This is part 2 of a multi-part series we’re writing on agile learning. For more on this topic, you can also check out part 1: From the Predetermined Mind to the Agile Mindset.
The first half of 2020 has presented us many challenges, but also opportunities to completely redefine how we educate our students. Education needs to be more agile as our current climate is challenging the status quo. Agile learning is more than just a framework; it is a mindset that celebrates iteration, design and process. Most learning tends to be linear in scope, and so when a pandemic hits and learning pathways suddenly deviate from the course, it is more than difficult for schools to embolden, capture, and nurture learning in meaningful ways.
Learner-centered schools are thriving despite current challenges, as flexibility and agility are central to the culture of personalized environments. While pivoting to meet the demands of remote learning, many schools are failing to capture the full story of learning happening behind the screen. This is something Headrush, an agile learning management system, is designed to do. Headrush captures a living record of all learning experiences, both teacher and student led, with iterative project planning, execution, assessment and reporting. This ultimately allows for deeper learning as students have a safe place to learn on their terms, move at their own pace and be accountable for their own projects, all while co-designing with feedback loops from all stakeholders.
Here are three reasons education needs an agile learning management system for the agile mind.
Reason #1: Learning in agile sprints is highly advantageous
We believe learning in agile sprints, legs or flexible time increments is incredibly beneficial for students. Lecture-based and overloaded course frameworks are proven to be less effective pedagogies of learning, which is why institutions like MIT reimagine education to be more modular, agile and progressive. Long feedback loops can set students up for failure whereas scenarios full of short developmental sprints and feedback loops set students up for success, making it easier for them to adapt and flex. Apps are typically monolithic, static and prescriptive, which is why agile classrooms need new systems that can meet learners where they are and, more importantly, where they are going. Within Headrush, students can design their own learning experiences as they personally plan, manage and revise their project work via movable task-boards and visual to-do checklists. Multiple feedback loops are incorporated within the app so educators can serve as mentors through the iterative process. If we continue to provide the right space for agile development, deeper learning is proven to happen.
Reason #2: Collaboration is powerful and should not suck in the digital space
According to ED Week, while “more than 80% of companies look for collaboration skills in new hires, less than 40% considered new graduates prepared to work in teams.” Research shows what can be achieved in collaboration far surpasses what can be achieved alone, yet learning and development is still often viewed as a solo endeavor. Team skills are invaluable and should be reflected in the same digital spaces we work. The Buck Institute for Education supports the 4Cs representing the 21st century skills movement — Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity. By empowering team success, students will develop agile minds, shared decision-making and problem solving skills, all invaluable when acquiring a balance of skills for the future. Learning management systems aren’t usually designed with co-creation in mind; in fact, student management, tracking and assessment are typically seen as individualistic in nature. We’ve designed Headrush to facilitate collaboration with co-designed projects between multiple students and/or between student and educator. Our features even allow the addition of group evidence for easy tracking. We believe the 4Cs can only be achieved by working together and we continue to foster that type of environment for our students.
Reason #3: Innovation is a result of learning liberated, where the final destination is unknown
As Inc. states, “when Steve Jobs first came up with the idea for the iPod, it wasn’t actually a machine he had in mind,” but a thousand songs in his pocket.’ An impossible idea manifested into reality when the technology caught up to the vision. No matter the preplanning, scheduling, research or dedication put into a project, without re-examining your assumptions and adaptation along the way, initial plans are doomed to bust. But if we approach every project with flexibility, understanding our destination ought to be flexible at best, then we embody agility and embrace innovation as dance — where every move informs the next, where we reflect often and invite lessons learned from the past, where we move slowly, intentionally, learning from experience and co-designing as we go. As a community of thought leaders, at Headrush we celebrate learning liberated from traditional bounds. At some point, we have to understand that innovation is usually born from an incomplete idea. At some point, we have to champion the unexpected.
Even the most agile learning environments still struggle to find management systems that allow them to truly support student led learning. The Show What You Know report reveals that, “Few platforms support dynamic learning. Most learning management systems are built for whole group instruction to age cohorts. They lack the content management, assessment, mastery tracking, and dynamic scheduling needed to manage a CBE environment.” With agile learning environments on the rise, Headrush continually liberates learning with a progressive system that considers the learning landscape of the future, not just the past.