Within the next 12 months, the e-Learning industry is anticipated to reach more than $243 billion in worldwide market share. E-Learning is growing as educators adopt non-traditional learning models and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic prompts a significant increase in demand for online education. Everyone is learning how to embrace e-Learning, from school districts with virtual classrooms to Fortune 500 corporations with corporate training.

Even outside of the traditional classroom setting, e-Learning is a fresh approach to teaching in an engaging and interactive way. Also known as “virtual learning” or “online education,” e-Learning can take place on any digital device, from smartphones to desktop computers. Several studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of digital learning, indicating that it is at least as effective as a traditional classroom education, if not more so.

Instructional designers are tasked with creating fast-paced and efficient virtual learning platforms while also offering online learners effective methods to absorb new material. This is where content curation comes into play. 

What is Content Curation?

Unlike original content, curated material is developed by someone else and shared on your platform. Curated material can be anything from a single tweet to a YouTube video. In fact, nearly any type of digital content can be curated. Content curation is a deliberate, thought-out process. A content curator will browse through content to locate the most relevant and timely items, similar to a librarian curating a book collection. Curation goes beyond merely repurposing someone else’s material, though. When done right, content curation can provide a fresh perspective and improve the e-Learning experience.

How Does Content Curation Apply to e-Learning?

Content development can be time consuming. The rise of e-Learning often means instructional designers must create content quickly, as online learning projects frequently demand a short turnaround time. As a result, instructional designers can save time and money by incorporating content curation into their workflow. 

Content curation can also improve accessibility. By using different types of content, you’ll be able to reach learners with different learning styles who may be disinterested in traditional text-based learning. For example, sharing a podcast can inspire audio learners while an infographic can appeal to visual learners. Think about the last lecture you attended. Was there a slideshow presentation? If so, did that presentation only include text, or did the speaker include video or other visual tools? How did the mix of content types change your learning experience? 

While content curation can speed up instructional design and help reach different kinds of learners, it’s important to remember that curation needs to be intentional to be effective. We need to consider who our e-learner is, and how the content can best serve their learning needs. Here are a few questions to consider when curating content:

Consider each curated piece of content. 

Does the content fit with the age range, background, and expectations of the learner?

Does the content work well on the platform your learners will use (mobile versus desktop)?

Does the content meet the objectives of the course?

Does the content provide added benefits, or just it re-state what the learner has already seen?

When used carefully, content curation can be a major leg up for instructional designers who are looking to reach the widest possible audience. 

PS: If you’re interested in learning more about opportunities in e-Learning, check out our recent article Career Outlook for e-Learning Professionals in 2021.

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