ADDIE is an instructional design model used by instructional designers to create educational course content and programs that meet the needs of learners.
What Is Instructional Design?
Before we discuss the ADDIE model in detail, let’s take a moment to look at what instructional design is. At a high level, instructional design is the process of designing and creating educational materials to improve the learning experience.
Instructional designers often start by assessing learner needs to identify desired learning outcomes. With that information, they design content delivery methods, instructional materials, practice activities and learner evaluations. As a discipline, instructional design requires expertise in cognitive behavior, learning science, instructional strategies and e-learning technology.
What Is the ADDIE Model of Instructional Design?
The ADDIE model is a systematic approach to instructional design that includes five phases: analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation. Think of it as a blueprint for effective course design. It’s one of the most popular models because it provides a proven method for designing clear and effective training programs that can help learners achieve specific learning objectives. You can find it at work in many of the places where learning happens, from kindergarten classrooms to college lectures and corporate offices.
By adopting the ADDIE model as your instructional design standard, your team can make program development and delivery more efficient and create consistent, effective learning experiences for learners.
What Are the Steps of the ADDIE Model?
In the analysis phase of ADDIE, instructional designers and other members of the project team assess and identify:
- problems to be solved for both the learner and the organization
- gaps between actual and desired job behaviors, skills and knowledge
- competencies required for successful learner outcomes
- learning objectives and success metrics
- timeline, budget and required resources for content delivery
To gather this information, the team must undertake interviews, observations and surveys, as well as discussions with subject matter experts (SMEs) and other organizational stakeholders.
During the design phase, instructional designers develop a plan to meet the learning objectives.
Deliverables for this phase include:
- content outlines for each module or lesson
- content delivery methods, such as in-person, online or hybrid, and synchronous or asynchronous formats
- proposed instructional strategies and materials
- concepts for assessments
Because ADDIE is a collaborative process that relies on regular feedback from SMEs, instructional designers create a storyboard or prototype to share with stakeholders.
In the development phase, instructional designers follow the storyboard from the design phase to create the course or program, including slides, graphics, videos, solo or group exercises, quizzes and exams.
The team uploads the content to the learning management system (LMS) for testing, first by the instructional designers or project team and then by a small group of potential users. The test group evaluates the program for accuracy, usability and effectiveness. Instructional designers can then make improvements based on feedback.
Before rolling out the program in the implementation phase, the project team takes care of the final logistical details. In many cases, this includes making sure instructors and support staff receive the training and resources they need.
The project team updates the LMS with enrollment requirements, automated email messages, assessment specifications, data tracking and reporting. At last, the program is ready to be announced and delivered to its audience.
During the evaluation phase, the project team takes a critical eye to the program. They review learner, instructor and stakeholder feedback to assess the program’s success. How well did it meet learning objectives? How has it affected learners’ job performance?
The team also evaluates the ADDIE process. What worked well? Were there challenges? Is there scope for improvements they could make for next time?
What Are Some Examples of the ADDIE Model?
Now that you know what the ADDIE model is, it’s time to see it in action. We’ve created three theoretical scenarios to demonstrate how it can be applied.
ADDIE in K–12 Instruction: Fourth Grade Science Teacher
Analysis: Here, the science teacher would identify the learning objective. In this case, it might be to help children understand the concept of renewable energy. As part of their analysis, they might also schedule a class discussion to assess their students’ prior knowledge.
Design: In this phase, it’s time to decide lesson topics. Based on the knowledge assessment, the teacher may decide to start with a high-level introduction to renewable energy before diving into what renewables really are. If their class already has a high understanding, perhaps they would opt to focus on different types of renewables, such as solar, wind and hydro. The design phase also includes deciding on instructional materials. That could include visuals, videos, discussion questions, group experiments, presentations or quizzes.
Development: Now that the teacher has decided on the design, it’s time to develop teaching materials. This could include worksheets, experiments or quizzes that help achieve the learning objectives.
Implementation: In the K–12 classroom, this is the actual lesson delivery. The teacher would share the content, provide students with support and monitor participation in group activities.
Evaluation: This is a crucial step in the ADDIE model and the one that makes the process circular. After a given course or unit is done, the teacher can review student presentations and assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. Then, they can reflect on what worked well and what they need to improve.
ADDIE in Higher Education: English Literature Professor
Analysis: In a college course, learning objectives might look like this:
- Help students understand the themes and motifs of Jane Austen’s novels and how they reflect historical and cultural context.
- Improve students’ critical thinking and writing skills.
Design: Once the professor has determined the learning objective(s), they can plan the course syllabus. This design stage includes choosing primary texts, critical essays and other resources to assign for study. Then it’s time to outline the content, including readings and assignments. From there, the professor (and the university’s instructional design team, if available and needed) can develop a plan for research papers and exam assessments.
Development: The development stage in a postsecondary institution could mean creating lecture notes, slides, discussion prompts, assignments or exams.
Implementation: Now, the professor would deliver the course in person, online or in a blended learning format.
Evaluation: After delivering the course, professor should assess whether student exams and papers showed mastery of the material. Then they can identify what to improve for next time and work with their university’s instructional design team to implement it for the next cohort.
ADDIE for Businesses: Learning Program Manager
Analysis: In the workplace, the training objective might be to help managers improve the skills they need to supervise remote staff.
Design: Given the objectives, the learning program manager might want to outline content on communication, team building, accountability and performance assessment strategies. They would then design online instructional materials, exercises and assessment activities.
Development: After the design phase, the manager can create modules, case studies, activities, instructional resources and job aids.
Implementation: The next step is to deliver the online training programs.
Evaluation: Now it’s time for feedback. After the program is finished, the learning program manager can gather feedback from other participating managers, their supervisors and their employees.
The ADDIE instructional design model provides a consistent and repeatable structure for designing education and training programs. Its flexibility allows instructors to adapt it to a variety of audiences and learning environments.
Curious about other methods of instructional design? Our in-depth guide provides a look at five other instructional design models.
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