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The objective of the paper is to outline adaptable practices for the application of agile principles in higher education, further provoked by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the short term, agility can lead to more effective and creative ways to solve problems caused by environmental uncertainty, but in the medium and long term, it can be the basis for developing a modern vision for the successful transformation of the university business models. An empirical study in conditions of remote learning due to the imposed anti-epidemiological measures was conducted using an electronic questionnaire among 105 students from “Tsenov” Academy of Economics—Svishtov. Various aspects of the application of the agile methodologies in education during the COVID-19 pandemic are analyzed, related to the more frequent feedback between students and teachers, to the overall attitude toward enhancing digitalization, and the introduction of hybrid forms of education. The study does not provide a definite answer to the question of students’ readiness to apply agile approaches in teaching and assessment. The probable reason is that some of the agile forms were introduced partially due to the need for a rapid pandemic response. Effective agile university governance entails a combination of a bottom-up approach, in which learners are more motivated and willing to put in more personal effort when they are given more self-organization rights, and a top-down approach, in which the system allows and encourages initiative of teachers to develop interactive teaching and research.KeywordsAgileHigher educationCOVID-19
Agile Perspectives in Higher Education*
Margarita Bogdanova1[0000-0003-0558-5274] and Evelina Parashkevova-Velikova2[0000-0003-
1 “Tsenov” Academy of Economics, Svishtov, 5250 Em. Chakarov 2, Bulgaria
2 “Tsenov” Academy of Economics, Svishtov, 5250 Em. Chakarov 2, Bulgaria
Abstract. The objective of the paper is to outline adaptable practices for the ap-
plication of agile principles in higher education, further provoked by the Covid-
19 pandemic. In the short term, agility can lead to more effective and creative
ways to solve problems caused by environmental uncertainty, but in the medium
and long term it can be the basis for developing a modern vision for the suc-
cessful transformation of the university business models. An empirical study in
conditions of remote learning due to the imposed anti-epidemiological measures
was conducted using an electronic questionnaire among 105 students from
“Tsenov ”Academy of Economics - Svishtov. Various aspects of the application
of the agile methodologies in education during the Covid-19 pandemic are ana-
lyzed, related to the more frequent feedback between students and teachers, to
the overall attitude towards enhancing digitalization, and the introduction of hy-
brid forms of education. The study does not provide a definite answer to the ques-
tion of students' readiness to apply agile approaches in teaching and assessment.
The probable reason is that some of the agile forms were introduced partially due
to the need for a rapid pandemic response. Effective agile university governance
entails a combination of a bottom-up approach, in which learners are more moti-
vated and willing to put in more personal effort when they are given more self-
organization rights, and a top-down approach, in which the system allows and
encourages initiative. of teachers to develop interactive teaching and research.
Keywords: Agile, Higher Education, Covid-19
1 Introduction
The challenges facing universities today lay down new and new requirements for their
modernization, both in terms of education and research. The dynamics of the environ-
ment, the growing needs of business for innovation, and the need for trained staff to
* Bogdanova, M., Parashkevova-Velikova, E. (2022). Agile Perspectives in Higher Education.
In: Ciurea, C., Boja, C., Pocatilu, P., Doinea, M. (eds) Education, Research and Business
Technologies. Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies, vol 276. Springer, Singapore.
immediately join the work process and bring added value to the organization require a
fundamentally new approach to the management of processes in higher education.
The objective of the paper is to outline adaptable practices for the application of agile
principles in higher education, further provoked by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the short
term, agility can lead to more effective and creative ways to solve problems caused by
environmental uncertainty, but in the medium and long term it can be the basis for
developing a modern vision for a successful transformation of the university business
Uncertainty can be caused by a wide range of factors, but in this case, it is seen in
the context of the health and economic crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic, which
exacerbated existing problems, such as cuts in public funding for education, increased
competition between universities, etc. Even before the crisis, higher education institu-
tions were faced with the need to change their business model, but the pandemic further
forced the necessity to reconsider the way of management and to clear inefficient ac-
tivities and processes.
