The Journey of Instructional Design Begins with a Single Step

Many instructional designers use the ADDIE model to design, develop, and deliver high-quality instructional materials.  ADDIE consists of a 5-phase process: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation.  It can be depicted as a straight-line process, as shown here (Piskurich, 2015):

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 12.49.30 PM

However, a more accurate depiction of ADDIE is as a cyclic process, as shown here (Piskurich, 2015):

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 1.07.35 PM

Either way, the journey of instructional design begins with a single, but incredibly important step: Analysis.

Analysis is the foundation of the training process.  It is “the study we do in order to figure out what to do” (Rosett & Sheldon, 2001).  Or as Piskurich (2015) writes, “analysis will tell you what needs to be taught and what does not need to be taught in your training program”.  Analysis begins with assessing the needs of the organization for which training is being designed: (1) developing a deep understanding of organizational goals, (2) learning as much as possible about the audience who will receive the training, including existing skills, knowledge, and limitations, and (3) identifying the purpose for the training –what problem(s) are the training hoping to solve?  Analysis continues with identification of expectations for learning outcomes, which are then specified in concrete goals and objectives.  Finally, environmental resources are identified, lesson components planned, and a timeline for training is set.  Simply put, the work done in the Analysis phase of instructional design provides a blueprint/map that guides and informs the rest of the process.

The importance of Analysis to the next phase, Design, cannot be overstated.  In the Design phase, the following tasks are completed: (1) choosing a delivery system for training, (2) creating and refining objectives, (3) developing an instructional plan that provides guidance as training materials are produced, and (4) creating test questions that will effectively measure trainees’ learning (Piskurich, 2015).  In considering each of these tasks more closely, it is easy to see how the information gathered in the Analysis phase is put to work in Design.

  1. Delivery decision: What will be the setting for the training? –Informed by (1) knowledge of who will be receiving training and where they are located; (2) the training needs and related tasks, skills, and competencies; and (3) knowledge of organizational needs and resources, all gathered in the Analysis phase.
  2. Creating and refining objectives: What will learners be expected to know when the course is completed? –Objectives were already created in the Analysis phase, providing a basis for refinement and development of new objectives as other design considerations are implemented.
  3. Developing an instructional plan: How will all the decisions made and information gathered be organized? The instructional plan is completed primarily with and/or based upon information gathered in the Analysis phase.
  4. Creating test questions: How will learners show what they know?  Again, by defining the purpose of the training and identifying learning objectives, both in the Analysis phase, we have a foundation upon which to develop questions/assessment to test whether training was effective.


Piskurich, G. (2015). Rapid instructional design. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Rossett, A. & Sheldon, K. (2001). Beyond the Podium: Delivering Training and Performance to a Digital World. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s