How to Ensure Spectacular Content Creation and Curation
How to Ensure Spectacular Content Creation and Curation

How to Ensure Spectacular Content Creation and Curation

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In the dynamic realm of instructional design, the ability to write compelling and informative content is a cornerstone for creating engaging learning experiences. Whether you’re just starting your journey or looking to enhance your skills, mastering the art of content creation and curation is essential. So, how can you cultivate this skill set to tailor content effectively to specific learning objectives?

The Power of Engaging Content Creation

1. Understand Your Audience:

The first step in creating engaging content is understanding your audience.

There’s no point using an overly formal or outdated design for e-learning if you’re training teenagers. If it lacks visual appeal and fails to resonate with the target audience, they’re not going to pay attention to the content. For instance, a theme that heavily relies on stock photos of business professionals in suits, generic clip art, or overly intricate and dense graphics could be off-putting. A lack of vibrant colors, dynamic visuals, and interactive elements could result in disengagement and hinder the effectiveness of the e-learning experience.

It’s crucial to choose a theme that aligns with the interests, preferences, and digital aesthetics of whoever you’re designing the training for. You need to create an environment that is visually stimulating and relatable, so you must consider the demographics, preferences, and prior knowledge of your learners. This knowledge will then help guide you in choosing the tone, style, and complexity of your content.

2. Utilize Multimedia Elements:

Enhance engagement by incorporating multimedia elements such as images, videos, and infographics. Visual aids not only break up text but also appeal to different learning styles, making the content more accessible and memorable. “A picture paints a thousand words” is definitely apt here, and if your learners are in any way visual learners, this is essential.

3. Interactive Elements:

Active participation can help with retention and you can do this with interactive elements. It’s great to include quizzes, polls, and discussions to encourage learner engagement and reinforce key concepts. Platforms like Kahoot! and Mentimeter can be invaluable for this, and lots of fun. I’ve had some ridiculous moments with training due to some people’s competitiveness, but it’s all part of the fun and is excellent for reinforcement and revision.

4. Storytelling Techniques:

Infuse your content with storytelling elements to create a narrative that resonates with learners. Humans are naturally drawn to stories, and narratives can make complex information more relatable and memorable. It’s like the memory game, where you imagine your ‘mind-palace’ and put items in distinct places to help you remember lists.

I tried it with my Mum once so she could remember her shopping list. It was over a decade ago, but I can still remember that she had to buy yoghurt, a bottle of wine, broccoli, bread and a cauliflower. To try and remember it, she used her own house and imagined yoghurt running all down the stairs, slices of bread on the phone table at the bottom of the stairs with birds pecking at it. Then turning around to see broccoli and cauliflower as a rug and wine in the cat’s water bowl.

Odd, I think you’ll agree, but I still remember it to this day. As I said, as humans, we like nothing better than a good story, and if you weave your information into a good narrative, it will become equally memorable.

5. Adapt to Learning Styles:

Acknowledge and accommodate diverse learning styles. Some learners thrive with visual aids, while others prefer textual explanations. A well-rounded approach considers these differences, ensuring that content is accessible and effective for all. (I’ve written more about diverse learning styles and inclusivity here.)  

Mastering the Art of Content Curation

1. Define Learning Objectives:

Before diving into content curation, clearly define your learning objectives. What are the key takeaways you want learners to grasp? If you don’t know what you want to teach your learners, you won’t be teaching them anything. This clarity will guide your curation process and ensure relevance.

2. Identify Reliable Sources:

Curation hinges on the quality of your sources. Identify reputable and diverse resources that align with your learning objectives. Explore academic journals, industry publications, and educational platforms to gather a comprehensive pool of content. Alternatively, your information may come from a subject-matter expert within the company you’re working at. Always make sure to check back with them once you’ve clarified the information you’re including, to make sure you haven’t misunderstood or missed anything.

3. Organise Information Effectively:

Structure your curated content in a logical and sequential manner. This could involve creating modules, units, or thematic sections to guide learners through a cohesive learning journey. Organisation is key to preventing cognitive overload. And remember, a greater number of short and sweet modules will be better than one long rambling effort. The learners will then find it easier to revisit any specific points they feel they need to spend more time on.

4. Provide Context and Annotations:

Offer context for each curated resource. Explain why it’s relevant, how it connects to the learning objectives, and its real-world applications. Annotations enhance the value of the curated content, offering learners a roadmap for exploration. This is less useful within e-learning as you don’t want to take them out of the narrative. However, including an ‘extra reading’ section at the end, where they can investigate further is always good.

5. Encourage Exploration:

And finally, as above, engender a culture of curiosity by encouraging learners to explore beyond the curated content. Provide additional resources for those eager to delve deeper into specific topics. This approach promotes self-directed learning and a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Embracing Technology for Content Creation and Curation

1. Authoring Tools:

Explore authoring tools that facilitate seamless content creation. Platforms like Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, and Canva offer user-friendly interfaces and a range of features for designing engaging and visually appealing content.

I’m currently creating a course on how to use Articulate Storyline 360 for beginners. If you’re interested in maybe taking a look at it, sign up to my newsletter (and as a bonus you’ll also get a free email course that will teach you the basics of instructional design). Then I promise you’ll be the first to know when it’s ready.

2. Content Management Systems (CMS):

Deciding how to deliver your courses is important; simply creating your modules is just the first stage. A CMS (Content Management System) is generally used to manage website content. You can use CMS platforms to organise and curate content effectively and they handle general content publishing very well. Moodle, WordPress, and Canvas are popular choices that allow for structured content delivery and easy accessibility for learners.

3. Learning Management Systems (LMS):

An alternative, particularly if you’re creating e-learning using the software mentioned in the first paragraph, is to use an LMS (learning management system). These platforms are mainly for delivering and tracking learning materials. These platforms not only aid in content delivery for educational and training content, but also offer analytics to track learner progress and engagement.

It can be useful to invest time in understanding Learning Management Systems like Blackboard, Docebo, or Kallidus. Although there are many alternatives, if you pick just one to get an idea of what they offer, it can help you whichever one you eventually end up using.

Shaping Learning Experiences

In the ever-evolving field of instructional design, the ability to create and curate impactful content is the linchpin for crafting learning experiences that actually work! As you become more familiar with course design, you’ll realise that education and training are very dynamic. It really helps to stay attuned to emerging trends and technologies.

Remember, the art of content creation and curation is a skill that evolves with practice and adaptability. There’s always opportunity to improve. Stay curious, seek feedback from learners, and continuously refine your approach. By mastering these facets of instructional design, you’re not just creating content; you’re shaping learning journeys that inspire and empower. OK, that’s a bit lofty, but there’s no point in creating learning that doesn’t do the job. Here’s to crafting educational experiences that leave a lasting impact!

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