An Agile Approach to Learning

A long time ago, one of my college professors told me that most of the techniques and best practices we use to improve processes or products in teams and organizations could be applied to things like exercising, parenting, and learning, just to name a few. After working for 9 years in Agile environments where Agile approaches to learning were implemented, I couldn’t agree more with this notion. 

After seeing the success of a well-done Agile approach to learning and transformations in several organizations, I’ve realized that applying the same techniques to things like studying to obtain a new degree, completing a certification, or defining the next steps of our professional career paths could have a great impact on the growth of both an organization and its employees. 

Things like keeping a backlog of pending tasks required to take and pass a quiz, prioritizing the tasks with higher impact first, and defining small but important steps to help us achieve these goals are just a few examples of how becoming Agile in every aspect of work, particularly when it comes to learning new things, can lead to becoming a more successful professional. 

In this post, I will share some best practices and explain how an Agile approach to learning in the workplace can help organizations enhance learning processes and boost overall productivity. 


Agile tools are designed to make your life easier. Use them!

Tools that help you keep track of your pending tasks can be very useful, especially when they involve information that you want to study in the future or concepts you might want to refer back to down the road. Having a Kanban Board where you can list and keep track of all these records is extremely useful and helps ensure you don’t miss or forget anything important.

I recommend using tools like Trello or Asana, each of which have free versions and Apps so you can access your boards at any time in order to check your due backlog or add new items at any time.


Set goals and check-in with yourself regularly

Setting goals that are both realistic and challenging help us improve on a regular basis. An example of this is a professional who aims to improve their English conversational skills in order to perform better at their job. To accomplish this, they’ll likely need practice, and the more regular their cadence, the better. Taking classes a couple of times per week should help this person improve their English skills quite a bit, and at an impressive pace. The same process could be applicable for someone studying for a certification, college degree, or a job promotion. 

To stay on top of progress and commitments, I recommend having daily or weekly check-ins, depending on the size of your goal. Doing so will help you visualize each step you’ve taken so far and plan what you need to do next in order to reach the finish line. It is also helpful to set recurring reminders for yourself along the way so that you never lose sight of your goal. 


Properly prioritize your pending tasks

Prioritizing pending tasks, whether they be personal or educational, is one of the most underrated Agile exercises one can practice. 

The key here is to think about how you can break down the bigger, long-term goals into smaller, short/medium-term goals. In my experience, I always find motivation after completing a task. This is why I would always prefer to have 20 small goals instead of 2 big ones. 


To Conclude

After teaching college for 5 years, I realized that when my students took an Agile approach to their learning, they were much more successful at meeting deadlines, working in groups, and producing high-quality work. I also saw a huge improvement in the general motivation of my students. And I’ve seen this in the workplace, too. An Agile approach to learning, whether it’s in the classroom or the workplace, can help individuals and organizations enhance learning processes and boost overall productivity. By utilizing tools like Kanban boards, setting regular progress checks, and ensuring proper prioritization of pending tasks, you are sure to succeed in whatever goals you set for yourself.


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