Transitioning L&D from Create to Curate First

Why is the shift from create to curate so important? The transition to curation first can save organizations time and money by significantly reducing their design and development time to deliver high-quality and effective learning experiences. Often when organizations create learning, it can take months to deploy final learning experiences, resulting in outdated materials and lost opportunities. Finally, this shift enables an organization to focus on the specific context of their business need and on the high-touch learning events. All of which make the transition to curate first and then create a wise financial decision. It can immediately impact your bottom line with quicker learning deployment, and it can increase productivity by more quickly addressing skills gaps.

Why Is This Transition So Difficult?

Across industries, we consistently see organizations struggle with the idea of shifting from creating to curating first. We often find that organizations see their needs as unique as a snowflake. They can’t even imagine curating vs. creating. They consistently say, “no one else does things the way we do. We can’t possibly find content to fit our needs”. This strongly held belief leaves little room for the concept and discipline of ‘curation’. However, if they would take a moment to embrace curation, they would discover they can create the context necessary for their processes and point of view through a curation-first mindset.

Beyond this mindset shift, L&D roles need to evolve, and the process of designing and delivering learning in the organization also needs to mature. The good news is that the skillsets necessary to create learning are still needed. However, they are applied differently in curation first organizations but remain key to a successful shift to curate first and then create. So, what does it take to transition L&D to a curate-first culture?

Mindset Shift

Organizations must agree that they will shift their L&D mindset to curate first and then create. Gain buy-in across L&D leadership and within the ranks. L&D needs to understand that their skills are still very much needed, but they will be applied a bit differently as follows:

Instead of designing learning that you will create, they will design learning to curate first and then create as needed.

When designing for curation, they will still need to determine learning objectives and take other key design steps. They will also be creating a contextual story that will transform content into learning experiences to meet specific business needs.

Once this mindset shift takes place L&D should look for the right content providers that can meet their organization’s learning needs. It’s essential to begin this mindset shift before getting an LxP or determining content providers. With the buy-in to this new way of thinking, your L&D department can be instrumental in selecting content providers to enable a successful shift to curation first.

Recognize Content vs. Curation

Our clients often wonder why they need to purchase 3rd party content and pay their people or contract with us to curate. Employees, like Customers, don’t have time to go sifting through a myriad of categories and choices. They need help finding and consuming the best content that is relevant to build the skills the organization needs to be successful.  That’s where the art and science of curation within the LXP rises to the challenge and seeks to deliver the best learner experience in a short time frame.

What Is Needed?

The knowledge that buying content doesn’t equate to a relevant learning experience.

A curation-first mindset will enable learning experiences to be deployed more effectively and efficiently. Of course, that doesn’t mean that ‘create’ is completely dismissed in favor of 3rd party content. It just means taking the time to look to see what may be available. Then, figure out what can be curated and what needs to be created.

In the 5 + years we have been curating for our clients, we have never found a course from a 3rd party content provider that met their specific needs. That is why you will need to curate and create, even with a shift in mindset. Your L&D professionals will need to curate individual experiences from the 3rd party providers that meet your organization’s specific needs. Then they will need to create opportunities to reflect, discuss, and apply. Finally, your L&D professionals will write the story and weave it through the connected learning experiences to enable learners to build specific knowledge and skills for your organization. That is why we say “shift to curate first, then create” because inevitably, you will need to create a portion of almost every curated experience. This contextual story and created opportunities turn content into an effective curated learning experience. Of course, there are still times when learning needs to be primarily created. We often recommend curating the pre-requisites for high-touch synchronous learning. Getting learners started outside of the “classroom” will enable a more effective learning experience once they attend the virtual or face-to-face course.

Three Steps to Success

The Learning Experience Framework – LEF ® provides a blueprint for transforming roles, processes, and technologies into a cohesive learning ecosystem that promotes and enhances employee curiosity, performance, and workforce agility. This clear new framework can be your guide to making the shift to a curation-first organization that is inspired to enable people to gain the skills they need to be successful.

Step 1

Create a clear and robust Content Strategy by investigating and evaluating the Content Providers being consumed by employees today. Enable L&D to determine if there are content providers that might immediately make sense based on requests from the business or determined skills gaps. Then, map any existing internally created learning experiences. You can use a Content Provider Matrix to determine how to fill any content gaps.

We’ll have another article detailing the principles involved in managing  3rd party content providers and their content offerings later this year. Below is a list of the potential providers that you might be familiar with or need to consider:



Khan Academy

LinkedIn Learn





Itunes U



Harvard Business

Tutorial Point

Business Insider

Step 2

Open the discussion with your Learning & Development team to assess its resources, roles, and skills. Team members can be invited to grow their skills and become Curation Specialists or Experience Managers, shaping new and refreshing experiences for their target audiences. As you begin this transition, L&D will find that the skills necessary to create are still necessary for curation. Although the roles and responsibilities will differ from creation, their skills will still be necessary for a successful transition to curation first. Upskilling L&D is critical to the success of curation and the implementation of an LxP within an organization; St. Charles Consulting Group has designed and developed a process, templates, and experience that is deployed through your LxP. We will write more about this proprietary experience in a forthcoming blog post.

Step 3

Identify the Curation technology you intend to showcase your new learning experiences on, such as an LXP or a simple Website (Degreed, EdCast, Thrive, Home Built – Sharepoint, etc.).

Situated within the LEF the Learning Curation Pipeline defines the phases and processes required to generate curated learning experiences that meet the learner’s needs and maximize the investment in learning content providers. Your teams need to manage the Curation Pipeline to produce experiences that strike the balance between curation and creation.

What Do You Get?

Be aware that custom / internally created experiences are still necessary but it’s now an 80 / 20 rule, where internally created learning experiences are 20% of the investment made in learning across the enterprise. You also want to ensure this 20% is invested in the high touch instructor-led face-to-face or virtual experiences while leveraging curation for pre and post-requisite requirements.

By adopting a curation first mindset with the LEF we have seen organizations deliver:

  • L&D Professionals with a broader skillset
  • Relevant, effective, and timely learning experiences
  • Decreased time to market
  • Maximized Content License Utilization

For more information about our Curation Services or the LEF please reach out to Gina Richter or Tom Rynkowski.

Outlook and Trends Impacting Learning & Development

On today’s episode, we look at Part 2 of the current business landscape for L&D, what are the trends that are driving change, and what are the implications on Learning within organizations.