Thursday, 14 April 2016
This morning, I attended an excellent Learning & Skills Group Webinar, hosted by @donaldhtaylor and presented by @julianstodd, writer, consultant, founder of Sea Salt Learning and holder of the prestigious Learning & Performance Institute Colin Corder Award for Services to Learning in 2016. The topic was "Scaffolded Social Learning in Action: creating spaces to learn". As always on these webinars, the chat panel was alive with comment and questions throughout, and I had a short exchange with one of the participants about curation, which led me to drop him an email later. That email crystalised my thinking on the topic, and has inspired me to expand that thinking out into this blog. Your thoughts, comments, amplification and challenges are very welcome.
I started by 'Googling' for a definition of Curation. The first answer which popped up was from Wikipedia
And that's why I see curation skills as critical to any kind of collective and social learning, from both a facilitator/curator and a learner perspective. The social media and tech is readily available, so the collection and re-presentation of collateral is relatively straightforward, after a short familiarisation with the tool/s selected (e.g. Pocket, Pinterest, Storify, etc).
However, the reflection on and critical analysis of that content is vital, and in my experience, is where things tend to fall down. "GIGO" applies here (Garbage in, garbage out). Is the material accurate, up-to-date, relevant, verified - and by whom? Where's the evidence, the truth test? Does the curator him/herself have the relevant qualifications, skills, experience and/or credibility to provide reassurance of its validity for the stakeholders and learners for whom the material is being collated?
Equally, contextualisation and narrative around that content is important. If a self-directed learner is curating material for themselves, then they probably have their own context already, but learning facilitators and/or subject matter experts who are curating content for others need to provide this - and the recipients need to be confident that it has been 'quality assured' for relevance and accuracy.
In a collective and social learning context, here's an opportunity for participants not only to source content, but for that content to be critically reviewed and evaluated by the collective before being made available as a resource. And in so doing, everyone gets the chance to experience and develop their own critical analysis skills for the future.
Happy to discuss further or to offer any assistance if this would be of interest. You can find my details on LinkedIn.com or About.Me, and some of my curation examples on Pinterest.com/niallgavinuk and storify.com/niallgavinuk