As Learning & Development departments adopt more technology to further their mission, new terms spread dizzyingly fast and useful terms float in a sea of jargon and buzzwords. To help you stay on top of the trends, Degreed is launching a new L&D Dictionary blog series.

In each installment, we go over the traditional or dictionary definition of an L&D term before going on to explain its significance to the modern learning world. Armed with these definitions, you can cut through the hype to apply new concepts to your training offerings so your employees remain on the cutting edge.

cuˈration, n.

 1. The action of curing; healing, cure.
2. Curatorship, guardianship.
Draft additions  1993
b. The supervision by a curator of a collection of preserved or exhibited items.
“cuˈration, n.”. OED Online. January 2018. Oxford University Press. (accessed January 19, 2018).

Curation is one of the hottest topics in Learning & Development, but dictionaries haven’t quite caught up.

Degreed defines curation as the process of evaluating, organizing, and sharing learning resources around a specific topic while adding context with your own instruction to create a personal, relevant experience.

If you’re new to curation, where do you start? Curation is a valuable tool you can use to provide more tailored instruction to employees with the same limited time you have.

Traditionally, if you wanted to share new material, you had to analyze the need, find Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), interview them, design your learning activity, draft material, review it (with your SME, whose time is also limited), provide the materials, collect feedback, and (hopefully) update the material for next time. That meant each content area was a real commitment, and lots of emerging topics just couldn’t make the cut. In today’s dynamic learning landscape, you need to move faster to help employees keep up with the ever-changing nature of their work.

When you curate learning content, you don’t have to create all-new materials yourself. Instead, seek recommendations for relevant materials from SMEs or research to find some yourself. These can be from professional organizations, luminaries in the field, or your SMEs’ own materials shared online. By combining content from other sources to cover the general portion of your material, you leave yourself more time to create new content where it really counts—about organization-specific processes or concepts.

Interested in learning more about curation? Check out this Degreed Pathway.

Next definition: User-Generated Content

Many of us have been there. You pull in to LaMars or Krispy Kreme and there is a 10×10 case full of at least 10 choices of donuts. You’ve got sprinkles, filled, iced, cake, yeast, chocolate, vanilla, maple, circle, log…the choices go on.


The same goes for learning. You do an online search on a subject area in which you need more information, and poof – 200,000 results. You’ve got a library of content to sift through. This many choices can be confusing and maybe even paralyzing in some cases. People think, “Where do I begin” or “How can I find the best of this?” In some spheres, we can rely on expert judgment or crowdsourcing for the initial vetting (think Consumer Reports and Amazon’s star ratings).

But here’s where curation is like donuts – both are better in moderation.

As said by the Oppenheimer AVP of Organizational Development, Patrick Osborne, “There is a diminishing return in having too much content.  One donut is a treat.  Five is a tummy ache.  Ten donuts is a trip to the ER.”

While ten donuts seems like a good idea (been there, done that!), the after effects – not so much. Same goes for content. Too many choices means the user will make no choice – they are too overwhelmed.

In a world of virtually limitless information and learning content, the curator provides a valuable service by simplifying what people see and sifting out all the noise, junk, and inferior options.

Osborne’s advice? “Measure by weight, not by volume.  Be ruthlessly selective. The curator is also a de facto editor.  She decides what people will see, and what they won’t.  There’s an awesome power and responsibility in that.”

It’s good advice, but how does the rubber hit the road? How is Oppenheimer using curation? Well, you will have to come to Degreed LENS in September and attend Patrick’s workshop, “Upskill Yourself: Curating Skills” to find out. Kidding. Kind of.

Like many organizations, Oppenheimer is increasingly hearing from individuals that they have “no time” for learning.  Patrick thinks that’s partly reality but also a statement of modern learner preference—employees want things to be as short, convenient, and interesting as we can make it.  We used to be able to sell 20-30 minute online learning programs.  Now people want 2-3 minute microlearning.

Thanks to curation, the best, most relevant resources for the individual have already been served up in a single place. Oppenheimer is now offering a much broader range of options for learners than they have in the past, and shifting resources away from developing and delivering traditional learning (or outsourcing it) and concentrating on building an infrastructure based on learner centricity.

Patrick’s favorite thing about curation? “I enjoy the challenge of the hunt and the thought that goes into crafting something well.  The mechanics of creating learning pathways are trivially simple.  The challenge (the art?) is in creating a pathway someone would willingly and voluntarily spend time using.  That requires thought and skill and creativity.”

For real this time – Patrick will be speaking about Oppenheimer’s curation journey, alongside Harley-Davidson and St. Charles Consulting Group, at Degreed LENS in September. There are still spots for the conference and his workshop – register and get more information here! Who knows – donuts may be included.