While in the first months of the crisis, universities have managed to take short-term
reactive measures, in the medium and long term they already need a new philosophy to
give them a starting point in planning. Agile management principles have the potential
to create such a perspective by offering an alternative to the current practice of bureau-
cratic, ineffective management especially in state universities with a long tradition.
Agile project management in the broadest sense of the term is part of the lean meth-
odology as a way of thinking whose main value is to produce higher value for users
with fewer resources by minimizing losses and continuously improving workflows. [3]
The transfer of the agile management principles in practice is a process of introduc-
ing organizational innovation, as they lead to a change in internal work processes and
procedures, attitudes, and behavior of participants in the course of work.
In education, this transformation is necessary for many reasons. In recent decades,
universities have been seen as active participants in national and regional innovation
systems. They are part of the concept of triple helix [4] and even quadruple helix [12],
where participants - government, business, universities, and civil society interact with
each other, exchanging and sharing knowledge, ideas, experiences, complementing
their resources and looking for ways for faster and more efficient construction of added
Universities are becoming an increasingly important player in the theory and prac-
tice of regional development. They are one of the most important endogenous growth
factors as developers and transmitters of knowledge in various regional innovation co-
alitions and as generators of activities to support entrepreneurship. [14]
However, higher education institutions do not always manage to meet the high pub-
lic expectations towards them. Universities with established traditions are usually cum-
bersome structures, which in many cases operate by inertia. This is good in a stable
environment that remains unchanged for a long time. But in the face of dynamic change,
especially during a pandemic, universities, like all other organizations, had to make
changes in the way they carried out their core activities.
This process, which was initially seen only as a temporary measure, is becoming
more and more widespread, and the necessary changes are now becoming qualitative
and sustainable. The sooner the fact that the processes are sustainable and regular is
accepted, the sooner the necessary transformation will take place.
The idea of the present study is provoked by the need to seek a systematic approach
to crisis management in higher education, i.e. it should be directed, not observed from
the side. To this end, the changes that have taken place should be seen in the context of
an adequate model that explains the behavior and provides a perspective for future ac-
tion. Such a perspective can give agile project management, as a philosophy of working
in a dynamic environment.
2 Research methodology
The research approach applied to develop this article is based on standard scientific
methods. A wide range of secondary sources of information has been studied. Through
content analysis, a gathering of participant meanings, focusing on a single concept or
phenomenon and through induction, basic formulations for the application of Agile in
the field of higher education are derived.
On this basis, specific characteristics and features of Agile are defined by deduction,
which through the methods of synthesis are implemented in the main visions for appli-
cation in the field of education.
Primary information was collected through an electronic survey among 105 students
at the “D. A. Tsenov” Academy of Economics - Svishtov. The survey was conducted
in February 2021 when the training took place in a completely electronic environment
due to the imposed lockdown measures. Respondents are master's and bachelor's degree
students in disciplines associated with agile management in the field of planning, as
well as students studying Agile in the field of computer science.
The data are summarized and analyzed with SPSS software. The defined research
hypotheses were tested using standard statistical methods.
3 Literature Review
Agile project management is emerging in the IT industry but is already entering many
other sectors. According to the XIV report on the state of agile project management for
2020 [1], the sectors of financial and professional services, insurance, industry, tele-
communications, healthcare, education, trade, media, transport, energy, NGOs are in-
dicated as applying the agile approach.
The basic principles of the methodology are part of the Agile Manifesto [13],
adopted in 2001. They are a philosophical vision rather than a recipe for success:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
To these core values are inscribed 12 principles, which today are translated into 68
languages and are signed and recognized by thousands of supporters.
Royle and Nikolic note that Agile is easily adaptable to educational structures, de-
spite the significant difference in the goals of business organizations and universities.
[17] Without neglecting the processes, tools, documentation, contractual relationships,
or plan, the emphasis is on intangible assets that add value to each organization.
Researches conducted in recent years [10] show that the agile approach forms a
much higher degree of interest and participation of students in the educational process
compared to traditional methods.
