Agile and L&D

As a former IT trainer and programmer (in my engineering career) I was fascinated by anything which helped me to programme more efficiently.

I learned to programme back in the early 80’s when we were still using punch cards so the fewer lines of code, the shorter your stack and the less impact of accidentally dropping them. Elastic bands were considered an essential piece of kit in programming back then!

Having been at the start of when object oriented programming emerged, it was a time when reusing and repurposing efficient bits of code was at the forefront of everyones mind. AGILE was just emerging in the late 1990’s as a way to manage IT projects against a back drop of increasing storage (and lack of punch cards!) It was heralded as an innovative way to ensure speed of delivery as well as producing a minimum viable product to allow for testing and feedback. This was seen to be a much more efficient way to produce the millions of lines of code that were often required.

In the last few years I have heard more and more about what AGILE means in the L&D space and I had my own take on it when I spoke at the Learning Technologies Summer Forum in 2018. What I shared back then, still stands, I believe. It goes beyond pure methodologies in rapid design and looks at why we should align ourselves with the organisation to deliver learning products that deliver on what the organisation and the learners both need. 

 

Here are the 4 key points for L&D:

  1. ‘Infiltrate’ the organisation, by getting know what its goals are and understanding what the priorities should be. Network like mad to get to know the right people to connect with. Dig deeper into the data to dine areas of concern and don’t take one data point or source as being gospel!
  2. From the networking then determine which stakeholders you need to spend most time with by doing a stakeholder analysis.
  3. Set clear outcomes that are important to your stakeholders so that they will measure! Make sure your line managers are aligned to these outcomes too! keep your eyes not he prize!
  4. Listen to what is going on  then encourage and feedback.

You can find out more about this from my book “How Not To Waste Your Money On Training “

Just recently I attended the CIPD Festival of Work and was really interested in Carlo Beschi’s talk on “Agile Methodologies to Create Responsive Learning”. This is my visual summary on his session:

What I took from this for my own business is to start small and have a few iterations, gaining feedback to:

  1. Gauge interest
  2. Iron out glitches
  3. Test out the platform

I have done this for my online course “Creating Beautiful Visual Notes” – it is in the pilot stage at the moment, getting feedback and when the final product emerges in a few weeks it will hopefully have some of the glitches ironed put.

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