Monday, December 7, 2009

My Design Process - ADDIE and Accelerated Learning

Before getting into all the things that plague me as a one-stop trainer, I’d like to lay a foundation by discussing my course design process.

Like so many others out there, I use ADDIE as a basis for course design. For those not familiar with ADDIE, it stands for Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate. However, after reading Michael Allen’s book series on eLearning Development, I’m more interested in using his Iterative Design process, and I hope to discuss that as well in the future.

Here’s my ADDIE Process


During this step you are supposed to meet with your team, and anyone else involved, and discuss general goals, circumstances, environment, and risk management. For me, it’s usually a meeting with a Subject Matter Expert (SME).

Here’s what I ask:

o What would you like learners to be able to do, or know when they are finished with this course?

o What kind of prior knowledge will the learners have, or should I assume they know nothing?

o When will this course need to begin?

o Is there a time limit on how long the course should be?

At this point we part ways, and I begin brainstorming on what could be done for this course. I also relay my time constraints to my boss, and have a solid discussion on what’s most important about this project.


During this phase I am trying to nail down the Learning Objectives (LO). I like to use Robert Mager’s book “Goal Analysis” for this because I feel like it really gets us down to the core of what’s being asked of the learner. Whatever we come up with out of this session is usually just a guideline for course design, and is not set in concrete. In fact, some of the LO’s will change by the time I finish the project.

During this phase, I will also decide what mediums of knowledge transfer I will use from my Trainers Toolbox, and develop a timeline for completion.


Ok, now it’s time to actually put the project together. This usually takes a while for me because I don’t really have anyone to bounce ideas off of.

This is where I input another Instructional Design Method into my process. I’ve never been formally taught ADDIE, so I’m only working from what I’ve been able to gather myself. But, from what I can tell, ADDIE deals with developing training from a Project Management prospective… it doesn’t deal with the actual process of learning though… It doesn’t answer the question “What’s the best way to present this information so it is retained and transferred to the job?” For that I use an Instructional Design Method called Accelerated Learning.

Accelerated Learning has four steps:

1) Preparation
2) Presentation
3) Practice
4) Performance

This represents the order in which events occur for the Learner, and has nothing to do with how, or when I actually do the development of the course.

During the Preparation Phase, you are trying to get the learners interested in the information. Also, you are developing an Optimal Learning Environment, find out what the learners already know, and create a base of knowledge.

During the Presentation Phase, Learners come into contact with new material, which is related to information they already know. As Michael Allen would say, you have to make learning meaningful, and this is part of that process.

During the Practice Phase, learners are integrating and incorporating their new knowledge and skills…. This is the hands on part, it’s where they encounter the “activity.”

During the Performance Phase, learners apply their knowledge to their job. This extends beyond the classroom and into their actual daily lives for as long as necessary to ensure they change, make habits, or whatever you want to call it.

When it comes to actually putting things together, here’s what I do…

o Lay out knowledge in a logical order
o Gather documents, usually training manuals that lay out steps to processes
o Brainstorm ideas for activities to demonstrate proficiency
o Develop activities (Prototypes for eLearning)
o Get activity feedback from SME’s and other employees if available
o Work backwards to determine where and when to place knowledge and topic challenges for learners (during Presentation phase)
o Once everything is in order, I will begin to storyboard the project (eLearning)
o During Storyboarding I try to determine what needs to be said
o Determine what Graphics best aid learning (This is a huge topic for later)
o Next, I put the project all in one place and present the storyboard to the SME and my Boss. I use feedback from this meeting to make adjustments to my design
o Once everything is decided on, then I will actually create the details of the course
o I then have several review phases between myself, my boss, the SME, and any other employees that are available to look over it.
o Once that is finished I design the Preparation phase and Performance Phase


The course is rolled out, or presented


I am not currently able to evaluate my courses (outside of end of course questioners) for a number of reasons which I am not allowed to go into. If I were able to do an evaluation, I would use Kirkpatricks 4 levels, and I would also throw in level 5 ROI.

I’m hoping that sometime soon I will be able to perform long-term evaluations.

What are your thoughts?

Next Mondays topic: An Overview of the challenges I face as a one-stop-shop trainer.

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