5 strategies to curate content in virtual teaching projects

With the rise of the internet, getting information on the net and transferring it to a virtual teaching project seems like a simple task; but the quality and quantity of information must be taken into account to meet the teaching objectives; hence it is important to carry out a content curation process.

In this article I will talk specifically about content curation for virtual teaching projects , since this content curation task is also usually carried out, for example, when managing a social network within digital marketing tasks , among other areas.

First, it is important to define that content curation refers to the task of filtering, selecting, classifying and valuing the information found , generally on the Internet in relation to a specific theme.

It should be taken into account that today hundreds of pages of information can be found on the Internet in relation to a specific topic, this can produce information saturation when a virtual course is developed and the base information needs to be prepared.

Questions arise such as: What information is important? Is the data provided by X page true? Is the statistics of X table up to date? Does the information come from a reliable source? Is the information provided on a page an opinion or is it a fact?

This saturation can occur both in the virtual teacher who seeks support content for an online course and to a greater extent in a student who seeks to expand the concepts learned in it.

The latter, not having enough experience, can get lost on Internet pages that only look for advertising “clicks” and do not show reliable and relevant information.

When developing a virtual course, it is necessary to carry out a content curation process, since in this way it is certain that the student is being provided with reliable data from which he can generate true learning in relation to the subject of the course.

It is important that content curation is applied both to the base information of the course, and to the links that can be provided to students so that they can expand or investigate a topic a little more.

The process should include the review of sources such as blogs, videos, audios, statistical tables, scientific research, presentations, summaries and all the wide variety of content found on the Internet.

Based on the student’s level of knowledge of the topic and their experience, they should be guided on the sources that they could use to expand or investigate a topic. The less a student knows about a given topic, the more advice they should receive on content curation, so that they can know “where” they can look for information that generates relevant learning.

To properly curate content, it is suggested to use the following strategies, from the point of view of those who develop a virtual course:

1. Clearly identify the objectives of the learning unit and the needs of the student.

By clarifying which topics you want the student to learn and taking into account the student’s environment and profile, you can have a clear picture of what information should be searched for, classified, ordered and shared in the virtual course.

Based on this, you have a perspective of which videos will be useful, which pages or podcasts, for example, can contribute to the student’s true learning.

Take into account that the examples or learning cases that can be used in a business administration course focused on the management of mechanical workshops are not the same as a course that focuses on teaching the same subject but to hospital managers. Nowadays education has become very specific.

Based on this first strategy, care must be taken to filter information sources that match the student’s environment and profile, in terms of language, culture, colloquial phrases and other aspects that can influence the way of learning.

2. Carry out a classification and organization of content according to its importance

This work requires knowledge of the subject, to clarify what is important and what is not; In addition to having a classification system to filter the relevant content and order it by topics, subtopics or categories according to what is needed.

It is important to have a good reading ability to be able to condense and understand the content, and above all to organize it according to the needs of virtual students and the objectives pursued in the course.

This work usually takes a long time, so to carry out this task you can rely on technology, on applications that can simplify the task such as:

  • Pocket: This application for Android and IOS allows you to save all kinds of content on a page, such as videos, audios, stories and more, in a space that can later be consulted, even offline and from any device. Very useful when working from places other than a formal office.
  • Feedly: Allows you to discover content from many sources such as newspaper posts, blogs, youtube videos, tweets and more. The application allows to organize, read, search, share content easily. One point in its favor is that it allows you to work as a team with the content, to facilitate curation tasks with several people.
  • Symbaloo: This online application allows you to organize content from different sources in a grid and by colors, creating sections organized by themes, these can be shared with multiple users. The visual format is very useful for sharing material with students so they can conduct research or expand on course content.

These three applications are a small sample of the hundreds of options that exist on the internet to support content curation efforts. You must take into account that many have free versions, while others have paid versions for the use of additional functions.

3. Enrich content with professional input and acknowledge sources

When carrying out the curation work, one should not only analyze the relevance of the information and then copy and transfer the contents to the students; but they must be enriched with criteria, examples, own comments, opinions, explanations and more, especially from those who are the experts in the content.

For example, a base article can be taken and enriched with examples of content associated with the characteristics of the students and the specific course being developed, cultural or linguistic aspects can be added to facilitate understanding of the material.

It is desirable that added value be provided through the content curation task, not simply performing a copy and paste function, not only validating content, but also providing a better vision, according to the learning objectives.

In addition, it is important to disclose the sources from which the information has been obtained and respect all legislation regarding content and copyright.

It is necessary for the content curator to know the proper ways to cite authors, cite pages, rights, licenses and more. He must be attentive to whether the content that is being curated can be shared freely, for example in a virtual course.

The least that is desired is to generate problems for the educational institution for using content or material protected by the legislation of a country.

4. Share curated content creatively

When the content is already condensed, analyzed and ready to share, it is important to use imagination and creativity so that all the effort made in curation is translated into content that the virtual student finds entertaining to read, understand, apply and even urge you to do more research on validated sources .

Sometimes I have seen that in some virtual courses the content curators spend hours and hours doing their work to create a document with quality content, but this is translated into a document made up of only plain text, as if it were a paper book, without taking advantage of all the multimedia benefits of current technologies.

I have had to evaluate data from virtual courses where the student does not read all the content in plain text, considering it boring and too long; I have seen this phenomenon especially in millennial students. This translates into little use of the effort of a content curator.

It is important to use the design and layout resources that exist today to generate content that is enjoyable, interesting, interactive and attractive to the student.

With good content already curated, you can create videos, interactive presentations, audios, infographics, mind maps, and many other visual forms that allow you to extract the best from a data set.

5. Provide feedback on the impact of curated content

As a fifth strategy, it is important to evaluate if the curated content is appropriate for the student, for the course and for the generation of true learning.

It is necessary to create evaluations that allow establishing if the learning objectives were really covered, assessing if the examples presented are related to the content. It should be analyzed if the links to support pages worked in the course and were relevant to the student.

For example, through the analysis of the results of the evaluations carried out on the students of a virtual course, it is possible to know if the content helped the student to develop a new skill, if the content was easy to understand and finally if the content was curated. adds value to the educational program.

These questions help to generate an overview of the quality of the curated content, in order to create a system for continuous improvement of the content, the techniques used and the people who carry out this important work.

As you can see, there are many aspects that must be taken into account when curating content for a virtual course. Do you work as a content curator? Have you ever done this task? I would like to hear your comments to enrich this exciting and rewarding work.