Knowledge Sommelier 101 - The Art of Curation in Education


Learner facilitators, be they teachers, parents or grand-parents, can today can curate or find learning resources online to enrich the learning experience they provide.

This course takes a step-by-step approach explaining the five-step curation process in education: 1. Defining desired learning outcomes, 2. Determining learner profile, 3. Finding appropriate learning resources using algorithmic, social and personal filters including open educational resources and MOOCs, 4. Organising the curated resources using a tool like Diigo, 5. Adding context and presenting elegantly.

The course is useful for teachers, trainers, independent educators, self-directed learners and other learner facilitators like grandparents. The course has two hours of video lectures.


1 Art of Curation Intro

1. Course and Instructor Introduction

A sommelier is a wine taster. A person who sips wine and distinguishes the bad from the good and the great. We can think of knowledge sommelier as a person who tastes knowledge nuggets and has the capability and discretion to find knowledge gems. With the growing abundance of free and high quality learning resources, learner facilitators, be they teachers or parents, can learn the art of curation and augment the learning experience they provide. This video provides an overview of the course.

2 What is Curation

2. What is Curation?

A curator adds a layer of meaning to a collection of resources. He or she lends a different perspective and adds context that makes the collection more meaningful for the intended audience. as a learner facilitator you need to first figure out what is the learning objective you wish you achieve — which could be imparting knowledge, helping learn life skills, or understanding emotions and dispositions, or whatever else you want the learner to appreciate and understand, and then based on the pedagogic profile of your learner, you can curate learning resources and thread them into your teaching.

3 Importance of Curation

3. Importance of Curation?

While the deluge of online information is a boon for curating knowledge nuggets to enhance a learning experience this deluge also implies that the information available may not be accurate and may in fact be biased or outright wrong. In this information we look at the emerging trends in education that make curation imperative.

4 Defining Learning Objectives

4. Defining Learning Objectives

In this session we will look at the process of content curation in the context of education. The content curation process in education involves five steps. We begin by defining the learning objective we wish to achieve as learner facilitators. Once there is clarity on the desired learning outcome, appropriate resources can then be curated to enrich the learning experience.

5 Determining Learner Profile

5. Determining Learner Profile

In this module we will consider how learner facilitators can profile the learners for whom they are curating so that they can find learning resources that are most suitable for their target learners and create a more personalised, enriched and meaningful learning experience.

6 Filtering Appropriate Learning Resources

6. Filtering Appropriate Learning Resources

To find good quality learning resources a learner facilitator can adopt several strategies and use different tools and techniques. For example, a learner facilitator can use different types of filters – algorithmic filters like Google, Social Filters. Open Educational Resources and Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are also good resources for curation.

7 Social and Personal Filters

7. Social and Personal Filters

A learner facilitator can also use Social Filters, also called ‘wisdom of the crowd filters’ where learning resources have been rated and ranked by other users and their collective wisdom can be relied on to find quality resources and personal filters like asking your peers or other teachers for referrals, using social networks like Facebook or services like Twitter and Quora.

8 Open Educational Resources

8. Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are learning resources that reside in the public domain, that is, they are not restricted and are accessible to all, free of charge. Some of these resources may be under a Creative Commons license, which unlike traditional copyrights allows content to be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon. Examples of OER include Wikepedia, Khan Academy, Academic Earth, iTunes University and CK12.


9. MOOCs

Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs are platforms that provide a web-based collaborative learning experience. Access to MOOCs is open and free and all the work done by the instructor and the learners is shared. The course facilitates participatory learning by including tools like wikis, tweets, blogs, videos, tags and discussion forums. MOOCs facilitate independent and lifelong learning and are excellent repositories for curating learning resources.

10 Organising Curated Resources

10. Organising Curated Resources

You start reading or viewing one online resource and get a reference or a hyperlink to another, which in turn leads you to a third resource and so on. You witness the deluge of information first hand, which can be overwhelming! In this module we look at tools that help you make your curation journey more systematic so that you can keep track of what you found useful. We take an in-depth look at Diigo.

11 Adding Context and Presenting Elegantly

11. Adding Context and Presenting Elegantly

In this module we look at presenting the curated learning resources elegantly along with the additional layer of context. Elegance depends on who is our target audience. For a young audience we could create a colourful newspaper using a service like PaperLi, or develop a mindmap using a service like Mindmeister, or design an online bulletin board using a service like Learnist or Pinterest. For older age groups we may create a Facebook page or a story bundle using a service like Storify, or use a curation service like ScoopIt. We need to remember that it is conversation and collaboration that lead to deeper comprehension and hence we may also need to create an online learning community, around curated resources, using services like Google Groups or Wikis.

12. Ethical Issues in Curation

12. Ethical Issues in Curation

Why do we need to consider ethical issues while curating? Simply because we are dealing with intellectual property that has been created by others, which we do not ourselves own. Adding a layer of context so that your curation is not just aggregation and proper attribution ensure that your curation does not degenerate into plagiarism.

13. Bringing It All Together

13. Bringing It All Together

In this module, with the help of an example we will walk through all the 5 steps of process of curation in education – Defining Learning Objectives, Determining Learner Profile, Filtering Learning Resources, Organising Learning Resources, Adding Context and Presenting Elegantly.

14 In Conclusion

14. In Conclusion

So how do you become a master curator? When you are curating as a learner facilitator, you need to first figure out the learning objective you wish to achieve. Then you need to consider the pedagogic profile of your learners. Once you have these two things in place then you can curate appropriate learning resource using the strategies we discussed — algorithmic, social or personal filters, or finding appropriate open educational resources and MOOCs. While curating, using an organizing tool like Diigo will make your life easy. Finally you need to add a layer of meaning that helps your learners connect the curated resources with their context and figure out the most elegant way of presenting the learning resources you have curated, where your objective could be to use these resources to build an online learning community for conversation and collaboration that lead to deeper comprehension. And that makes you a master curator!