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[Series: Influential Educators] Instructional Design & ADDIE

By McGraw-Hill Education 3 years agoNo Comments
Home  /  Series: Influential Educators  /  [Series: Influential Educators] Instructional Design & ADDIE

Having a plan when it comes to instruction is crucial in order to produce successful learning. One of the best ways to fabricate a plan is to learn from the experience of others. When it comes to education, there is a wealth of previous research to draw from.

This brings us to our latest and final influential educator. Not a living person, but two concepts that have been developed over the course of several decades: Instructional System Design (ISD) and ADDIE.

ISD is defined as aiming to shift away from traditional teacher-centred instruction and move toward learner-centred instruction to encourage effective learning.

Robert Gagne was a forefather of ISD, proposing a series of nine events that encourage a strategic and systematic method of instruction. Gagne’s goal was to provide a way for instructors to help provide learning with an impact. The nine steps of ISD are as follows:

  1. Get the attention of students – use a stimulus to gain students’ attention and make them ready to learn. Ask an inquisitive question, present an unknown fact or use surprise to get their attention.
  2. Provide objectives to students – let students know what they will gain from instruction and help them understand concepts to be learned. Describe and encourage students to meet standard performance.
  3. Stimulate prior learning – Help students make better sense of new information by relating it to something they already know and recognize (just like Merrill!). Ask students if they can relate past ideas to concepts and share their ideas.
  4. Present the material – Come up with an effective lesson plan to teach content in an effective way. Thoughtfully organize content and explain information thoroughly. Use examples, define terms and incorporate different kinds of media.
  5. Provide guidance – give students resources to support their learning and provide support as needed (see: scaffolding). Use different learning strategies and supporting material (case studies, analogies) to promote learning.
  6. Practice – Get students to practice what they are learning to become more comfortable with new concepts and make sure they truly understand them. Use activities like asking questions to test their knowledge and have them reiterate what they should know. Use relatable, real-life examples to help put new information into context.
  7. Give feedback – let students know how they are doing by providing immediate responses to their work, including both positive and corrective feedback.
  8. Assess performance – to determine if your students understand what you’ve been teaching, their knowledge must be tested based on the outlined objectives. Testing can be done throughout the course, at the end or however you see fit.
  9. Encourage retention – internalization of new knowledge will help students become experts. They can do this by showing what they know through citing examples, discussing the content or creating templates.

These 9 steps were a starting point for educators to help build course curriculums and are also thought to be the inspiration behind the learning system commonly referred to as ADDIE.



The origin of the acronym ADDIE is shrouded in mystery. As discussed in a paper by Michael Molenda, where and when ADDIE was originally developed is not clear. Although the original source of ADDIE is obscure, Molenda does point out some early uses of a similar concept can be traced to a model developed at Florida State University for use in the 1970s by the U.S. armed forces.

Despite its mysterious origins, ADDIE has become a common model or umbrella term used to capture the major elements of the ISD process; a simplified way to describe a strategic approach to instruction and build a curriculum. There are five steps in the ADDIE model:

  1. Analyze – In this phase, determine what the problem is you’re trying to solve and discover potential solutions. Take the time to determine what you want your students to learn.
  2. Design –Provide a strategy on how the problem and solution determined in the analyze phase is to be learned. Here, you will develop your course of instruction, detailing your plan to reach the goals set out in the analyze phase.
  3. Development – This phase includes the development of the materials used to facilitate your design and help achieve your goals. In this phase, you can determine your lesson plans, source relevant media and any other supporting documents.
  4. Implementation – This is where you actually follow through on your plans and deliver your instruction. Encourage interaction from your students to ensure they understand the material, can master the concepts and be able to use the information in real-world situations.
  5. Evaluation – In this last stage, you evaluate the effectiveness of your instruction. You can choose to evaluate your work throughout the process, or use a summative evaluation after your instruction has concluded. Both methods will determine whether your instruction is effectively teaching your students.
The ADDIE Model

It’s also important to point out that these phases are consecutive, but should not finish after the final step. Instead, the process should be repeated to ensure that your instruction is always being evaluated and rethought to provide the best outcomes for your students.

Between ISD and ADDIE, it is significant to point out that not all influential educators have to be people. From a group of researchers to studies developed over time, we can all work together to help develop how to instruct and learn.

Let these methods, as well as all of our past influential educators, be motivators to encourage further analysis of our educational systems. Let them inspire us to keep researching, developing and innovating when it comes to instruction to find new and better ways to encourage learning. Because learning changes everything.

  Series: Influential Educators
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