The World of Work Project

The ADDIE Instructional Design Model

The ADDIE instructional design model is a popular process for planning training and development initiatives. ADDIE stands for: Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluate.

Summary by The World of Work Project

The ADDIE Instructional Design Model

The ADDIE model is a fairly generic process commonly used by instructional designers and training developers to design learning initiatives. It was designed in the 1970s for the US army, like so many tools that have migrated into the business world, and is one of the earliest and most popular instructional design models available. It’s popular in part because it provides a clear set of steps that anyone can follow when looking to develop learning programs.

The original model had 5 stages, with 19 sub stages spread between them. The model has been improved in recent years through the introduction of rapid prototyping (fast feedback during design), but we don’t really focus on that here. The five stages of ADDIE are: Analyse, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluate. We’ll consider each of those stage in turn here.

It’s important to analyze and plan well before building your learning initiative.

1 – Analyze

The analyze stage of the ADDIE model is where you spend time making sure that you understand the lay of the land. You make sure you’re clear on what your requirements are and who your audience is, and you start to understand the resources that you’ll have available as well as the delivery methods that you might use.

The types of questions you should address at this stage include:

2 – Design

The design stage of the ADDIE model is where you spend time gaining clarity over the high level approach that you’re going to take for your initiative. You need to develop a clear understanding of what success and failure will look like for your initiative, how you’ll measure your progress and success, and what your high level approach will be for ensuring that you meet your objectives.

The types of questions that you should answer at this stage include:

3 – Develop

The third stage of the ADDIE model is when you focus on really developing your learning product or initiative. At the stage you should start to structure your learning content and delivery approach as well as building and testing your material. While doing this you should remember the importance of user experience. Once you’ve built your content and defined your approach you need to test it and iterate to ensure you have a good final product before seeking to implement it.

The types of things you should do at this stage include:

4 – Implement

By the time you get to the Implement stage of the ADDIE model you should have understood your requirements and the current state of play and then designed, built, tested and iterated your learning initiative, product or offering. Assuming you’ve done all of these steps, then you’re nearly ready to launch.

The implementation stage itself really comes in two parts. Part one is about getting ready to deliver and in this stage you need to make sure that you complete all your logistical requirements and that you adequately up-skill your trainers or facilitators. Once you’ve completed part 1, you can go on to part 2, which is when you actually deliver your training content or initiative to your customer base.

The types of things you should do in the implementation stage include:

5 – Evaluate

You might think that once you’ve delivered your training program or initiative that your work is done, but you’d be wrong. Once you’ve delivered your learning content you need to evaluate it. You need to understand if it met your objectives and if your participants valued it and learned from it. You also need to review your overall approach to creating and delivering the content so you can learn lessons to help you do better next time and so you can celebrate the things that have gone well.

The types of questions you should answer at this stage are detailed below.

The World of Work Project View

The ADDIE model is a fairly simple way to think about planning and delivering a learning initiative or program. It’s very similar to several project management approaches and there is nothing really surprising in it. Many people involved in creating learning and development initiatives follow roughly this overall approach, though they may not know it as the ADDIE process.

There are two key steps in this model where learning programs often fall down: defining goals and setting SMART objectives. Many programs fail to clearly define their objectives and measures before they start. Just because defining measurable objectives (particularly business outcomes) is difficult, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. It’s worth putting the effort in at the start of your program to get clear, agreed measures. It’s also often necessary to do this stage well in order to obtain or retain funding for these types of initiatives.

As noted, this model is less ”Agile” and “Digital” than current fashion would like. This can be overcome by creating a minimum viable learning product, rolling it out as a prototype and iterating and developing from there. We wouldn’t advise doing too much of that though. Sometimes just getting the basics right is the most important thing you can do when developing a learning program.

Sources and further reading

Where possible we always recommend that people read up on the original sources of information and ideas.

This post is based on original work by Branson, Rayner, Cox, Furman, King, and Hannum from Florida State University in 1975. We have no specific references for further information on the ADDIE model, but you can learn more about it from multiple sources on the internet.

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