Friday, 24 June 2011

Using Content Curation as part of Performance Support (Part 4 of 5 – creating the framework)

The framework is actually very simple:

Categorise – We tag the content using the language of the business.  Tags are useful if staff search the learning sites for content but we also wanted to construct the curated content so that staff could access content by category too. The learning site has category “pages” that staff can access directly as well as searching for content we’ve tagged.

Relevance – We work out which staff will find the information of use.  We don’t do this strictly by job role, we do this more by the skills we expect the individual to have and, most importantly, to be using.

Review Time – We specify (with an icon) how long it will take to review the information.  This has proved to be a hugely valuable thing to do as we promoted this along with a Find 15 campaign (see previous blog post).  So staff can quickly skim over the new content and work out how long it will take them to review the pieces that interest them. 

Shelf life – The information is often very transient so we make it clear (with an icon) when the data will expire.  This makes sure that we keep the content bang up to date, but we don’t delete the data that has expired, we are now moving it to an archive.  How long it will remain archived is not clear yet!

Snippet – many of the staff we are supporting are very pragmatic, so if the curated content link description does not make the value of the content immediately obvious we add on a “What’s in it for me?” snippet to encourage them to click the link.

Communicating the content
The curated content is communicated to the staff on what we call “roundups” which are just a list of links and we issue the roundups on the microblogging services and also via email (although staff can opt out of the email).  A roundup is a bit like a Twitter daily digest that links back to the content on the site, it does not duplicate it.  We don’t send them out unless there is content to share so they are issued when the assigned curator judges the time is right.

When user generated content includes a download from an external site, we download that content and store it on our site.  The staff very quickly realised that we were doing that and it saved them having to do it.  From our overload research, we knew that they would often download stuff and then either forget to read/review it or not be able to find it!  Now they had the comfort of knowing we’d captured it for them – Result!

In one of the organisations we asked a particularly active staff group to work with us and set up a weekly posting called My Learning Week.  On this posting we profile a particular member of staff and they share the user generated content they have found useful in that week.  This really helped to promote the learning site and other staff groups are now doing the same although monthly or quarterly.

We also share learning stories to demonstrate how the performance support tools that we have put in place have worked in practice.  Sharing the successes that the performance support tools have contributed to has really helped us get the message across to the stakeholders as to just how valuable the move to informal learning has been.

Other departments within the organisations have also joined in curating content.  Our curation partners were the sorts of departments who would issues 20-30 emails a day, most of which would be ignored by the staff. When we showed them that there were conversations and information sharing going on on the learning sites (through microblogging and forums in particular) they agreed to try curating their content and issue roundups to relevant staff instead.  The staff are happy because the daily deluge of emails has reduced and the content is part of the learning site which means they have one source of relevant information.  These departments also use our content framework which seems to work for their data too.

Next Blog:  (Part 5 of 5 –  the results so far)

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