Onboarding new collaborators / Buddy system
by Sven Laux - Monday, 28 April 2014, 9:34 AM


This is to let everyone know that we (the Adapt Learning core team) have implemented a buddy system and onboarding process to help new collaborators get up to speed in a well-managed fashion and enable us to scale up the project resources.

With DeltaNet and LearnChamp joining the Adapt Learning Collaborators earlier this year, we now have a core team of 15 active project members across 5 collaborating organisations. We are very pleased about our international reach (8000+ visitors across 90 countries since launch at the end of September 2013), the uptake of the Framework and the good progress we are making on the development of version 0.1 of authoring tool.

We have an ambitious vision and, being an open source project, we have the chance to break down organisational barriers and enable everyone (including organisations which compete in the marketplace) to work together and achieve a common goal. A part of enabling and speeding up success for us is signing up new collaborators, be that individuals or organisations.

We recognise that joining a project like ours is an unknown and potentially a risk (given the investment of time) for any individual or organisation considering this. The project steering group have therefore given a great deal of thought to how we can make this as smooth and positive and experience as possible.

As part of this, we have now implemented a buddy system and a short 'curriculum' to help new collaborators get up to speed.
(For reference, collaborators are people or organisations, who make time available to work towards the vision under the Adapt Learning project leadership)

The buddy system in summary:

  • Each new collaborator is assigned an experienced buddy or mentor from the core team.
  • The buddy is responsible for assigning and reviewing work (according to listed bugs / feature requests or defined sprints) as well as guiding the new member along by answering questions and giving feedback etc.
  • A different buddy is assigned according to the progress of the new collaborator. This means there is a degree of rotation and variety, which makes for a more balanced workload and experience. It also helps build relationships and facilitates good communication across the core team.
  • Each core team member, once established, is expected to take on and mentor new collaborators in order to enable us to scale up resource on the project. Everyone therefore signs up to having at least one mentee (for a specific type of task) at any time.

The developer curriculum in summary:

We have identified a hierarchy of task types, with increasing level of difficulty:

  1. Build a test course (easiest / pre-requisite)
  2. Help test the Adapt Framework / components
  3. Work on bug fixes
  4. Implement a component for the Adapt Framework (from the community wish list)
  5. Implement an extension for the Adapt Framework
  6. Carry out core work on the Adapt Framework
  7. Work on the Adapt Authoring tool (hardest)

We appreciate that our technology stack is still very modern and may present a significant learning curve in its own right. We are also aware that it takes a while to get a feeling for the project and people and to get a thorough understanding of the code and detail.

We are keen to get more people involved and want to make this a positive experience for everyone.

We have always been very well organised and everyone in the core team is very competent, friendly, keen to learn and also keen to support others learning. We can see there are various benefits of being involved, including direct access to the core team, learning new technologies, visibility and interest from clients and employers in the market and the ability to achieve something great.

If you're interested in joining the collaborators, we would love you to get in touch.

While we can't take on very many new collaborators at the same time (we're focused on making progress), we're keen to explore with you as to whether and how we could work together. The key thing we would look for from you is a passion to see Adapt Learning project succeed and the ability to devote a suitable portion of your time on a regular basis.

If you are interested, many of the collaborating organisations have also signalled that they would be happy to give a reference and talk about their experience of being Adapt Learning collaborators.


Many thanks,
Sven (on behalf of the Adapt Learning Steering Group)