ADDIE Training Model: What Is It and How Can You Use It?
Instructional Design

ADDIE Training Model: What Is It and How Can You Use It?

“‘ADDIE training model?’ Oh, God! Is this another term in the learning universe I need to learn?” I can hear some of you crying.

The answer is yes. But it’s an essential one that will actually help you create better courses, so keep reading! *insert whip sound effect here*

The ADDIE model of instructional design is used by instructional designers all over the world as part of their online, offline, or even blended learning sessions. But to fully understand what it is, you’ll first need to understand what instructional design models are.

Here’s what you’ll learn today:

Let’s do it! All aboard the ADDIE train!

What are instructional design models?

Instructional design models exist to provide guidelines and frameworks, so designers can build their training routines carefully.

An instructional design model is based on pedagogical scenarios. The only aim is to achieve instructional goals, so trainees can gain knowledge and then retain it. So, when instructional designers need to determine the exact steps of their training procedure, they turn to instructional design models.

Currently, there are more than twenty-five commonly accepted prescriptive instructional design methodologies. The most-used ones are:

  • Dick and Carey
  • Assure
  • The Kirkpatrick Model
  • Gerlach-Ely Model
  • TPACK and more

What do they all have in common?

They all have the elements that Branch and Merrill (2002) explained all instructional design models should consist of:

  • clear, well-defined goals.
  • outcomes that are measurable, reliable, and valid.
  • data that are the heart of the whole process, so designers should keep it empirical.
  • a team effort during designing.
  • real-life behaviors from learners, applicable to real-world problems.

Does the ADDIE training model meet these requirements? Of course it does.

Let’s look at ADDIE more closely now.

Defining the ADDIE training model

So, what does “ADDIE” mean?

Basically, “ADDIE” comes from a simple acronym. Since it’s a 5 step training model, its name refers to the 5 different stages included in the process of creating a course. These are:

  1. Analysis
  2. Design
  3. Development
  4. Implementation
  5. Evaluation

Every step should be made in that exact order, but revisions are integral parts of the overall model. So we’re talking about a circular pattern which repeats itself until trainees reach perfection. Also, due to the last stage of the ADDIE learning model, you get all the feedback you need so you can keep on improving both your skills and your learners’ experience.

In general, when we’re talking about the overall ADDIE process, we’re not referring to an instructional design model per se. It’s, most of the times, the primary process most instructional designers choose to create courses and learning material. In other words, if the rest of the models were competitive distance runners, ADDIE would be the stadium.

This is precisely why more sophisticated users prefer to call ADDIE an Instructional Systems Design (ISD) model, because the majority of the existing instructional design models are based on it.

The 5 Stages of the ADDIE Training Model
The 5 Stages of the ADDIE Training Model

The 5 stages of the ADDIE training model

To fully specify how an instructor can benefit from the ADDIE model, we need to take a look at the five key stages it comprises. Each stage is accompanied by some tips, just in case you’re wondering how to use ADDIE to develop a training course or you’re interested in the application of the ADDIE model.

1. A is for Analysis

In the beginning, there was research. It all starts with it, after all, doesn’t it?

Did you believe our Creator (no matter who He / She / It / N/A is) just glued together some body parts to create the first of our kind? Did man go to the Moon blindfolded? The answer to both questions is “no,” people *insert another whip sound effect here*

So, the first thing you want to do is analyze the current training ground, and see your trainees’ knowledge gaps, their past training, what’s worked, what has not, etc. This is actually among the most essential phases of the training process.

You may even ask yourself about the purpose of your training. So, except for the current situation, you need to look into your goals and expectations from your program, as well as the media and methodologies you’re going to use.

Sounds intimidating? Don’t worry! We have an excellent tip for you. A method the journalistic community has generously given us.

When reporters want to write a story, they ask themselves six questions which they must address as soon as the article starts (lead). This is the “5 W’s and an H” rule.

  • Who is going to receive your training? (Analyze your trainees)
  • What will your training be? (The context of your training)
  • When is it going to happen? (Set a time-frame right off the bat)
  • Where is it going to happen? (Will you deliver it online or in a classroom?)
  • Why are you doing this? (The objectives of your training)
  • How are you going to achieve this? (The methodology and the requirements)

If you have a clear answer to each one of these questions as well as a general analysis of the current situation, then you have completed both your plan and the very first step. Let’s move on!

2. D is for Design

You know what the first step in the ADDIE training process is. Now it’s time to turn theory (Analysis) into action (Design).

The very first thing you want to do is to decide what format you are going to use. Is it going to be a simulation, a simple quiz with minimal interaction, a video-based course? The ADDIE model is great for creating courses but you are the one who needs to determine what type of course it’s going to be.

