How Agile Design Heels Online Learning

Simple to implement, Agile design and UX can benefit online learning.

Online learning in the wide world of SaaS companies is constantly growing, but very little is known about it. This is of particular importance to our readers, as our users see no reason to rely on other sources.

Learning materials are out in abundance, and almost anyone can take courses at any time. However, the challenge is that what information you choose to put into a program may ultimately not be relevant. No one leaves a digital course that they don’t engage with. Without offering feedback on what content they liked, or didn’t like, you can end up with a bad program that your customers won’t use.

What I mean by this is that there is a common thread among people who utilize online learning in SaaS. We want to make learning programs that customers will respond to and use. That’s how we became experts at solving web design problems so well. Being Agile.

Agile design is not a new concept. A lot of you probably heard about it around Web 2.0. Often, though, the focus on proficiency with Agile focuses on individual web developers rather than thinking about how a business might benefit from this approach.

How online learning evolves and the shift to Agile

Agile relates back to the previous story, but we want to talk about the progression of online learning. We are particularly interested in looking at it holistically.

Agile computing really began to branch out once web developers found creative ways to combine it with SaaS, cloud infrastructure, and other cloud-based services. This way, all the components of an agile or open development approach were brought together in a single package, potentially putting programmers closer to a project’s actual completion than ever before.

The Agile approach enables teams to make small revisions to the finished product and communicate those changes immediately with their counterparts. We see many companies, in particular in SaaS, start using Agile practices in conjunction with our practice at Fueled, but we have noticed that web companies are still using more traditional methods of problem solving. One of the challenges facing web companies in these early days of SaaS is that there is a limit to what is possible with web content development. As with any major change in web-development techniques, resources are limited.

Operating out of SaaS and Agile, we’ve had to think outside the box, and new and innovative methods of implementing learning materials and improving understanding have emerged as a result. For instance, it’s not uncommon for Agile-structured courses to use web pages and interactive video in order to educate students.

YouTube/Wip4X

We’ve done a project on how web content can be used to teach students how to build web content, and it was so successful that we’ve now started teaching it in four countries. We used content on Wip4X in this project.

We also try to use some Agile rules when we’re making training materials, which can vary in length. One of the biggest problems we see facing any program that uses open-source content in SaaS is the scale of course content. We have learned that customizing non-customized parts of an existing course to solve any particular problem is a great way to get the most out of a class.

As programmers and web designers, we need to be creative and cooperative with our peers when we think about how to solve problems. We need to combine our fields to create the best possible combination of content and learning. In this case, this includes going beyond learning with traditional textbooks and modules, and adopting Agile principles such as brainstorming, knowledge-sharing, and problem-solving in an integrated way.

The larger Agile industry

Our story shows that online learning is already making a difference for the developer community, and we have a clear benefit from applying Agile to online learning. There is an opportunity for more platforms to stand out in the online learning environment.

The benefits are clear, from employee engagement and retention, to overall education and product excellence. More and more web companies are using some form of Agile and learning techniques, and we are excited to see how we can help expand these efforts to SaaS companies, especially as they keep adding to their product offerings.

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