Top 8 Agile Practices for Best eLearning Results

Top 8 Agile Practices for Best eLearning Results
Summary: While Agile has been proven to deliver higher-quality eLearning projects faster, thereby reducing both the time and the cost of developing courses, its benefits can only be reaped if Agile is done correctly. Here are a few best practices to follow when using Agile for eLearning project management/development.

Best 8 Agile Practices for eLearning

  1. Identify all of the impacted stakeholders and decision makers early on in the project, and invite them to your scrum sessions.
    Most eLearning projects fail because the right individuals and teams weren't consulted at the outset.
  2. Keep team sizes manageable.
    If you have 5 Graphics Designers, 4 Content Writers and 7 Web Designers at a scrum, there is likelihood that the session will get bogged down in minutia, and end without reaching a conclusion.
  3. Bring representative voices into the scrum.
    Each eLearning project is different, and every team will need to be organized differently. However, it is essential to have a cross section of representation on the team - even if that means nominating dissenters to scrum sessions.
  4. Meet daily.
    Resist the temptation to cancel daily Team Meetings. These team meetings help to visualize and develop content, and quickly identify and address expectations.
  5. Start iterations early.
    ELearning project sponsors are no different than those sponsoring any other type of project. They want to see REAL progress, FAST! While other iterative methodologies compelled them to wait for many months before a preview of what's to come, with Agile, you can start delivering iterations early.
  6. Release frequently.
    Most Agile eLearning PMs make the mistake of delivering the initial release of the course early on in the project timeline, and then maintain a "long silence" before the next release. For best results, iterate regularly (1 to 4 weeks) and release frequently (at least every 2 to 4 months).
  7. Get trained.
    If you and the team are new to Agile, the best way to benefit from this relatively new methodology is to get professional help. The key role of ScrumMaster must ideally be filled by someone who appreciates the essence of eLearning projects and can use Agile to break down barriers and remove impediments for the team.
  8. Get coached.
    Most organizations adopting Agile for the first time will likely have existing eLearning PM who might feel threatened. Yet, if you wish to succeed in an Agile project, you must transition the role of the traditional PM to the Agile Coach - someone who can navigate the world of Scrums and Iterations better than a (traditional) PM.

Final Thoughts

In case anyone thinks of Agile as a radical replacement of the fundamental way of approaching the design and development of eLearning courses, they are wrong.

Successful implementation of Agile in eLearning projects does not mean all other fundamental eLearning design principles - identifying learning objectives, structuring the course, storyboarding, designing individual modules, building the user interface, creating content - will be compromised. On the contrary, Agile helps to bring all of these fundamental building blocks together, and manages the entire development process so the final product is delivered quickly and to the highest standards.

In addition, you are more than welcome to read the ELearning Development - The Agile Way! article.

Last but not least, to learn about Project Management and Instructional Design for eLearning in general, you are more than welcome to check the Instructional Design for ELearning: Essential guide to creating successful eLearning courses book. This book is also available in Spanish