The Agile Pedagogy Manifesto, defined by Royle and Nikolic [17], emphasizes the
value of the approach to education in the following areas [10]:
Practice preferred to theory
Learner choice and agency preferred to learners being limited and con-trolled
Learning and applying skills preferred to learning facts
Collaboration preferred to competition
Customized learning preferred to standardized one size fits all, and
Co-constructed learning preferred to teacher-led learning
The globalization of the environment in which the higher education system is develop-
ing and the ever-increasing demands of the labor market, combined with the powerful
development of IT, is extremely favorable for the development of these values. The
suitability of educational and scientific production demands that the emphasis be on the
person and not on the process, on the result, and not on the documentation. In this way,
fast cycles of educational tasks can be realized, and an individual approach can be used
with an emphasis on practice and feedback, giving information about the progress and
expected changes in students' decisions based on knowledge.
However, to make such progress in the educational process, universities need to re-
define their values and policies and focus on building an environment for implementing
Agile. This suggests respect for organizational culture in the context of the principles
set out in the 2011 Agile Schools Manifesto [15]:
Teachers and students over administration and infrastructure
Competence and collaboration over compliance and competition
Employability and marketability over syllabus and marks, and
Attitude and learning skills over aptitude and degree.
The modern conditions of intensive and comprehensive implementation of IT allow for
advanced development of universities not in response to emerging needs, but as organ-
izations that define needs. Based on research and development, it is possible to conduct
training that is in response to the demand for specialists in the future. As stated in the
Agile Manifesto in Higher Education [9], universities are expected to train profession-
als for jobs that do not exist today. The dynamics of the environment require a change
in management, training, and science practices, as traditional approaches do not work.
The cumbersome administrative apparatus does not focus on the results but the docu-
mentation and the evidence. Processes related to educational documentation, examina-
tion procedures, research projects require a high degree of administrative compliance
with established and approved standards and a long period of preparation. This goes
against the needs of the labor market, the interests of students, and the need of society
for educational and scientific achievements. Of course, not everything in the activities
of a university is possible to be accompanied by light administrative procedures, but
where this is possible without violating the regulatory framework, it is imperative to
start the process of seeking flexible forms.
In practice, the Agile approach outside the IT sector can have different applications.
Twidale and Nichols see the agile approach as a way to achieve disruptive innovations
[18] - ones that keel over the whole sector and can challenge and destroy established
competitive models. [6]
Most often, destructive innovations in higher education are identified with the advent
of online learning. Although in the first years it was criticized as lower quality, even
before the pandemic online learning was already widespread - because it is cheaper,
more accessible, adaptable to the needs of learners. In this regard, Clayton Christensen,
the author of the idea of destructive innovation and ‘The Innovative University’ [5] in
2011 predicted that online learning (MOOCs) will destroy half of American universities
and colleges by 2030 [7]
The pandemic will strongly influence the process of digitalization of education in all
its stages. How sustainable this impact will remain to be seen in the coming years.
The interpretation of agile principles can take many different forms.
Agility can be focused on creating an internal dynamic university environment for
more creative problem-solving. Most universities are large organizational structures
with difficulty to trace internal interconnections. They are like big projects that are
not implemented on time, are immersed in the documentation, and do not achieve
the necessary results. A flexible approach can put people at the center of the process
(rather than documents) and provoke a new, modern and efficient way of working.
Agility in research teams is particularly important, aimed at ensuring the freedom of
self-determination of teams to prepare motivated project proposals for grant funding,
as the university clears the way for teams and creates a suitable environment and
comprehensive cooperation. In well-managed universities, this is an applicable prac-
tice, with adequate support for small, adaptive teams, access to funding, libraries,
etc. Sometimes, however, various internal inflexible regulations and restrictions
complicate the process, distort it, and hinder teams.
Agile may be more often delivering visible results to students instead of detailing
comprehensive curricula and study documentation [18]
Agile is also constantly scanning students' learning needs, even in the middle of the
semester, and changing the context of teaching to be closest to learners.
Agile may be seeking frequent feedback from students, employers, and other stake-
holders instead of the detailed implementation of planned policy indicators. This is
especially relevant in the context of rapidly changing labor needs and structural im-
balances, the emergence of new professions, the demise of established ones, etc.
