Change is affecting business, technology and learning styles. This change, in part, is spurred by growing consumer demand, digital transformation and shifts in the way individuals prefer to consume information. These changes have led to a requirement for learning teams to change their traditional approaches.
In today’s quickly evolving work landscape, there is something new to learn almost every day, meaning employees must receive learning content regularly, quickly and proactively. To accomplish this goal, high-performing learning organizations leverage best practices from product development, marketing and IT departments to create an agile delivery method of content on a continuous basis.
Agile Learning: What Are the Benefits?
Agile learning is the process of continuously developing employee skills while simultaneously deploying learning content, meaning curriculum is “always on” and not released in timed increments. Agile learning is aligned to the speed of business. Continuous content delivery enables organizations to train employees faster and on a near-instant basis. Add to that process collaboration, interaction and the ability to gain lessons learned from each iteration, and it can drive innovation by creating an environment where learning teams can easily and quickly test, adapt and evolve content that works for their specific markets.
This ability to swiftly test and deploy learning programs across markets and geographies is increasing in importance. According to a recent survey by Open University Business School, only one-fifth of businesses consistently share learning across geographies. An agile, continuous learning model can remove roadblocks to sharing, adapting and implementing learning content.
Agile Learning in Action
Learning organizations should follow several crucial steps to harness the benefits of continuous content development.
First, learning and development leaders meet with their internal clients and review the line of business objectives to develop small, discreet processes or learning assets that will drive the metrics required. The team creates a baseline of previous results to which they compare the new learning asset results.
Next, L&D creates several minimum viable learning products (MVLPs) that they release in parallel with focus groups. MVLP is a process for testing “product” features with early adopters and receiving feedback for future development. It is deployed to a subset of possible customers. After initial testing is complete and feedback is gathered, teams can refine the learning concept.
Now, it’s time to deploy the learning content to a control group before releasing it to the entire organization. Those MVLPs that demonstrate positive, measurable results are continuously released into the curriculum as multiple minimal marketable products (MMPs). The MMP is the product with the smallest feature set that addresses user needs while creating the right user experience.
Now, the curriculum becomes a living, breathing asset that can continually enhance ROI by adapting to meet the demands of the business. Using this process replaces the traditional monolithic approach of curriculum development.
Putting it into Practice
Let’s say you meet with sales and learn there is a push to “win back” customers. To accomplish this goal with agile and continuous content development, you follow these steps:
- Create a baseline by capturing the data on the sales team’s existing results.
- Identify and interview top performers to pinpoint the processes behind their success.
- Develop MVLPs based on those processes.
- Measure the success or failure of the MVLP against baseline results.
- Continuously implement those successful MVLPs into the curriculum as MMPs.
- Repeat the process.
Faster, Better and More Effective
With a clear picture of the agile deployment process for continuous learning, it’s easy to see the benefits of this method and why high-performing learning organizations have adopted it: It supports the speed of deployment needed for today’s workforce by providing the opportunity to simultaneously develop and test multiple MVPs with employee groups. It also removes roadblocks of major learning program reworks, as the team is continuously receiving feedback from test groups along the way. Finally, this method is incredibly effective at showcasing return on investment (ROI) by continuously providing benchmarks and progress of the test groups leading to broader deployment. As your learning department evaluates how best to deliver learning content to global employees, consider shifting to the agile delivery method. It might just offer the ROI your C-suite is demanding.