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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Published by Dan Steer

For the last 17 years, I have been helping businesses and individuals to achieve their goals through delivery of tailor-made learning and development initiatives. Most of the time, I deliver training, coach individuals, facilitate brainstorming sessions, round-table meetings and workshops. As a consultant, I help my clients to promote and profit from the infinite learning opportunities within and without their own organisation, drawing on my L+D management experience, strategic approach and creativity, As a speaker, I inspire through story, humour and pertinent little bits of theory. I believe that the world would be a better place if people were happily working on their mission with competence and alignment to personal values. As a freelance worker since 2008, I have helped more than 11000 individuals to improve their presentation, communication, commercial, leadership and negotiation skills. I confront people with their own behaviour and convictions, facilitating and giving pertinent feedback and clear ideas on where to continue good work and improve. I seek to satisfy my clients with creative and to-the-point solutions… …and I make music, but no-one pays me much for it yet :-) First single here:

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