L&D Upgrade: Adopting Agile in Learning and Development Introduction

L&D Upgrade: Adopting Agile in Learning and Development  Introduction

The L&D industry has undergone some extremely rapid changes in the past year. The pandemic has accelerated the deployment of already proven technologies and has slowed down the adoption of newer technologies.

Many L&D teams have started creating videos and digital content as those are proven to create more value for their clients. Moreover, many eLearning course development teams have also been creating courses on how to be more effective while working remotely. Unsurprisingly, the word “agile” is being thrown around a lot.

1162 professionals, who are a part of the eLearning industry, have responded to a survey conducted by the Learning Guild in 2020 to map the effect of the pandemic on the industry. From the report, it is quite evident that a lot of L&D teams are not upgrading. 

Lack of structure, awareness, and existence of the legacy systems are some of the challenges that a lot of eLearning course development teams face. It makes the process of adopting new strategies, newer tools, and methodologies harder.

Adopting agile into the entire workflow is a great solution for all of these challenges. Being agile will enable the L&D teams to minimize their losses, adapt to changes quicker, achieve better product-market fit, and deliver eLearning courses faster. 

Being agile vs doing agile 

There are a lot of differences between understanding agile in eLearning and just following some steps for it. One of the biggest misconceptions is the belief that SCRUM is agile. Although, SCRUM is only a part of the Agile methodology. One needs to fully grasp the concept of agile in eLearning before strategizing actionable steps to become agile. 


A. Following a set of predefined steps 

Agile is a principle and a way of doing things. In the L&D industry, courses are developed through a predefined process. The same approach is used while adopting agile in the eLearning course development process. Senior management is more focused on what they should do to be agile.

For example, agile suggests that the eLearning course is to be developed in iterative steps while taking reviews along the way. However, taking reviews from the wrong group at the wrong time is not ideal. 

B. Mimicking someone else’s moves 

To make your eLearning development process agile, the first step is to understand what your L&D team is doing and their requirements. For example, if a team has hired full-time testers to make their eLearning development agile, it doesn't mean you should do the same. Maybe all you need are some part-time testers. 

C. Complete understanding of your L&D team 

Answering key questions like how the research is done, how many review cycles are in the process, what are the resources, etc, will assist the management to reconstruct the L&D process.

For example, if it is understood that the design phase is tough, it will be easier to solve the issue. It will also assist the developers in understanding what they can do better. 

D. Every step should be agile 

Starting from the ideation to the marketing and support, all of the processes should be agile. The primary mistake that most L&D teams make is just focusing on the development part. If only one part of the entire process is agile, it may not give the desired effects. 

For instance, most of the coding is done the agile way, but the things around it are not. As a result, the entire effect of agile cannot be seen and it does more harm. 

Adopting the principles 

The principles of agile can be easily applied to eLearning development. In order to achieve the desired effect and maximum efficiency, we need to digest the principles of agile and adopt it. 


i. Principles > Practices 

For example, in some cases, L&D teams hire more developers and creators into their team to make the process more agile and build better eLearning courses. On another hand, some L&D teams outsource some parts of their workflow to achieve the same effect. 

It is very important to understand the four core principles of agile before even thinking of applying them to your eLearning course development process. 

ii. Flow, resources, product, and audience 

The practices that you need to adopt to make your eLearning development team more agile depend on these four factors. What is the existing flow for developing a course? What are the phases of the flow? How many members does your team have? Can you afford more? What are the tools that are being used? Will there be an instructor guiding them through or would there only be videos? How many assessments would be ideal? What is the desired outcome? Do the learners want to do this in the first place?

These are just some of the questions that help eLearning experts obtain a better understanding of their processes. 

iii. Innovation in process 

There are no guaranteed set of steps or processes that an L&D team could follow to become more agile. The application of agile, quite ironically, has to be done in an agile way. After the L&D professionals gain a complete understanding, there is a lot to try and observe.

There might be something that might make the eLearning development process more agile, but the only way to know is to test it out. While incorporating a change in the process, make sure to keep an eye on the measurable parameters. 


Using agile in eLearning will help L&D teams develop quality courses faster which has higher business value. It is more important to “be agile” and to achieve it is to understand the principles of agile and your own process of eLearning course development.

Moreover, it is also important to keep in mind that being agile is a constant process and not merely a phase. It is a constant iterative process in which the developers and creators adapt and respond to the changes as per the requirements of their clients and learners.


This is a guest blog from Tarasekhar, Marketer, ZipBoard.

Originally posted on September 20, 2021

Written by Tarasekhar

Tarasekhar is a marketer for zipBoard who also loves to create content on trending topics. Whenever he is not busy with his work, he loves to read history and catch up on Formula 1.

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