Since 2013, ELTjam has evolved from a blog to a learning agency, but what got us fired up to start in the first place was our interest in tech, startup culture and new ways of working, and how these could be brought into ELT. One example is Agile – the standard way of running software projects and developing tech products – but in our experience still not used much in ELT materials development when done at a large scale. This post is about how we recently used Agile in a large ELT course development project.
Two years ago, ELTjam asked whether it was possible to produce an ELT course book using Agile workflows in the strictest definition of the term, creating lots of discussion. At emc design, we’re starting to see our clients use many different approaches to new courses, some using agile-inspired techniques. But can traditional ELT print publishers take ‘true’ Agile on board sustainably? Is it possible to approach a print product in exactly the same way as we approach digital products? Or are they just too different?
The acronym MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, seems to be popping up in conversations with ELT publishers all over the place right now; and that’s odd, because up until about 2013, I’d never heard a publisher mention it. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, an MVP is a tactic used in product development to gauge customer interest in a new product or product feature. The idea is that you don’t build the whole thing; you just build enough to see whether people might be interested in what you’re proposing. What many people seem to actually be doing with their MVP is applying the Pareto Principle. Otherwise known as the 80–20 rule
One of the promises of digital publishing is the ability to improve and update a product on a continual basis. For that to work, you need to know which parts of your course are working well and which are failing to meet their objectives. In part 3 of our interview with Knewton, they explain how they believe data analysis can provide the insights needed to refine and improve ELT courses, going beyond what even the most knowledgeable and experienced author/editor team could do.