To curate or to create learning content?

September 21st, 2022
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In a world where learning happens daily, synchronous with exploring the digital space in which we work, live, and socialise, it is not uncommon for learning and development teams to face the decision of whether its better to create or curate learning content.

Organisations invest millions in training, upskilling and reskilling employees, leaders, customers, and clients. Although the answer to this question might seemingly require a simplistic response, it isn’t always that straight forward.

The answer to the question, should thus not be an either or but rather that of how best we balance curated and custom created content within the organisation.  Within the learning strategy which defines the methods of learning the organisation will invest in, a learning framework guides course design alignment to the learning goals, outcomes, and culture.  The type of content, quality of content, urgency of procurement and requirement for bespoke or off the shelf content is thus dependant on the aforementioned.

Curated content gathered from trusted sources such as universities, learning institutions or industry experts may add prestige and insight.  Curated content often presents an adaptable and functional approach to building out your corporate learning library.  Dependant on the type of course, the impact, audience, learning method and language use, an organisation might require the need for custom created content. 

Our advice is to think practically around the key needs of the organisation as well as the traits and characteristics of the content and evaluate the decision against the following criteria:

  • Cost vs. opportunity
  • Existing organisational frameworks, models, language and learning content
  • Level of speciality
  • Timelines
  • Learning audience
  • Regulatory or compliance requirements

In reviewing the above criteria, the cost of creation of content should be reviewed against the opportunity, and longer timelines should be anticipated. Curated content could restrict adapting to organisational language however presents a solution when the organisation lacks the expertise internally to create the content themselves, and often present a more acceptable price point and timeline.  In addition, it is important to understand how often the content will need to be refreshed, updated, or realigned.   Selecting an evaluation committee aligned to implementing a structured process to evaluate content against guide effective decision-making.

In summary, we assist clients in evaluating the best route to follow and review the criteria to guide decision making.  Below are some best practice tips we agree with:


  • Blend for best results
  • Implement a structured evaluation process and set of criteria
  • Feedback from executives and learners are vital to guide content development
  • Learning preferences can be incorporated with custom development
  • Skin curated content to compliment and match learning objectives and learning culture

Author: Maud Botten, Associate Partner and Learning Solutions Lead.

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