ADDIE Model: What is it and why is it useful?

A lot of thought goes into the development of every learning programme – all of that comes from a huge range of different sources; experience, learning theories, client preferences, industry trends and even gut feel.  

Every now and again, we like to throw a spotlight on something that gives you an insight into what goes into our thinking behind the scenes. This week it’s ADDIE. So, what is it and why is it useful? 

The ADDIE model is an instructional design method that can help to organise and streamline the development of learning content. 

It stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation – the five stages of a development process.  


This phase is about understanding the problem a customer is experiencing, why it’s happening, and what training is required to solve it.  While we’re doing this, it’s important to have a clear understanding of who the audience is, and their existing knowledge and skill level, as well as potential delivery methods and project timelines. 

We can’t stress enough how important this is. We sometimes receive requests for specific pieces of training, but after a bit of digging, it’s clear that it wouldn’t solve the whole problem.  Addressing this at an early stage will avoid disappointment later on. 


Building on what we’ve discovered from the first stage, we can start designing the learning programme at a high level. This means defining learning objectives and planning the structure and content, along with the assessment approach. 


This is where ideas become reality.  We take all the information gathered from the previous two stages and start to develop the learning materials and activities, proofing and testing throughout.  

It’s crucial that we maintain a focus on the learners here – making sure we pitch content at the right level, keep language clear and concise, and that any navigation works intuitively.  


Once the content has been finalised and all the hard work is out of the way, it’s time to hand it over to the customer for launch. Whether it’s a piece of face-to-face training, or an eLearning programme, we recommend notifying learners that the content is available and encouraging them to complete it with compelling reasons on how it’ll benefit them. 


It’s crucial that we understand how effective the training is by gathering feedback from learners. If we know what worked well, we can use it again. But more importantly, if there’s something that didn’t work well, we can work on that to improve it. 

It’s worth noting that not every method is perfect – there are always pros and cons to consider. Taken at face value, the ADDIE model could be considered to be too linear. However, a commonly accepted adaption is to use the model in a dynamic, iterative way; receiving continual feedback while materials are being developed can catch problems while they are still easy to fix. This not only saves time and money, but ensures stakeholders are fully satisfied with the finished product.