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Agile Training: From the basics

by jhon duncen
Agile Training

It’s not just about playing catch up with technology and investing in the latest tools. There’s an internal shift as well: from the way we work to the way we communicate and learn, our daily habits also change along with the times.

Faced with all this change, how can you make sure your company remains relevant? How do you keep your employees engaged and ready for what tomorrow may bring? Sure, you could drive yourself (and them) insane by trying to offer training about every little new thing that pops up… Or you can focus on how they train instead.

What is agile learning?

Agile training is basically the adoption of agile methodology in the realm of employee training. You may have heard of things like Kanban boards, work sprints and daily scrums: these are all project management tools and methods used within an agility framework.

Originally, the agility framework existed solely in the tech world, where teams of developers have to work in constant iterations while ensuring nonstop feedback and testing. It was very effective — but it was also a closed circuit, reserved for specific teams or projects. As far as the rest of the company was concerned, the agility framework might as well be a mystic ritual, of no use to “muggles”. And that’s the problem right there. This Gallup article explains how the agility framework falls flat without a broader environment that supports experimentation and fast decision making. A game-changing tool can’t really change the game if only a small minority of people are using it.

Instead, agile learning is all about taking the premises of agile methodology and opening them up for the whole company to use. Specifically, it’s about implementing those premises in employee training. As senior vice president of CGS’ learning division Doug Stephen writes at Training Industry, it’s about driving innovation by creating an environment of continuous learning. Within that environment, your employees can work as a team to test, adapt and evolve along with their learning content.

Curious exactly how agile learning can push your company forward? Keep reading.

What are the benefits of agile learning?

Agile learning has many, company-wide benefits. Because by definition it’s not so much bound in rules and lengthy processes, agile learning promotes a mindset of flexibility, adaptability and receptivity. And this mindset manifests in all sorts of good things.

Good things like:

Adaptability to change

This breakneck speed that we mentioned, with which things keep changing? Agile learning makes sure your employees will be fast enough to catch up. It helps them build different skills and capabilities, sure, but most of all it teaches them to take risks and stay open-minded. To learn from their failures as well as from their successes. As Aon’s Global Head of Learning and Talent Development Linda Cai points out in this Training Magazine article, these qualities will become even more important post pandemic.

Better cross-team cooperation

According to a Gallup study, only 30% of U.S. and 36% of European workers strongly agree that their coworkers share knowledge. In case you were wondering: no, that’s not good.

The time when companies could afford to operate in a vacuum, one branch totally unaware of what the other was doing, is long gone. Agile learning promotes knowledge sharing and cross-team cooperation, diminishing the chances of vital information ever falling through the cracks.

Increased customer focus

Agile learning goes hand in hand with customer focus. After all, the goal is to create an environment where the decision-making process is sped up and there’s a constant feedback loop. In this environment, agile teams base business processes on what customers value the most, as Allego’s CRO George Donovan explains in a Forbes article.

Making use of interactive media and virtual training, agile learning keeps employees on their toes for every customer service scenario. Online customer service training comes with the benefit that you can quickly change and update the content so it addresses new challenges and customer pain points.

It goes without saying that this increased customer focus has a strong, positive impact throughout the business. Which brings us to our next point.

Improved overall efficiency

An employee training approach that focuses on agile learning makes companies more successful. Why? Because it teaches employees that it’s okay to make mistakes and try out new ideas. It creates a company culture where knowledge and experimentation are more important than sticking to the straight and narrow out of fear of failure.

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