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Agile Learning Design – The Background


This blog post has been ‘brewing’ for quiet sometime – about 18 months, actually, give or take 3 months. I’ve been wondering about why I’ve been following blogs, tweets, and sites to do with Agile, Scrum, Software Development, Management Styles, Happiness… (and the list goes on), when most of my working day is spent on teaching, learning, group interactions, learner achievement and engagement? 

Hence this post, which is my attempt at trying to justify my ‘distraction’ from completing my actual assignment for SYD701 – Systems Development Methodologies. Writing blog posts for SYD701 is not required – such a shame!

First, I came up with the following Venn Diagram to visualise my thoughts-

Agile Learning Design

I have a varying level of experience in the main topics/circles above, the least of which is definitely in software development! (If you’d like to follow my journey of discovering apps, you may wish to have a look at Belmapps)

There’s a common thread to all of the topics – all of them were introduced to me by colleagues, friends, managers, who made the topics relatively easy to understand, and most enjoyable. They were passionate about their subject!

As I discovered more about each area, I’ve also come to realise that building relationships is one of the main ingredients in achieving positive results, if not the main. Ok, this may sound over ’emotional’ but it’s often difficult to measure personal relationships. It’s much easier to measure the outcomes. Without getting too ‘touchy/feely’ and ‘over-analytical’, how can we take advantage of Agile Manifesto and apply it to Instructional Design?

I’d prefer to use the term “Design for Learning“, as the term Instructional Design (almost always) refers to the ADDIE Model, which is pretty much a Waterfall method but has new and improved variations, such as SAM (Successive Approximation Model).

Teams can achieve great results! Teams are everywhere! Whether you’re developing software for a customer, or enrolled in a course with other students, at some point you’ll need each other to make it happen (whether developing software or learning a new concept).

Who creates the teams? In a business that develops software for paid customers, I assume it’s the manager who hires staff. I won’t go any further into that area, as I have very little knowledge of hiring programmers, developers, system analysts, graphic designers… In fact, about none to be exact.

However I’ve had the pleasure of learning with many capable students, some of whom have become very successful team members in their chosen careers.

My question is then – How can an educator (someone who designs, develops and/or delivers online, blended, or face-to-face instruction  design for learning) create an effective and authentic environment in which learning takes place seamlessly?

My aim is to come up with some strategies, taken from Agile, Scrum, and even ADDIE, and to apply them into the learning and teaching environments. I’ve already discovered many experts who have been applying some of the software development methodologies in educational settings. I look forward to learning from those experts (though sometimes I need to translate their sites!).

Follow me in this journey of discovery – your comments and suggestions are welcome!


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