Using the ADDIE Model in Instructional Design

Instructor: Monica Gragg

Monica has taught college-level courses in Tourism, HR and Adult Education. She has a Master's in Education and is three years into a PhD.

This lesson explains the use of the ADDIE model in instructional design. ADDIE is the most commonly used design model and can help you create a course or training program. We will review each step and offer real life examples.

What is the ADDIE Model?

The ADDIE model is one of the most commonly used design models in instructional design. It's a five-step process that goes through the following phases; analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation. Other instructional design models use some variation of the ADDIE model to create learning programs. The ADDIE model offers an instructional designer a method to think and work through the design process. Effective use of the ADDIE model ensures that a new learning program delivers the desired results.

In this lesson, we will break down each step and use a real life example. I recently designed a course for a wine store (let's call it the Grapevine) that wants to train the sales and marketing team on social media. Currently, they do not really use social media other than having a Facebook page and sending out a few tweets. This is how we used the ADDIE model to design their course.


The analysis is an evaluation of why the course is needed, what you hope to achieve by offering the course, and the characteristics of your learners. A needs assessment will help you set learning objectives and understand the knowledge and skill gaps of your learners. You would also discuss a learner analysis and the desired results of the course.

After our analysis, we learned that the course was needed to solve a problem. The Grapevine sales and marketing team did not know how to use social media professionally. They only used it for personal use. Therefore, the learning objective is to improve skills and knowledge surrounding social media so that the sales and marketing team can increase customer engagement and generate new business.


The design phase is where we develop a high-level overview or outline for the course. Several key items are determined during this phase. For example, the course structure, how the content will be organized, the delivery method, and the content that should be included.

Some questions a designer asks during the design phase includes; what do we know about our learners, what topics should the course cover, what order should content follow, how long should the course take and what is the best method of delivery. You would also consider the needs of the instructor(s) and what course material will be required.

Here is how we moved through the Design phase in our Grapevine example:

  • Structure - The learning objectives are performance-based (increase customer engagement and new business) so each topic will end with an applied assessment as opposed to a knowledge assessment. This allows us to see that the learner is able to apply their new knowledge and skills as they perform specific tasks. Based on this, we know the structure of the class should include real life scenarios that allow the learner to complete specific tasks that incorporate their new skills.
  • Content Organization - We decided to start with Facebook advertisements because everyone is familiar with Facebook. As the course advances, we'll move on to more complex subjects such as Google Analytics.
  • Delivery Method - Grapevine has a morning and evening shift, and are open seven days a week. It would be difficult to have everyone take the course at the same time so the course will be delivered online.
  • Content Needs - The Grapevine team are Generation Y's and use social media regularly. So we do not need to start with a basic lesson on how to use Facebook. Instead, we can start with instruction on using Facebook advertisements. Pinterest and Instagram are the most popular outlets for food and beverage, and so we will also include sections on these topics in the curriculum.


I know, that sounds like a lot! But once you figure out the design, the development phase begins. This is actually where you will spend most of your time because this is where you actually begin creating materials. You also begin sourcing content (this means finding content that may already exist that will suit the purpose), reserving space (if it's face-to-face training), preparing course materials such as videos, handouts, participant guides, facilitator guides, and lesson plans.

In our Grapevine example, we could easily find social media training online. However, the owner wanted the training to be specific for small businesses, the wine industry, and his shop. So we worked with wine and digital marketing subject matter experts (SMEs). In instructional design, working with SMEs is very time-consuming. It requires several meetings and excellent facilitation on your part because you are extracting their knowledge and turning it into learning material. Sometimes this can take months to accomplish.

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