Follow-up on Ramo: Potential Principles of an Agile Learning / Research Method

Following up on my last post about The Age of the Unthinkable, what might be the response of educators to Ramo’s critique.  Given the similarities of his suggestions to the Agile Management Method, I will begin looking at the principles of the Agile Manifesto and how that document could be adapted to learning, research and organizational learning.

My Personal Learning Manifesto: Adapted from the Manifesto for Agile Software Development

I will uncovering better ways of learning by doing it and by helping others to do it.

Agile learning values the following:

  • Individuals and interactions over Courses, processes and tools
  • Functioning project teams over Documents, LMSs or other knowledge platforms
  • Learner collaboration over Expert mind sets
  • Responding to changing requirements over Following a plan

Echoing the original Agile Team I state that: while there is value in the items on
the right, preference is given to the items on the left.

Personal Agile Learning Principles: Adapted from the Twelve Principles of Agile Software

  1. The highest priority is to satisfy the customer (learner) through early and continuous delivery of valuable knowledge and insight.
  2. I will welcome changing requirements (even late in development) with Agile processes that harness change for the customer’s (learner’s) competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working solutions and knowledge frequently, from a with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people, project team members and learning leaders must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build learning projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to find the right solution.
  6. The most efficient and effective educational methods involve face-to-face interaction.
  7. Successful project milestones is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile learning promotes sustainable development.
  9. The sponsors, leaders, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  10. Continuous attention to technical research excellence and good knowledge design enhances agility.
  11. Simplicity is essential, whether in ideas or in design
  12. The best learning architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams not from ADDIE implementation.
  13. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its learning behavior accordingly.
  14. Encourage synthesis, creativity and the continuous integration of new and prior understanding.
  15. A commitment to open source method.

My thought processes are in an early phase on this subject.  It may be more meaningful to talk of agile research methods than learning.  To some extent organizational learning may be more like research then traditional pedagogy.  However, it does seems like a promising area for research and further reflection.

Book Review: JC Ramo, The Age of the Unthinkable

This is my take on JC Ramo’s new book, The Age of the Unthinkable.

Communication technologies, globalization and the thick interconnections of both people and institutions have increased the systemic complexity of the world, reduced stability and bombards us with near constant change.  Traditional bureaucratic and hierarchal management structural do not have sufficient flexible to response to what is a crisis of predictability.  All complex systems (and that is the world we now face) contain internal dynamics that resist prediction when viewed from a single external perspective.  The old ways explain little, their managing hierarchies are often corrupted by “power position and prestige” and they increasingly are leading us only to failure.

To respond successfully to this increasingly complex world Ramo suggests a revolutionary (although evolutionary may be a better term) approach that looks very much to me like current Agile management methods.  Use small cross-functional teams who can evolve in response to changing contexts with creativity as they respond to changing requirements.  Build systems that anticipate change; dynamic systems that can be resilient and responsive in the face of change.  Analyze the world with imagination as a holistic interconnected network.  In short, see, prepare and build in ways that can help make the unthinkable thinkable.