Learning Management System/Experience Platform Alpha: Sprint 1

Learning Management System/Experience Platform Alpha: Sprint 1

We’ve just finished our first two-week sprint for the Learning Management System/Experience Platform alpha, and we held our first show and tell last week. Let’s have a look back over our first sprint and what’s happened so far.

To give you a quick update on the project, this 10-week alpha is looking at solutions for an online learning experience and management platform for Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil councils, and the opportunities for shared content across councils. The three councils started this work last year and have teamed up with us here in the Local Gov Digital Team after our discovery work to do the research, user experience work, user testing and to provide a decision on what solution fits the requirements and user needs.  We’ll be working with different learning platform providers as well as staff from across the local authorities (LAs) to assess the suitability of the platforms against a specific framework of requirements. As well as providers of new platforms, we’re also working closely with Learning@Wales, the present learning platform offering from Welsh Gov. I’ve deliberately kept this intro to the work brief but if you’d like more info, please email me and I’m always happy to have a chat.

We started the first sprint on Monday 9 August and closed on Friday 20 August. For this sprint, we focused on getting our processes and our team up and running. We ensured that we had ceremonies and show and tell sessions booked in, our Kanban board set up and accessible, and started to plan and deliver the first phase of the work.

Content Designers

We also hired two new contractor content designers Rachel and Suchet, with Rachel starting work in this sprint. Rachel is working on developing the Democratic Services courses into more engaging digital content, ready for the local government elections in May 2022. Rachel has developed a rhythm and process for the content creation, iteration and testing and started working with our User Researcher Tom to book in user testing sessions with our volunteers. A massive thank you to those of you taking part in the creation workshops and the user testing – we couldn’t do this without you!

User Experience

We’ve also hired Mike as a contractor UX Designer, and he’s been working with Tom to develop personas based on the different job roles/user types in the framework of requirements. In terms of UX (User Experience) Mike has been gathering the work done in the discovery phase and has started an audit on Learning @Wales, focusing on .GOV recommendations for Accessibility, IA (Information Architecture) and UX Patterns, as well as reviewing the present user journeys, based on the user personas and user needs.

Learning Platforms

As part of the project, we’re assessing current learning platforms that are available. We’ve already had a demo of a product called Thinqi before the alpha began as part of the work Caerphilly were leading. Our next step is to assess Learning@Wales against the same framework of requirements, and in Sprint 1 we arranged a demo for the team behind it to showcase its functionality. This happened in Sprint 2, and we’ll include more on this in our next update. We’ll also be viewing and testing other platforms as the sprints go on.

Steering Groups

We’ve also started work to develop the steering group for the project and requested reps from all the local authorities – we’ve had a great response so thank you to everyone who has responded. This steering group will provide important shaping and guidance for the project and help to ensure that the work is communicated more widely in LAs to ensure everyone is in the loop – something that can be tricky with the broad spread of LAs.

Our retrospective

At the end of the sprint, we held our retrospective session to look at how the team are doing so far, what’s gone well, what needs improving and our next steps. In terms of positives, we’re communicating well, working well together and we’re helping and supporting each other to answer questions and fill gaps in our knowledge which is great. There’s a good ethos of no-one having all the answers, and sharing opinions on next steps, all whilst bearing in mind that some members of the team have a day job aside from this work. In terms of improvements, we’re looking to get the content work moved forward quickly to ensure we can meet deadlines, and to plan our communications with the Steering Group so we ensure they’re up to date with our progress and helping us to make decisions.

Our first show and tell went really well, we had a great turnout of people across the LAs and had some good questions at the end of the session. We’re hoping for some more as the project progresses to keep us on our toes!

Please send this blog onto anyone you think would be interested and contact us if you’d like an invite to our show and tell session held fortnightly. Here’s to an action-packed, productive Sprint 2!