The ADDIE Model of Instructional Design

The ADDIE model is the generic process traditionally used by instructional designers and training developers. This acronym stands for the 5 phases contained in the model:

  • Analyze – analyze learner characteristics, task to be learned, etc.
  • Design – develop learning objectives, choose an instructional approach
  • Develop – create instructional or training materials
  • Implement – deliver or distribute the instructional materials
  • Evaluate – make sure the materials achieved the desired goals

Each of these steps has a particular outcome that lead to the next step in the ADDIE model of instructional design. Let us have a look at each of the steps in detail.

Analysis Phase

In the analysis phase, instructional problem is clarified, the instructional goals and objectives are established and the learning environment and learner’s existing knowledge and skills are identified. Below are some of the questions that are addressed during the analysis phase:

  • Who is the audience and their characteristics?
  • Identify the new behavioral outcome?
  • What types of learning constraints exist?
  • What are the delivery options?
  • What are the online pedagogical considerations?
  • What is the timeline for project completion?

The three most important points to be analyzed before beginning with the designing of a course or a training program are the business goals that are to be achieved, the material that needs to be taught, and the current capabilities of the target audience (learner). In this phase, the project’s needs are defined and the ways to achieve it are also decided. This phase also considers the time line for the project, the learning environment, and the delivery options that are available. One of the adages that could fit the situation is “Analyze totally and design flawlessly”. The training needs analysis is therefore the most essential stage in the life cycle of a project, be it an instructor-led training or a computer-based course or a self-directed one, a proper needs analysis should be performed to ensure minimization of time loss and resources loss during the designing and development of the course. The analysis phase terminates when all the collected data is put together in a cohesive format to describe the learning objectives for the entire course. The objectives should be clear, precise and measurable. Vague objectives could pose problems during the subsequent stages of the ADDIE model. Once the learning objectives have been defined, one can move to the design phase.

Design Phase

The design phase deals with learning objectives, assessment instruments, exercises, content, subject matter analysis, lesson planning and media selection. The design phase should be systematic and specific. Systematic means a logical, orderly method of identifying, developing and evaluating a set of planned strategies targeted for attaining the project’s goals. Specific means each element of the instructional design plan needs to be executed with attention to details.

This is again a very important stage in the project cycle. During this phase, the training specialist chalks out an instructional strategy for the particular course that would outline the course structure and other integral components like the strategies for learning, delivery, assessments and the like. Once the instructional strategy is planned, the course format is selected and then the Instructional Design document is scripted. When an instructional designer chalks out a strategy for the course, he decides regarding the chunking of the source content (course material), relevant and best presentation methods for the material and assessment strategies to measure the success of the learner after completing the course. Each content chunk and assessment must map to at least one of the learning objectives of the course. Then he needs to select and finalize a delivery option for the course depending on the business requirements, type of content and many other similar factors. Once this is done, he needs to script the Instructional Design Document. This is a high-level overview of the entire course plan. It provides an insight into the overall learning approach, the instructional strategies adopted, course activities and assessments. This document is reviewed by the client, changes made if required and finalized by the client and the training specialist.

These are the steps used for the design phase:

  • Documentation of the project’s instructional, visual and technical design strategy
  • Apply instructional strategies according to the intended behavioral outcomes by domain (cognitive, affective, psychomotor).
  • Create storyboards
  • Design the user interface and user experience
  • Prototype creation
  • Apply visual design (graphic design)

Development Phase

The development phase is where the developers create and assemble the content assets that were created in the design phase. Programmers work to develop and/or integrate technologies. Testers perform debugging procedures. The project is reviewed and revised according to any feedback given.

In this phase, a prototype for the entire course is developed and then approved by the client before the entire course is developed. A prototype gives an idea as regards to how and what the final course would look like. It may comprise a few template pages or even detailed step-by-step storyboards. The client goes through the prototype and provides his/her feedback on the same, based on which the course would be developed. Instructional designers script the storyboards, graphic designers develop the course with the integrators collating all the developed pages to develop a complete course and then it the product goes through a cycle of reviews like the ID review, language review etc. Then the client goes through the course as an expert and not as a learner to ensure that the course is accurate and complete in all respects. This can be regarded as a quality assurance step in the development cycle. The next in line is the pilot test where the learners take the course for the first time. This can be regarded as the beta version of the course delivery. Post the pilot test, the client and training specialist agree on a set of changes that need to be incorporated in the course before the actual launch of the course.

Implementation Phase

During the implementation phase, a procedure for training the facilitators and the learners is developed. The facilitators’ training should cover the course curriculum, learning outcomes, method of delivery, and testing procedures. Preparation of the learners include training them on new tools (software or hardware), student registration.

This is also the phase where the project manager ensures that the books, hands on equipment, tools, CD-ROMs and software are in place, and that the learning application or Web site is functional.

It is essential to ensure that the course is delivered effectively to the learners. The study material and the course are delivered to the target audience. Basically, this phase encompasses a great deal of project management and logistics issues. This also covers the course curriculum, learning outcome, method of delivery and testing methodology. The project manager needs to ensure that the learning procedure is functional.

Evaluation Phase

The evaluation phase can be either formative or summative. Formative evaluation refers to the evaluation that is carried out across all the stages of the ADDIE model. Summative evaluation refers to the tests that have been designed and are undertaken to provide feedback about the course at the end of the course. It is the final checkpoint for the developed course. It is checked to what degree the project has been able to match and meet up to its goals and objectives. If the learners have been benefited by taking the course, if they have achieved the learning objectives by the end of the course, if the business goals associated with the course have been met are some of the few points of consideration during the evaluation stage in the project life cycle. This helps to measure the efficacy of the developed course and also identify the scope and opportunities to improve the performance of the learners after taking the course.


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