Insights and resources to support better data analysis in education
By Christine Enowmbi Tambe
Agile describes a workplace environment where teams place a strong emphasis on defining their goals collaboratively, modifying work plans on a regular basis, fostering authentic group interactions, enhancing team chemistry, and encouraging experimentation and creativity (1).
Essentially, Agile teams do not adhere to a rigid plan of action but rather, plans are placed permanently under construction throughout the project. Initially conceived for the software industry, Agile has brought many benefits such as increased software development success rates, improved quality and time to market, and enhanced IT team motivation and productivity (2). Following its success in software development, professionals have sought to adapt and apply the key principles and concepts of Agile to group-based work in other sectors.
In their 2017 paper, Krehbiel and co-authors (3) proposed an Agile Manifesto for Teaching and Learning, modeled after the 2001 document that launched Agile in the software industry, to provide a guide for future adaptations in higher education. They also reported the integration of several collaborative Agile-based practices in multidisciplinary classroom environments within a mid-sized public university. The aim of these implementations was to create instructional environments where learning is student-centred, self-authored and collaborative. Finally, Krehbiel and co-authors (3) described the experiences of the students and teachers who participated in these pilots and shared a brief outline of their journey in the hopes of guiding other educators interested in learning more about how Agile might enhance their own work.
The Agile Manifesto for Teaching and Learning is a declaration of essential professional and personal principles that should be prioritized in daily faculty work for the successful application of Agile in higher education. To that end, the Agile Manifesto for Teaching and Learning proposed by Krehbiel and co-authors (3) advocates for the following value-ordering:
Krehbiel and co-authors (3) reported the application of Agile in computer science and software engineering, information systems, supply chain management, English, teacher education, civic studies, and political science. In the group-based projects of the courses, a range of Agile tools and practices were adapted, including:
These adaptations of Agile practices produced positive outcomes by enhancing the efficiency of time management, creating a more effective learning experience, improving interpersonal dynamics and the quality of collaboration within teams, increasing student engagement, encouraging students to take ownership of their own learning, and producing high-quality deliverables which were better integrated as opposed to loosely compiled pieces of individual work. Instructors also commented that the implementation of Agile techniques enhanced transparency and quickly exposed ‘free-riders’ in groups who can then be coached to modify their behaviour. The experimentations with Agile methods by the interdisciplinary group of faculty members indicate that Agile offers a way of collaborating and creating that is beneficial to the higher education community.
 Smith G, Sidky A. Becoming agile:--in an imperfect world. Greenwich: Manning; 2009 May.
 Rigby DK, Sutherland J, Takeuchi H. Embracing agile. Harvard business review. 2016 May;94(5):40-50.
[Source] Krehbiel TC, Salzarulo PA, Cosmah ML, Forren J, Gannod G, Havelka D, Hulshult AR, Merhout J. Agile Manifesto for Teaching and Learning. Journal of Effective Teaching. 2017;17(2):90-111.