Friday, December 2, 2011

The ADDIE Framework is Too Generic


I have been seeing an emphasis placed on requiring instructional designers to employ the ADDIE model or process when designing online curriculum. I believe every instructional designer (ID) should have an instructional design methodology for projects, no matter the size, but I feel that the ADDIE framework is too generic.

ADDIE stands for analyze, design, develop, implement and evaluate and is supposed to guide ID’s and trainers in a structural way. There are over 100 variations of the ADDIE model and I believe there are three critical elements not addressed in most of these frameworks:

  • Choosing the learning model
  • Including formative, ongoing and summative assessment
  • Support for both instructor/facilitator and learner

Why is the learning model important to incorporate? The learning model or learning styles are important because styles reflect how an individual integrates the information they receive and learning styles vary from person to person. Learning styles such as visual, auditory or kinesthetic, should be considered because each individual learns best in a different way. For example, if learners are more visual, they may prefer ppts, images or graphs versus a kinesthetic learner who would prefer “hands on” activities, group work or labs. If ID’s do not identify the styles of their learners, the online design will not be geared towards the learner preferences and thus learners may not be as motivated to participate. 

Why is incorporating all three assessment strategies throughout the process critical? Because it covers before, during and after the program design process and ensures the final program is a user friendly and accessible program. My two favorites are conducting stakeholder interviews and doing user testing throughout the design process.   If ID’s wait to evaluate the program towards the end of the process, they run the risk of producing a project that does not meet the needs of instructor/facilitator or learner. 

Why be concerned about support? Today, technology plays a major role in online learning and because of this it is continually evolving. The issue of technical support is the number one factor to consider. If instructors and learners have a technology problem and do not have access to tools and support, they will get frustrated and potentially give up. Nothing else matters. It cannot be assumed that the participants even know what they are committing too when they sign up for an online program or even what level of computer competence they possess. As an ID, it may not be your job to provide technical support to the learners but it is the responsibility of the ID to ensure that the project is supported by all of the stakeholders involved, is designed with the W3C guidelines in mind for accessibility, proper resources and directions are included, and giving learners access to the proper technology support. 

I think the question for an ID shouldn’t be “Do you employ the ADDIE framework in your design process?” but be more in line with “How have you individualized the ADDIE framework in your design process?