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Content Curation and Gamification

Bob Little 

July 15, 2016

Few people can resist “top ten” lists – especially when those lists deal with their “specialist subject.”

In the L&D space, the annual publication of the top ten list of the “movers and shakers” in the corporate online learning technologies industry always provokes a great deal of interest and comment from around the world. So, a list of the “Top 10 Learning Trends,” the subject of an e-book published recently by GP Strategies, was guaranteed to attract attention.

According to USA-based GP Strategies, “If you’re a learning professional in 2016, you’re in the industry at a very dynamic time. We are witnessing powerful changes as technologies mature, converge and provide new tools with which to train more effectively.”

GP Strategies’ nominated top 10 trends are corporate MOOCs, beacons, content curation, augmented reality (AR), video, memes and vemes, the science of learning, gamification, cloud-based platforms, and microlearning.

Not all of these trends are significant across the world. For example, at present, corporate MOOCs are far more popular in North America, where the number of potential learners is greater than in other markets (with the possible exception of China, a market for which reliable L&D statistics are rare). However, other trends – especially content curation, AR, video, gamification, and cloud-based platforms – are highly significant worldwide trends, according to international e-learning think-tank The Company of Thought.


According to TCoT, Large corporations around the world are implementing gamification, and learning management system (LMS) vendors are increasing what’s added in functionality regarding gamification.

We’re noticing a high increase in demand and an increase in relevant projects in the educational and corporate sector. We expect this trend to continue throughout 2016, with gamification in e-learning becoming increasingly the norm rather than the exception.

TCoT also points out that a survey, by Capterra, found that gamification and learning games have widespread adoption, with 83 percent and 90 percent of the organizations taking part in the research using them, respectively. Some 70 percent of respondents claimed that gamification led to an increase in student scores. The study also found that 83 percent of LMS users reported that their students retained course content better using gamification.

Moreover, respondents found that gamification had a massive, positive impact on just about every metric of learner success. Some 84 percent claimed that it increased student satisfaction; 83 percent reported that their students retained course content better; 80 percent said that their course completion rate improved, and 71 percent noted better student scores on tests and assignments.

These findings correspond well with previous research, including a University of Colorado study that found that students who took a gamified course scored 14 percent higher than those taking a traditional course.

Content Curation

Another of the top 10 trends that GP Strategies identified is content curation – sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme. It involves sifting, sorting, arranging, and publishing information.

According to GP Strategies, the idea behind content curation – shared knowledge, expertise and resources readily and freely available – is that, if content is collected and shared, others would be saved the cost and effort of tracking it down.

The fourth report in the UK-based e-learning analyst firm Learning Light’s series on the e-learning market, “A Review of the e-learning markets of the UK, EU and China 2014,” also highlights content curation as a key trend in L&D. The authors say, “The exponential growth of YouTube has proved to be – as yet – unstoppable. Indeed, the exponential growth of content onto the internet has become one of the greatest changes and challenges to how we live and learn.

As a result, the new discipline of curation has emerged… By using curation tools such as Twitter, Yammer, Skype, and other texting tools, as well as Facebook, social/informal learning is progressing at a pace.

Becoming a “curator” requires a change of mindset. The curator isnt someone who controls the learner’s full learning experience. Nor is he or she a developer of content – rather, he ismerely” its curator (although that could mean reworking the content to make it relevant and easy for learners to assimilate). Instead of being a “fount of all knowledge” and an “instructor,” the content curator is, instead, a “facilitator” and “enabler.”

How to be a Successful Content Curator

Tips for curating content successfully include:

  • Identify your audience and its needs. There’s no point in providing content that no one wants.
  • Successful content curation – building up a valuable “repository” of content that matches your learners’ needs – takes time. You don’t become a reliable and trusted source for content sharing overnight, or even in a few weeks.
  • Consistency and coherence are key. Share content regularly and often – to gain visibility and credibility. Focus on developing relevant learning content and then gradually expand into closely related areas, to help to facilitate your learners’ learning journey.
  • Quality is vital. Your reputation as a supplier of useful information depends upon the quality of what you curate. It also differentiates you from any curation competitors that you may have.
  • Get it right. Do your research thoroughly. Check the truth and relevance of the content you’re curating.
  • Embrace diversity. Make use of different content media, including video, audio, simulations, games, and so on, as well as articles.
  • Encourage people to exchange their relevant knowledge with one another.

One thing is certain, in today’s socially networked, online world, there is more data available to more people than ever before. Making sense of that data – validating it and turning it into worthwhile information – is a key skill that we will all have to learn.

Along the way, as we do that, content curators will provide us with valuable help. But, as L&D professionals, this is a valuable service that we can also supply to all the learners in our care.

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