Agile is the lessons learned from successful and unsuccessful projects to be used as
input and output in projects.
Agile is the support for the personal development of the students, for their growth,
the building of trust between trainers and trainees. This is the student-centered ap-
proach, which is one of the most important principles of the agile methodology.
Agile can also mean a change in the university structure - from hierarchical to matrix
for example or another more liberal type, which allows the creation of ad hoc teams
on various projects.
Agile governance seems at first sight inapplicable to universities. Unlike modern
startups, universities seem to be an unreliable host of such an innovative management
methodology. In this respect, universities are a real paradox. They can generate ideas
on how best to govern the world and at the same time are unable to apply these ideas in
improving their governance. [18]
Nevertheless, the agile principles are already making their way and are gradually
entering the higher education sector. The process is slow because it is not just a change
of internal instruction, but an awareness of the importance of the principles and values.
Agile demands, above all, the conviction of university leaders to give low-level teams
a chance to self-organize and prove themselves. This transfer of power is not always
welcomed by traditional university managers, which drives conflicts between different
levels of government.
4 Empirical research
The pandemic has triggered many different processes in university governance. It is
not yet clear which of them will be sustainable over time and which will be temporary.
Those who have the potential to be destructive innovations will continue to evolve and
can change the way they teach and evaluate forever.
Remote/distance learning is one of those phenomena that is perceived with mixed
success by various users of educational services. During a pandemic, it is forced, and it
has some advantages. Whether they are enough to displace other forms of education
remains to be seen in the coming years.
The present study seeks to find an answer to this question. However, it shows the
results of only one separate case. The derivation of the regularity needs the accumula-
tion of new knowledge and continuous observation. Important issues in future research
are those related to the attitude of teachers and society as a whole, which have not been
studied in this case.
The empirical study was conducted in February - 2021. The questionnaire was sent
to scholars studying at the Academy of Economics "D. A. Tsenov ”, Svishtov in full-
time, part-time, and distance form, which at the time of the research are entirely in the
mode of remote learning due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Those who filled in the questionnaire are 105 respondents (60 women and 45 men),
distributed as follows: regular form - 28%; part-time - 34%; distance - 38%. The age
profile of the respondents corresponds to the profile of the students in the higher school,
with a predominance of young people from 20 to 29 years of age. There are no regis-
tered dependencies between the age profile of the respondents and their answers.
The distance group of learners studies for a bachelor's or master's degree. Although
they are in distance form, in principle they also have a present part of the training,
although in a reduced amount compared to other groups of students. Under normal cir-
cumstances, they have consultations, and exams are held only face-to-face. Exclusively
in the defense of diploma theses, after a positive evaluation by reviewers, a remote
examination is used.
During the pandemic, however, all groups of students were examined entirely in a
remote manner.
The first group of questions in the survey is related to students' attitudes to the fre-
quency of assessment during the semester. The questions are provoked by one of the
principles of the agile management approach, in which regular feedback is an important
condition for the quality of the product or service that is provided to customers.
In education, frequent feedback is provided in the form of assignments and tasks
during the semester, in which both teachers and students check the level of preparation
of students and, respectively, the effectiveness of teaching. Usually, the results of the
test are cumulated with some weight in the final grade during the exam session, with
each teacher (or team of teachers) deciding what the criteria are for performing the
individual tasks and the weight of the components.
In this regard, the respondents had to indicate what their preferences are - a single
assessment at the end of the semester or multiple appraisals, where the final grade is
cumulated with semester assignments and a grade for the final exam.
In general, students cannot choose their way of examination. The question was asked
not so much to change the measuring system but to check the students' attitude towards
an agile assessment approach.
The results showed a minimal predominance of students' preferences for a one-time
assessment only at the end of the semester - in half of the respondents.
However, the predominance of preferences is determined mainly by students in dis-
tance form, who have entered with the attitude to have more limited contact during the
semester, incl. in terms of more frequent testing of knowledge. In the other two groups
- full-time and part-time form of education, the preferences for single or multiple as-
sessments are distributed equally, i.e. the distribution of answers is symmetrical.
