What Comes First, The Competencies Or The Learning Plans?

What Comes First, The Competencies Or The Learning Plans

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First, a few words on project management

If anything, one of the merits of “Agile” approaches in project management is a certain relief. Unlike Waterfall or Logical Framework, Agile lets us know that it’s okay not to start at the beginning. It is not only a possibility, but a realistic take on how we work. We can have ideas that end up being great, even if we don’t know what for yet. Or we realize that our plans and our goals don’t have to do much with each other. But both are worth keeping. It is alright. As long as there is a guiding vision, all else is always worth reviewing over and over again. Moodle is a great example of a mission that keeps on redefining its focus and approaches, for high sustainability.

Learning Roadmaps: Where could I possibly be going?

Flexibility has crept up across the workplace culture, where it already hadn’t. As we dive deeper into the knowledge economy, skills gain the respect usually reserved to authority and manners. In education, many of the customs and institutional rigidities we were born into are finally under the spotlight. As controversial as it is, personalization is leading to better discussions about learning. Skill acquisition and competencies can now take priority on the agenda.

The Agile approach will not seem friendly to everyone at first. It will not look pleasant for many in the education space. Compared to the statu quo, it feels haphazard. Unlike the past, if any part of the intervention looks faulty, we must dealt with it immediately. It does not matter at which end it is, or whether it compromises other agendas. But at the end of the day, Agile favors rigorous Learning Plans. Verifiable courses of action that lead to real, measurable skills.

There is a key caveat here. In a way, agile is a technology-based approach. Not only because it comes from software projects. In a way, we can do agile now because the technology lets us. Where officers with big binders used to be, we find data models and analytics. Going agile should be an invitation for a more quantitative view of learning.

Adding Competencies we didn’t know existed before we started our Plans

Neither the approach nor the technology should ever choose the goals for us. Agile does encourage, and is better suited for, a culture of flexibility. There is nothing wrong for new innovations to shape the Competencies of a Plan, even if it is underway.

But while end goal shifts can be sudden, over time these pivots should be less common. As a heuristic rule, half of an Agile project is data collection. Tracking incidents will lead to more robust risk forecasting and anticipation.

Nevertheless, past instances are not always a reliable basis to identify a vision for the future. This job falls entirely on the shoulders of the learning innovator. A role also known as the Chief Learning Officer.

Analytics for the Competencies-Experiences loop

In this context, the CLO’s game plan begins to coalesce:

  • Foster flexible work while (or by) focusing on measurable evidence
  • Make learning loops as robust as possible
  • Lead the team to leverage the available technologies to the best of their ability. While tools vary and suit some cases better than others, xAPI is hard to best. Nothing will come close as specification and interoperable language for at least a few years.
  • Use flexibility to encourage creativity, lateral thinking and positive spillovers. If Agile does not lead to new thinking and insight, you just destroyed time-tested Project Management frameworks to no gain.

Sharp learning technology that delivers on data and analytics should be the CLO’s best ally. A complete solution for their specific scenario might not be ready to buy, but the tools and the talent definitely are.

eThink LogoThis Moodle Practice related post is made possible by: eThink Education, a Certified Moodle Partner that provides a fully-managed Moodle experience including implementation, integration, cloud-hosting, and management services. To learn more about eThink, click here.

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