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ADDIE is a step-by-step framework used by instructional designers, training developers, and learning and development specialists to create both educational and training programs alike. 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 the ADDIE model is to organize content, streamline development, and ensure a structured framework for every course.

The Design stage takes place when you have completed your training plan and identified any performance gaps from the Analysis stage. This phase includes addressing said gaps, completing the training outline, and finalizing approvals with key decision-makers.

The main goal of the design phase is to develop the skeleton of the course. The main output, then, is the design and development of a prototype for the training program.

The prototype may either be through a storyboard or a detailed course plan supported by comprehensive descriptions and diagrams, or both. It should include the learning objectives and clear description of the course, a content outline, and an overview on user experience and interface.

The prototype is key in this phase of ADDIE, since it allows the Instructional Designer (ID) to create a blueprint for the course and communicate to key stakeholders what the training program is about.

Here’s a quick checklist of the design phase and its key elements:

  • Learning objectives
  • Strategy
  • Methods of delivery
  • Structure
  • Duration
  • Assessment
  • Feedback
  • Storyboard creation

By the end of the Design stage, the ID should have a document containing the aforementioned content that will eventually feed into the Development phase.

What are the goals of the ADDIE Design phase?

The ADDIE Design phase should address three important goals and answer the following questions:

  • Should it be fully remote or blended learning?
  • Synchronous or asynchronous learning?
  • Who is the target audience and how can they best comprehend the subject matter?
  • How can the course be interactive and engaging?
  • If interactive elements will be used, is it best to trial it to a smaller group prior to implementation? (The answer is usually yes).

If the training program is meant to be undertaken more independently, then the instructions and content should be as straight-forward as possible. A combination of both tactics will allow the learners to complete the course at their own pace while, at the same time, provide interaction with other participants.

What is the education strategy?

The ID should identify the strategic elements of the training program. What kinds of materials and activities will allow the target audience to comprehend the subject matter more easily?

The education strategy should address the following:

  • Overview of the course. What are the topics and modules included in the course? What are the learning objectives? This element of the education strategy should encourage the participants and the facilitator to have a two-way discussion on what can be gained from the training program, especially in terms of practical knowledge and skills.
  • Walk-through of materials and activities. Provide an overview of materials and activities to be used. Understand what the target audience would prefer to use and help them comprehend the subject matter more easily. Here are some materials and activities to consider:
    • Lectures
    • Interactive discussions
    • Tasks and assignments
    • Tests both written and verbal
    • Projects
    • Other reference materials in relevant formats, i.e. audio, video, printed, electronic
  • Practicing key learnings. Practice allows learners to develop practical knowledge and skills faster. Enabling the target audience to apply their learnings in their respective roles will help them understand the lesson in a real-life situation. Evaluation and feedback provided in real-time aid this process and allow both facilitators and participants address areas for improvement.
  • Post-course discussion and follow-up. The training program should not conclude when participants complete the course. In fact, post-course follow-up is beneficial in providing more insight on their results and assessment. This discussion gives an opportunity to revisit the learning objectives and how the participants can apply their learnings in a real-life context. It also enables the participants to ask questions, address areas for improvement, and define concrete next steps.

How will evaluation be done?

The Analysis stage includes defining the learning outcomes and results of the training program. In the Design stage, measuring these learning outcomes should be carefully identified. It is key to measure and evaluate learners’ progress throughout the entire course.

These questions may help in defining how evaluation should be done:

  • How can participants’ progress be measured and evaluated?
  • What are the key milestones in their learning journey that will help track progress?
  • What are the kinds of tests or activities that should be done to measure their progress?
  • What is the method of rating the learners?
  • How can facilitators communicate the results to them?

To answer these questions, it is important to define the target audience according to:

  • Age
  • Technical competency
  • Habits
  • Characteristics and personalities
  • Job roles
  • Others that will define their demographic and sociographic profile

What are the steps comprising the ADDIE Design phase?

Here’s a checklist of steps that can guide you through this entire phase of ADDIE:

  • Ensuring that content is aligned to the learning objectives
  • Identifying assessment instruments, exercises, tests and other content necessary to address the learning objectives
  • Analyzing the subject matter and developing a prototype of the lesson plan
  • Determining the media to be used
  • Documenting the design strategy, including instructional, visual and technical
  • Applying instructional strategies based on desired behavioral outcomes
  • Creating storyboards
  • Designing the user interface and experience
  • Developing the prototype
  • Creating appropriate visual aid and graphic designs


The ADDIE design phase is critical for the next stage - Development. Prior to creating the actual course, IDs should carefully create the skeleton and prototype to ensure that it remains aligned to the learning objectives of the target audience. Having a well-defined prototype also ensures that the entire training program is conducive to participants’ learning needs and types. The more time and careful thinking devoted to this phase, the easier it will be to develop the course, and less time wasted on potential do-overs.