Theories and models - ADDIE
This should have been my first clue that education and instructional design, though both about learning and development, are two completely different worlds. My next clue was that, in spite of having over 20 years' experience in education, I was seen as having no experience in learning and development. I found this baffling, as I thought they must surely have the same underpinning skills.
In education, there are many theories about how people - children and adults - learn, and why they sometimes fail to learn. Throughout my Master's, we looked at different theories of learning, explored some of the psychology of learning and tried to apply it to our daily work. What we didn't touch on, but I am beginning to see in the world of instructional design, are the various models that are used to design and build courses for training people in the workplace. Some of these models get mentioned in job adverts. ADDIE is a frequent ask from prospective employers. So I thought I'd better find out more.
What is ADDIE?
ADDIE is an acronym for a model that helps instructional designers to produce courses. It applies equally to face-to-face courses but as I am working on eLearning courses, I'll apply it to that.
In my case, this begins behind the scenes. I'm thinking about our main client. They are inspected and they constantly evaluate practice, which leads to sets of emerging gaps in staff knowledge and behaviours. These underpin their requests for us to build them eLearning courses.
When I pick up a new project, the first thing I do is arrange a call with the subject matter experts (SMEs) to find out the back story, what they hope learners will learn, how they want behaviours to change, etc. This information feeds into learning objectives, which are usually decided on at the beginning (though not always) and a rough course structure. I produce a document that summarises these, which we call the high level overview.
Once everyone is happy with the high level overview, and we are fairly sure of the direction of the project, I start to write the storyboard. This is where I design the learning, pull together content and write a script and begin to think about interactions. At this stage, I think about assessment too, though specific questions often come later. Where I work, storyboards are traditionally produced in a Word document, with each slide taking up one page, and laid out with the following information:
- slide title
- text content for the slide
- what the slide might include: images, video, audio, etc.
- an indication of how interactions might be used.