ADDIE: the five phases of successful e‑learning projects
The ADDIE model is an acronym for a five-phase guideline for building effective training and performance tools. Interestingly, it was originally designed for the US Armed Forces* but was quickly adopted in the e-learning industry and other related areas. It sounds simple and its one of the rare times in the world of acronyms that it doesn’t really get any more complicated! Each letter stands for a specific phase of a project. Analyse, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluate. That’s it. It’s an incredibly useful guideline and it’s certainly not the only one around either, but at TTRO, it’s the backbone of everything we do.
I see the phases as corresponding to the phases of the construction of a house. Obviously, I know nothing about building houses, but humour me. First, a plot is chosen, and then architectural plans are drawn up. The house is then built using the architectural plans as a guide. Once the build is complete, furniture and decoration are put in place. Finally, the new owner, family and friends survey the workmanship of the structure before they move in.
Let’s unpack these five phases in more detail.
Analyse: The plot is chosen
The first ADDIE phase is where most of the project management stuff happens, the scope of work, proposals and all that wonderfully ‘big picture’ stuff. Don’t get me wrong, there are details in here that are essential to the project, but it’s all from a bird’s eye-view. This is what the other phases will base their operations on, like, knowing who the target audience is, or what the technical requirements of the project are.
Design: The plans are drawn
This is the one step that I struggled with, as a designer, the word design belongs to what I do, and I was confused to hear that, in this case, it involves instructional design. It’s more closely related to the dictionary definition of the word design, which is a preparatory plan or schematic for a subsequent activity; e-learning production in our case. Instructional designers, learning specialists and the like live in this phase. This is where you’ll storyboard e-learning, write voice-over scripts or collect any resource documents needed later.
Develop: The build
The development phase is exactly what you might think it is. The intentions and plans for the project are to be made real in this phase. Graphic designers, technical developers, animators, and e-learning designers will read through the storyboards and the relevant project documents from the first phase. Then they study the storyboards and scripts from the learning specialists and start producing various media to correspond with those documents.
Implement: Furniture and personal effects are moved in
Implementation, this is when it starts getting exciting as you’re closer to the finish line! If you’ve gotten this far, it means you’ve got a happy client, and that’s first prize. This is where little nitty-gritty technical details are ironed out and the e-learning program is loaded onto an LMS or other means of deployment. As assets and media are uploaded, it is essential that everything is in the right place.
Evaluate: The new owner looks at their new home
The last phase, evaluation, is probably the only the phase that could be neatly divided into an internal and external phase. That means that evaluation is performed inside the company and outside the company, with the client. This is where user-acceptance testing (UAT) happens.
After every phase, quality assurance is performed and the client signs off deliverables if they are satisfied, ensuring that a top-quality product is produced at the end.
As you can see it’s an easy model to adopt and it divides up the responsibilities between company and client, planning and production, initiation and completion very well.
*Branson, R. K., Rayner, G. T., Cox, J. L., Furman, J. P., King, F. J., Hannum, W. H. (1975). Interservice procedures for instructional systems development. (5 vols.) (TRADOC Pam 350-30 NAVEDTRA 106A). Ft. Monroe, VA: U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, August 1975. (NTIS No. ADA 019 486 through ADA 019 490)
Author: Simon Pienaar