Quality training matters for a brain surgeon!
Would you want to be the patient operated upon by a brain surgeon who has been given access to Wikipedia articles written by fellow students, given access to a whole back catalogue of medical journals on brain surgery and told to figure out which of 3,000 different podcasts made available to them on the workings of the brain? Or would you prefer an appropriately educated professional who had followed a tried and trusted path to achieve a recognized and measured standard of excellence under the supervision of an experienced brain surgeon?
This question is central to the discussion about curated learning, and it is a question of quality and relevance that has to be at the forefront for every learning organization that sets out to curate learning.
Quality or Quantity? THAT is the Question
It almost seems like the days of proper instructional design are gone. To look at any blog or to read any article being written about learning at present, and it seems the big debate is the important shift from created to curated learning. But does anybody ever stop and really think through the impact? Do we not run a considerable risk of “throwing out the baby with the bath water” in an attempt to be fashionable? Is the quality of curated learning not the most important thing at the end of the day?
The major arguments in favor of curated learning involve the vast amounts of information available and accessible to learners and the variety of media which can be leveraged. What we rarely see stressed is the actual content itself, the substance and the learning efficiency and effectiveness of what we provide. Yes, we might make available multiple resources and options but are they all truly “fit for purpose”?
The Problem, Ironically, is the Quantity
There certainly isn’t a shortage of available online course catalogs, articles, online training videos, and tutorials that any organization can make available and “curate” for their own purposes.
However, the question we at BCR are asking is whether it is all about quantity. Is every one of these resources going to add value to your learners? In fact, there is an argument to say that too much information can potentially overload your learners and lead to cognitive overwhelm. The secret is surely to pay greater attention to the quality of the content of what is made available. And the sheer volume of content being “curated”, in many instances, means that there is a real suspicion that this isn’t the case!
Worst case, we are making available too much stuff, that isn’t good enough quality and is potentially going to overwhelm if not confuse our learners. Too often we have seen learners drowning in available resources without any clear strategy as to how the disparate pieces hang together or how to make sense of sometimes potentially conflicting learning.
Focus on the Quality
No one wants a brain surgeon educated only by curated content.
But are we saying that curated learning is totally the wrong direction? No, we aren't, but we are saying that whilst curation might be helpful, it's quality execution that really matters!
The question of quality and relevance has to be at the forefront for every learning organization that sets out to curate learning. Right now, we fear that the emphasis is on quantity and not on quality.