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The best sources of free learning content to create an impactful LXP - L&D Content Curation

Content curation is an excellent way of filling your learning platform with content – but creating a playlist or programme from borrowed content can quickly become a headache.

Forbes tells us that in 2020 there were 2.5 quintillion bytes of data uploaded to the internet daily; a few years later, this figure is even more significant. That’s an incredible amount of information.

So, the challenge isn’t the availability of content, it’s ensuring that quality is up to par. After all, the quickest way to sour a learner’s experience is by providing unengaging, irrelevant or poor-quality content.

So how should you share curated resources with your learners?

Aside from finding content, organising it and ensuring it’s accessible is just as important. An endless, unorganised list of resources will make it hard to use and put learners off. 

That’s where an LXP comes in. Totara Engage is a customisable system which provides a space for individual team members to share learning resources, taking principles from social media platforms to provide a modern and easy-to-use experience.

By creating workspaces around business functions or subjects, you can easily organise content, create playlists of resources and allow your team members to interact with assets – encouraging peer-to-peer recommendations which foster engagement.

Tips before you get started

Before you jump in and flood your LXP with content, there are a few simple steps that you can take to make sure that what you’re putting on your platform makes sense for your learner and organisation.

In a nutshell: 

  1. Understand your learner’s skill gaps & what’s valuable to them

Doing a skill gap or a training needs analysis will give you insight into what your learners want and need. This will mean your approach will be backed up with concrete insights rather than relying on intuition alone.

2. Put guidelines in place

Quality control is the most challenging part of curation. It’s easy to be misled by well-written headlines and imagery only to find out later that the content misses the mark.

By mapping out the types of content you’re happy to host on your LXP, and specifically, the quality measures a piece of content needs to meet before it’s added to your platform – you’ll be able to make quicker decisions on approving content or even outsource parts of the process.

3. Consider how you’ll promote it

Striking the right balance between a content-rich platform and communicating it to your learners is difficult. Too often, promotion is overlooked as a key aspect of L&D. Spending time planning how and when you’ll get your content in front of learners will contribute to success in a big way.

Will the content be shared at the point of need via integrations with Teams or Slack? Should you prescribe dedicated self-learning time, or do you allow team members to work on their own terms but regularly communicate the value of the resources available?

These are all questions you should answer before launching.

4. Empower your team members, but stay in control

Aside from our list of sources, subject matter experts within your team are natural contributors to your curation strategy.

They likely have a list of go-to resources, whether they’re Youtubers they subscribe to, blogs they follow or even social media accounts they get value from regularly.

Totara recognised this when developing Engage and lets users share resources or create playlists dedicated to specific topics.

Speak to your experts and encourage them to get involved.

As well as creating new content streams, this will create engagement and put the responsibility for L&D in the hands of your team, rather than simply prescribing what you consider to be valuable – on a subject where you’re not an expert. 

So now that you’ve considered some of the steps that’ll help contribute to a successful curation strategy, here are some of our favourite (& free) sources of learning resources that you can feature to create a cost-effective, content-rich and valuable LXP within your organisation.

TedX

Best for: Video Content

Having been run for small audiences before the social media era, when TedX moved online, it received an unbelievable response. If you’re looking to share unique, actionable and insightful ideas with your team, the speakers they host are true subject matter experts. Although they’ve now got a vast library of talks available, they’re well known for the high quality of their content – so you can be confident to share it with your team.

Google Search

Best for: Written Content

If it’s written content you’re after – using Google Search may seem like an obvious suggestion. Google’s sole purpose is to provide the best, most informative answer to a question, and its algorithm has advanced to the point where it filters irrelevant, low quality content. This acts like your own personal quality control test, and if you have a specific topic in mind, a search is likely to return sharable content that will add value to your team.

MIT OpenCourseWare

Best for: In-depth Courses

Spending a year at MIT costs over £50,000. But amazingly, you can access many of the University’s resources totally free of charge via MIT OpenCourseWare. With a library containing thousands of courses ranging from finance to astronomy, computer science to media studies. You’ll find a wealth of knowledge within the site, with content penned by industry leaders and professors.

LearnOutLoud

Best for: Audio Content

A bit like an open-source alternative Audible, for those who learn best by listening – LearnOutLoud will be your new best friend. With countless audio-based resources just a few clicks away, corporate L&D professionals should navigate to the business section.

The Futur 

Best for: Marketing Video Content

A respected Youtube channel with a great track record, The Futur posts videos relating to all things marketing – from design basics to complex brand strategy. The Futur is a great resource for marketers of all experience levels and specialisms.

The Marketing Meetup

Best for: Marketing Video Content

Based in the UK, The Marketing Meetup is a community of marketers working across a range of disciplines. They host regular sessions, where they feature thought leaders from different backgrounds, ranging from independent copywriters to CMOs of global brands like KFC. 

Google’s Digital Garage

Best for: Marketing Certifications

With the prominence of search marketing reaching record highs, Google’s Digital Garage offers a range of courses centred around digital marketing skills like PPC & Analytics. The courses vary in length, are completely free, and learners even get a certificate at the end of some of them. With over 150 courses, many of which are co-authored by leading universities, it’s not just digital marketing based. Other subjects include productivity, coding and various others.

Hubspot Academy

Best for: Short Marketing & Sales Courses

As one of the leading marketing & CRM platforms on the market, Hubspot invests heavily in content marketing. Luckily, part of their strategy includes providing expert-led courses and resources to support marketers with different challenges they might face. The content varies from SEO to lead qualification and plenty in between.

PatrickDangOfficial

Best for: Marketing & Sales Video Content

Patrick Dang is an experienced sales professional and has established himself as  thought leader on Youtube. He frequently shares informative videos exploring different sales-related topics, including report building, the different roles within a sales team, cold outreach and various others. With good production value and an engaging style, there’s plenty of value for sales professionals of all experience-levels.

Evan Carmichael

Best for: Marketing & Sales Video Content

Evan is a master of curation, and although his content primarily focuses on entrepreneurship, countless thought-provoking ideas are found in hist content. There’s value in many of his videos, whether it’s a short overview of an iconic book or a curated video containing nuggets of knowledge from some of the world’s most famous and successful entrepreneurs. So for those looking to develop soft-skills and inspire their team, his content is a fantastic choice.

Reed Courses

Best for: Customer Service Certifications

Online job board Reed has done much of the heavy lifting when it comes to curation and has an extensive library of courses that’s free to enrol on. Many include a certificate at the end, such as “Level 2 Certificate in Principles of Customer Service”. 

They have a range of sector-specific courses listed too, such as “Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Excellence in Customer Service for Hospitality”, which are not only great for sharing knowledge but for career development, too.

Wikiversity

Best for: Open-source Courses

Sister site to Wikipedia, Wikiversity is a fast-growing project dedicated to providing free learning resources to the masses. Within the site, you’ll find a treasure trove of knowledge with subjects ranging from any imaginable subject. It’s easy to get lost in the sheer volume of content, but cherry-picking the most relevant courses for your learners will create heaps of value. Granted, the UX feels slightly dated. But navigating the site is straightforward once you get your bearings.

Curate your own list

Although we’ve included some great sources here, our list is by no means complete – there are countless other sources available for you to tap into. Keep a note while you’re browsing and if you stumble across a new thought leader or a great website that you think your team could benefit from, let us know & we’ll keep adding to our list to create a really valuable resource for L&D professionals that use curation in their own strategies.

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