Remember when you were a kid and the excitement that came on Halloween – Partially scared of what costumes, characters, and chaos you might encounter, but exhilarated with the thought of the candy you might amass? And for many, collecting the candy wasn’t the best part. You might recall coming home with your family or friends, dumping all your treasures on the floor, then organizing and trading.

Chocolates over here.

Hard candy over there.

Apples in the trash. (Am I right?)

Collecting candy on Halloween night isn’t unlike the content curation process. To work well – ensuring the optimal distribution of candy and knowledge – both should have a system of aggregation AND curation.

What Is Aggregation?

Aggregation is simply the large-scale pulling together of many items that are not necessarily related or connected. It’s the hunting and gathering phase of Halloween and content curation. Aggregation is what many big-name, main-stream content libraries do so well, pulling together large collections of content. Some are relevant (and tasty), while others are not all that useful (circus peanuts, anyone?).

Of course, in an overflowing pumpkin-shaped bucket of aggregated learning, you will treat your learners to a lot of content. But there’s also a trick. It’s like Forrest Gump said, “Learning with a content library is like digging your hand into a giant container of Halloween candy, you never know what you’re going to get.” I’m paraphrasing.

The truth is, aggregation is an important first step – but by itself, it is insufficient. It’s like a Reese cup without peanut butter. Frightening! To create an ideal learning experience, we can’t just give access to an abundance of content and leave learners to figure out what is relevant and necessary. More isn’t always better. And for the modern learner, it rarely is. We must provide structure to the learning process by filtering the aggregate, leaving the most essential and relevant content.

That’s where candy – I mean content – curation comes in.

The Art Of Curation

Picture this. You’ve just dumped all your candy into a heap of happiness on the floor. You’re impressed with your haul, but it’s a lot to take in. So many types, flavors, colors, textures, and sizes. Where to start?  You have to take inventory of what you have. You must organize into a logical and manageable system. You need to determine what (if any) trade-offs you’re willing to make. This is the act of curation.

To be clear, providing learners with strictly aggregated material is like dumping a mountain of content in front of them, leaving them to decide what is necessary, important and worth their limited time. Curation – or the filtering and organizing of content to specific criteria – is an essential step in creating meaning in the overall learning process. By only including the most relevant information, learners get exactly what they need (no more and no less) and they don’t have to waste valuable time deciding, “Is this important, accurate and up-to-date content?”

Modern learners have enough limitations. Sifting through large amounts of loosely related material to find the most relevant content, shouldn’t be one of them. And content curation doesn’t have to be a scary prospect. We are #yourCMR and we are here to help you curate and deliver sweet learning content with wicked results.

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