Using Agile as a Project Management Methodology in eLearning

Designing Digitally


Using Agile as a pm

Agile development process is a method of development that focuses on rapid prototyping and constant evaluation. This methodology  has mostly been used by software developers. But now, agile project management methods is advancing  into all sectors. E-learning solutions are like software and the ADDIE model of designing has some inherent challenges. It may not be as difficult as the waterfall methodology used by software developers but it is rigid.

What is the agile process?

Agile is an iterative process. In this process, constant feedback from the stakeholders is solicited. As a result, the development process becomes faster and more flexible and the end product is richer. When compared to ADDIE, learning designers will still have to go through all the steps of the model, but it will give them a better way to move through the phases faster and come back to an individual step, as required.

In order to understand the process, let's delve further into this.

ADDIE is the traditional e-learning development model. Its limitation lies in the fact that it is a linear process. As a result, the final product takes a substantial amount of time to develop. Even a minor change in the final output will mean going back and changing each step involved. There is a significant lack of flexibility.

In the Agile project management methodology, the entire project is not planned upfront. It is not a linear process. The focus is more to concentrate on smaller builds. The stakeholders are asked to provide feedback early in the process. The minimal viable product is delivered to the client in a short time span and then improved upon in successive releases.

For example, instead of storyboarding all the modules of a course, it may work better if the functional module is storyboarded, developed, and released to the stakeholders for feedback. Once the relevant feedback is received, the designer can go back and implement it on a course or module level. This process of constant iteration ensures that the final output is market-tested.

Why go agile?

Some projects go on for a long time. As a result, the requirements change by the time the production starts. User feedback is solicited at the end of the development phase. That means going back to the drawing board and implementing feedback from scratch. This results in loss of precious time and resources. Instead, if  a sample is reviewed by a select group of end users, the end output will be better and less costly.

There could be a few challenges involved. Since learning projects are not a top priority, getting time and commitment from stakeholders on a regular basis is challenging. Development teams may not be co-located, so getting them on the same page can be challenging. If the learning project is on a fixed price basis, it may not be feasible to go agile.

Agile project management is here to stay. It is getting a fair amount of attention from the learning community. This is a clear sign that designers are rethinking the ADDIE strategy and leaning on Agile. Now may be the right time for your organization to make the move to Agile.

At, Designing Digitally, Inc., we provide agile learning services that improve effectiveness and enhances business impact.

Call us to know more.