Using the Scrum Process for eLearning Development

Designing Digitally


The Scrum model has become an increasingly popular management framework in many different sectors, including eLearning. Scrum is a type of Agile software development framework designed to help manage projects and increase productivity. The effectiveness of the Scrum model for eLearning project development is its emphasis on communication and flexibility, both of which allow businesses to adjust their plans as needed. Scrum methodology is fundamentally changing the way management teams approach and view company strategies and specific projects.

In the case of eLearning, Scrum methodology allows for more organization in course development, leading to faster results and an increased likelihood of information retention. Initially implemented as a "flexible, holistic product of self-organization", the Scrum model is rooted in the presence of teams that work together throughout all stages of the project. Perhaps the most important aspect of Scrum is the recognition that users can change their minds regarding what they want or need to get out of a project at any moment. This is an important development for eLearning projects, as users are oftentimes unpredictable and changes are often necessary at different stages of development even with the best plans.

How it Works

The Scrum process is facilitated by a Scrum Master, or someone who is accountable for overseeing the entire project but has no decision-making powers. Each day the entire Scrum development team will spend a specified amount of time discussing what they did the previous day, what they are working on today, and what challenges (if any) have arisen. Additional review, retrospective, and refinement meetings are also held, all of which play an important role in ensuring the eLearning project is progressing as effectively as possible. The Scrum team will use backlogs or other tools, such as whiteboards, sticky notes, or spreadsheets, to keep track of each aspect of the project, ensuring nothing is overlooked. The numerous meetings and organization tools are all integral to the effectiveness of the Scrum model, as they are the backbone of the project.

What Scrum Accomplishes

What sets Scrum apart from traditional approaches to project management is that it is set up to deal with these challenges directly so that the problem can be addressed and a resolution can be delivered as quickly as possible. In contrast to the traditional "waterfall development" strategy, Scrum allows for analysis at each and every step, and adjusts the project based on real-time findings. The waterfall approach is far less effective, as it is rigid and does not allow for flexibility. The Scrum model is a cutting-edge model because it organizes work for shorter cycles, allowing for more analysis and adjustment. Additionally, the Scrum team reports to the client instead of a manager, which intensifies collaboration and truly allows for the project to develop and adapt so it is implemented at a highly effective level.

What This Means

Scrum methodology allows eLearning teams to collaborate more than ever on each step of the project. Additionally, these teams are better equipped to assess the module platform and media used, determining whether or not they are effective with users. It also provides more flexibility, as the management team is closely analyzing each stage of the project and responding to emerging requirements as they pop up. This process is steeped in user/developer collaboration and encourages constant feedback, enabling the team to better meet each e-learner’s needs. The Scrum process is in place with the aim of meeting a desired goal or result. This is ideal for eLearning projects because it enables developers to create a learning path with an end goal in mind, and adjust it throughout the duration of the project.