Am I right or am I right? We are always on the lookout for systems or processes, which make our jobs easier. I know I am.
And, because I believe you are too, I am going to break down each phase of ADDIE for you. In my ADDIE Simplified infographic, I provide an overview of the 5 phases. The phases of ADDIE are not always clear on what should be done under each phase. My goal today is to clarify the key tasks for each phase using my 5 Step Instructional Design Blueprint Using ADDIE. The Blueprint breaks ADDIE down into simple, repeatable, and actionable instructional design tasks.
Whether you are building an eLearning course, a face-to-face training, a blended training, or a webinar, your process doesn’t have to be difficult. A fuzzy Instructional System Design process can make it complicated, however. It can also blur the lines of task ownership, which can lead to disastrous results.
The examples I have seen of ADDIE never fully describe all the activities that need to be completed in each phase. Speaking of phases, I don’t really think of ADDIE in phases.
I think of ADDIE as chapters. Those chapters are Analysis, Design, Development, Implement, and Evaluate. And, each chapter comes with its own set of tasks to be completed.
W-AGILE Training Project Management
When managing training projects, I typically use a combination of Waterfall and Agile project management methodologies. We’ll call this project management style, W-AGILE. If you don’t know what Waterfall or Agile are, don’t worry about it. It’s not important to understanding ADDIE or Instructional SystemDesign. We will talk more about these project management methodologies in the future.
Why don’t I think of ADDIE as a phased instructional system design process? Phase implies doing something first, second, third, and etc. While this is somewhat true, there are many activities and tasks which can be completed together.
I prefer to organize all of my tasks in a list, without attention to the phase, and then work my list.
For the past decade or so, I have continually refined my use of ADDIE to develop the system I use today. I have tried and evaluated other models, but I always come back to ADDIE because of its simplicity. Over the years, I have created too many trainings to count. I have personally trained hundreds of people to effectively and successfully use ADDIE to build training courses, too. I don’t know if this makes me an expert or not, but I feel pretty confident about what I am going to share.
My hope is with the information I have learned over the years and will share with you today, you will have the clarity you need to build awesome, quality content, too.
Are you ready to get started? Let’s do it!
Step 1: Collect Information and lot’s of it! (AKA: TRAINING NEEDS ANALYSIS)
This is the most important step in any instructional system design process, in my opinion. This is where you probe, learn, and probe some more to ensure you fully understand the project.
What’s funny, or not so funny, is that so many people open a PowerPoint or an eLearning tool/program and begin developing the course. They start with the core activity of Development and totally skip Analysis and Design.
If you look at the acronym for Development, Implement and Evaluate, you see DIE. Yep, DIE, which is a very likely result for any training course which starts with Development.
Don’t be a developer of death!
Instead, be a developer who gets results by effectively using ADDIE to design and build your courses.
What do you do in the Analysis phase?
Yes, I used the word phase because everyone else does, and I don’t want to muddy the waters with non-value adding nuances.
- Host a Scoping Meeting to ask questions and get answers and complete your Training Needs Analysis template (TNA)
- Conduct Subject Matter Expert (SME) Interviews to learn more about the training as needed
- Review supplemental resources
- Ask more clarifying questions
Step 2: Organize the Information You Collected (AKA: DESIGN)
To me, this is where the fuzziness really starts with ADDIE. It started a bit with Analysis by not clearly articulating what to analyze but it gets worse here. When, I think of design, I think of making something pretty or building something but that is not the case with the Design phase. Design is where you organize all the information you collected. You will lay it out in an organized format with your instructional and engagement strategies. Then, you will get the SME and/or Business Owner to review and sign off on it.
What do you do in the Design phase?
- Organize the collected information (Focus on Need to Know content, which you identified in your scoping meeting and in the completed Training Needs Analysis template)
- Create the design (i.e. an outline, a mindmap, a storyboard, a prototype, or a PowerPoint draft) to layout your training
- Add in your recommended instructional, engagement, and retention activities
- Add suggested graphics and images
- Draft exam questions, if you have an assessment
- Draft supplemental resources (identified in the completed Training Needs Analysis template)
- Schedule review meeting or send for review and sign off from SME/Business Owner
Helpful hint: If you know about when your design will be complete and ready for a review, go ahead and schedule the review meeting. This way, your reviewers have the review calendared, which can speed up the review process.
By now, you can tell how important the Scoping Meeting and the Training Needs Analysis template are. It is in the Scoping Meeting that you complete the Training Needs Analysis template. The Training Needs Analysis template is the tool you use to collect the information you need to build your training.
Step 3: Build Your Course and Supplemental Resources (AKA: DEVELOP)
Once you reach the Develop phase, the bulk of your work is done. All the foundational work you did to understand the needs of the audience, the desired outcomes of the training, and design the training will come together in the Develop phase.
What do you do in the Develop phase?
- Complete the script and build your training in your tool
- Check the content to ensure it achieves the goals of the training (i.e. the learning objectives)
- Check the content to ensure it fully and clearly covers the assessment questions
- Record video/audio
- Purchase/obtain graphics
- Edit video/audio/ images
- Complete team Q/A
- Schedule review meeting or send for review and sign off from SME/Business Owner
Oftentimes, I encounter designers who write the learning objectives at the front of the training and again at the end of the training. This sounds like a good practice, right? Well, it’s only a good practice if we check to ensure the content full addresses the learning objectives.
The same is true for assessment questions. How can we expect someone to know the answers to assessment questions? We have to make sure we taught them the content.
Help your audience get the most of your trainings. You can help them by ensuring that the learning objectives and assessment questions are thoroughly covered in your content.
Step 4: Launch Your Training Course (AKA: IMPLEMENT)
It’s now time to implement or LAUNCH your training as I like to say. This means you are ready to execute the handoff to a trainer and/or execute your implementation strategy.
Your implementation strategy doesn’t have to be a major implementation strategy. What’s important is that you have an implementation strategy in place. If you don’t have one for every training, the training is at risk of sitting on a shelf collecting dust. You have to proudly let people know the training is available!
What do you do in the Implement phase?
- Promote training to your target audience
- Send out notification regarding training to leadership
- Launch training (e.g. facilitate, handoff to trainer, or upload to LMS)
- Distribute surveys post course
Step 5: Inspect What You Expect (AKA: EVALUATE)
There are many ways to evaluate training. You can observe learning in a face-to-face training and/or collect survey feedback. Survey feedback can help you determine your learner’s level of readiness to take action on the content learned in the course. You can give participants an assessment or look for changes in performance. And, you can look at how a training influenced a key performance metric for the company. This one is a little harder to accomplish because it requires analysis of a group of people who completed a specific training, but it is doable, if it is important to the company.
What do you do in the Evaluate phase?
- Review data
- Survey responses
- Capture completion metrics (i.e. number of participants)
- Measure performance of learners who completed the training
- Evaluate assessment performance
- Provide feedback to SME, Business Owner/Department
- Use results to improve content
Now, before I wrap up, please remember you don’t have to wait for one phase to complete before you start the next one! You CAN and SHOULD be working on tasks from more than one phase at the same time.
Also, before you go, don’t forget to download the 5 Step Instructional Design Blueprint Using ADDIE to use as a cheat sheet. It just might help you design better trainings and help you get the results you want!
See ya soon!