Continuous Learning for Business Agility: Leveraging Adult Learning Theory in Lean Agile & DevOps

Hello, readers! I’ve seen firsthand how vital a culture of continuous learning is to achieving and sustaining business agility. The rapid pace of change in today’s business environment means that organizations must continuously adapt and learn. This concept isn’t just about acquiring new skills, but about embracing a mindset that values learning, innovation, and improvement.

One of the most effective ways I’ve found to introduce this mindset is through the principles of Adult Learning Theory or Andragogy, a model popularized by the renowned educator Malcolm Knowles. Andragogy, in contrast to Pedagogy (child teaching), offers a framework that understands and respects the unique ways adults learn.

But how exactly can we leverage this theory in the context of Lean, Agile and, DevOps? The answer lies in tailoring our approach to training and workshops to align with the six assumptions about adult learning outlined by Knowles.

1. Need to Know:

Adults want to understand why before they learn. In our workshops and courseware, we clearly establish the relevance of Agile and DevOps practices, illustrating how they can solve specific problems and improve operational efficiency. This builds a sense of urgency and interest, giving individuals a strong reason to learn.

2. Self-Concept:

As independent beings, adults prefer to take charge of their learning. This translates into facilitating rather than directing, providing self-paced learning options, and allowing participants to have a say in the learning process. Our Lean-Agile and DevOps training sessions are designed to promote active engagement and self-direction.

3. Prior Experience:

Each individual brings a wealth of unique experiences to the table. We respect and utilize these experiences, encouraging participants to share their perspectives, insights, and challenges related to Agile and DevOps. This not only enriches the learning environment but also helps individuals see how their past experiences can shape their future learning.

4. Readiness to Learn:

Adults are most ready to learn things directly relevant to their work or personal life. To this end, we ensure our Agile and DevOps workshops are deeply tied to the participants’ roles and tasks. Through role-based learning scenarios and real-world examples, we ensure that the learning is immediately applicable.

5. Orientation to Learning:

Rather than a pure focus on theoretical content, adults learn best when the learning is problem-centered. Our training programs emphasize practical exercises and problem-solving, enabling participants to apply Lean-Agile and DevOps principles in their day-to-day tasks.

6. Motivation:

While external factors like promotions or raises can motivate, adults are often more deeply driven by internal factors. We tap into this by creating an empowering learning environment where every achievement, no matter how small, is celebrated. The boost to self-confidence, job satisfaction, and the prospect of improved performance serves as powerful motivation.

By incorporating these principles into our Agile and DevOps training programs, we can foster a continuous learning mindset, an essential pillar for any organization aiming to achieve business agility. Remember, in our rapidly evolving world, the ability to learn and adapt is not just an advantage; it is a necessity. Embracing adult learning theory in your organization’s training approach is an investment in your most valuable resource: your people.

Contact us today to learn more about our offerings and how we can help your organization achieve business agility!

Stay agile and keep learning!

Emily Harshman | Chief Executive Officer & Agile Comedian

Set up time: My Calendar