https://dwpdigital.blog.gov.uk/2015/03/26/testing-a-new-shorter-digital-academy/

Testing a new, shorter Digital Academy

When we brought the Digital Academy together in February this year, we did some user centred design of the future Academy schedules.

The Digital Academy is growing, and the ambition is to run 9 Academies at the same time over several locations. To do this, we need to test whether a shorter Academy schedule will still deliver the right learning. Our aim is to reduce the time of the Academy from 5 weeks to 3 weeks or even less.

That’s quite an ask isn’t it? We asked previous graduates of the Academy to design a shorter schedule, by posing these questions to the group:

  • What is a ‘must do’ in the schedule?
  • What can be removed?
  • What is a ‘nice to have’?

The feedback provided us with heaps of insight and extremely valuable recommendations on how we can do this, such as:

  • Time to work on a project is a ‘must do’ and it would be better if there was more of it – we’ve almost doubled the project time for the Discovery session
  • The session on social media can be removed – so we have!
  • Real input from projects is a ‘nice to have’ – we’ve commissioned videos from digital programmes.

So what did we do next?

Well, we sifted through all the post it notes using affinity diagramming, which painted a great picture for us. From this, we were able to come up with a proposal of a structure for a 10-day Academy schedule.

We’re testing this proposal with users right now. We’ve carried out A/B testing of the new Academy schedule with two different cohorts in March – one Academy is for people from the same division and the other is a cross-DWP Academy. We’ll evaluate the course and make a decision on future schedules based on the user needs.