One of the challenges with digital learning and elearning resources is keeping them relevant and up to date. 3 million blog posts are published every day. How do you ensure the most recent and relevant content is available as well as your courses and resources? You could check multiple sources on the web, find and link to the latest articles, edit and republish your elearning – and repeat every day, for every topic. If that’s your job, I hope you have nothing else on your plate.
Fortunately there’s an easier way to keep your elearning alive with fresh, curated content. We took on that challenge recently with our good friends at Elucidat. Their flexible, collaborative authoring tool now enables you to embed the latest content on any topic using Anders Pink.
For our example module and recent webinar we took the topic of Time Management. The design team at Elucidat created a great short focused module with a personal focus to help you develop better time management habits. We wanted to include the latest tips and thinking on time management.
Here’s how it worked, and what it looks like: (TLDR, show me the demo? right here.)
- Create a Briefing in Anders Pink
A briefing is a collection of articles from around the web on any topic, filtered based on your rules. You can filter by:
- Topics: In this case Time Management, though we could have added others like personal productivity.
- Keywords that must appear in the article titles: e.g. Tips, Examples, Case studies – these help to narrow it down to match the context of your learning and audience. We added several of these.
- Words that must not appear: For this briefing we didn’t want articles on time management for parents, teachers or doctors – so we excluded those and related words.
- Sources: You can limit the briefing to only show articles about your topic from specific sites e.g. hbr.org, or specific Twitter users e.g. @richardbranson, or specific RSS feeds. For this demo, we wanted keep it broad, so we skipped this step. But if your audience e.g. senior managers have a list of 20 sites they want to see leadership content from and nowhere else, you can lock it down to just these (or limit to 100 top business sites with one click using our pre-set list).
- Block sites: You can specify sites you don’t want to see content from. We didn’t for this example.
Here’s what our time management briefing looks like in the edit mode so you can see the filters we used:
Creating a briefing like this takes maybe 5 minutes to edit your filters and sources and get it the way you want it. Once it’s set up, it updates with fresh content based on your filters every four hours, so you’re always getting a feed of the latest content with zero effort.
Here’s the live time management briefing we made for the demo. You can filter to see content from last 24 hours, 3 days, 1 week and so on:
2. Put Your Briefing Where Learners Will See It
So now you’ve got your briefing set up and bringing in fresh content, you need to get it in front of your learners. We used an iFrame embed to drop it into the Elucidat module – it took literally seconds. It’s available from the home page, and as a daily briefing section, so learners can get straight to it any time. And because it’s a great authoring tool, it’s all good on multi-devices too.
Here it is on the home page:
Here it is embedded in the module. Learners can filter by dates, open articles and stay up to date:
Check out the live demo here. An elearning module that you might actually revisit to find out what’s trending. How about that?
3. There’s no step 3…
That’s really all there is to it. Once you’ve created a briefing and embedded it, it’ll update every four hours. Your learners stay up to date. You don’t have to do anything. Ok, well maybe there’s some other design considerations:
- Get the Scope clear: What kinds of content do your learners need to stay updated on – specific topics, sources, keywords? Mapped to learning outcomes, audience levels? That’s part of scoping out the briefing. It’s easy to edit it any time of course.
- Put it in the right place: Where should your briefings sit – at the start of your modules, as a call to action, or embedded somewhere else as well/instead e.g. in your Learning Platform, LMS, SharePoint? All options are available – think about the best place to display it to reach your audience.
- Live briefing or curated list? In this example, we’ve embedded a live briefing, so you don’t have to do anything to make sure the latest content is always available. You can also choose to hand-pick a subset of content from a briefing, save that and embed it as a saved set of articles instead. It depends on your audiences’ needs and your time to manually curate, as you’d need to build a habit to update it regularly.
- Keep it fresh: Check the content in your briefings. Are there new sites and sources you want to add, new keywords suggested by your learners? It’s a lot easier to tweak a briefing than rewrite a module.
We cover these points and more in our book on Curating Content for Learning.
Get in touch if you want to help bring your digital learning to life with curated content – we’re happy to help. And if you need to choose an authoring tool that plays nicely with curated content and does a whole lot more, have a look at Elucidat.
If you’d like to find out more about this approach and some other tips on keeping your elearning alive, Here’s the full webinar we did: