Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Agile Rules For The eLearning Business

4 basic principles of eLearning

Many L&D teams have adapted the iterative approach to developing courses. It enables them to design eLearning courses that have better business value and a more positive impact on bottom line. Below are the 4 core principles of Agile from the Agile Manifesto and some examples describing the importance of these principles that have revolutionized the way eLearning development teams create courses.

1. Individuals and interactions through processes and tools

If, after interacting with the customer, the developers find that some other tools are better and / or that changes are required in the existing development process, this should be prioritized. Sticking to a legacy process even though it has proven successful in the past and the new project clearly has different requirements is not agile.

The first agile principle focuses on communication between different members of the development team, SMEs, customers and external stakeholders. This helps the developers determine which path will help them achieve their goal faster.

For example, if your organization used Tool A for a specific purpose, but now you feel that Tool B is more appropriate for a new project, consider switching. Processes and tools are important for building an eLearning course. At the end of the day, however, they stand behind the actual needs and requirements of the team, which are decided in discussions.

2. Working Software via Comprehensive Documentation Document

“Software” generally means a product, which in this case is an eLearning course.

Instead of spending a lot of time creating long and detailed documents that no one really reads, focus on creating something that is of value to the user. If an eLearning course is designed to be really knowledge-rich but doesn’t address the issue the course is targeting, then it is not agile.

Agile principles for the eLearning industry

For example, if a user has to put in a lot of effort to get the reward, it is not a good product. If a learner has to go through too many modules to solve a simple problem, the eLearning course will not be efficient. The effort a learner makes should be proportional to the size of the problem he is trying to solve.

3. Cooperation with the customer through contract negotiations

Instead of thinking about the “terms of engagement,” ask your customer what they want first. Prioritizing the customer’s needs over the financial or business elements of the interaction will help any L&D team become more agile.

Contracts are always part of a business transaction. However, it must not prevent the eLearning developers from working with their clients to create a course that is better tailored to the needs of the client.

4. Respond to the change according to a plan

This agile principle advises not to move forward, regardless of the level of development completed, if new information suggests that the course will not bring the desired results.

Agile principles for the eLearning industry

For example, if in the first couple of cycles of review you learn that a product is not going to do well this way, a pivot is required. Understanding the change in the mindset and behavior of users and turning the product into what they actually want is more agile. It makes the product more useful.

Agile has a number of principles to help you and your team achieve a better product market fit for your eLearning course that will produce the desired results in terms of knowledge and performance. One of the important things to keep in mind is that there are no specific steps or processes to implement agile in eLearning development. The steps to achieving agility in eLearning development are unique to each team, client, course, and organization. It goes without saying that there is no such thing as “one-size-fits-all”.

Sum up

The above series of examples could be used to understand the principles of Agile in relation to eLearning. It can help L&D professionals become more agile and create quality eLearning courses faster. In order to achieve the desired results or impact on the outcome, it is crucial to be agile.

There are no specific steps to magically making an eLearning course development process fully agile. As with the principles of Agile, adoption is done through constant iteration and a lot of learning. Trying and experimenting with new ideas and strategies, and adjusting over time based on external feedback, is a great way to start the transition to agile.

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