top of page

What is the ADDIE Model of Instructional Design?

What is ADDIE?

Simply put, ADDIE is a sequential process or framework designed to guide instructional designers, e-learning developers, and other learning professionals in a systematic process of creating effective learning solutions.

The name, ADDIE, is actually just an acronym for each phase or step. It stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. We'll break down each phase in a bit, but before we do, it's important to mention that ADDIE utilizes a traditional waterfall approach. Unsure of what that means? Not a a problem.

Waterfall Methodologies

The term waterfall, in relation to project management, refers to tasks being completed in a linear progression from beginning to end, with the prior phase requiring completion before advancing forward. It is typically used to large, complex projects, that mandate completion of one phase before moving into another. The most relatable example is the phases of building a house. Before being able to assemble the frame of a new home's construction, you must first lay the foundation for which the frame will be built. In projects that employ a waterfall approach, it is imperative that you complete every step in order.

Although ADDIE is one of the most popular and commonly referenced frameworks for instructional design, it is often mentioned in theory, rather than actually being implemented in practice. Due to the rapidly evolving needs of businesses and organizations, businesses sometimes tend to lean into an approach that is more iterative in nature instead. However, as ADDIE's clearly defined linear progression can define significant milestones and stages for large, complex projects, there are situations when instructional designers should utilize the traditional framework.

Phases of ADDIE

Here's a breakdown of each phase:


In this phase, instructional designers gather information about the learning needs, objectives, audience characteristics, and existing resources. This involves identifying the goals of the instructional program, determining the learners' existing knowledge and skills, and analyzing the context in which the training will take place.


Once the analysis is complete, designers move on to the design phase. Here, they create a blueprint for the instructional materials or training program based on the information gathered in the analysis phase. This includes defining learning objectives, outlining the content, determining the instructional strategies and activities, and designing assessments to measure learning outcomes.


In the development phase, the actual instructional materials or training program is created. This could involve writing content, developing multimedia elements, designing activities and exercises, and creating assessments. The focus is on producing high-quality materials that align with the design blueprint.


After the instructional materials or training program is developed, it is implemented with the target audience. This could involve delivering the training in a classroom setting, through e-learning platforms, or through other delivery methods. During implementation, instructors or facilitators may provide guidance and support to learners as they engage with the materials.


The final phase of the ADDIE model is evaluation, which involves assessing the effectiveness of the instructional materials or training program. Evaluation can take place at different stages, including formative evaluation during development and summative evaluation after implementation. The goal is to gather feedback from learners and stakeholders to identify strengths and weaknesses, make improvements, and ensure that the instructional program meets its objectives.

In Summary

The ADDIE model provides a structured approach to instructional design that can help with the development of high-quality educational materials and training programs. However, sometimes, businesses and organizations may be better suited to employ an iterative framework like SAM. In any case, the utilization of a framework does not guarantee success. Learning experience designers need to be sure to consider their audience and effectively apply principles of instructional design theory when crafting high-quality content for learners.


bottom of page