The focus on the agile curriculum design that has been so valuable for lean curriculum design and delivery is mostly to ensure a quality and relevant piece of curriculum or program is created in the shortest period of time in a just-in-time (JIT) environment. However, upon reflection, another huge benefit of this process is the fixed price changes. Previously, a fixed price was set for writing an entire course, but the process optimization has broken down the development across a series of stages and subsequently eliminated costlyrediscovery by SMEs through a common framework.
Only the subject matter is the point of variability now, which is where the writer will make the difference in the quality of content. Now that the variability of course writing has been driven into the smallest possible container, the contract price is simply a total amount of each stage’s cost. Since the complicated aspects of writer rediscovery, the entry barrier is low and very predictable, removing the need to negotiate a price per course!
A great example of this was when a writer was unable to finish a course due to an emergency, we were able to pay for the two stages completed without any complication and not only immediately hire another writer for the remainder of the contract, but also experience minimal lost time because the completed stages provided articulation that clearly indicated the path for finishing the course.
Another example is having a better sense of what is actually required based on the subject matter. Since the only variability now is actual subject matter content, the needs are now very clear between social and natural science courses that previously had the same opaque pricing process that complicated expectations. For example, natural science courses often require specific adaptive tutorial programs or simulations. The optimization of the design and delivery process now allows these services to have a fixed price as well, and even select a different individual for that component depending on the skill set of the content provider.
Financial savings since switching over to the agile curriculum process has been significant not only because the fixed pricing was itemized across the stages, but also because there is clarity on the expectations.