From Trainer to Curator

One of the tricks that you learn very early in a teaching career is to keep copies of everything – even the worksheet that you literally cut and pasted together quickly to help fill in a gap on a Friday afternoon – as every activity is reusable.  The same applies to most of the training content that you will use or encounter in your own professional development – although I’m obliged to sound a note of caution that professional resources can often become obsolete through the many changes in regulation and legislation over time.

As trainers and learning professionals mature in their roles, their workload will subtly shift from sourcing and creating entirely new material to maintaining existing content and supplementing it with new material.  There’s a natural progression towards becoming a curator – someone who picks out a selection of existing material and repackages it in a new and different way, much the same as a gallery curator might choose a selection of artworks to illustrate a particular theme or style.

Probably the biggest strength of using an online training platform is the ability to curate a vast range of content from both your own “catalogue” of material, and the wider catalogue of material available from a huge range of sources on the internet.  The biggest danger comes from the need to be a discerning curator, filtering out the incorrect, inaccurate and inappropriate material, whilst selecting the best quality and format content to suit your needs and the learning styles of your learners.

The Development Zone is a powerful tool in its own right that seeks to support you in the role of learning curator, with an always growing catalogue of high quality original content sourced (and curated) by our talented and experienced training professionals, combined with tools to allow you to create, adapt and curate your own original training content.  These range from tools such as custom modules and custom quizzes where you’ve created content from a blank canvas, right through to imported modules and reading material, where you’ve been able to import or link to content produced by third parties.  They also include dynamic tools, such as the custom course and custom pathway formats to collect together resources in different ways, and the webinar module that allows you create a completely interactive and customised experience for learners.

As a curator, it’s important to know when you’re getting the balance right for your target audience – unlike in a gallery, you can’t judge success by ticket sales or by independent reviews.  You can judge success by measuring learner engagement – taking a longer term look at the amount of time that your learners spend on the training platform, or by reviewing achievement – including the number of attempts that learners require in order to successfully complete assessments.  That’s why, as well as the content creation tools, we also incorporate a wide range of reporting tools and analytics into the Development Zone.

Many new trainers and teachers spend a long time searching for a “magic bullet” – a single approach that will work reliably with every learner, every time and ensure maximum success.  An experienced curator will understand that such an approach rarely exists, but instead will seek to find a balanced approach that includes several different types of content to engage more effectively with a wider range of learners.  They also understand that sometimes they’ll get it wrong, but that won’t stop them from trying something new.

If you haven’t already explored the range of content curation tools on the Development Zone, why not start by visiting the Dev Zone Academy (available via the Support option at the top of every screen) and find out more about what’s available to help you create and curate new learning experiences for your firm.

About the author

After gaining a degree in Computer Science, Tim spent nine years teaching in a number of secondary schools (11-19 year olds) in Wales.  For the majority of his time teaching, Tim led a highly successful team of teachers delivering vocational ICT qualifications and reached the level of Associate Assistant Headteacher before leaving teaching.  He has also been a senior examiner and moderator for one of the UK's largest awarding bodies.  Since 2013 he has been the senior developer for the Development Zone.

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