Re-using content and curation

Hi all,

Little off track in terms of how to use any particular Articulate tool but one that I hope is relevant, interesting and can generate some discussion.

I picked up a Twitter conversation by @tmiket & @elearning this week that made me think ( I love those Twitter snippets) about how we focus on the creation of new content rather than ensure that our existing content is distributed, accessed and where necessary re-used to maximum effect in the organisation.

@tmiket & @elearning touched upon how sometimes it is actually faster to create content then re-use and this interested me as I've been using Scoopit to experiment with curating content on the web and it made me think how we don't do enough curation in our own orgs and get content to people when they need it or in turn provide them with skills to find content when they need it.

With a tool like Screenr and Articulate making it so easy to create high quality materials is it too easy to get in to a mindset of creation first rather than making use of existing content and making this more readily available or at point of need.

I'm sure this topic can be expanded but as a starting point I hope this gives us something to go off but please feel free to raise anything else associated with the topic and I'd value hearing your thoughts on content creation vs effective use of your existing content and how you filter and curate content in your organisation


6 Replies
Tom Ashcraft

This is becoming a hot topic for my group. Supporting multiple business units, there's a clear need to use existing content over creating something new. Part of the challenge stems from visible contributions. As a training group, we're not hired or evaluated on what we "reuse". Instead, we're expected to produce.

I find the business unit experts, for the most part, create good content for themselves. I'm spending more of my time cataloging their content (informally, we don't have any system in place to tag) and using it to create my materials. The corporate world doesn't look for "links to resources" like the Twitter world does. Corporate world wants classes, courses, webinars while the social world wants lists and links.

Jeanette Cefre

@Mike, thank you for bringing this topic about and @Tom, I completely identify with your last sentence Tom...clearly, that is where the gap lies.  I think my organisation is moving in the right direction in terms of technology (Intranet powered by Sharepoint environment complete with tagging and linking capabilities, Enterprise search which searches across all "public" drives, ), however, what is difficult and what is missing is an overall content re-use strategy to link them together.  Some of our challenges are:

  • Clear overall content re-use strategy
  • Clear and defined responsibilities within the organisation
  • General standards for content per customer segment
  • Duplication of content across department units
  • Consistent collaboration and communication

I can go on...but that's it for now.

Mike  Collins


Thanks for replying, I agree the corporate world is not set up (although some are) with the technological infrastructure to work like the external online world where tagging, links and sharing is widespread. Even with the tools there is still a big shift in mindset required to ensure content is used initially but then re-used, shared, filtered and curated by employees for other employees. I think this is an area L&D will need to focus on in the (near) future to effectively 'upskill' employees to share and manage resources like we do in the 'real' world. We need to become good at it first and role model this in my opinion. I agree that focus tends to be on creation and to be honest outputs / effectiveness are often tied in with how much content is produced rather than how effective existing resources have been used, re-used, updated and added value to X number of people.

How do we bridge the gap between Twitter world and Corporate world - is it systems, culture, new skills? All of the above?

@Jeanette again thanks for taking the time to reply. I'm pleased to hear that SharePoint is being used to power your intranet and I'm hoping we're going to go down a similar route. This will open many opportunities to tagging and linking. One of our biggest challenges around re-using content is an over sensitive approach to governance. I work for a financial organisation and we have strict policies on what content is used as training material and the authenticity of content and where it comes from. To compound matters further we don't currently have an LMS and keep our training materials 'locked' away from our fellow employees in a materials library. As a result of having these materials out of sight it is easy to forget that material exists (despite a search engine) and the whole cycle starts again 12 months later when the same problem occurs in a different area but we approach it in a slightly different way and produce new content (that has slightly different objectives). I know we're not alone and can really associate with those challenges.

So overall strategy is important, how can you see your SharePoint intranet supporting the re-use of materials?

Holly MacDonald

Mike - one of the things that I'm working with a client on (they came to me with a training request, which I convinced them they needed to "validate" with an analysis, yay) and rather than prescribe a "training" solution, I've been able to steer them to a more broad solution (yay) and we are exploring processes, tools, performance supports, etc in addition to any training that we do. So, the situation is not totally the same, but I've guided them to OneNote as a bridge, developing a shared notebook. I wonder if that is an option in your situation? Would that fly in your org? Curious...

Jeanette Cefre

The first step, for us, was to ensure the re-use of content is for everyone to be on the same platform - Many departments were using different software to create content which resulted in less collaboration and more siloed initiatives.  

Our solution was to move to a completely integrated system - we chose Microsoft solutions (MSOfice, Outlook, Sharepoint, etc.)   We all have the same tools, we can give each other access to each other documents with permissioning, or even share libraries (as in Holly's example with OneNote).  What's excellent is that, the MSOffice suite already has many collaborative features - placing them on a Sharepoint site amplifies it even more.  Our company is quite large with sites in all of the continents, so we can't afford to play the waiting game when it comes to both marketing, functional, and development content. This solution allows us to be efficient. 

The only thing slowing down this process is the dreaded "G" word...governance.  We struggle with this too. Everyone agrees we need it but you get both ends of the spectrum - from very "loose" model to an overly  restrictive model - when trying to really solidify the model.  Under our Knowledge Management Strategy, this is currently being formalised and I must say...we are close to victory. 

Using the concept of "Shaping to Framing", a governance model is meant to "frame" - guide, coach, enable and support the content/knowledge - not to dictate what it is, isn't.  It is up to the people who own the knowledge to shape the outcome/results within the frame.

Sorry, a bit long winded..but hope that it helps.

Mike  Collins

Hi Holly

Sorry for delayed response, in answer to your question yes I think this sort of approach would work however due to our current infrastructure it would be the case to get an appropriate tool / platform that would provide functionality like OneNote. i guess every need needs to be looked at in it's own merit but what it sounds like you're doing here is actually building capability to manage their existing content more effectively? The key here will be to help them curate and gather the information and present it in a way that will be beneficial to those involved but then build skills & transfer the capability to ensure this continues. Whilst this might not replace the 'training' approach completely it's something that needs to be continued so it's not isolated- do you agree?

Hi Jeanette

Again apologies for delayed response, that first sentence made me laugh. We currently have three different desktop platforms within my business. This has made content management and design far harder than it ever should be. Unfortunately this has created a culture of create, create, create because we can't provide access and manage our content effectively. It's also had huge impact where we've had to design content in different ways because of software limitations. All of this adds up to duplication, frustration and wastage. I am hoping over the next 18 months we will get to utopia and a unified system and I also believe we are also looking at SharePoint 2010 as our collaborative platform. If that ever happens then I think the Shaping to Framing concept is something that I will be able to look closer at as part of the content / knowledge management strategy.

Thanks again to you both for your responses