The ADDIE Series – IV

Welcome, back! This is the fourth and final post in our series on the ADDIE ID model. We will revisit the development phase and move on to the “I” – implementation.

Development Revisited:

In the last post we looked at the development phase as the time when the designs come to life. Now we will consider two specific elements of development: authentic assessment and motivation. Designers and facilitators use assessments to see if participants met the learning objectives. Authentic assessment, which replicates real-world conditions and tasks, gives us a better picture of a learner’s ability to transfer knowledge to their job than traditional pencil and paper tests (Wiggins, 1990). Authentic assessment also meshes with motivational theories. These assessments require creativity, higher order thinking, and the creation of a product, solution, or project – just like the real world. Because authentic assessments mirror real world conditions, participants view them as more relevant to their lives (Cheng et al., 2009; Kingsley et al., 2011).


Kirkpatrick’s Evaluation Model. Image courtesy of

This is the phase most non-designers associate with training – the actual delivery of the content (Hodell, 2011). The image of any number of school lessons, job trainings, or conference workshops apply here. One of the most important aspects of implementation, however, is not the standing and delivering, but the evaluation of the participants’ learning. We looked at the four-level Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model as a guide for assessment in this phase, focusing on Levels 1 and 2. Level 1 – Reaction – is quite simple to measure. Surveys are a quick way to gauge participants thoughts and feelings about the training materials, organization, environment, and even the facilitator. These are best completed right at the end of the session, so participants’ feelings are fresh and unadulterated by time and memory (Hodell, 2011). Level 2 – Learning – can be as simple as Level 1, yet becomes more complex as the field and content become more complex. This level assesses if participants met the objectives – what we know more commonly as formative and summative assessments (this is also where the authentic assessments mentioned earlier come into play). Pre- and post-tests, performance tasks, focus groups, and interviews may all be used at this level (Kirkpatrick’s Learning and Training Evaluation Theory, 2014).

Wait! Where does that leave “E” – evaluation?

It’s spread throughout the other four phases. Yes, after the training is delivered, you ask “how did it go,” but you also assess progress every step of the way, otherwise, something could go wrong (Hodell, 2011). It is easy to see how evaluation plays a role in design (do objectives match the goals), development (do lesson plans match the objectives, are assessments authentic and aligned with objectives), and implementation (did participants learn), but it’s present in analysis as well. Designers must ask if they have all the available data, is the data they do have sufficient and reliable, and if the methods of collecting the data were effective.

The Take Home…

The readings on authentic assessment were very grounding. I hadn’t thought about backwards design as much as I have in this course since I was an undergrad. While the ADDIE models accounts for designing and developing assessments, I think the backwards design model is stronger. In backwards design you think about and set assessments right after setting objectives. This way, lessons and activities are aligned to the assessments – another aspect of authentic assessments (Wiggins, 1990; Wiggins et al., 2005).

In designing a training module to introduce paraprofessionals to the reading anchor strands of the Common Core State Standards, there were times when I felt I lost sight of the importance of that design sequence, enough so that I had a minor panic attack when it appeared one of the learning objectives was no longer important. While I will definitely use the ADDIE model in future projects, I will make sure to put assessment in line right next to the learning objectives.

One Last Development Note:

When searching for multimedia to help explain the CCSS to the paraprofessionals in my training, I was disheartened to see how many videos were essentially propaganda. Titles screaming “Threat to America!” showed up all over the You Tube search results. All I wanted was a factual break down of the Core. Then I found this video! It offers a good introduction to the reading anchor standards, and it shows how the same standard is applied at different grade levels.

Cheng, Y. & Yeh, H. (2009). From concepts of motivation to its application in instructional design: Reconsidering motivation from an instructional design perspective. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40(4), 597-605. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2008.00857.x

Gen, R. (2014, January 13). Common Core Intro & Reading Literature Standards [Video file]. Retrieved from

Hodell, C. (2011). ISD from the ground up: A no-nonsense approach to instructional design. Alexandria, VA: ASTD.

Kingsley, K.V. & Brinkerhoff, J. (2011). Web 2.0 tools for authentic instruction, learning, and assessment. Social Studies and the Young Learner, 23(3), 9-12.

(2014) Kirkpatrick’s learning and training evaluation theory. Retrieved from

Wiggins. G. (1990). The case for authentic assessment. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 2(2). Retrieved from

Wiggins G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.


The ADDIE Series: III

Our third post in the series on the ADDIE instructional design model revisits the design phase, and then brings us to the second “D” – development.

Design Revisited:

Design in the way people usually think of it – visuals, colors, layouts – can help or hinder learning, and therefore is just as important when creating materials. Think of graphics like the way you think of instructional activities and handouts – do they fit the objective? do they fit the delivery method? do they fit the environment (a multinational investment company might not appreciate a comic book style appearance)?

Perhaps the most critical element of the design plan is the instructional objectives. These state specifically what the learner will know or be able to do after the training. Objectives are NOT goals. Goals are general statements of what the learner will get out of the training, whereas objectives relate to specific, measurable performances (Writing Learning Objectives, n.d.). Objectives need to state 4 things:

  • Audience – who is receiving the training
  • Behavior – what will they be able to do
  • Condition – with what given materials and experiences will the person do the behavior
  • Degree – how may times and/or to what standard will the person do the behavior (Hodell, 2011)
This objective satisfies the requirements of the ABCD method. Image courtesy of Greg Williams.



This phase is when the design blueprint comes to life – materials are developed and evaluated. Hodell (2011) calls development the buffer between design and implementation. It is when designers test and evaluate materials they have created for their course. The materials must fit within budgets, delivery methods, style guidelines, and, most importantly, they must work. If a presentation or activity or handout does not result in learners meeting the stated objective, changes must be made. Fortunately, we can use a pilot test to find and work out the bugs before delivering the training to real live people. This video gives an example of the importance of evaluating materials and checking with the client before creating the final drafts.

During development. subject matter experts, or SMEs (pronounced like Captain Hook’s sidekick – isn’t that wonderful?!), are brought on to advise designers about content – what to include, what to emphasize, and what to glance over or get rid of.

So, what does this all mean for me?

This all means that design is a team effort. Even if you have some experience, knowledge, even expertise on a certain topic, you need other eyes to help evaluate the design and materials. The project I am working on is for a training on the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, grades K-5 – a topic I have some knowledge of and experience with. Yet I know I will need the expertise of SMEs and a run-through or pilot test to ensure that things go smoothly, and that my learners actually learn what is outlined in the objectives. There are any number of potential SMEs in my school, which is a blessing and a curse. Personalities play a huge role in the success of a team, and I will need people who will share their knowledge and opinions objectively and respectfully (Passion, 2012).

Gardner, J. (2011, September 25). The ADDIE development phase [Video file]. Retrieved from

Hodell, C. (2011). ISD from the ground up: A no-nonsense approach to instructional design. Alexandria, VA: ASTD.

Passion. V. (2012). They’re experts, but can they be trainers? T+D, 66(2), 54-58.

Writing Learning Objectives. (n.d.) Retrieved from