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Agile Learning and Development: Making the Most of it

Agile principles have been a staple in software development for years. But did you know that those same principles can be applied to learning and development? Leveraging agile principles can help us create better learning experiences, particularly when it comes to online training. 

Let’s take a look at how agile principles can be implemented in the realm of learning and development. 

Iterative Design & Development Cycles 

Agile methodologies encourage rapid iterations and frequent feedback loops. In the world of learning and development, this means that we should design our courses with short cycles, allowing for more frequent updates based on user feedback and data analytics. This allows us to make informed decisions about what content works best for learners—and which parts are not so successful. 

Iterating often also allows us to make course-level improvements quickly, such as changing the instruction design or adding new content as needed. 

User Focus

Agile principles emphasize user-centered design, which is essential in the world of learning and development. By collaborating with our learners and understanding their needs, we can create courses that are tailored specifically to their preferences while also ensuring they get the most out of their training. 

Additionally, involving stakeholders early in the process allows us to gain insight into how they want the course to be structured and which topics are most important for them. 

Cross-Functional Teams & Collaboration 

Agile teams are typically composed of cross-functional members who work together towards a common goal.  This allows for a more efficient process as there is an increased level of collaboration between disciplines. By leveraging each team member’s knowledge and experience, we can create better solutions than any one individual could have accomplished. We also need to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard in order to foster a safe environment for collaboration, learning, and execution.

This same principle applies to creating effective learning experiences. We should strive to bring together different stakeholders (e.g., instructional designers, subject matter experts, and project managers) early on in the process so that everyone can collaborate throughout the course’s creation and implementation. Doing so will ensure that each individual’s expertise is incorporated into the final product, resulting in a high-quality course with many different perspectives represented within it. 

Continuous Improvement & Reflection

Finally, one of the most important aspects of agile software development is continuous improvement through reflection on successes and failures alike — something that is just as important when creating a learning experience. As mentioned earlier, we should use analytics to get an understanding of how our learners interact with our courses so that we can make improvements accordingly (e.g., by removing unnecessary content or making changes to an instruction design). 

Additionally, having regular check-ins with stakeholders during the development process allows them to provide their own insights into what works well for learners — providing context that might not otherwise be available from analytics alone.  

In summary, leveraging agile principles for enhanced learning and development has its benefits — helping us create better experiences faster than ever before! By iterating often with cross-functional teams collaborating throughout the entire process, we can ensure that our courses are of high quality while also being able to make quick improvements based on user data analytics or stakeholder feedback whenever necessary! 

Ultimately, leveraging agile principles is an effective way to develop engaging online training solutions quickly and efficiently!

If you are interested in learning more about how to use agile methodologies in your learning and development programs, please sign up for one of our upcoming courses from our team of expert instructors.

Joe Pierce
Joe Pierce

With more than 20 years of experience as a program manager and organizational leader, Joseph Pierce has a proven record of success in leading multiple strategic projects. Specializing in the implementation of training, leadership, and information technology programs in corporate, academic, and military settings. Joe has successfully managed over 40 strategic projects using Agile, Scrum, and Systems Development Life Cycle methodologies. Possessing a B.S. in economics from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a M.S. in management and an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland.