Why Curation Revolutionizes Education & Learning

10 Disruptive Factors Transforming the World of Education and Learning — Consequences, Opportunities, Tools

Robin Good
Content Curation Official Guide
9 min readJul 2, 2016


“It is the best of times. It is the worst of times.

In 2020, people have access to a breadth and depth of knowledge unimaginable in an earlier age. However, schools as you know them have ceased to exist.

Academia’s fortunes have waned. Twentieth century universities are an afterthought, a lonely remnant of a not too distant past.



The world of education is being deeply and rapidly transformed much more than the majority of people presently realize. It is not just a matter of taking courses online rather than in a physical classroom. The whole concept of how people go about educating themselves and how this “know-how” is provided to them, is being revolutionized at this very time.

From the opportunity to easily find an appropriate learning path among the ocean of free online top university courses, to the ability to bring together valuable content from different authors into custom textbooks, from learning by diving into the subject matter at hand to curating existing educational materials into a new course, the whole spectrum of activities and interests surrounding the educational world is being rapidly transformed.

And in this deep and far-reaching transformative process, curation plays an important, decisive role, as it provides a new paradigm around which much of this transformation takes place.

Initially, curation will play a major role both in the way we “teach” and in the way we educate ourselves on any topic. When and where it will be adopted, it will deeply affect many key aspects of the educational ecosystem.

Curation will directly affect the way competences are taught, how textbooks are put together, how students are going to learn about a subject, and more than anything, curation will affect the value that can be generated for “others” through a personal learning path.

If we learn not by memorizing facts, but by collaborating with others in the creation of a meaningful collection-explanations of specific topics/issues/events then, for the first time in history, we can enrich planetary knowledge each time we take on a new learning task.

10 Key Reasons Why Curation Revolutionizes Education and Learning

1) Curation is the new learning flag waived by those promoting student-centered education and tired by the traditional rote-memorization approach used by most of academia.

Curation is in fact a practical, immediately useful approach to study any subject in a way that allows much deeper understanding and comprehension of it than the classical mere rote-memorization of facts. Curation succeeds by allowing the student/researcher to dive into the subject and to analyze and explore it from multiple viewpoints. The objective in fact is not one of memorizing someone else interpretation of a fact or an issue, but to make sense of it, altogether, anew.

2) Curation is the new search approach when what you are looking for it’s not just a person, a product, a place, location or image of someone. When you search to learn, to know more, to create a mental map of something you are not familiar with, curation provides infinitely better answers than Google can. As a matter of fact Google relies on such curated work to provide best answers to such questions and Pinterest has publicly proven how popular and useful, a curated repository of curated collections, can be.

See: “All curation grows until it requires search. All search grows until it requires curation.” by Benedict Evans

3) Curation is the new Google when it comes to find in an ocean of offerings, top quality, new, relevant free courses from top universities.

Curation is indeed the new method to identify, create and offer quality and sound learning paths by picking and bringing together the best from the huge array of online educational offerings.

(See: Coursera, Springboard, Coursebuffet, eLearnhero)

4) Curation is the best way to identify, surface and make it easy to find new tools and resources on a specific subject, liberating the searcher from having to wade through tens of possible alternatives selected by a secret algorithm and giving him again the power to choose and rely on human, trusted guides.

(See: Edshelf, Producthunt, AlternativeTo.net, T5)

5) Curation is the new approach in building custom textbooks that bring together the best content for any specific subject matter.
(See: McGraw-Hill Create, Pearson, Pressbooks, Libguides)

6) Curation helps creating trusted trail-guides inside vast OER resources. Curation is the means by which valuable OER can be found, evaluated, organized and publicly shared for the benefit of many without getting forever lost.

7) Curation is the freeway that effectively empowers collective intelligence at a planetary level outside and beyond scientific research and academic circles. Grassroots curation will in fact completely disrupt these two areas. As we collaboratively research, vet, evaluate, assess, question, remix, add new perspectives and resources to what we know now, in an open fashion, we also extend our opportunities to learn, discover and expand our understanding of the world surrounding us, much faster and better than if we live it to an interested elite of expert knowledge guardians.

8) Curation is the spark that liberates humans from thinking that any and all information is and must be found through Google. Yes, Google is incredibly good when it comes to find a product, a person, an address, a specific item. But when you need to understand a subject you are not familiar with, Google itself can’t be of much help. In fact the search giant itself heavily relies on the work of specialists and curators who have already vetted and selected key resources into thematic collections when it finds itself in such situations.

9) Curation is the re-energized road to serendipitous finding. By bringing together information items and artifacts that are not normally associated but which are relevant, or which do share common traits and patterns to the theme being sought, the curator allows the collection explorer with great built-in opportunities for discovery and exploration inside and outside of the main theme.

10) Curation redresses truth as a relative factor. Curation heralds the gradual acceptance of a subjective, dynamic, interchangeable reality vs. the dogma of one reality and one only truth. When curating a topic, issue and resource there is not one unique and only reality to report. The subjective curator viewpoint, or a crowdsourced filtering and vetting process determine what is of value and what not. There is no ultimate truth.

In this light, the potential role of curation as a cultural device gradually empowering inquiring minds, questioning and the acceptance of multiple viewpoints, realities and truths could well shake deeply the ideas of education and learning as we know them today.