Of those who still declared a desire for multiple assessments, the predominant wish
is for single testing in the semester (before the final exam) - in 32% of respondents.
Nearly 18% have stated a desire for a higher frequency - twice a semester and only
2.6% - for testing twice a month. The majority of students (nearly half of the valid
answers) do not have a preference for the number of tests.
These answers should be considered in the context of the grading system until the
beginning of the 2020/2021 academic year at the Academy of Economics, according to
which students were not necessarily graded during the semester. The semester interme-
diate grades were at the choice of the teacher. In this sense, students' attitudes are for
relatively rare assessment during the semester, i.e. for a less flexible approach in which
the result of the educational service becomes clear at a later stage of training.
The feedback that students can receive from teachers - either in the form of consul-
tations or in the form of questions and intensive communication during the semester
was also the subject of the study. The answers show that 36% of the respondents prefer
to ask questions during lectures to consult on the unclear aspects. However, almost a
quarter (24%) never ask questions about the subject matter. 18% are those who rarely
ask questions, even if they have uncertainties. The same is the share of students who
ask questions only if they feel the teacher's attitude to expand the explanations and
These results should be interpreted carefully, as far as asking questions or refraining
from asking questions can be explained not only by the presence or absence of interest
in the topic but also by the behavioral, cultural, and other attitudes of the learners.
But in any case, teachers should encourage students to get feedback and look for
ways to expand communication with them. This becomes even more important during
remote learning, where the contacts are not face-to-face, but mediated by technical
Teamwork is another aspect of the agile approach that is used in education, although
not as widely as in project work. Therefore, the respondents were asked a question
related to the attitude of teamwork in the training process. Almost half (49%) declare
that they have no difficulty working in different teams when completing semester as-
signments. 19% prefer to work independently. 15% prefer to choose colleagues to work
with, and 17% indicated that they can work, but only if the task is set by the teacher
and the responsibilities in the team are distributed. The latter answer is most closely
linked to the philosophy of the traditional project management model. It can be assumed
that the students who indicated this answer are strong supporters of a more traditional
model of a teacher-student relationship, where the tasks are distributed by the teachers
and the students only perform them.
The relationship with external stakeholders was examined by asking for the opinion
of the respondents about the participation of external lecturers from the practice in the
training process. By reducing those who have not had the opportunity to attend such
lectures, there is generally a high percentage of approval for the participation of external
lecturers. This is a perspective that should be strengthened at the Academy of Econom-
ics, to strengthen the university-business-government link. In the conditions of remote
learning, the possibilities are even greater, albeit for indirect contact.
Respondents had the opportunity to point out, according to them, the biggest weak-
nesses of remote learning during the pandemic, marking up to three possible answers
from a list of the most frequently mentioned in the studies of different authors and with
an open option for additional response.
In general, three groups of problems are formed:
Related to communication. Students lack contacts mostly with other students, and
2/3 of the respondents mentioned this as a problem. Difficult communication with
teachers was also noted as a disadvantage - in 25% of respondents. This group may
also include communication problems arising directly from constraints during a pan-
demic. Such is Misunderstandings of the tasks - in 28% of the answers, as well as A
general lack of support from teachers (16%) as a deficit in training compared to the
regular and part-time forms of training.
The second group of problems is related to the quality of training. 30% are worried
about whether they will receive quality educational service, 6% believe that teachers
are not always well prepared, and 10% find the training materials are insufficiently
adapted / not flexible.
The third group of questions is related to attitudes towards the process of remote
teaching. 21% have difficulty managing their time, 20% feel isolated, 17% are de-
motivated, 9% say that distance learning requires a different attitude to learning,
higher motivation than they do not have.
About 3% of respondents believe that remote learning has no disadvantages.
The benefits of remote learning were also discussed with the respondents. The high-
est share of respondents indicated that they can join from anywhere - 77%. This is be-
coming a very serious advantage of remote teaching and is highly valued in many other
studies. It suggests the great potential of remote teaching and the likely transition to
hybrid forms after the pandemic.
Advantages of an economic nature, according to the students, are the reduced costs
for travel and accommodation, which is indicated by 60% of the respondents. However,
it is not clear how sustainable this advantage is, as it is not compared to other costs that
have increased during the lockdown, such as costs for the purchase of better equipment,
better internet connectivity, etc.
Time management is mentioned as an important advantage. On the one hand, it saves
travel time - to the university, especially for those living in other settlements, such as
most of the students at the Academy of Economics. On the other hand, students indicate
that they can better manage their time and the distribution of their commitments. This
is a very sustainable advantage as far as an agile approach allows, individual efforts
that stimulate students to develop their organizational skills for coordinating tasks.
Last but not least - 26% of students find that distance learning is more individual and
creates a different rhythm of work and study, which they approve of. 13% are also
motivated to seek new knowledge.
Students were asked to indicate which form of education they would choose if they
had the opportunity. For this purpose, a comparison was made between their form of
training and the choice they indicated as potentially possible. The results show that
about half of the students in each group would choose the same form of study again.
The other half is distributed among the others, with the choice of "Distance Learning"
dominating. 10% of all answers are for a hybrid form, but it is not clear which combi-
nation (which hybrid) is preferred.
A hypothesis was tested on whether students' preferences changed after the forced
transition to distance learning during the pandemic. For this purpose, the two hypothe-
ses were formulated:
The null hypothesis Н0 states that there is no relationship between the form of edu-
cation of students and the statement about the preferred form of education.
The alternative hypothesis H1 states that there is such a connection.
χ2 analysis was applied, which showed high empirical values: χ2 em = 33.5, χt =
15.51 (at 8 degrees of freedom and significance level 0.05). The analysis showed that
there is a statistically significant relationship between the current form of education and
the one that students would choose if they had the opportunity to make their choice
As the number of cases in which the answer "Other" and the answer "hybrid form of
training" are indicated is small (total n = 11) and this violates the condition for the
number of cells with less than 5 to be less than 20%, these responses are reduced as a
preference. The remaining cases (n = 94) out of a total of 105 were considered.
The hypothesis test results show that Pearson Chi-Square shows a value of 34,875
with 4 degrees of freedom and p = 0,000.
χ2 (4, N=94)= 34,875, p<0.001.
Since p <0.05, the null hypothesis H0 that there is no connection between the two
variables is rejected and the alternative hypothesis is accepted, there is a dependence
between the current form of education and the one that students would choose if they
have the opportunity to choose again and it is statistically significant.
In this sense, it can be concluded that the pandemic did not affect the choice of stu-
dents. They do not consider distance learning to be preferable, despite the advantages
they report for it.
The symmetry test shows an estimate of the strength of the relationship or the mag-
nitude of the effect between the two variables. The data show a high strength of the
relationship, as the Kramer coefficient is above 0.35 (for three categories of the varia-
ble). Cramer’s V = 0.431
The students were asked to choose one of several formulated statements related to
their attitude towards traditional learning and the distance approach that best fits their
understanding. The answers are as follows:
The highest grade is given to the possibility for unlimited access to educational re-
sources for students who did not have one before the pandemic, but received it pre-
cisely because of the opening of educational resources for all students at the Acad-
emy of Economics. 34% of the respondents evaluate this, and for understandable
reasons this opportunity is the highest evaluated by the group of respondents in full-
time education.
A quarter of students believe that combining traditional forms with distance learning
provides a better opportunity for learning and self-learning than only traditional or
only distance learning. At the same time, they did not recognize the hybrid forms
mentioned in the previous question. A possible explanation is that they do not fully
understand the meaning of hybrid forms.
24% of the respondents are completely supporters of the traditional face-to-face
forms of education, as they believe that the modern electronic distance forms of ed-
ucation cannot replace the traditional ones. However, the reasons for this response,
which may be related to infrastructural, cultural, emotional, etc., have not been stud-
Two statements were also made related to the equality of remote and face-to-face
learning. 10% of the respondents put them on the same level as the knowledge, skills,
and competencies they receive. 7% disagree and deny remote learning.
