What Is the ADDIE Model for Instructional Design? (2021)

ADDIE model

The rapid increase in technological capabilities and digital transformation requires organizations to run continuous upskilling programs for their employees. When designed and delivered appropriately, eLearning courses can be highly engaging and useful for employee development

Instructional designers use the ADDIE model to design and build organization-wide effective learning programs. In this article, we will introduce the ADDIE model and list the different phases required to deliver a great training or learning intervention. 

Let’s get started!

What Is the ADDIE Model?

The ADDIE model (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation) is a generic process used by instructional designers and training developers to develop employee training programs. ADDIE model represents an iterative, dynamic, and flexible guideline for instructional designers to build effective eLearning courses. The model gives you a streamlined, focused approach that provides feedback for continuous improvement. 

The 5 Phases of the ADDIE Model

Here are the 5 phases involved in the ADDIE Model:


1. The Analysis Phase

The analysis phase is the foundation for all other phases of instructional design. In this phase, you analyze all the factors needed to develop a course.  This includes – the problem, training needs, target audience, learning goals, etc. There is no prescribed list of what has to be included in the analysis phase, as it varies according to different organizational requirements. With that being said, general outputs include:

  • Problem identification: A stakeholder reaches out to the trainer or instructional designer with a burning problem like low sales, non-inclusive culture, or lack of a particular skill. The problem is then analyzed to conclude whether or not it can be solved through training.
  • Skill gap analysis: Identify the gap between the actual and desired knowledge and skills.  A skill gap analysis results in a list of skills your employees already have, need to improve, and need to develop. From there, you can fill in the skill gap using training programs to build a team of skilled workers that meet your company’s needs. 
  • Current knowledge: Analyze what skills and knowledge your trainees already have, allowing you to avoid duplicating content or offering redundant information.
  • Learning goals: Goals serve as a measure of training success. Identify metrics like – organizational goals, individual goals, learners’ achievement post course completion, etc. 
  • Target audience: Identify your target audience to understand the pain points and expectations, tailor the training delivery methods, and make the content relatable.
  • Barriers/Dependencies: Identify any barriers in the eLearning method of delivery. For example, if learners don’t have access to a particular technology required to take the training, this would be a barrier. Also identify any dependencies such as factors that could hinder course completion within the given time and budget, access to subject matter experts, availability of IT infrastructure, etc.
  • Resource mapping: Based on all the information gathered in the analysis phase, map the resources required for the training. This includes the number of training hours, duration, budget, facilities, etc.
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2. The Design Phase

The design phase involves using outputs from the analysis phase to plan a strategy for developing the instructional course. During this phase, you outline how to reach the instructional goals determined during the analysis phase and expand the instructional foundation.

Design phase specifies the following:

  • Learning intervention outline: Create a high-level outline that structures the learning intervention and specifies learning objectives per lesson. The data from the previous phase serves as an input here.
  • Develop scripts and storyboards: A storyboard is a blueprint that outlines the placement of text, visuals, interactions, navigation, and other elements of an eLearning course. The script is an outline of the text a learner will see on the slides. Scripts and storyboards go hand-in-hand. These two items will help you better evaluate, edit, and outline the text, audio, and video of the course and decide what’s best for the overall objective of your eLearning program.
  • Assets and media: Select the media and resources to support the eLearning course, such as audio, video, graphics, training activities, quizzes, etc.
  • Time frame: Assign time for each task, and how your learning will be implemented – per lesson, chapter, or module.
  • Alignment with stakeholders: Brief and update stakeholders on the learning goals and training delivery method choices. It is important to have the stakeholders aligned before you start to invest in content creation in the implementation phase.
  • Evaluation: Identify the feedback mechanism you will use to determine if the participants are able to digest the lessons. This may take the form of an online survey or direct feedback via emails.

3. The Development Phase

The development phase builds on both the analysis and design phases. In this phase you bring your storyboards to life and start creating the courses. Each element of the course is developed to match the design phase. The bulk of the development phase centers around the training course production in the selected eLearning authoring tools.

Development phase specifies the following:

  • Determining the delivery method: The delivery method can be in-person, online, or blended; depending on which, different parties and technologies will be involved.
  • Production of the learning product: Instructional designers make sure that the learning product aligns with the specifications of the design and the findings in the skill gap/training needs analysis.
  • Design training materials: Choose the look and feel of the course, including fonts, colors, and other design elements that reflect the learning environment brand and culture.
  • Quality evaluation of the learning product: Pay attention to your quality assurance (QA) colleagues, who have the end user in mind. These team members are good at catching typos and complex structural errors. 
  • Iteration is the key: After the quality evaluation, rebuild the content per all edits until it passes all quality checks.
  • Deployment of required technology: Online video conferencing software such as Teams, Webex, Zoom, as well as the local LMS, are used to host the learning content.

4. The Implementation Phase

The implementation phase refers to presenting and delivering the course material to your learners. This phase must promote the learners’ understanding of material, support the learners’ mastery of objectives, and ensure the transfer of knowledge from the instructional setting to the job.

Key elements of implementation phase are:

  • Course delivery: Training course delivery via the chosen delivery method along with the delivery of other materials such as guides, manuals, or FAQs to achieve training goals and support learners.
  • Communication plan: Implementing a communication plan helps build excitement around the training intervention and understand learner challenges, if any exist.
  • Paying attention to learner feedback: Paying attention to learners’ reactions to the course, hiccups in accessing the LMS, guidance requirement, achievement of learning goals helps understand the effectiveness of the course content and delivery method.

5. The Evaluation Phase

The evaluation phase measures the effectiveness and efficiency of the training course. Evaluation takes place throughout the entire instructional design process – within phases, between phases, and after implementation. In this phase, you evaluate whether or not the goals identified in the analysis phase have been achieved, and based on the answer, either forge ahead, make adjustments, or begin the ADDIE process again. 

  • Collecting feedback: Learners’ feedback is collected via post-assessments which take place directly after the training, observations that take place two to six months after the learning program, productivity data, learner surveys, learner interviews, etc.
  • Learning: Instructional designers use the evaluation phase as a moment to learn and evaluate which processes went well and which needs improvement moving forward. 
  • Points of improvement: Create a list of improvements to add to the future programs so that no learnings are lost.
  • Evaluation: Based on the feedback, evaluate to what degree the training objectives were met. Feed these results back to your stakeholders and inquire about their satisfaction with the training program. This provides an excellent input for future programs. 

ADDIE Model for Corporate Learning

The ADDIE model is used by professional instructional designers for technology-based teaching. It is a standard for professionally developed, high quality distance education programs and is heavily used in corporate eLearning and training programs. 

One reason for the widespread use of the ADDIE model in corporate training is that it is heavily associated with high-quality design, clear learning objectives, carefully structured content, controlled workloads for employees, integrated media, relevant learner activities, and assessment strongly tied to desired organizational learning outcomes. ADDIE allows for the design and development of large numbers of courses to standard high quality.

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