Earlier this month we invited a number of friends and clients to the latest of our new Experience Day events: #HT2xCuratr. The focus this time round (as the name suggests), was Curatr.

Aside from catching up over tea and cake, the event had 3 core objectives:

  1. To see how our clients are using currently Curatr
  2. To compare and analyse the benefits that Curatr brings them
  3. To help us understand what we could do differently to help bring further success to our clients

As I’m still fairly new to the [HT2 Labs] business – and the Learning Technologies industry as a whole – the day provided me with some great insights into how customers are using our products in some often very different ways.

(We also took a look at some of ‘Curatr’s hidden gems’ that can help users get even more value from the platform)

I also realised that even though everyone else at the event was already a Curatr user, they often hadn’t thought about using it in the way that others’ had.

So, I wanted to take the opportunity to share some of these stories with you, dear reader, too.

A Brief History of the Curatr Learning Platform

Since the idea for Curatr first surfaced as an idea as part of our CEO Ben’s PhD, we have been slowly building our expertise and understanding on how it can be used to deliver meaningful learning experiences at scale.

Despite huge variations in how the platform is applied in both corporate and education contexts, its fundamental values remain consistent: In essence, Curatr is about exploration.

If you’ve never seen it, here’s an early video of Ben explaining Curatr’s guided social learning approach:

Initially inspired by the structure of a traditional museum, ‘objects’ of interest are curated to cut through the clutter and deliver learning in a focused, social and organised forum for users (or visitors) to explore.

This style of learning allows for the dynamic, flexible and collaborative consumption of learning materials at any scale and in any context.

In Conversation: Customer Experiences with Curatr

The discussions had during our Curatr Experience Day highlighted the platform’s fundamental ability to adapt to many different learning approaches and scenarios; with benefits being felt across many functions within, and across, organisations.

Three use cases stood out in particular: using Curatr for onboarding, for sales leadership, and for skills development.

Using Curatr for Onboarding

The first striking real world example came from a Global Learning Innovation Technology Business Partner at one of our larger clients.

This organisation, who have recently globalised their L&D function to support a vast network of employees, no longer see traditional elearning or face-to-face (F2F) training as a viable solution given their scale.

With Curatr newly deployed, a blended learning approach has been adopted to serve sales, management and onboarding training needs. This approach is especially pertinent to one of their biggest logistical challenges – delivering a consistent global onboarding experience.

Operating in complex and fast-moving markets mean the organisation have a lot of content to impart to their new employees.

Their solution: A MOOC containing 170 learning objects housed within 34 levels which allows new hires to cover all aspects of their new role in one place, from company culture to product training and regulatory compliance.

An Onboarding module built in Curatr

This training works in tandem with the day-to-day roles of new hires, supplementing real world tasks and challenges to support, track and measure their journey to competence.

To ensure new hires maintain contact with the onboarding course the business employs a full-time course facilitator; monitoring learner progress, sending reports to respective managers, and tracking individual learner journeys using xAPI data and Learning Locker LRS.

For a company of this size effective training means global scalability, adapting to various learning approaches and flexible deployment; all of which Curatr enables at an affordable cost.

Using Curatr for Sales Leadership

Next up was the Global Director for Sales Excellence for a multinational pharmaceutical company.

This organisation created a 4 week ‘Leadership Selling’ course to be rolled out globally to both english speaking and non-english speaking markets; as facilitated by Curatr’s translation tools.

The course was delivered through the ‘lense’ of various sub-brands; from cardiovascular and respiratory health, to diabetes medication – ensuring applicability in all core areas of the business.

Having moved away from traditional elearning methods, this organisation is now benefitting from vastly increased communication and information flow; with the firm’s training function now able to track conversations being had by sales teams to help identify gaps in training and areas for improvement.

Curatr’s social interface also meant it could be used as a coaching tool, with first line sales managers navigating courses along with their staff, participating in real time conversations and curating topical, relevant resources.

Since it has become available to them, content curation is now a significant driver of this organisation’s global training initiative (rather than content creation).

This allows them to independently curate their own learning content as needed without waiting for third party involvement (such as a content provider) – allowing for crucial speed and autonomy in a heavily regulated and fast-moving industry.

