8 Effective Instructional Design Models in 2024

8 Effective Instructional Design Models in 2024

An increasingly competitive business landscape, accelerated technology adoption, and the rise of a global workforce are all significant factors in a renewed focus on employee learning and development.

To meet the changing needs and the growing levels of investment in professional development, it’s essential for L&D teams to systematically develop improved learning experiences by applying an instructional design model that can be followed to produce a practical learning framework that aligns with the 70-20-10 model of learning. 

There have been several instructional design models and processes defined through the years, but only a few have been widely accepted and implemented by leading corporate instructional design practitioners. 

This article will explore the most widely-used instructional design models.

What Is Instructional Design?

Instructional design is the process of creating effective training materials and experiences to facilitate learning and improve performance. It involves analyzing a learner’s needs and the characteristics of the target learning audience, defining training objectives, selecting appropriate instructional strategies and resources, designing and developing instructional materials, implementing and evaluating the effectiveness of the instruction, and revising and refining the instruction as needed.

Why Use an Instructional Design Model?

Using an instructional design model provides a systematic and structured approach to designing, developing, and delivering training material. It helps ensure all learning material is effective, efficient, and engaging. 

Here are a few important reasons to use an instructional design model.

  1. Quality: An instructional design model ensures that all learning material is designed with a clear purpose and has intended outcomes. Following a systematic instructional design approach, you can identify potential design learning content flaws and correct them before they’re used in training courses.
  2.  Saves time and resources: By using an instructional design model, instructional designers can create a blueprint for learning material that includes all necessary components, activities, and assessments, and that can be reused for future instruction. This helps save time and resources in the content creation process.
  3. Collaboration: An instructional design model provides a framework for collaboration among instructional designers, subject matter experts, and stakeholders to create high-quality instruction that meets the needs of the learners and the organization.
  4. Increases engagement: An instructional design model helps ensure the learning material is engaging and relevant to learners. By following a systematic process, instructional designers can identify the learners’ needs, interests, and preferences, and design instruction that aligns with them.
  5. Evaluation and improvement: An instructional design model includes a process for evaluating the effectiveness of the training material and how to make improvements. By collecting data on the learners’ performance and feedback, instructional designers can identify areas for improvement and refine the instruction for future use.

8 Best Instructional Design Models in 2024

Here are eight of the most common models of instructional design for corporate L&D and other learning organizations can follow and implement:

1. ADDIE Model

The ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation) 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. 

Here are the five phases of the ADDIE model.

  • Analysis: Analyze all the factors needed to develop a course.  This includes – the problem, training needs, target audience, learning goals, etc. 
  • Design: 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.
  • Development: It builds on both the analysis and design phases. In this phase, you bring your storyboards to life and start creating the courses. The development phase majorly centers around the training course production in the selected eLearning authoring tools.
  • Implementation: It refers to presenting and delivering the course material to learners. This phase must promote the learners’ understanding of the material, support the learners’ mastery of objectives, and ensure knowledge transfer from the instructional setting to the job.
  • Evaluation: This phase measures the effectiveness and efficiency of the training course by evaluating 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. 

2. Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy was first proposed by Benjamin Bloom in 1956 and has since been updated and revised by other educators. This instructional design taxonomy is hierarchical, with lower-order thinking skills at the bottom and higher-order thinking skills at the top.

For instructional designers, Bloom’s Taxonomy provides a useful tool for designing learning objectives and assessments that target specific cognitive skills. By selecting appropriate verbs for each level of the taxonomy, designers can ensure that their learning objectives are measurable and specific, and that they align with the desired level of cognitive skill development. 

Phases of Bloom’s Taxonomy:

  • Knowledge: Involves retrieving prior knowledge such as facts, definitions, and concepts from long-term memory.
  • Comprehension: Includes using strategies to conclude from the information, such as interpreting, summarizing, and explaining.
  • Application: Use of knowledge in practical situations, such as solving problems or applying concepts to new situations.
  • Analyzing: Breaking down complex information into smaller parts, such as identifying patterns, relationships, or cause-and-effect relationships, while ensuring that they the parts remain relevant to the each other and the overall goal.
  • Evaluating: Includes critiquing and assessing information based on the outline learning criteria.
  • Creating: Involves organizing the ideas into a new structure to form a coherent understanding pattern.