Second, the methodology and the strategy of your training delivery. In what order are you going to feature each section of your training? Are you going to brief your trainees first (preliminary training) to motivate them? How much time are they going to need to complete your course? These may sound like simple questions, but they need answers before you can start creating your prototype.

After that, you have to make sure your course is ready to be taken. Don’t unleash it into the wild just yet. Test it with members of your team to see whether you need to make any small (or even significant) adjustments, and conclude the final product overview.

3. Another D for Development

Develop to engage: this should be your third-step mantra.

The step of Development is nothing more than putting all the ideas and the core creative designs you’ve thoughtfully planned into action. All the decisions you’ve taken during the Design stage are now going to work as guides for the Development phase.

Polish the details by adding graphs, colors, graphics, multimedia, etc. Some people might feel like they’re shifting the deckchairs on the Titanic (I see you, you technical junkies!) but the level of learner engagement will increase. Dramatically.

The Development phase will need a lot of testing. Create your course and start testing it so you can check there are no grammatical, syntax, or spelling errors and, if using an online learning platform, that there are no bugs in modules, navigation, etc.

One last thing you might want to check is your content. Is it too long? Maybe too short to include all the information in a comprehensible way perspicuously? What about the flow and the pacing? Does it grab your trainees’ attention?

4. I stands for Implementation

Now that you’ve finished your research, designs, and testing it’s high time you shared your course with the world. Implementation is always one of the most important training process steps. But look how the ADDIE training process steps are connected:

  1. The stage of Analysis determines the very nature of your course.
  2. In the Design phase, you determine how your whole lesson unfolds.
  3. During Development, you put everything into action and test it.
  4. Now, in Implementation, real learners experience your course first-hand. (Eek!)

If you’re wondering how to implement a training program, an LMS is the answer.

An efficient LMS (Learning Management System) software will help you both share your course with the public and monitor how it performs. Do you need to see how many users have signed up for your courses? Those who’ve passed or failed? Great! An LMS sounds like a perfect solution for you.

If you need an LMS with great reporting capabilities, we might have what you need!
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But just a heads-up. A serious one. When you are choosing an LMS, you need to make sure the reporting tools are really on-point so you can monitor your learners’ performance and progress. And monitoring is essential in ADDIE because this is what the final step is all about:

5. Finally, E for Evaluation

The moment you’ve all been waiting for. The time to answer the “what is the final step in the ADDIE training process” question, guys!

Don’t believe, even for a second, that when we’re talking about evaluation, we’re talking about you evaluating learners. You are being assessed, too! This is the power of ADDIE. That you can actually monitor results, improve yourself, and become a better instructional designer. If you feel something’s not right, you can just revise it.

A quick fix to see how good or bad your course performed is to ask your very own learners.

Put a survey at the end of your course and ask them about their experience, what they have learned so far, what suggestions they might have, and more. Identify any gaps you need to fill and address them right away, either in this specific course or in future ones.

The benefits of the ADDIE training model (and ONE disadvantage)

We know that presenting the benefits for a model that’s universally accepted feels like trying to convince you that Michael Jackson was a great performer. Or that Mariah Carey’s voice has left the building. They’re all too obvious!

But, in case you’re brand new to instructional design, here’s a brief list of the advantages of the ADDIE instructional design model:

  • First, with ADDIE you never get lost. The structure is so on-point that instructors know what action they need to take before you move to another one.
  • It’s great for online, offline, and blended learning.
  • Trainers can assess objectives and results to figure out what part of the course needs further attention.
  • In an industry full of technicality, ADDIE puts design where it belongs (aka. into the core creation process) to engage more and more learners.
  • It’s the Father of all instructional design models, so it combines all of them together.

Now, regarding the disadvantage(s), some instructional designers are not really fascinated with the idea of this linear approach and the waterfall model ADDIE promotes.

Which is partially correct.

To fully use the ADDIE model, you must be familiar with your course’s objectives on the dot. Truth be told, ADDIE kind of assumes you know all your goals and requirements before you start developing or even experimenting with your content. The reason? You can just move from one stage to another, but you can only go forward in a circular motion. As a result, it’s only when you reach the stage of Evaluation that you are free to jump back to one of the previous steps to revise it.

So, in the Analysis stage, you need to analyze yourself and see if you know what you want your learners and yourself to get from the overall procedure.

Conclusion: The ADDIE training process is worth it. Period.

Let’s be realistic. The ADDIE training model is one of the most solid, safest choices if you want to create courses that will both educate and engage your learners.

As one of the longest-lasting models (it first appeared in 1975), it has managed to evolve into a key player when it comes to instructional design. Something that no other model has managed to achieve so far.

So, it’s your time to shine in the comments section below — we all have to start somewhere, right? Let us know if you have used ADDIE yet and what your experience has been like. Our community needs you!

*insert whip sound effect here for show*

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