20 Jun Developing Digital Learning using ADDIE
ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate) is an instructional design model that has proven to be a successful guideline for building effective training and performance supports throughout a number of decades. It has been used specifically in eLearning because of its effectiveness as a framework for developing engaging digital materials aligned to business and learner needs. This blog breaks down the ADDIE model relative to the eLearning design process, overcomes challenges of the process, and shows how it still is proven to be an effective system for developing interactive digital learning materials.
Learning design initiatives need to be aligned to a company’s overall business objectives as well as individual learner needs. Learning should be effective in helping achieve the company goals, through developing and enhancing the knowledge of its people. ADDIE is an effective model to develop eLearning courses, as it focusses on upskilling an organisation’s people while optimising its return on investment (ROI). At The Learning Rooms we use ADDIE to identify the business goals, evaluate the current competency of learners, and design innovative eLearning content to bridge this gap and achieve those goals.
Breakdown of ADDIE
ADDIE is broken down into five stages:
The Analysis stage is the beginning of the instructional design process. This is where the instructional problem, i.e. the business’ needs relative to the learner’s primary area of weakness, is identified. During this stage, factors relating directly to the learning content and the environment of the learner are considered. This stage identifies the audience the training will be developed for, their characteristics, and what exactly is needed for the new behavioural outcome to be achieved. Determining the style of language to be used, the level of complexity and detail required for the content, and understanding their individual goals upon having completed the course are all vital steps during Analysis. Depending on the size of the audience, learner analysis can be conducted through surveys, workshops, and interviews, as well as more informal discussions.
A plan is put in place to solve the problem. If this plan involves developing eLearning resources, then the required levels of competence are defined as a series of learning outcomes. The learning outcomes are designed to bridge the gap in knowledge that an organisation’s people may be experiencing. The instructional methodology outlines how we will enable the learners to achieve these learner outcomes.
The final key element of the Analysis stage are the technical considerations of the learning environment. This involves discovering what learning technologies are required to deliver and develop the course, such as the learning management system (LMS) to host the course, for example Moodle, as well as what tools will be used to develop the course. This includes considering learner’s access to technology including headphones. The most appropriate eLearning tools to utilise in delivering the course are also researched and identified at this point. The Learning Rooms utilises a range of tools, including Articulate Storyline depending on the features identified at this stage, to develop its courses. Online learning, particularly if conducted in a remote environment, can be a new and challenging process for some learners. However, with well-designed content the learner’s attention can be retained through active learning where they can engage with the content, make decisions and work through the course receiving positive and/or corrective feedback. These are all standard features of The Learning Rooms’ eLearning courses, developed to the highest possible standard with cutting edge technology.
Having defined the learning outcomes and developed an instructional approach in the Analysis stage, instructional designers can map the appropriate learning and behavioural outcomes to a course structure. This involves:
- Storyboarding interactive course content.
- Writing scripts for video.
- Designing User Interface and User Experience.
An eLearning course will be storyboarded during this stage. This is where the course and training materials begin to take shape, and an initial feel for the training will develop. With so many dynamic and exciting technologies available in eLearning, instructional designers have a great opportunity to create captivating, interactive and engaging tasks. As mentioned previously, the instructional designers with The Learning Rooms have a wide range of eLearning tools at their disposal to best suit the range of content types that we are experienced in delivering. Features that appear in courses can include drag and drop selections, text accordions, exploratory scenes, as well as interactive sliders. Storyboarding also involves writing the learner instructions and developing a voiceover script that introduces the on-screen content. The narration and on-screen text stimulates the learners’ auditory and visual senses, reinforcing the material they are consuming. A strong script is vital in supporting the activities a learner will carry out, both for establishing and developing key concepts and delivering instructions.
The design of the eLearning course is constantly refined during the Design stage. The Learning Rooms has a three stage process for this part of Design, based around gathering ideas from the course sponsor, providing prototypes and design concepts and refining how the course will look based on feedback. As much as the instructional designer can guide and recommend particular elements to the course sponsor, it is important that they are happy with the course and content design before signing off and moving to development of the course.
