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ADDIE is a step-by-step framework used by instructional designers, training developers, and learning and development specialists to create educational or training programs. ADDIE is an instructional design model and is an acronym that stands for each of its 5 stages: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. The purpose of ADDIE is to organize content, streamline development, and ensure a structured framework for every course.

As the first phase of ADDIE, Analysis lets you in on what the online course should be about. As the name suggests, this phase analyzes the current situation and the learning environment. Consider this phase as where to set goals and have a good look at the lay of the land. By understanding the target audience’s needs, this phase allows trainers to determine the current knowledge and skills level, and how to build and develop new ones.

The Analysis phase is a major part of preparing for the Design phase. It prompts the Instructional Designer to have a closer look at the following:

  • who it is for (target audience)
  • what you want the course to achieve (learning objectives)
  • the structural characteristics
  • requirements for developing, implementing, and completing the course
  • any constraints physically and technically
  • availability of training materials
  • criteria for implementation and evaluation

Let us dive deeper into each element.

ADDIE ANALYSIS PHASE – Who is the target audience?

Define your learners’ profile and understand their learning needs.

  • Who will be the participants in your online course?
  • What is their level of knowledge and skills, and how can the course bridge the gap?
  • What is their background – age, nationality, culture, educational and professional experience?
  • What are their interests?
  • What are the learning methods that worked and didn’t quite work for them before?
  • What are their educational goals?
  • What are the business goals of the organization they are currently in?

ADDIE ANALYSIS PHASE – What are the learning objectives?

Determine what your learners need to achieve and accomplish upon completion of the online learning. Define their learning needs.

  • What is the online course about and what does it aim to develop?
  • What are the learning outcomes by the end of the course, especially in terms of knowledge and skills, behavior and attitude?
  • What will be required of them in terms of knowledge and skills, behavioral and sociological upon taking the course?
  • How can you ensure that the learning objectives and goals are measurable and concrete?

ADDIE ANALYSIS PHASE – What are the structural characteristics of the course?

Define which methods of teaching will work best given your target audience and learning objectives. If improving an existing course, review the existing strategies and determine whether they will apply given the learners and the desired outcomes. Decide whether they are adequate or need to be revamped. Identify key elements that may be added or deleted from the course.

  • Would the course work better when broken down into shorter but tighter modules?
  • How should these modules be arranged and which ones need to go first?
  • Do the instructions need to be clearer and in step-by-step format?
  • How can the course ensure that it’s easy to understand? How can it track performance and maintain progress?
  • What should be the weight of individual tests?
  • What weight is to be assigned to each test?
  • Can learners still use the learning materials even after completing the course?

ADDIE ANALYSIS PHASE – What should the learning environment look like?

Establish the kind of learning environment that will have the most impact given the target audience, learning objectives, and methods to be used. Consider various delivery options and identify the technical requirements (or limitations) for the course.

  • Should it be completely online, or would blended learning work better?
  • Is synchronous or asynchronous learning more appropriate?
  • What is the required bandwidth and internet connectivity?
  • What are the tools or apps that need to be downloaded?
  • Do learners need devices for optimal learning, i.e. speakers, headphones, camera, microphones?
  • What are the various software required for the online course?
  • Is there any device memory or space required for downloading materials?
  • What browser(s) would work best for the online course?

ADDIE ANALYSIS PHASE – What are the potential constraints in designing and implementing training programs?

Things do not always go as planned. But the key is foresight and preparation. Identify any constraints and limiting factors that may hinder the successful implementation of the training program. Determine physical and organizational constraints in areas such as technical support, financial, physical space, rules and policies, human resources, time, etc.

  • Are there any organizational policies that may prevent the implementation of the course?
  • Are there any limitations on time? Will the course take too long given certain organizational or industry standards?
  • Will there be enough physical space to accommodate all participants? Will the course be implemented in a classroom setting or in a bigger space such as an auditorium?
  • Will the setting impact the effectiveness of education?
  • Is there enough technical support, given the number of participants?
  • Will course implementation fall within the allotted budget?

ADDIE ANALYSIS PHASE – How available and accessible are the training materials?

Find out how available and accessible the required training materials will be.

  • What will be the main source of information?
  • Is there a need to reach out to subject matter experts? Will they be able to provide assistance? Are they found within the organization or is there a need for third-party sources?
  • Is the information required for creating the course available in-house? Is there a need for further research or focus-group discussion?
  • Is information readily available on the Internet?
  • Is there a similar course that already exists?

ADDIE ANALYSIS PHASE – How will learners’ performance be assessed?

The key to tracking progress and improving the course is assessment. Identify how you would assess learners’ progress vis-à-vis creating learning objectives.

  • How will learners be graded in each of the modules? At the end of the course?
  • How should tests be structured? How will each test be weighed against each other?
  • Will tests be purely written, purely practical, or combined?
  • What will be considered a passing grade?


The ADDIE Analysis Phase lays the groundwork for developing and implementing a course. By going through each of the questions above, Instructional Designers will avoid the common mistake of creating a course without a full grasp on what course elements must be included to be successful.

The ADDIE Analysis Phase allows IDs to have a careful look at the current situation and what needs to be achieved, gain a solid understanding of participant learning needs, and achieve desired outcomes.