Interview with Prof. Dr. Dr. Christof Arn

Dr. Daniel Stoller-Schai
Prof. Dr. Dr. Christof Arn

Prof. Dr. Dr. Christof Arn
Learning and Teaching Expert

in discussion with

Dr. Daniel Stoller-Schai
Director of Advisory board LEARNING INNOVATION CONFERENCE, Head Sales & Marketing, Digital Learning Specialist CREALOGIX AG

Dr. Daniel Stoller-Schai: Dear Christof, what do you mean by “Agile Learning”? What is your personal understanding/definition?

Prof. Dr. Christof Arn: Agile learning depends on agile teaching. Whenever a teacher or lecturer just follows a prefixed plan, students are very restricted. Becoming an agile teacher means: Improve the ability to identify the definitive teaching strategies while teaching; while perceiving the actual needs, energies and abilities of the learners. Let's make it simple: Agile teaching is just a normal cooperation of teacher and learners, having a common goal. Whenever a common process is really cooperative, not only one party defines the next step, and of course not in advance. So, learning and teaching becomes adventurously and exciting for everybody. Do you feel uncertain? Gain certainty by training yourself in small steps. Do you feel like wanting more? Make bigger steps - challenge yourself. (The book "Agile Hochschuldidaktik" is also at your disposition.)


Dr. Daniel Stoller-Schai: Based on this explanation, what is your best example of an agile learning project?

Prof. Dr. Christof Arn: A very good example is following five steps:

  1. Collecting interests, questions, aims of the learners in the given topic.
  2. Arranging the collected points and defining in common, how to treat them.
  3. Going through them and changing the defined plan always, when better ideas come up.
  4. Teaching unmentioned parts of the given topics, if there are some.
  5. Let the learners demonstrate in their own ways, what they have learned.


Dr. Daniel Stoller-Schai: What is needed to enable companies and organizations to implement agile forms of learning?

Prof. Dr. Christof Arn: Understand that taught is not learned. If the teacher or lecturer is the one, that has reached the end of the given content (e.g.: his last slide), it was for nothing. Capture that learning is an activity of the learners, not of the teacher. If the teacher is the active part, things go wrong. But if the learners become actively involved, things deploy surprisingly. If organizations get that, they will be forced by their insight to forget about non-agile learning and non-agile teaching. So they will start the adventure of learning agile learning and teaching. It's just a question of realizing the reality.


Dr. Daniel Stoller-Schai: Is agile teaching something for experienced and expert teachers only?

Prof. Dr. Christof Arn: Yes, experts and experienced lecturers tends automatically to teach agile, the longer they teach. This is a normal process. And: No. Even greenhorns and their learners will benefit from agile teaching: Just teach like you would help a friend to learn something. You wouldn't follow a fixed plan. Agile teaching is just normal. (Hearing somebody thinking: "This is ok with small groups." I answer: "Yes it is. And with large groups too, in my experience.")


Dr. Daniel Stoller-Schai: Thanks a lot for these interesting insights.