Content Curation Tips from Filtered

By James Martin

3 minute read

We wanted to share our tips for creating a bang-on playlist for your learners. Who better to ask than a member of our Implementation Team, James Martin?

James has not only overseen implementation for clients such as Capita and MCI, he also curates learning playlists day-to-day. Naturally, he has a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to quality content curation which he shared in our interview below…

Can you talk about one or two examples of learning playlists you’ve curated recently?

JM: The two playlists that come to mind are “Web 3.0, Blockchain, and Metaverse,” and a playlist centred around “Mentoring.” The first one was interesting as it’s more of a recent topic, which made it quite novel for me to learn about and put a playlist together for. Mentoring is an important and evergreen topic in L&D as a whole, so it felt a bit more academic when reviewing potential assets.

What things do you take into consideration when building a learning playlist?

JM: First and foremost, when building a learning playlist I’m looking at the client’s request and seeking any further clarification as to what they want if they haven’t given specifics, e.g., their audience, any preferred sub-topics, duration of the playlist or of the learning assets themselves, etc.

What does your process for content curation look like and what do you look out for when picking items for a learning playlist?

JM: After establishing what the client wants, I go ahead and start curating assets using Filtered’s Content Intelligence tool. It allows me to enter a skill or playlist topic, e.g., “Mentoring,” and it presents learning assets from its database in order of relevance in just a few seconds. I can easily filter these results by skill, recency, type, and length to quickly and easily start creating a playlist.

In addition to the client’s outline, I use the playlist structure set out in the Harvard Business Review article, Create Learning Pathways to Close Your Organization’s Skills Gap co-written by Marc Zao-Sanders and Georgina Peake, as well as the content checklist set out in that same article. I almost always try and select a short video that explains the basic concept(s) as an appetiser to ease an end-user into the learning pathway, followed by an easy-to-read article as a simple and accessible explainer.

Next up, it’s up to three assets centred around methodology AND any specifics the client wants. Harking back to the “Mentoring” playlist, the client wanted assets covering an ideal mentor profile and an ideal mentee profile, which I found and added, in addition to a toolkit for both mentors and mentees. More generally though, I think it’s good to try and find one learning asset that is interactive or exciting here to really switch up the modalities from videos and articles to something that an end-user has to engage with. For the “Web 3.0, Blockchain, and Metaverse” playlist, there happened to be an interactive website that requires user input and shows you visually how the blockchain works.

Following those would be at least two examples of the topic or skill being applied in the real world. This should pull the topic from just being an abstract concept into getting the end-user to see how it could be applied in their professional or personal lives.

To finish it off, I add some of the assets I liked but that didn’t fit earlier within the playlist, e.g., deep-dives, infographics, podcasts, or other long-form news articles for the users who remain super-keen for more content on the playlist topic.

Once I have a draft, I review the playlist by going through the assets in the order I’ve set out. At this point, I see if it makes sense logically for a potential end-user if they were approaching the topic with zero prior knowledge.

Are there any pitfalls to avoid for learning curators?

JM: Yeah, a couple I can think of the following:

  1. Not checking the assets themselves. Curators will most likely find themselves with little to no time to do the job, and you might just curate based on the Title and Provider without checking whether the content is actually good; and
  2. Too many assets from one provider. As much as we might love a provider, e.g., TED, HBR, etc., it’s not advisable to have three or more assets from a single one. Having a good variety offers a wider range of opinions and writing styles, and also reduces the impact of any biases the provider might have.

And finally, do you think curation is an art or a science?

JM: I think building a playlist is a science because the structure of a good playlist is based on many years of data-backed research into learning and pedagogy. Conversely, going through a playlist is a subjective experience and the way it “feels” is as important as its structure and content. Built using science and experienced as an art.

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