3. Merrill’s Principles of Instruction (MPI)

Merrill’s Principles of Instruction (MPI) is a task-centered approach that focuses on ways to facilitate learning. The five MPI principles involved in this instructional design model are:

  • Task-centered: Learning materials must be designed around authentic, real-world tasks that learners will likely encounter in their daily workflows.
  • Activation: Learning materials must activate learners’ existing knowledge and experience, and stimulate interest and curiosity.
  • Demonstration: New knowledge or skills must be demonstrated through examples, models, and expert performance.
  • Application: Learners must be given opportunities to apply what they have learned in realistic situations or contexts, and receive feedback on their performance.
  • Integration: Learners must be encouraged to integrate new knowledge into their daily work and use it to solve problems.

For instructional designers, Merrill’s Principles of Instruction provides a useful framework for designing engaging, relevant, and practical instruction. 

By incorporating authentic tasks, activating prior knowledge, demonstrating new concepts, providing opportunities for application and feedback, and organizing content for retention and transfer, instructional designers can create instruction that is more likely to achieve the desired learning outcomes.


4. Gagne’s Nine Events of Instructions

Robert Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction is based on the behaviorist approach to learning. The framework identifies nine key instructional events to address in sequence to maximize learning:

  • Gain attention: Capture learners’ attention and create a sense of relevance and importance for the learning material.
  • Inform learners of the objectives: Set clear and specific learning objectives that provide a clear target for learners to work on.
  • Recalling prior learning: Activate learners’ prior knowledge and experiences related to the new learning material.
  • Present the material: Present new information to learners in a clear, organized, and engaging way, using various instructional strategies. Use chunking for easy consumption of the content.
  • Provide guidance: Supplement the content with case studies, activities, discussion questions, and other instructional support materials.
  • Elicit performance: Provide opportunities for learners to demonstrate their understanding and apply the new knowledge and skills in realistic situations.
  • Provide feedback: Provide positive reinforcement and corrective feedback to learners on their performance.
  • Assess performance: Assess learners’ mastery of the learning objectives, using a variety of assessment methods.
  • Enhance retention: Facilitate the transfer of learning to real-world situations to enhance long-term retention of the material.
Gagne event of instruction

5. Dick and Carey Model

The Dick and Carey Model instructional design model provides a structured approach to designing effective content. There are nine interrelated components in the model to guide this  instructional design process:

  • Identify goals: Identify the specific learning goals and objectives that an instruction is intended to achieve.
  • Conduct analysis: Analyze the instructional content and identify specific skills and knowledge learners need to acquire to achieve the set goals.
  • Analyze learners and contexts: Analyze the learners’ characteristics and the context in which the design content is to be delivered, such as their prior knowledge, skills, and the learning environment.
  • Performance objectives: Write clear and specific performance objectives that describe what learners should be able to do after completing the training program.
  • Assessments: Develop assessments to measure learners’ progress and achievement of objectives.
  • Develop a strategy: Develop a detailed instructional strategy that outlines specific methods and materials to use for delivering the instruction.
  • Instructional materials: Develop or select the instructional materials and media to deliver the instruction, such as textbooks, videos, and interactive multimedia.
  • Formative evaluation: Conduct a formative evaluation to test the instruction’s effectiveness and identify improvement areas.
  • Revise: Use the formative evaluation results to revise and improve the instruction.


dick and caret model

6. Kemp Design Model

The Kemp instructional design model, also referred to as the Morrison, Ross, and Kemp Model, was developed by American instructional design researcher Jerrald Kemp. The model has a nonlinear or circular structure that conveys that the design process is a continuous cycle. This requires it to have constant planning, design, and evaluation to ensure quality instruction. 

