Five Tips for Effective Instructional Design

There are more than 100 different instructional system design (ISD) models, but almost all are based on the ADDIE model, which stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. The ADDIE model is a systematic approach that provides instructional designers a framework to ensure that design is efficient and learning is effective. While many think of design as free-flow creative genius at work, all designers, whether they be interior decorators, artists, trainers, or product development gurus, will more often be on target with their customers if they take into account the principles of a design process such as ADDIE. Each step is simplistic, yet complex, and certainly invaluable in creating successful results that save time and money by guiding you to do it right the first time.

1. Analysis. The first step of ADDIE is analysis. This step is often overlooked, but is perhaps the most critical. All too often we tend to make assumptions about our customers—how they want to purchase, what they would like to buy, etc. In building good training, we often assume we know what and how they want to learn. When you stop to do analysis, you have the opportunity to test these assumptions. If you are correct, right on! If not, you now have the ability to make changes before you’ve spent valuable time and money in the design and development. Thinking about whatever current project you are working on, have you taken the time to really analyze your customer’s needs and desires? We leverage our customer experience and usability experience and processes to offer thorough needs analyses as well as shorter, but equally effective, discovery sessions to understand learners’ needs.

2. Design. Next, determine the content and flow of your learning by creating learning objectives, developing an outline, identifying practice activities, and selecting instructional elements. It is this step in the ADDIE process that provides you the opportunity to think, think, think! Think through your objectives and the ideal end result you are hoping for. Think through how you can go about achieving these objectives and organize your thoughts in an outline. Think through what activities and events you want to use to reinforce learning. What about that project you are working on now? If you are bringing a new product to market, writing an article, implementing a new software application, or developing a new website, have you taken the time to design and outline? Our instructional designers are strategic and detailed thinkers. We collaborate with you to architect your program, as well as think through all the details, down to the minute.

3. Development. Simply put, development is “developing” the materials. Most of us often skip to this step and then wonder why it takes us so long to create awesome stuff. If Analysis and Design have been completed effectively this step is easier and can even be outsourced. Don’t underestimate the effect that well-developed materials can have on the resulting experience. Materials that are inaccurate, vague, or poorly formatted can cause people to question your credibility. If you are currently in a stage of development, take some time now to review your quality. We can work with you throughout the instructional design process, or if you just need someone to package your program, we can do that too. Our graphics team knows how to develop a look and feel that creates phenomenal first impressions and inspires learners to interact effectively with their materials.

4. Implementation. It’s done and now all you have to do is throw it out there, right? Not so much. it’s critical to stay involved during the launch, pilot, or premiere of a program. Often, our instructional designers attend the first sessions of a program and make live changes to upcoming sections, as well as capture revisions to the program for the next deliveries. We know it’s critical to quickly understand learners’ reactions and translate that into fast-turn changes that can make an immediate impact.

5. Evaluation. The goal of evaluation is to ensure that learning will be evaluated for its effectiveness. The most widely used evaluation system is Donald Kirkpatrick’s four levels measuring 1) reaction, 2) learning, 3) behavior, and 4) results. Evaluation and measurement are often the talk of Board rooms where executives are asking if there is a return on their investment for every part of the business. If you haven’t put your measurement plan in place, now is the time to get started! But first, make sure you know which metrics are important to pursue and why. At Peak Seven, we have built evaluation measurements from Level 1 to Level 4 – we can help you with a quick learner evaluation, pre-post tests, application measurements, and business impact measurements.

Ready to design peak performance on your project?