Scrum is a proven framework for solving complex problems, mostly in software development area. Unfortunately, many organisations struggle with it, not getting expected benefits. This is because Scrum adoption is a complex problem itself, which requires behaviour changes of everyone involved.
What if we used one of Scrum pillars — empiricism for teaching it?
Scrum is based on empirical approach which states that the knowledge comes from sensory experience. When we apply this approach to teaching, instead of using classroom-style of transferring knowledge, we allow people to experience an “insight” about the possibilities of the new ways of working and its benefits. This magical technique allows people to make new connections in their brains, so much needed for their willingness to apply new behaviours.
There is a funny paradox about learning: When you are bored, you are not learning. When you are learning you are not bored.
Traditional training methods like: classroom learning, lectures, e-learning, etc. disengage people from the learning process. This approach will not make the impact needed to influence how people in your organisation act.
An experiment conducted in 2010 that went viral, showed that a student’s brain activity during a class matched watching TV and was close to a brain dead (see yellow marker on the graph below).
Although this experiment is far from proper academic research, we all intuitively feel that medieval university style is not the right way to learn new skills. Even if a student manages to acquire any theoretical knowledge when her brain is shut down, she will eventually struggle to turn the new information into practical actions.
Recent brain studies prove that people acquire knowledge and learn new skills better when they encounter a new experience, reflect upon it and generate their own ideas for implementing the concepts in a real-life setting.
Another study worth bringing up has been conducted at the Spanish Business School. A group of Bachelor’s Degree students in Business Administration were enrolled in “Management Skills” program which was built upon Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory and his four-stage cycle of learning. The course focused on transferring theoretical concepts into practice by experience-based group activities and managerial simulations with a manager of a real company.
The conclusions of the research give an ultimate proof that learn-by-doing approach drives superior results:
If you want to make cultural changes that will stick, you should harness experiential learning into your Agile & Scrum training program.
Here are a few examples of the empirical techniques that we used when designing ScrumTale simulation game