Newsletter #2

Transforming the lessons into Agile framework

Look at them! they are eager to start now and You?

Kids from Romania ready to go

This is where we are now

The Covid-19 pandemic drastically exploded the interest in online learning and MOOCs in 2020.

The learners’ demand has also seen a drastic shift towards highly engaging, just in time, on-demand content that offers maximum interactability. But one question that remains is how do content creators develop courses that meet this need most cost-effectively and as efficiently as possible.

This is how it use to be

The process begins with Analysis, where the course objectives, learning objectives, and target audience are defined and codified. This is followed by a Design phase, where the course content is planned out in detail to achieve the objectives set out during Analysis. The Development phase deals with the actual work needed to create the content, be it handouts, exercises, and videos. The Implementation phase deals with publishing the courses to show to learners and maybe beta test with select users. The final step is the Evaluate phase, where a formal assessment is done to see if the course we created successfully solved the learning need.

That is what we will define as Waterfall project management. Not for us, if we really want to innovate it has to be done in a different way and that is one of the reasons why we got funded.

Another question: How can we transform the school curricula for a MOOC implementation but using Agile?

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By instructing students how to learn, unlearn and relearn, a powerful new dimension can be added to education. Psychologist Herbert Gerjuoy of the Human Resources Research Organisation phrases it simply; "The new education must teach the individual how to classify and reclassify information, how to evaluate its veracity, how to change categories when necessary, how to move from the concrete to the abstract and back, how to look at problems from a new direction - how to teach himself.

Tomorrow's illiterate will not be the man who can't read; he will be the man who has not learned how to learn."

Yes, you are picturing this right when you think we need to implement a systemic approach to the Agile transformation with a steady framework in place.

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Agile and other frameworks are not more than a set of tools and processes followed with practices.

The real transformation happens when you understand the principles of Agile (I won't copy here what the guide says because I think we need to adapt them to the school environment), it also enhances the experiences when you combine Agile with Liberating Structures, LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® and Non-Violent Communication. In short, our mission is to understand what happens during the implementation of the Agile lessons with these principles, mindset and values. It is there where the "unlearn and relearn" happens and that involves all of us.

A tentative road map to change Process, Education and Technology

Teachers on the role of a customer explain the Goal of the lesson

1.Teacher's learning vision as an approach for transformation

Each lesson starts with the customer (teacher) defining the key learning objectives in 3 to 5 bullet points during the grooming session. Then break apart the course learning objectives into lessons and sections. Then tease out the tasks required to make these lessons and sections in tasks, thus providing us with the initial teacher's product backlog. That is one side of the coin what the program is and what the students need to learn.

So everything starts with the teachers understanding and explaining the lesson Goals. Through a series of ZOOM workshops, 16 lessons are created and transformed, then played by other teachers in the frame of an event named LTTA host in Greece in 2022 (hopefully free of C19)

2.Self organised Students TEAMS

The Teams (students) organise themselves in a group of five (ideal number), they auto-assign the different roles Product Owner, SCRUM Master, and Developers after they understood to what compromise under each role. So they are committed and if committed they are accountable.

Students playing the different roles PO, SCRUM Master, Team Devs they define the tasks and subtasks they will implement to achieve the learning goals from what they understood are the teacher's requirements.

It sounds so simple but it is not. The reason why is because a team working smoothly is quite a task. To align the team we use Non-Violent Communication, Values, Retrospectives, Persona, Empathy maps and QR code compromise activities.

We should not be focused only on the ceremonies and artefacts of SCRUM but in John Dewey's perspective melds Piaget's focus on the cognitive aspect of constructivism with Vygotsky's focus on social learning.

Through this students gain the following resilience competencies;

-Flexible & Realistic Thinking

-Human Connection

-Hope & Optimism

-Self Regulation

-Self Awareness & Compassion

3.The creation of the Backlog

Refining the backlog leads to a better understanding of the needed task to achieve the goals and get ready for implementation. Picture this, multiple teams can have multiple approaches that generate an incredible source of knowledge and enable each team to develop critical thinking and get inspired in the co-creation process.

Creating a simple team of five is not enough. The team needs an identity, its avatars, name, and the most important the Parking of emotional challenges to achieve the sense of belonging.

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Why is this important? The answer is in order to have a team that works without dysfunctionalities you need to generate trust, eliminate the fear of conflict, encourage commitment, gain accountability and get attention to results. One of the Agile artefacts "SCRUM BOARD" will make visible this kind of dysfunctionalities. One training module is about how to design these materials. If you ask who is going to design these materials the answer is the students. However, as part of the prototyping value, all project participants do create these avatars.

4.Introducing Sprints

A sprint is a short, time-boxed period when a scrum team works to complete a set amount of work. Sprints are at the very heart of scrum and agile methodologies, and getting sprints right will help your agile team ship better. Sprints enable predictability by ensuring inspection and adaptation of progress toward a Goal.

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The Sprint must deliver a Minimum Valuable Product -The MVP approach is based on the premise that you can provide sufficient learning value by delivering minimal tasks that match the teacher requirements. You can then collect feedback that will enable you to build a better product that will resonate with the goal.

Every time this is achieved a Sprint REVIEW is conducted (one of the SCRUM ceremonies) It is up to the teacher on her role of customer to accept, denied or ask for improvement of the MVP. If no accepted or need of improvement refining of the Sprint is implemented. The estimation of how many Sprints are needed and how long each Sprint last has a direct connection with the program content but certainly the teacher will define a time box when she explains the goals.

If the Sprint delivers the right value we move into the next Sprints.

Let's review some of the steps again:

1.The teachers based on her actual way of teaching the lessons (so an Agile principle is implemented, start with what you have) structure the lesson goals and define the requirements.

2.Self organised teams create a Backlog with the tasks they estimate they have to do to achieve the lesson's goals and requirements. Multiple teams multiple backlogs, but they can work in one backlog, it is discretional, the customer or the students decide.

3.Team Roles are self-appointed by the students

4.The backlog is prioritised, and Sprint planning is developed.

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How to start to transform the lessons

This is just an approach and certainly until we do not exchange more information on the lessons.

ACCelerating future EDucation online - in the time of Virus 2020-1-RO01-KA201-080165

Website (under construction)

Project Coordinator: Centrul European pentru Integrare Socioprofesionala ACTA,


European Education & Learning Institute Greece
IES La Puebla Spain
Istituto Magistrale Statale "C.Lorenzini" Italy
colegiul national emanuil gojdu Romania
Stichting for Education on Agility Liberating Structures Netherlands

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The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the National Agency and Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.