AGILE Instructional Design

Can a 45-year old ISD methodology keep up with the changes?

It’s true that FKA’s Instructional Systems Design (ISD) methodology is old. It was introduced by our founder, Paul A. Friesen, in 2 books he wrote and published:

  • An Introduction to Instructional Programming. Published in 1970 by Friesen, Kaye & Associates, Ltd.
  • Designing instruction: a systematic or “systems” approach using programmed instruction as a model. Published 1971 by Friesen, Kaye & Associates, Ltd. and in 1973 by Miller Pub. Co.

In the learning and development community, 45 years is definitely old. So I admit FKA’s ISD methodology is old, but it is now—and has always been—very agile; it definitely doesn’t look its age.

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AGILE Instructional Design

The AGILE instructional design approach is a project-oriented approach introduced by Conrad Gottfredson, a performance-support practitioner. While describing an ‘agile’ process for developing e-learning, the acronym ‘AGILE’ was defined by Gottfredson to stand for: Align, Get set, Iterate and implement, Leverage and Evaluate.

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So what makes FKA’s ISD methodology AGILE? Have a closer look at our Needs Identification phase. Determine Needs, the first half of the phase, is focused on alignment with the clients’ learning needs; and Plan Project, the second half, defines a cost-effective learning plan.

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We have the AG but what about the rest of being agile – the ILE?

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So, there you have it! FKA’s ISD methodology may look old but it can easily be used to follow an agile approach.

We will compare FKA’s ISD methodology to SAM in a later blog.



Jim Sweezie
VP Research and Product Development


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