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July 11

Agile Management: The 6 agile trends of corporate training

Agile Management: The 6 trends of corporate training

Agile Management: The 6 trends of corporate training

Flexible, collaborative and results oriented.

These 3 qualifiers sum up the very essence behind the Agile Management philosophy.

The Agile trend is nothing new and continues to be implemented in business more and more in North America.

This management model, fashionable among top decision-makers, generates very interesting opportunities to advance and adopt different projects stemming from human resources.

Agile-thinking teams work proactively rather than reactively. They no longer desire to spend the majority of their time extinguishing fires that are all too often lit from inactions of the past. 

The lean and agile approach comes as the perfect way to take on an LMS implementation project for many reasons.

1- Course creation under Agile procedures


The course design approach must be both industrial and agile, meaning that it must be simple, fast and predetermined by a clear and actionable process.

One of the major obstacles to implementing a learning management system (LMS) is the misconception of the workload that comes with creating content. This false perception is generated by a combination of ignorance about what to do and skepticism about the real benefits of this digital transformation.

The creation of internal training content intended for web distribution should not be approached in the same way as the creation of classroom training.

While the creation of classroom training requires a lot of preparation, reflection, analysis and strategies to capture and sustain participants' attention for long periods of time, online training focuses on rather short, simple and concise pieces of content.

First, it is important to list up all the skills and knowledge to be taught within our company. This step is mandatory and independent from the educational approach.

The gains in efficiency are quickly felt when you take an online approach since the goal is no longer to create a long training session covering 10, 20 or even 30 specific objectives, but rather to make a single piece of specific content by objective.

By using your internal resources to identify weaknesses and learning opportunities, it becomes easy for a company to create small crash courses that can make a huge difference on the company's production capacity.

By involving your employees in active ways in this type of project, you increase the commitment, engagement, ownership and mobilization of your resources while making major changes in internal culture.

2- The omnipresence of corporate training


The training opportunities should now be found in the workplace in an omnipresent way and no longer seen as a sequence of one-off events.

One of the many paradigm shifts involved in online training is the double-life content notion.

As you student will go through your courses for the first time, the intent is only to teach them new information and improve their actionable skills.

This approach therefore has the same purpose as any classroom training.

Traditionally speaking,  the quality of an "In real life (IRL)" training was always limited to the quality of the notes taken by your participants during the presentation and the interventions of the few curious who dare to interact with the trainer.

The double life of your online training content comes to life when you add the notion that they can always go back and revisit any training, on-demand. This optimization is directly in line with the Lean Management ideology.

There may be substantial delays between your training and the opportunity for your employees to put into practice new skills. To support this reality, it is now easy for an employee to re-visit the training content and refresh the information he/she remembers seeing in the past.

Taking notes should be encouraged so that each employees no longer see the online course as a simple training, but realize the potential of using your LMS to build their own personal guide.

Improving the ease of access to content allows you to increase each employee's autonomy, while limiting the need for assistance and distractions that can reduce the productivity of your teams.

The goal is never to eliminate interactions between your employees, a vital component of your employees' engagement, but rather to ensure that interactions are value-added.

By centralizing your content under a single system, you also educate your employees and help them take responsibility for their personal development. The time for brochure and paper documentation being scattered all over your workplace is over.

3- From standard classroom training to event-like.

In a context of Agile management, we must change the perception of classroom training to now promote them as event-like training courses.

These courses will aim at teaching more technical concepts, but also to act as mobilization and motivation events for your employees.

You probably all know the saying "this meeting could have been an email"?

In comparison, classroom training should no longer leave your employees with the impression that "this training could have been a simple video".

Peer-to-peer training is very expensive for companies as they require taking your production line hostage for several hours. It is therefore important to be able to justify the importance of bringing all your resources together in one place, at the same time.

Of course, nothing is as effective as learning by performing an action. To learn how to swim, you will inevitably have to jump into the water. However, it is a mistake to think that this educational strategy should be the default approach.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to better assess the need for classroom training:

  • Does this training require physical manipulations of a tool or an accessory?
  • Does this training require role plays?
  • Is this training dependent on a geographical constraint?
  • Does this training require to learn by trial and error?

4- The new role of the corporate trainer


In the same way that Industry 4.0 has forced HR professionals to reconsider their roles within companies, the role of the trainer is at a crossroads and needs to be reviewed.

Whereas the traditional role of the trainer was to create educational content to be presented several times during the course of a year, the digital transformation and the adoption of Agile practices led the trainer to now abandon these responsibilities. The trainer now sees himself as content creator and refocuses its role towards strategic and pedagogical support.

The training platform of a company now acting as a training content distribution channel, the trainer can free up time to his schedule to focus on the creation of new content. The trainer will also be responsible for providing personalized follow-ups to employees with learning difficulties.

This new approach allows us to put our employees back into operation more quickly, and to ensure that our trainers' interventions are value-added and meet the specific needs of resources with additional questions.

While 80% of your resources will understand what is being presented to them on the first presentation, it is normal for some to require a different learning approach to fully understand all the information. The trainer is therefore responsible for developing new teaching strategies to meet their needs.

A major benefit of this change is that each new strategy can then be updated to online training, which can improve and accelerate the learning processes over the years, exponentially.

5- Towards a paradigm shift: the employee now co-responsible for his own development


For the past 20 years, it has been on the employer's shoulder to be responsible for providing training to employees, according to the specific needs to be addressed within the organization. This approach quickly resulted in groups of non-mobilized employees, all gathered in a room, with little to no understanding on why they are imposed certain training.

The digital transformation of companies is leading to a paradigm shift with the arrival of new opportunities for management and skills development.

Under an Agile model, with the help of an adapted training platform, the company can now develop a training directory covering the different needs of its business and, in a personalized way, assign different training courses to specific employees.

This more flexible approach allows employees to be assigned training tailored to their own development path. In addition to this approach, the training repertoire can also be accessible to employees in order to develop a self-training culture.

Students are then no longer just passive consumers, but active in the development of their skills, interests and career.

The implementation of an active in-house training culture increases the engagement to your brand and the level of interest of your employees during each learning activities. As they are now co-responsible for creating their development paths, they are also responsible for their own progress opportunities within your organization.

Not only does this strategy reduce your administrative burden, it also allows you to target your best employees and future key players in each of your departments.

6- Loop sprints


The most significant benefit of using the agile method in the implementation of a learning management system project is found in the content creation stage.

Rather than aiming to develop and launch with a high volume of courses covering a wide range of objectives, this method encourages you to focus on creating a short, simple and objective-based content, one at a time.

This more granular strategy allows you to quickly realize your online training projects by following a very simple process:

  • Identify the objective for your course
  • Establish short-term deadlines
  • Research of raw expertise
  • Create your content
  • Run a pilote to gather comments and suggestions for improvements
  • Correct your pilote
  • Launch your course online
  • Plan a success report to evaluate the return on investment
  • Repeat

The collaborative aspect of this technique, involving different internal resources of your organization, ensures you to have a project that has been validated and field-tested before even making the official launch.

The agile approach to content creation allows you to anticipate and correct weaknesses rather than endure them through this feedback loop.

The takeaway


The biggest obstacle to any online training project is the illusion that everything must be done in one fell swoop. By adopting the Agile approach to your project management, it becomes much simpler to plan and implement your first LMS within your business.

Focusing on several small key actions and short deadlines will lead to actions taken place in an organic and structured way. This will also allow you to better understand and anticipate steps to take while optimizing your processes as you go.

It is important to have a good overall vision of the project, but it is even more important to target what are the minimal viable elements to facilitate the adoption of such a project.

Mathieu Dumont