First, what is ADDIE?

ADDIE is a step-by-step framework used by instructional designers, training developers, and learning and development specialists to create educational or training programs. The purpose of ADDIE is to organize content, streamline development and ensure a structured framework for every course. ADDIE is one of the most popular Instructional Systems Design (ISD) models. ISD models, like ADDIE, include formal planning to outline goals, and to assess and measure gains.

ADDIE is an acronym that stands for each of its 5 stages: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation. Each stage of the ADDIE process is meant to produce an outcome that will eventually feed into the next.

If you want to learn more about ADDIE and the entire framework, read “Everything you need to know about ADDIE and its stages.”

It’s important to note that a key element of each stage of the ADDIE process is formative evaluation, which focuses on spotting problems with the goal of enhancing the entire course. This may result in some iteration or pivots, but allows for continuous improvement during development.

In this article, we’ll focus on this last – but certainly not the least – stage.

What you need to know about the ADDIE Evaluation phase

The Evaluation phase is when the training program goes through in-depth review and testing. This stage allows the instructional designer (ID) to thoroughly and painstakingly evaluate each element of the course to ensure that learning outcomes are achieved. This stage measures the effectiveness of the course and identifies growth areas to improve the learners’ knowledge and skill.

The main goals of Evaluation are to keep track of the learning objectives and confirm that they’ve been met. What would it take for the course to achieve these objectives and business goals?

Two parts of the ADDIE Evaluation phase

The Evaluation stage is comprised of two parts – Formative and Summative.

As the initial assessment, Formative Evaluation takes place during creation, or the Development stage. In this stage, students and IDs determine whether the learning objectives are addressed, and how to improve the course to make sure that they are.

Summative Evaluation happens after the course has been implemented or when the program is finished for instructional improvement.

Let’s dive deeper into these two parts.

Formative Evaluation

Formative Evaluation aims to measure the effectiveness of learning materials. Are they easy to consume? What is the general reception of the learners to the course?

Formative Evaluation can be done in the following sequence:

One-on-one evaluation

Individual students preview the learning material to evaluate its effectiveness and assess the learner’s reception in terms of:

  • Clarity - Is the message clear enough?
  • Usefulness - Does it address learning objectives? - and -
  • Relevance - Is it aligned to the entire course?

Small (focused) group evaluation

This type of formative evaluation determines how the course performs in a group setting. Pick a good sample from a variety of smaller learner groups to get a balanced representation. Determine whether the course:

  • Allows engagement and fun interaction
  • Is easy to understand in a group setting
  • Is relevant vis-à-vis the entire course
  • Has enough practical exercises conducive for a group setting

Field trial

After implementing the course in a well-represented group, a field trial should be conducted to assess how it will fare in a practical environment. This allows for any adjustment to be made to suit any specific real-life conditions.

Summative Evaluation

When the course is finished and completely rolled out to learners, Summative Evaluation enters the picture.

The goal of Summative Evaluation is to determine the impact of the course to learners and how it can be improved for the next batch. The following guided questions may be used to assess how effective the course is based on implementation:

  • Is continuing the learning program worthwhile?
  • How can the learning program be improved?
  • How can the effectiveness of training be improved?
  • How to make sure that the training corresponds to the learning strategy?
  • How can the value of the training be demonstrated?

Another way to determine the impact of the course and recommend improvements is to use Donald Kirkpartrick’s Training Evaluation model which covers the following levels:

  • Level 1: Reaction – How did learners react to the course and instructor? This is measured through survey evaluation questionnaires. Here are samples of training survey questions.
  • Level 2: Learning – How did learners’ knowledge and skills improve during the course? This is measured through tests and surveys.
  • Level 3: Behavior – What is the learners’ behavior during implementation? This is measured through observation and focus group discussions.
  • Level 4: Results – What is the impact on organizational and business goals? What is the return on investment (ROI)? This can be measured through financial indicators (sales, expenses, profits), increased productivity, improved quality, decreased employee turnover, etc.

Conclusion

While it is the last stage of the ADDIE, Evaluation should not be considered as the final, conclusive step. Remember, ADDIE is an iterative process and the Evaluation phase should be treated more as the beginning of the next iteration, rather than the end to the initial creation process.

For the ADDIE model to be productive and to gain effective training, you will need a commitment to this iterative process and implement Evaluation regularly.

Also, you will have a better shot at achieving effective training if you keep a close eye on the quality of the course not just at the Evaluation stage, but throughout the entire process of designing and developing the training program.