5 Conclusion
The study does not provide a definite answer to the question of the advantages and/or
disadvantages of remote learning. The probable reason is that some of the agile forms
were introduced partially due to the need for a rapid pandemic response. Respondents
are divided, as is the society in this term. However, the experience that the whole edu-
cation system has gained and continues to gain will lead to various forms of digitaliza-
tion in a hybrid version. The most efficient and effective solutions, which combine dif-
ferent trade-offs, will be imposed naturally, proving their advantages on the market.
To some extent, the pandemic has imposed some of the practices of agile manage-
ment, but only in part. Especially important is the issue of motivation and self-motiva-
tion, the self-organization of individual learners, who must invest more personal effort
and energy to have access to training, not to interrupt communication channels and
compensate for the weaknesses with something else.
In the IT industry, the agile approach arises in response to the great dynamics of the
environment and the impossibility of the traditional approach to respond to this dy-
namic. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused huge shocks in all sectors and the normal
response is to look for an approach to overcome these shocks. The agile methodology
cannot be applied directly in higher education, but its ideas can find a place in the way
activities are organized in search of higher success.
Universities can become much more flexible if they orient themselves in time. Those
who are more adaptable are already taking steps in this direction.
There are many training systems, and the main character is their adaptability to user
preferences, educational goals, learning style, level of knowledge, behavior in the sys-
tem, etc. The agile approach in educational institutions can be integrated with adaptive
learning. Adaptive learning, which includes learning materials and educational e-ser-
vices with adjustability to adaptive learning, allows for personalization of the educa-
tional process to the specific needs of a learner with the appropriate pedagogical strat-
egy to improve the learning process. Web 2.0-based training tools, and not only, enable
studying in an interactive environment, which is a prerequisite for implementing Agile.
The relationship Agile - Adaptive Education, incl. and Adaptive Educational Hyperme-
dia is poorly researched, but can logically be well substantiated and tested in future
studies, especially those related to the impact of COVID-19 on the educational process.
The creation of a personal learning path is a tool for reducing the cognitive load,
through which it is possible to orient the learning to results under the principles of Ag-
The application of Agile in the higher education system requires complex skills of
students and trainers, on the one hand, and clear mechanisms and rules for the applica-
tion of alternative agile tools for teaching and learning, on other hand. The aim is to
ensure synergy by combining different forms and tools for providing knowledge in
HEIs (explicitly and tacitly), in support of different educational needs and necessities
of students and their faster adaptation to the requirements of the labor market.
More broadly, organizational agility also requires building a supportive culture that
enables the empowerment of capable people and collective leadership. These are com-
ponents of the general framework developed by PMI [16], which is applied in prosper-
ous organizations. This will be a way to successfully combine in universities both ap-
proaches - bottom-up, where teams thrive, and top-down, in which a mature leadership
sees the potential of agility and provides freedom for its development.
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... The biggest challenge that higher education leaders, educators, and learners must overcome is the rapid change offered by the VUCA environment. To successfully lead and manage learning in these times of rapid change, leaders, educators, and learners must master agility [4,5]. Agile leaders, educators, and learners are adaptive, flexible, and keenly aware of their surroundings. ...
Full-text available
Agility and future readiness are fundamental 21st-century skills that could guide university students globally to thriving and benefiting from a VUCA—volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous—world. The ability to respond flexibly, make informed decisions, and adapt to rapid change reflects future-readiness capabilities. However, little is known about the empirical role of the university curriculum, learning ecosystem, and learning experience as perceived by university students in developing these skills. Therefore, we analysed data collected from 209 Malaysian university students from 16 universities to assess whether these three pertinent factors impact the students’ learning agility and determine how well learning agility predicts learners’ future readiness. The present study empirically assessed a theoretical model using a partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) approach. The analysis supported all the hypotheses proposed in this study, which implies that the extended model could effectively predict learners’ agility and future readiness. The results revealed that the university learning experience, ecosystem, and curriculum positively, directly, and significantly affected learning agility and future readiness. Furthermore, the findings showed that student agility significantly mediated the relationships between the student learning experience, university learning ecosystem, and curriculum and student future readiness. Taken together, these results highlight the importance of a future-ready education nurtured by a vibrant learning ecosystem that delivers lasting values and experiences for students and communities to appreciate the opportunities for a challenging yet exciting future offered by a VUCA environment. The established empirical model describing the empirical interplays between these correlates could, in turn, aid better evidence-based policy making in higher education.