20+ Key Factors Paving the Way for Curation to Revolutionize Education and Learning

As I see it, there are more than 20 key factors which are paving the way for this deep transformation of the world of education and learning. These factors all pivot around the idea of curation and deeply affect how the worlds of academia, education, teaching and learning work.

My goal is:

  • to shake your present assumptions and prejudices about education and learning
  • to invite you to look with new eyes at how things in these areas will rapidly change and
  • to make you pay attention at how the practice of curation is going to be the fulcrum point around which the new world of education and learning will spin.

Here the 20+ factors that are affecting, influencing or outright transforming the world education and learning:

General Factors

  1. Learning is a growing multi-billion dollar business growing at a fast rate and it now embraces a much larger swath of the population, as educated adults need, demand and seek further learning opportunities.
  2. Constantly changing information. To be able to work in most industries up-to-date skills and information management abilities are needed. Relying on static facts and information is not anymore what it is required to survive and succeed in whichever endeavor one wants to follow.
  3. Overabundance of disorganized and yet-to-be-vetted information.
    Abundance of information, content, books and tools. Lack of alternatives to commercial search engines (quality, vetted and reviewed expert hubs).
  4. Short lifespan of online content and resources.
    Rapid loss of existing published information. Linkrot.
    Frequent changes and updates to existing content and resources.
  5. Real-world info is not held inside silos. In the real world all info is interconnected. From mathematics to design everything is deeply intertwined. The academic world tends not to see things this way and keeps realms of interest rigidly separated.
  6. In-depth info consumption is on the rise. In contrast to the widespread uncritical news consumption and lack of information gathering and evaluation skills, there is also a growing number of people disillusioned with mainstream superficial news coverage which are hungry for in-depth, investigative type of journalism. And they are even willing to pay for it.
  7. Demand for trusted guidance. Increasingly, human beings prefer to trust the opinions and view of a competent, passionate person, similar to them and with no apparent “interests” rather than the official agency, ministry or brand spokesperson highly interested statements, claims or news. Trust is given to those who publicly demonstrate their competence by way of sharing useful resources and info beyond their personal interest and convenience, rather than to “official” entities who do not owe their visibility to actual merit.


  1. From teaching to learning. From transmission to diving. A major evolutionary step in how we think about education and learning is underway. The future is all about taking in greater consideration the learner and the process by which he builds knowledge and understanding. The system is slowly but gradually moving away from a top-down, one truth, memorize everything, book-based approach, to a learner-centered one.
  2. Decreasing value and usefulness of university degrees and other academic certifications. Many jobs and careers do not require having a university degree.
  3. Alternative certification systems emerging. Today it is possible to attend top quality university courses online, for free, and to pay just for the exam and certification.
  4. Increasing costs of higher education make it more and more difficult for a large number of students to access the US education system and similar ones. As a consequence students start searching for alternative learning paths.
  5. A growing number of “Open” Teaching / Learning content hubs.
    If you want to learn, master a skill or be certified in a specific industry, universities are not anymore your only possible destination. There exist now many learning hubs, most of them non-commercial, that offer access to a large free catalog of courses across all subject matters.
    (Khan Academy, EdX)
  6. Growing abundance of free, and alternatively licensed Open Educational Resources (OER), these include texts, guides, video and more that are being made available for free, public use.
  7. Textbooks show aging signs similar to the ones shown by teaching methods:
    * top-down delivery of information to be memorized
    * use of only text and images is limiting
    * often one-author, one point of view
    * page-based linear display format also limits ability to see more than just small individual chunks of information.
    Now teachers can curate their textbooks. And not just to save money to their students (see: My Open Textbook: Pedagogy and Practice)
  8. Commercial learning platforms. Outside the academic learning path there now exists several major commercial learning hubs where it is possible to master and be certified for all kinds of skills and competences that are often not supported inside the academic world.
    (Lynda.com/LinkedIN, Udemy, Teachable, etc.)
  9. Educational marketplace now open to thousands of competitors. Fast-growing learning marketplaces — an increasing number of organizations and individuals offering professional courses on just about any topic through free and open learning marketplaces.

Job Marketplace

  1. Increasing reliance on skill level and experience in job recruitment and not on accredited certification (especially in non-traditional fields of work).
  2. Increasing demand for competence and skills outside academic curricula.
  3. Changing skills market — demand for new skills. Knowing not good enough. Thinking skills required. Find, vet, organize, make-sense, present.


  1. Growing availability of content curation tools. Abundance of tools to gather/collect, vet/verify, organize, add value and present/distribute information.
  2. Growing number of content discovery tools.
  3. Boom of educational technology startups. Growing number of startups investing in organizing information and education/learning.
A musical ode to digital curation (2011) — From an original idea by Joyce Valenza

Thank you for reading.

I am Robin Good, an independent author / publisher with a terminal addiction: help others effectively communicate, learn and market their ideas by not following the hustler path, but by creating true shared value via curation.

Find more of my ideas on curation right here:

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Robin Good
Content Curation Official Guide

Focus on curation and on creating monetizable value by organizing existing information: https://robingood.substack.com - https://curationmonetized.substack.com