The ADDIE Model
Developing Learning Sessions From the Ground Up
Imagine that you've just been asked to develop your organization's orientation program for new hires.
This involves a lot of work, and there's an enormous amount of information that you need to cover. To put it mildly, you're feeling overwhelmed by everything that you need to do!
So, what should you focus on? How can you ensure that your training is engaging and interesting? And, with all the work that goes into designing a learning experience, how can you make sure that you don't forget an important step?
In this article, we'll look at how you can use the ADDIE Model to design effective learning experiences for your team.
About the Model
Although its origins are unknown, training designers and instructors have used the ADDIE Model for several decades as a guide for building effective, relevant training sessions.
ADDIE is an acronym that stands for the steps needed to prepare an effective learning session. You can see these steps in Figure 1, below.
Figure 1: The ADDIE Model
These steps may look quite obvious, but there are plenty of useful prompts under each of these headers that can help you improve the training that you deliver.
Let's look at each phase in greater detail, and examine how you can work through each step to create better training programs.
Applying the Elements
In this first phase, your goal is to analyze the training and development that your people need, and to understand exactly what type of instruction would be most effective.
- Start by thinking about your team members' needs with a Training Needs Assessment. This helps you customize your approach and make it more effective.
- Find out how much your trainees already know about the subject. Unless you're familiar with the group, it's easy to make incorrect assumptions about this.
- Once you've identified the specific gaps in skills or knowledge that you want to address, make a list of everything that your team members need to learn to close these gaps. List the specific knowledge or skills that they need, as well as what they should be able to do after the learning is complete.
- Use your knowledge of these gaps to set realistic learning goals for the session.
- Make sure that you consider each person's learning style. Some people learn best in hands-on classes, while others prefer to read or write out material. Where you can, ask the people that you're training how they prefer to learn; and think about how best to deliver your training. (Options include web- or video-based training, team-based sessions, instructor-led/classroom sessions, coaching and mentoring, and on-the-job training).
- Last, find out what constraints or challenges you need to consider. These might include budget constraints, a tight timeline, or even the need to teach people with specific learning or literacy challenges.
Once you've gathered your data and have carefully analyzed what you need to teach, it's time to design your course material and learning activities.
Start this step by drafting "lesson plans" for your training sessions; this ensures that your teaching stays relevant, and that it addresses the points that you came up with during the analysis phase.
To do this, list the learning objectives for each session. Also, think about how you will introduce the training – will you need to review previous learning, or get people to engage mentally with the skills that they need to learn? Use tools like 4MAT and Gagne's Nine Levels of Learning to make sure that you're designing effective learning sessions that people will find useful.
- Write out your strategy for instruction, if the course will be instructor-led. For example, who will teach the course? When is this person available, and when can trainees attend? And how will this person teach the course?
- Outline any technology that you'll need for the session. Write a plan and timeline for sourcing this technology, and identify any other resources that you'll need.
- Think about the experience that you want your students to have. What can you do to ensure that they have this type of experience? And how do you want your learning materials to look and feel? (When you're doing this, try to put yourself in the learners' position. Think about the sort of learning experience that you'd find useful, and then reflect on what people with other learning styles may want.)
- Consider how you will measure your students' comprehension and abilities after the session. What assessment standards will you use? (See our article on Kirkpatrick's Four-Level Training Model to learn about one approach for measuring this.)
- Think about the steps that you'll take if your students don't perform as well as you hoped. How will you help them?
During the development phase, you take action on the outlines and plans that you created in the design phase. This is often the fun part of the process, because this is where you start to develop the body of the course.
- Consider using Active Training techniques such as games, role-playing exercises, and group work to get your team members involved in their learning.
- As you're developing the content, keep people's learning styles in mind. Again, use techniques from 4MAT to deliver content in a way that everyone will understand; and use Gagne's Nine Levels of Learning as a checklist for planning your communications in a way that will aid learning and retention. (Update the lesson plan that you created in the last step, if appropriate.).
- As you near completion of course development, get feedback from your colleagues or boss, so that you can refine the content. Also, if training is mission-critical, consider running a pilot session with a small test group.
The implementation phase is where the actual learning takes place.
- Before you begin, make sure that all students have the resources they need to finish the course successfully. This not only includes ensuring that they have access to all of the materials that they need, but that they're comfortable in the learning environment. For example, if you're in a classroom, can everyone see and hear? Is the room temperature OK?
- If you're providing training that uses technology, make sure that it is functioning correctly and that everyone has full access to resources before the session begins.
- When you finish the course, ask for feedback immediately. Although you'll carry out a more thorough evaluation in the next step, this will give you a quick and honest look at how effective the session was. (You'll get the best feedback if you ask students to write down their impressions anonymously.)
In this last phase, you evaluate the results of the training in more detail. Did the students learn what they needed to? Are they performing as planned? Was the skill gap closed?
- As we've already mentioned, Kirkpatrick's Four-Level Training Evaluation Model provides a range of options that you can use to measure the effectiveness and impact of training. Bear in mind, though, that it can take a while to gather data for some of these options.
- Make sure that you use any feedback or criticism you get to refine your training approach.
The ADDIE Model is a process that training designers and instructors use as a guide when developing training classes and tools. However, anyone can use the ADDIE Model when designing their own training or learning sessions.
The five phases in the ADDIE Model are:
The benefit of using the ADDIE process is that it guides you through each of these five stages, helping you develop effective and relevant learning experiences.