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Planning Instructional Design

Where do you start when you need to create instructions for the traditional classroom environment or want to repurpose existing instruction for distance learning?  Is there a systematic approach that will ensure your training is effective?

Whether you need to create instructions for the traditional classroom environment or want to repurpose existing instruction for distance learning, which would include determining which forms of e-learning you should consider. You need a systematic process by which instructional materials are designed, developed, and delivered.

When you consider instructional design, you might think of a web site with beautiful graphics, stunning animation, and engaging interactions with a thumbnail broadcast of the instructor in real time answering and discussing your questions. In truth, this type of instructional design, while both effective and entertaining, is incredibly expensive. There are many forms of distance learning which are less costly and still effective. In 1840, Sir Isaac Pittman developed what is considered the first form of distance education – the correspondence course. It proved very effective. The following timeline gives a little insight into the instructional design process. 

At the beginning of World War II, thousands of soldiers were trained quickly and efficiently using a systematic process to create instructions that saved thousands of lives. It is generally believed that the ADDIE model is a result of the war effort and forms the basis of other design models. The ADDIE acronym represents the main steps in the instructional design process.

Analysis – While often over-looked or given inadequate time, the analysis process performs an important function by examining the problem to determine if instructions are needed. In additions, the learner’s skills are identified along with the learning environment. Based on the results of this analysis the instructional goals and objectives are formed.

Design – Based on the analysis phase information, the design phase establishes an instructional strategy to ensure the effectiveness of learning objectives, assessment instruments, exercises, content, subject matter analysis, lesson planning and media selection. A prototype is often created, tested for effectiveness, and revised when necessary.

Development – Once the designs are approved, the project goes into production with the creation of storyboards, media, programing, content development, etc. to develop the instructions, then test and evaluate, making revisions as needed.

Implementation – With the completion of the development phase, the training material is put through a practice run ensuring that everything works as expected. A procedure for training the facilitators and the learners is developed. The facilitators' training should cover the course curriculum, learning outcomes, method of delivery, and testing procedures.

Evaluation – Often confused as the evaluation sheets at the end of a class, the evaluation phase is evident during every phase of the ADDIE model. The iterative evaluation process ensures the instructional goals and objectives will satisfy the training requirements identified in the analysis phase.

People often assume that the ADDIE model is a linear process, yet the iterative nature of the evaluation phase model attempts to save time and money by catching problems while they are still easy to fix. The following image provides better insight to the ADDIE process.