The ADDIE Model for E-Learning Instructional Design

4 minutes

There are different schools of thought on how best to design courses, whether mobile, online or otherwise. One very useful model for design – also known as instructional design – is represented by the acronym ADDIE. It is a design process model that is made up of five distinct parts: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation. This post will look at each part in turn and describe how they can be applied in the development of an e-Learning based course.

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A – Analysis

In this phase of the process, the instructional designer will need to analyze all the factors needed to develop a timely, relatable course.

  1. The goals of the organization in offering the training – in other words, what problem(s) that the organization has identified will be solved within the training?
  2. What skills or knowledge do the students already have, to avoid duplication or redundant information? Also, what skills and knowledge they need to have prior to taking the course, in order for it to be effective.
  3. Establishing the links between the learning objectives and real world concepts from the work environment to ensure that the students retain a maximum amount of information.
  4. Are there any barriers to using e-Learning as the method of delivery? For example, if all the designated students don’t have access to mobile technology.

D – Design

In this phase of the design process, the goal is to plan and specify the course objectives, each topic within it that will be reviewed, what media and resources will be used to support the e-Learning effort, the actual content of the course, and finally, how the students and the effectiveness of the course itself will be evaluated. Essentially, this is the meat of the course development, where the content is meted out in a detailed fashion.

D – Development

This is the phase where the actual development of what was planned in the Design phase takes place. Assuming that e-Learning is the platform through which the course will be delivered, the bulk of the development phase centres around the actual production of the course itself.

  1. All the resources and materials are collected including instructional aids, resources, tools and so on.
  2. The content and the various resources, tools and evaluation methods need to be combined into a cohesive presentation.
  3. The content is evaluated at this stage to ensure that it is meeting the organization’s goals that were identified in the Analysis phase. This is sometimes referred to as testing the course.
  4. In addition to resources collected, some parts of the course content or the resources / aids / materials will need to be created so that they specifically reflect the objectives of the course and the needs of the students.

I – Implementation

This is quite literally the phase where the course is launched and made available to the students identified as requiring the information provided.

In an e-Learning environment, this can involve an online component being activated for chatting and questions with the instructor, as well as group sharing activities, testing and other evaluation techniques.

E – Evaluation

Following the implementation of the course, a system of feedback is necessary to ensure that the e-Learning module has met the needs of the organization, the students, and has been presented as effectively and with all the necessary tools and aids.

An online survey, for example, can be used to elicit this feedback online from students and from management levels.

This is particularly important with e-Learning to ensure that the materials are relevant to the students: both in terms of the content and the timeliness of the delivery of said content.


The ADDIE model is ideal for e-Learning instructional design as it provides a relatively simple process that the author can follow but also ensures that an important element is not forgotten. With e-Learning often being developed quickly to respond to changing organizational needs, a simple process that keeps the authoring consistent and clear benefits everyone.

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