While there is always an element of real life experience that can be difficult to capture in online training, The Learning Rooms builds realistic scenarios into course content, challenging learners with situations that they would face in the workplace.
Having gone through the Design phase of the ADDIE process, developers are tasked with then creating the eLearning course based off of the technical documents, storyboards, and any prototypes that may have been developed. Any supportive learning materials such as graphics, quizzes, and videos that were outlined in the Design stage are sourced, captured and developed. The process of review continues through this stage, and revisions are made based on feedback from SMEs and sample learners. Debugging is also a necessary step during the development process, testing the course on the devices, platforms and operating systems defined in the specifications to ensure compatibility across the range of devices required.
While instructional designers write and develop the template for the eLearning course, the developers will bring it to life. The Learning Rooms have a specialised team to develop our eLearning courses to the highest standard, with innovative and dynamic course features tailored to each project. This stage of production involves a number of reviews from both The Learning Rooms team, as well as the Subject Matter Experts. It is important to focus on the visual elements of the training at this stage as much as the instructional material itself, as an eLearning course’s effectiveness is as reliant upon its aesthetic and usability as it is the course content.
The Implementation stage of ADDIE is where the course is launched and learners are enrolled. However, before learners can take the course the facilitators must be trained so that they can provide appropriate support and feedback to learners. Once the facilitators are familiar with the materials and ready to assist in learning, the course is made live and learners are given access to the materials. The learning materials must also be marketed to learners to encourage them to start their course, demonstrating to them the benefits of completing the training.
As the course has drawn to a close, the Evaluation stage allows both the instructional designers, the SMEs and all stakeholders to review the overall success of the eLearning project; whether the business’ goals have been met, how well the content was received, as well as the operation and use of learning technologies. Some of this can be evaluated immediately, with short term results such as the learner’s initial reaction to the training accounted for (smile sheets), the achievement of learning outcomes set out in the training (assessment results), and the SME’s initial thoughts on the training relative to the learner’s experience through interviews. There are also the longer-term effects that training can be measured against; the transfer of learning to on-the-job performance, the overall impact training had on the organisation, and the tangible return on investment measured by the company.
Overcoming Challenges of ADDIE
ADDIE has proven itself as an effective instructional design process since its first inception in the 1970s, and as eLearning has come to the fore of modern learning and development, it has been the backbone of many course development projects. ADDIE typically has a linear structure as a learning model. The Learning Rooms utilises a tailored version of ADDIE with constant reviews and discussions taking place during the design and build of an eLearning course. Content, multimedia, and learner experience are continually tested and improvements are made. This allows us to create courses that are aligned with organisation and learner objectives.
eLearning is a diverse medium to provide training to an organisation’s people, becoming more popular alongside classroom based trainers to create a blended learning environment. While the content of traditional classroom or textbook based courses remains the same, eLearning tools such as interactive quizzes, scenario based exercises, and videos that bring problems to life and enable learners to solve them in a safe and realistic environment, creates an engaging and bolstered learning resource for trainers and organisations. The Learning Rooms utilises an experienced and expert-level team to develop these eLearning courses using the ADDIE model, and have found it to be the most constructive method to develop digital learning resources. During the Analysis and Design stages, our team of instructional designers work in tandem with subject matter experts to put together the most effective learning path based on the company’s business needs and where their people’s current knowledge is. During Development, these documents are used to build captivating content designed to the highest standard, both from learning materials and the overall user experience. Instructors are given the requisite knowledge to deliver the course to the learners during Implementation, and the resulting outcomes are reviewed and measured during Evaluation, tracked against the learning objectives.
Over many decades ADDIE has proved itself as an effective learning design model, and The Learning Rooms combines this along with our cutting edge eLearning multimedia to create modern, efficient and result orientated digital learning experiences.
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