Full-text available
Teaching agile practices has found its place in software engineering curricula in many universities across the globe. As a result, educators and students have embraced different ways to apply agile practices during their courses through lectures, games, projects, workshops and more for effective theoretical and practical learning. Practicing agile in university contexts comes with challenges for students and to counter these challenges, they perform some adaptations to standard agile practices making them effective and easier to use in university contexts. This study describes the constraints the students faced while applying agile practices in a university course taught at the University of Auckland, including difficulty in setting up common time for all team members to work together, limited availability of customer due to busy schedule and the modifications the students introduced to adapt agile practices to suit the university context, such as daily stand-ups with reduced frequency, combining sprint meetings, and rotating scrum master from team. In addition, it summarizes the effectiveness of these modifications based on reflection of the students. Recommendations for educators and students are also provided. Our findings and recommendations will help educators and students better coordinate and apply agile practices on industry-based projects in university contexts.
Full-text available
Agile Methods propose a new way of looking at software development that questions many of the beliefs of conventional Software Engineering. Agile methods such as Extreme Programming (XP) have been very effective in producing highquality software in realworld projects with strict time constraints. Nevertheless, most university courses and industrial training programs are still based on oldstyle heavy-weight methods. This article, based on our experiences teaching XP in academic and industrial environments, presents effective ways of teaching students and professionals on how to develop high-quality software following the principles of agile software development. We also discuss related work in the area, describe realworld cases, and discuss open problems not yet resolved.
Full-text available
'Mode 3' allows and emphasises the co-existence and co-evolution of different knowledge and innovation paradigms: the competitiveness and superiority of a knowledge system is highly determined by its adaptive capacity to combine and integrate different knowledge and innovation modes via co-evolution, co-specialisation and co-opetition knowledge stock and flow dynamics. The 'Quadruple Helix' emphasises the importance of also integrating the perspective of the media-based and culture-based public. What results is an emerging fractal knowledge and innovation ecosystem, well-configured for the knowledge economy and society.
Full-text available
Using the Triple Helix model of university-industry-government relations, one can measure the extent to which innovation has become systemic instead of assuming the existence of national (or regional) systems of innovations on a priori grounds. Systemness of innovation patterns, however, can be expected to remain in transition because of integrating and differentiating forces. Integration among the functions of wealth creation, knowledge production, and normative control takes place at the interfaces in organizations, while exchanges on the market, scholarly communication in knowledge production, and political discourse tend to differentiate globally. The neo-institutional and the neo-evolutionary versions of the Triple Helix model enable us to capture this tension reflexively. Empirical studies inform us whether more than three helices are needed for the explanation. The Triple Helix indicator can be extended algorithmically, for example, with local-global as a fourth dimension or, more generally, to an N-tuple of helices.
Universities are strange organizations. They are charged with multiple, perhaps contradictory, and certainly mutually complexifying missions. These include teaching, research, and service to local, national and international communities, economic regeneration and urban revitalization.
Conference Paper
Present mass education system that can best be described using the factory metaphor is witnessing criminal wastage of resources. Despite of regulatory framework and accreditation mechanism, the quality in mass higher education system in India still remains elusive. We observe that Lean and Agile practices that have met with great success in manufacturing and software industry can offer few of their practices to higher education in order to reduce the wastage. In this paper we have reflected on some of the current practices in higher education and proposed an Agile Manifesto for education on the lines of Agile Manifesto in the software development. The paper puts forward a novel idea of how we can improve the quality and productivity in education sector by practicing the agile manifesto with the help of ICT.
Lean management in the higher education
  • M Bogdanova