12 Practical Ways To Use Content Curation To Support Learning and Performance


Content curation is a hot topic but there is no point in curation for the sake of it. Well, maybe if you really want a collection of frog ornaments. But that’s your business (and if that is your business: nice!)

Curation takes time and effort. So you need to know why you’re doing it. It needs a clear purpose or use case. We have outlined below 12 practical ways you can use curation to support learning and performance improvement.

How to drive your curation: automatic or manual?

Content curation can take two main forms as follows:

Automated curation using rules. Our AP briefings are a good example, we crawl the whole of the web and filter content that meets your curation rules such as only articles about specific topics or published on certain sites or shared by specific people or a combination of these. The key point here is that you as a curator set the rules – you decide which keywords, influencers, domains and sources you want to see content from.

Manual or human curation where an individual selects content, including from automated curations, and adds value to the content by providing context and commentary. Our AP saved boards or curations are an example of this second approach.

Your objective or use case will determine the most appropriate form of curation approach to adopt. The most effective curation has both elements: automation to surface relevant content and save you time manually searching the web for relevant content, and then human filtering to handpick key articles, comment and add value.

However it’s not always practical to do human curation for every topic, every day. And for some audiences, a quick view of the latest automated content will be enough to help them keep apace.
So a balance of approaches works best depending on the use case.

Content Curation Use Cases

1. Monitoring Industry Developments

We all need to stay on top of what is happening in our respective industries, things don’t stand still. If you don’t keep pace with changes in your sector, you will render yourself obsolete over time.

Curating the latest content allows your team to stay updated without having to visit multiple sites or follow Twitter lists or groups. For example, here are a couple of curations:

Latest articles about the construction industry

Latest articles on driverless cars

By its nature there can be a lot of content so it needs to be easy to scan. Automated filtering can work well for monitoring industry developments. You can then of manually curate to source articles particularly relevant to your business. The question to ask about any curated content is “so what?” Does the article present a risk, opportunity, threat, insight for a specific team, customer or colleague? Effective curators add value to content by signalling to the right people and providing context.

2. Track specific developments

Within an industry or sector, you can curate at the more granular level – subtopic, or region for example. These curations are more focused. For example: what is the latest on Facebook Marketing or Negative Interest Rates?

facebookmktgThese are likely to have less content than an industry briefing but they will be much more focused and relevant.

These curations can be automated or human curated.

3. Blended learning: Keep staff engaged

If a team are on a course or have recently completed a course or blended learning programme, you will want to prompt them to continually think about the issues and discuss these. One way to do this is to provide regular content on the topic and to encourage continued discussion.

You could curate and share regular content, for example one tip a day as micro-learning to keep reinforcing and encourage practical application. We all know about the forgetting curve and the importance of spaced learning. Providing regular content is one way of keeping learners engaged over time.

Automated curations work well by providing daily content to keep staff thinking and engaged. This could be just one new article a day or a series of articles.

4. Blended learning: Essential reading and updates

One of the most powerful forms of curation is to create essential reading for learners i.e. to pick out the content or articles they must read to stay updated and relevant.

Human curation works best for these curations. Use automated curation to surface a range of content, then handpick the ones that relate to your learners based on the blended learning topic and objectives. You can then embed these in your LMS or Learning Platform so they display as part of your blended learning programme.

Here is a manually curated reading list about SaaS pricing approaches.

5. Latest thinking from quality sources 

To keep staff updated on latest thinking in a relevant area such as say Leadership. These briefings are likely to be more quality controlled, hence you might whitelist only certain domains so you only see content from high quality domains that you know your readers like and trust.

Here is an example briefing on Leadership articles just from Harvard, McKinsey and TED. This could work well as part of a blended programme on leadership too.


6. Tips on new products and technology

It takes a while until we become proficient in new products. Everyone learns and a collective body of knowledge is built that allows us to all use new tools and technologies more efficiently.

You can curate the latest tips on new technologies, for example the latest Snapchat tips or the latest iPhone tips.

These can be a combination of automated or manually curated content.

7. Performance improvement tips

It is important to promote continuous learning and ideas to improve performance. One way to support this is to prompt your team to think about new ways to improve what they do.

Here is a curation of latest articles on improving team management and another on sales skills.

These can be a combination of automated or manually curated content.

8. Competitor tracking

We all need to be a little paranoid. What are your competitors up to?

You can curate their published content, content that mentions them, and content they share into a single briefing.

This content is best started with automated curation, you may add a layer of manual curation on the top to draw attention to any competitor activity which presents a risk or opportunity for you.

9. Research for a particular project

Say you and your team need to write a report do some analysis on an emerging trend in your industry. Google searches may find good content, but not necessarily the most recent. You can quickly curate the most recent and most authoritative articles, and share views on their relevance to your business. Get your research done more efficiently.

Automated curation with a layer of human handpicking works well here. 

10. Researching clients and prospects

Sales and consulting teams need to stay informed on the latest developments with their clients and prospects. Have they recently acquired another company? Have they launched a new product? What could this mean for you? By actively curating content for your top clients, or target clients, you ensure your sales and consulting teams don’t miss any key developments that their clients would expect them to know about. This can be done with automated curation – it’s unlikely you’ll have the time to manually curate content for all your teams and prospects. 

Curation adds value to learners, customers and colleagues alike. But before you start curating, ask yourself: why are we doing this, how will we find the content, and (if manually) how often do we need to update it? That will give you the best chance of setting yourself up for a sustainable and effective curation model.

11. Social learning

In theory social learning is easy but in practice it is very hard to get staff to seek out new content, evaluate it and share it with colleagues. Too many social learning initiatives stall or fail because it’s not clear what to talk about.

One way to support social learning is to provide a regular feed of content and make it easy for staff to comment, upvote and share. No one has the time to read everything but a team that shares and comments on content can leverage their collective intelligence to filter and curate relevant content. Your colleagues are still much more likely to know which content is relevant to you than the smartest algorithms. Share a controversial or thought-provoking article and invite views: is this a risk, opportunity or threat for us? Prime the conversation with recent, relevant curated content to drive social learning and engagement.


12. Adding value for your customers

Your customers look to you to keep them informed about trends and developments. Of course you can share your own content, but curating and sharing broader content for your customers is a way to show them you’re keeping pace and have a balanced, independent view of the market. By curating and adding your thoughts and commentary, you go further than just sharing articles, you’re adding value. You can do this by displaying curated articles via your blog or website, or through a newsletter round-up. This works well for membership bodies as well.

Again we’d recommend using automated curation to surface relevant content, then handpick what you want to share, adding your commentary.