Today, learning content is everywhere. Degreed counts nearly 1,400 providers of live and online courses, videos, books, articles, blogs, podcasts, and more. Finding, curating, and personalizing the absolute best content from any source, in any format, has become a core responsibility for today’s L&D professional.

Degreed curates learning in 5 ways:  

  1. L&D and subject expert led curation (push learning)
  2. Machine curation (automated learning recommendations)
  3. Social curation (peer-to-peer collaboration)
  4. Personal curation (pull learning)
  5. Curation services (curation-as-a-service)


L&D-led and SME-led curation

There is a lot of great content out there from a variety of sources. L&D no longer needs to build all learning content from scratch. With the rapid pace our industries are moving, it’s nearly impossible to keep up on every topic. Degreed’s Pathways give your L&D professionals and subject-experts a simple, yet powerful toolkit to search, structure and share existing learning resources (in any format, from any system, inside or outside your organization). Anyone with authoring rights can curate, collaborate and publish high-quality, blended learning experiences on any topic or skill – all in just minutes or hours, not days or weeks.

A Pathway is a collection of learning content that can be used for sharing knowledge on any topic. A pathway can include a combination of content from any source, including your organization’s proprietary content, (like courses from your LMS, content from Sharepoint sites, or internal wikis), eLearning courses from partners, online videos, articles, podcasts, events, books, or more.

A basic informal pathway can be built in as little as 20 minutes. Pathways on advanced competencies take an average of 8-12 hours for a learning strategist to design, develop, and polish, which is a huge time saving when compared to the days and weeks it takes to build a custom course from scratch.

Any user with the pathway authoring permission can create and share pathways with the rest of the organization, and add subject matter experts as collaborators. Building a pathway doesn’t require any special expertise or training. It’s done in Degreed with a simple drag and drop interface. Users can leverage the Degreed Button browser integration to add content to a pathway, without even visiting the Degreed site.


To learn more about pathway authoring, visit: pathway authoring.

Machine Curation Personalized for Each User

Bersin by Deloitte reported that 88 percent of learning professionals believe employees don’t have or make time to engage with corporate learning. But our data suggests that people will invest time in learning if they get credit or if it leads to professional growth (Degreed). Degreed offers system generated recommendations, personalized for each employee, giving employees the learning they need for career growth, but don’t have time to search for on their own.

  • Personalized Dashboard – The first thing a user sees when they log into Degreed or launch the mobile app are personalized recommendations, called Today’s Learning. Five items of personalized learning, delivered each day. The engine pulls from a variety of sources including, recommended items, popular items in the user’s network, experts the user is following, pathways the user is enrolled in, items the user has saved for later.
  • Personalized Browse – When searching for content, the user is first given default options similar to the Netflix browse experience, based on the user’s specific interests. Helping users find the content they wouldn’t normally find on their own.
  • Personalized Search – Search results are personalized for each user based on the groups they are a member of.
  • Organizations can influence the personalization engine by auto enrolling individuals in groups and pathways, and add learning categories to a user’s profile based on role, responsibilities, or skills required. The user can further personalize their experience in Degreed by joining groups with like minded learners, enrolling in pathways that interest them, and adding interests and career aspirations to their profile.


To learn more about how Degreed platform creates a personalized experience for each user see: Why Personalization is the Best Way to Re-Engage the Corporate Learner

Social Curation

Formal classroom training is still an important part of how people learn, but these types of formal learning experiences happen on average once every 3-4 months. Informal, self-serve, and peer learning connect the dots in-between. 70% of people we surveyed learn from peers or by reading articles and blogs every week (Degreed).

Social collaboration is one of the best ways to engage corporate learners, and help employees stay on top of industry trends. Degreed gives you a complete set of intuitive tools to crowd-source and amplify all the learning and development already happening across (and beyond) your organization. Everyone – L&D professionals, line managers and individual employees – can easily add ratings, takeaways and comments to any content; share, recommend and discuss resources with individuals or their teams; and find, follow and collaborate with experts or groups. Users can see popular items in the groups they have joined, and across the organization.


Personal Curation

Degreed empowers every user to curate their own, unique learning experience by building personal Pathways. Everyone with a Degreed account can easily discover, mix and match their own collections of their favorite learning and development content on-the-fly. This empowers the learner to drive their own learning and professional development on any topic they choose to learn. Degreed empowers learners to solve their own problems – browsing and searching to find relevant content to find quick answers. Once learners find what they need, they can save it for later or add it to a personal Pathway (even when they’re not on Degreed) using the Degreed Button browser integration or the Degreed mobile app.



Content Services

And with Degreed, you never have to build a pathway from scratch. Degreed provides a large library of predefined pathways covering today’s hottest topics and competencies, and allows users to easily clone and customize these pathways. Degreed also provides a team of curation experts that specialize in analyzing and assisting with your content needs.


Ready to get curating? Visit