Why We Embrace Our Agile Workplace

Published by Carrie O'Donnell
on Mar 07, 2019

“Truly great workplaces understand the benefits of putting their culture and employee engagement at the center of their agile growth strategy. Great workplaces help innovation thrive, bring ideas to life, and ensure people can easily collaborate across the business…” Harvard Business Review

For the past three decades, O’Donnell Learn has strived to create an agile workplace and a culture of innovation and collaboration. I founded ODL in the early 90s, while I was in my 20s, with a family on the way. I had witnessed my friends struggle to balance motherhood with their careers and I wanted to create a company that would be sensitive to that. I thought, why not create a business that provides a flexible work environment AND helps companies design digital learning products? ODL’s dedication to cultivating an agile workplace has proven to be profitable and efficient.  Our people have the flexibility to work anytime and anywhere. And, it fosters a continuous culture of innovation and experimentation.

Since the company’s start, O’Donnell Learn’s agile culture has endured and thrived because it aligns with our company’s DNA. A key element of our DNA, or what we call  our “special sauce”, is our decades old practice of combining creativity and expertise. We see ourselves as learning experience innovators. Our structured approach to collaboration fosters creativity and innovation. Our DNA is conducive to, and strengthened by, our agile workplace as we put together flexible teams of experts who collaborate to innovate.

We also embrace a set of tenets and guiding design principles that are based on learning science and proven instructional design practices. For example, we exclusively utilize backwards design. We start with outcomes–then design assessments that will show mastery of the outcomes.  Only after this do we create or curate content and learning activities.This uniform practice, among others, is how we ensure consistency in an elastic work environment.

Lastly, O’Donnell Learn has a unique culture marked by its dedication to quality, creativity, collaboration, and a commitment to continuous learning and evolution. Our culture aligns with, and is enriched by, an agile workplace because our culture is better served in a climate of fluidity and collaboration. We believe that the agile workplace and ODL’s culture are inseparable, as both aid  in our mission to develop best practices and high quality, effective and engaging learning experiences.

Now that agile and elastic workplaces are commonplace, I look forward to the future, to being able to evolve the O’Donnell Learn workforce. To learning, collaborating and innovating together. Our agile workplace is here to stay.

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Resiliency in the Now Normal: Spending for Sustainability and Scale is Key

Published By Carrie O'Donnell
on Apr 22, 2021

Earlier in April, Matt Reed proposed the best use of the $12B included in President Biden’s infrastructure legislation for updating infrastructure in community colleges, would be “ways that situate colleges to be more resilient in future economic headwinds.”  For those of you unfamiliar with Reed, not only does he write the “Confessions of a Community College Dean” blog on Inside Higher Ed, nearly 18 years of his career has been in community college leadership positions. Dr. Joshua Kim, director of online programs and strategy at Dartmouth College, fondly refers to him as “Dean Dad.” In fact, Kim penned a response in support of the infrastructure spending recommendations Reed made in his post and offered an additional recommendation of his own: learning designers. 

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Published By Brett Christie, PhD
on Mar 30, 2021

We recently learned there are approximately 20,000 learning designers in the US compared to over 1,500,000 faculty creating online courses. Additionally, a study we conducted last summer with 475 higher ed faculty revealed: Nearly half were simply mirroring their face-to-face instruction, Only 22% were designing their courses differently for online, More than 40% had never taught online or had only taught online for one to two terms. But here’s an even more startling fact: faculty were spending nearly 49 hours prepping an online course for the first time. Converting an existing course for online? Twenty-three hours.