This organisation’s intuitive application of Curatr across core business functions has earned them being named as a finalist for the Digital Learning and Transformation Award at the 2018 LPI Learning awards.

Using Curatr for Skills Development

Perhaps the most unique use case that was discussed came from the Head of Program and Project Management at an international NGO who specialise in learning and capacity development in underprivileged areas.

This organisation have been using Curatr to deliver project management training for just over a year, typically running courses every 2 months with 50-60 users in over 60 countries worldwide.

In some cases, training is being delivered in hostile and often inaccessible areas, including refugee camps and conflict zones.

As we’ve seen in our previous examples, changing corporate and political landscapes mean traditional elearning methods are no longer viable for global companies.

The nature of these environments means that F2F training just isn’t an option. In addition to financial constraints and logistical challenges, team members and support workers in these areas simply can’t afford to be taken away from their roles for training periods.

Curatr_for_project_management

This is where Curatr’s simplicity of use and flexibility of deployment provides huge value to the organisation, who heavily utilise mobile training to alleviate logistical challenges in hostile areas.

An example given is that of a taxi driver from Abuja (Nigeria), who accessed a project management course via his mobile phone as his only means. His resultant qualification, once he’d passed the course, enabled him to secure employment as a logistician, significantly improving his quality of life.

From the organisation’s perspective, collaboration and content sharing is also a key driver of success. The organisation were able to integrate their own content with that of another NGO when creating a course together; de-duplicating where necessary and filling gaps with content creation – which proved to be a far more efficient and realistic method of course management.

This noble application of Curatr to better the lives of those less fortunate has also been recognised by the industry and is currently awaiting the outcome of the Best Learning Technologies Project – Public and Nonprofit Sector (International) category at the 2017 Learning Technologies Awards.

Facilitation: The Key To Success

Throughout the day, a key theme that surfaced repeatedly during our client discussions was that of facilitation. It is no secret that facilitating your MOOCs works wonders for both user engagement and general MOOC housekeeping.

However during our Curatr event the extent of the impact had by facilitation was truly felt, with the majority of our clients employing a course facilitator on an ad-hoc, regional and sometimes full-time basis.

All clients we spoke to at the event agreed that the more involved a facilitator is during a MOOC, the higher engagement is amongst course delegates.

Oftentimes, facilitators work closely with the data coming out of Curatr, using it to praise, reward, inform and direct users as needed throughout and to help to drive real behavioural change.

Our own research findings suggest that a facilitated course with half the amount of users received significantly more engagement than the un-facilitated course.

A comparison of engagement with a facilitated course VS a non-facilitated course

The stats show that the facilitated course (Course A) received 60x more comments and 36x more object views than the non-facilitated course (Course B).

Engagement levels in this case differ considerably, illustrating the stark difference between the ‘fire and forget’ (non-facilitated) approach and the ‘fire and keep firing’ approach (facilitated).

With MOOCs, it is clear that the ‘build it and they will come’ mentality is wholly inaccurate: Without guidance and support provided by a facilitator, users are often tentative to be the first to contribute their ideas as ‘empty room’ syndrome takes hold.

By asking questions, igniting discussion and actively encouraging users to engage with a course, the facilitator removes the user’s (perhaps subconscious) reluctance to ‘be the first’ by ‘being the first’ themselves.

Learning from Experience

Just like a living, breathing MOOC, our Curatr Experience Day provided valuable insight through community discussion, resource sharing and, of course, facilitation (thanks Craig!).

Attendees left the day with more than just a new appreciation of Curatr’s vast application and ability to adapt to learning in almost any context: They left feeling inspired to push their use of Curatr further; from planning extensive A/B tests amongst their workforce to refine and improve their training efforts, to creating a MOOC purely for facilitators to drive a sense of community and share hints, tips and best practice.

But if there’s one message that resonated loudest across the day, it’s this: if you don’t facilitate, your learners won’t congregate!

Arrange a demo to find out what Curatr could do for your business.

About the Author

Sam joined the HT2 Labs team at the start of May 2017 having recently graduated with a First Class (Hons) Marketing, Advertising and Communications Degree. His previous digital experience encompasses both fast-paced agency roles and large-scale retail email marketing.

A drummer in local Oxford band Temper Cartel, Sam spends much of his spare time rehearsing and spending time with fellow bandmates.

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