The ADDIE debate is raging again and I feel compelled to weigh in. For those of you not familiar with ADDIE, it is a model for instructional development. Like any model, it is simply a guide for ensuring that the critical elements are considered when developing training programs; it is not the real world. The model’s elements are: 1) Analysis; 2) Design; 3) Development; 4) Implementation; and 5) Evaluation. You can follow all of the debatable issues on the blogs of Clark Quinn, Ellen Wagner, and Brent Schlenker.

I agree with the proponents of ADDIE that it is a useful heuristic for developing an instructional program. Although, I like Christopher Pappas’ non-linear version with evaluation at the center.  But I’m an evaluator, so to me everything starts and ends with evaluation (I know… to a hammer everything looks like a nail.). For example, if at the outset, you discover that a learning intervention is not evaluatable (yes, this is a word), that is, that the results can’t be observed, then it is probably not worth doing.

What is missing from the ADDIE debate is a larger framework for ensuring that whatever learning intervention is designed has important business results. To me, ADDIE is useful, but not the whole picture. This bigger picture includes what Sean Murray and I call the “5As Framework”: 1) Alignment; 2) Anticipation; 3) Alliance; 4) Application; and 5) Accountability. We we will be publishing an ebook about this framework in the near future. It is our observation that far too much training is designed by highly competent instructional designers, using ADDIE or some variation, only to have little impact on the business of the organization. If instructional designers want to make a real difference, they need to be asking the "5As" questions in addition to ADDIE.  

Are the learning goals and objectives aligned with the strategic goals of the organization?

Do learners and their bosses anticipate learning and success?

Are learners and their bosses in an alliance for results?

Is application of new learning immediate and sustained over time?

Are learners, their bosses, and organizations accountable for learning and business results?

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