sometimes, these programmes are terrible. Sometimes they are awesome. Sometimes they are simply not required…. (remember my blog on “22 learning design questions”?)

In the new world of (self-service social-media led casual) learning, it’s even more important to assess first when L+D should get involved and then how.

To figure out your answers to the “NOT” above questions:

  • First, get familiar with what’s already out there
  • Then start discussion with the people who need to learn in the organisation
  • Equip them to look after themselves
  • Redefine your measurement criteria to be able to really see if people are learning
  • Share ownership with the organisation

What Sarah suggests is that if you have done all this, you will know what IS left to create yourself. Creation AND curation. Not a dichotomy at all.


Have fun!
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About Dan Steer

Wandering corporate trainer, learning and development consultant, conference speaker and professional El-Magico. I help people get better at stuff by creating and facilitating Infinite Learning © opportunities. The world would be a better place if everyone was doing what he loved and doing it well. I am working to bring out the "El Magico" in everybody. Training in presentation and communication skills, leadership, social media for learning and marketing, learning and development management + personal effectiveness.

Posted on May 7, 2012, in Learning Management and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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