The ADDIE Instructional Design Model – The Science Behind Effective Learning Solutions

A learning content designer has many challenges before her. She must ensure that her content is relevant; she has to meet the client brief. She must design learning solutions with an eye for innovation; it is her job to keep learners engaged and interested.

So how does she rise to challenge, meet the client brief and deliver innovative, engaging learning solutions?

She uses an Custom instructional design model to help her. An instructional designing model defines the activities that will be used to guide the development of a learning solution. It is a tool that communicates effectively the purpose and reason behind a strategy. It also allows for the systematic listing of all the major components that must be included in the course.

This article will provide an overview of some instructional design models for e-learning. There are a number of models currently in use, but for the purpose of this article, we will look at one seminal, widely-used design model.

The instructional design that is of interest to us is the ADDIE model. ADDIE (which is an acronym for Analysis, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluate) was first developed by Florida State University to explain processes involved in an instructional development program for military training. As it was one of the first elearning design models, its relevance to current learners is often up for debate. However, the fact remains that most designers still use ADDIE as their primary instructional design model when creating learning solutions.

So why do instructional designers remain loyal to ADDIE, despite the fact that more advanced models are available for use?

One of the biggest advantages of this model is that after each phase, the model incorporates opportunities for evaluations and changes, before proceeding to the next step.

The following is an overview of the steps that constitute the ADDIE model.

  • Analysis: Instructional designers must understand, first and foremost, why the training is needed. To be able to answer this question, trainers collect information, profile leaners and understand the requirements, expectations and targets of the client organisation.
  • Design: In this phase, designers make an informed choice: which instructional strategy must they follow? They write down the desired objectives of the learning program, choose relevant media and delivery methods. 
  • Development: Instructional designers use the expectations they have agreed on in the design phase to develop course material.
  • Implementation: In this crucial phase, the completed course is delivered to learners and the impact on the recipients is closely monitored.
  • Evaluation: In this phase, instructional designers evaluate whether the course is yielding desired results. Designers collaborate with the client organisation and evaluate the impact of the program based on feedback received from learners, surveys, tests and analytics. Once evaluation is complete, improvements are put in place, and the whole ADDIE process is repeated.

As a principle, the ADDIE concept can be applied to create learning solutions of all kinds, across media. ADDIE is as relevant to e-learning as it is to traditional classroom techniques. The model’s flexibility and enormous potential for integration makes it a popular choices for instructors of all kinds.

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