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What is the ADDIE Model? Less Than 100 Words

The ADDIE Model is a well-known instructional design model that instructional designers and training developers use to create effective, relatable training courses. The model was first developed in the 1970s for the U.S. Army and was later adopted for use by all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. 

ADDIE is made up of five phases: 

  1. Analysis
  2. Design
  3. Development
  4. Implementation
  5. Evaluation 

Each phase offers a dynamic, flexible guideline for building effective training and performance support tools. Especially for compliance training and learning programs, the ADDIE Model has become a widely used tool across the training industry.

Ready to learn more about the ADDIE Model? Let’s dive into each of its five phases, and the strengths and weaknesses of the model. 

What is ADDIE?

ADDIE is a well-known instructional design model used by instructional designers and training developers. ADDIE’s five phases, Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation, offer a dynamic, flexible guideline for building effective training programs. Let’s break each phase down.


In this phase, training professionals identify the instructional challenge of the program, as well as goals and learning objectives. Additionally, the learning environment and learners’ existing knowledge and skills are identified. 


The design phase develops a specific roadmap and optimal courseware design. This phase involves creating the project’s SMART goals and preparing a detailed strategy report or assessment.


The developmental phase is where instructional designers focus on the details of the plan, as well as determine what tools and resources are necessary to reach the set goals. The plan involves the development and/or integration of technologies, debugging procedures, and project reviews and revisions. 


In this phase, a procedure for training the facilitators and learners is developed. Facilitators can go to workshops where they’ll cover the training plan, learning outcomes, modalities, and testing procedures. Learners receive training on the use of new software and hardware, while also learning how to register for the program. 


Evaluation has actually been occurring throughout the entire process so far, but this stage focuses it. This stage reviews resources and goals, while also ensuring that objectives will meet the specified business needs. Overall, the evaluation phase determines whether or not the training program is headed in the right direction. 

Strengths of the ADDIE Model

While ADDIE may be a common instructional design model, it comes with its different strengths and weaknesses. The model is viewed as appealing to some because of its flexibility, easy-modifying process, and ability to be used with other models. 

  • Flexibility — The flexibility of the model is appealing to instructional designers because different steps in the process can be performed and planned at their discretion. Although some consider the model to be linear, overtime it has evolved to be cyclic and iterative. This model can flexibly meet project requirements if developers think in a non-linear fashion, make use of each phase’s outcomes, and keep the big picture in mind. 
  • Easily modifiable — The five phases of the ADDIE Model can be frequently modified to better suit user needs. Each stage may appear separate, but they’re actually highly interrelated. Developers can use one phase to inform another and choose which tasks to carry out under each phase. For example, the Analysis phase informs the design process, and the Design phase could prompt further analysis. 
  • Can be used with other models — ADDIE can be used in conjunction with other models, including the rapid application development (RAD) model and the successive approximation model (SAM). Given its broad nature, ADDIE can be used with other models to create a learning experience with more specific direction. 

Weaknesses of the ADDIE Model

Although the ADDIE Model has its benefits, it’s often criticized for its linear nature, overly-detailed approach, and the time required to create and implement it.

  • Linear — The ADDIE Model is considered by some to be a waterfall development model, which means it requires each subsequent phase to begin only after its preceding phase is complete. The linear approach tends to work well for static content, but may be restrictive when dealing with user generated content or learning outcomes that don’t have a predetermined end state. Newer approaches, often referred to as agile development, are preferred over ADDIE because of its linear nature.
  • Too detailed — Processes and planning under this model often become so set that creativity becomes a bother. Preferred models allow facilitators to learn and adapt their model throughout its usage. Some argue that the model’s biggest flaw is that it assumes that you know all of the requirements before you develop the content. ADDIE’s details may bog down its ability to adapt. 
  • Time-consuming — The ADDIE Model calls for a comprehensive up-front analysis during its first two phases, which can take up a lot of time. Also, the constant evaluation can be a daunting task along with post-testing that may provide little useful information. 

Are You Ready To Work With ADDIE?

ADDIE is a potentially valuable tool in developing learning experiences. Whether you see it more for its benefits or downfalls, the model could be useful for informing your instructional design process.  

Now could be the time to consider using the ADDIE Model to help guide your own corporate development training.

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