The Kemp Design Modelincludes nine elements:

  • Determining specific goals and instructional issues.
  • Identifying the characteristics and needs of the learners.
  • Clarifying the course content and analyzing the proposed task components in relationship to the set goals.
  • Defining the instructional objectives and learning outcomes.
  • Ensuring the content for each component of instruction is sequentially and logically presented.
  • Designing strategies to enable learners to master the content and achieve the set learning outcomes.
  • Choosing the appropriate mode of delivery.
  • Developing the evaluation instruments suitable for measuring and assessing learners’ progress toward achieving the objectives.
  • Choosing appropriate resources to support the teaching and learning activities.


kemp model

7. Action Mapping by Cathy Moore

According to Cathy Moore herself, the goal of Action Mapping is to “change what people do, not just what they know [with] action-packed materials that are 100% dedicated to improving business performance.” Moore claims that Action Mapping results in real actions, rather than merely delivering information.

The Action Mapping model includes four steps that act as the backbone of your eLearning course creation. 

  • Identify the business goal: Identifying the business goal keeps the course focused on what the learners need to know, rather than including all of the information. A measurable business goal will help you design relevant activities, identify the most important content, evaluate success, and show the value of training.
  • Identify what people need to do: This step pinpoints all of the steps or actions that employees need to take to achieve the business goal. 
  • Design practice activities: Practice activities refer to real activities or tasks that employees perform in the workplace.
  • Identify what people need to know: Include the minimum amount of information that your employees must have to complete each practice activity. If the information doesn’t directly support an activity, don’t add it.

8. SAM Model

The Successive Approximation Model (SAM) is an approach used in instructional design that prioritizes rapid iterations, efficiency, and collaboration. It was developed by Dr. Michael Allen of Allen Interactions and is the main alternative to more traditional instructional design models, like the ADDIE model.

The SAM Model is an agile, recursive process for instructional designs that doesn’t follow a traditional linear design path for course and learning content development.

The original SAM Model, SAM1, consists three major phases:

  • Preparation: Background information is collected, project expectations are set, and initial project planning is finalized. This includes understanding the learner audience, determining goals, setting a timeline, and establishing a project budget.
  • Iterative Design: This phase includes drafting, sharing, and revising the instructional design process and materials. It starts with a prototype and involves many rounds of review and revision.
  • Iterative Development: In this phase, a more refined prototype is developed, tested, and repeatedly revised until it’s ready for a full launch.

SAM2 is a more detailed version of the original SAM1 model and is intended for larger projects. It includes additional steps within the three main phases, such as evaluation and design reviews.

A significant advantage of the SAM Model is its iterative nature. Rather than having to get everything right the first time, the design and development process allows for continual testing, feedback, and improvement. This can make it a better and more contextual fit for complex projects or situations where user feedback is crucial. As the design and development phases are iterative, the course materials can be revised multiple times based on feedback, resulting in a more effective and engaging learning experience.

Enable your employees, drive software adoption, and accelerate digital transformation with a digital adoption platform.

With a digital adoption platform like Whatfix, enable your employees with in-app guidance and contextual self-help IT support to accelerate the adoption of new software implementations, employee onboarding, change initiates, and more. Whatfix’s no-code editor enables IT teams with a no-code editor to create product tours, interactive walkthroughs,  task lists, smart tips, pop-ups, self-help wikis, and more. Analyze and measure user engagement and software usage to identify friction points, measure digital adoption, and improve employee digital experiences.

Whatfix enables instructional designers to create interactive, SCORM-compliant L&D experiences

digital adoption platform (DAP) like  Whatfix provides a range of no-code features that enable instructional designers to create, analyze, and deliver in-app guided learning and performance support experiences. 

By leveraging the capabilities of a DAP, instructional designers can create in-app instruction that is engaging, relevant, and effective in achieving specific learning objectives. Furthermore, Whatfix is the world’s only SCORM-compliant in-app guidance tool, enabling you to easily create interactive courses and upload the content to your LMS in just a few clicks.

Schedule a free demo to learn more about Whatfix for L&D and see how Fortune 100 companies are driving training ROI with in-app guidance and on-demand support.

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