23 June

The Digital Learning Design Process: ADDIE Model for Instructional Design

In a typical eLearning project, it’s common to encounter a range of activities such as storyboarding, scriptwriting, video production. But what are the stages to create and develop a digital learning project? Who’s involved in each stage and what are the main outputs?

Let’s break down these typical stages in the eLearning project to help you explore each of them in-depth – based on the ADDIE instructional design model.

Before we start, let’s make an important distinction between graphic design and instructional design. While graphic design relates to the look and feel of the online course, instructional design relates to the flow and experience of the resource that helps someone learn the content.

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ADDIE is broken down between analysis, design, development, implement and evaluation – as demonstrated below.


The analysis stage is where we dive into the learners’ needs. A few suggestions of questions that can be addressed are the following: 

  • What is the business problem?
  • Who is our audience and what are their learning needs?
  • What is the profile and preferences of this audience?
  • What is the content that we need to cover and how will it be broken down?

Typically the outputs from this phase will be a training specification or curriculum which will spell out the who (the audience), the why (the learning outcomes) and the what (the content covered) of a learning programme.


In the design stage, your team should start to focus on how the programme will be delivered.

  • What does the digital learning experience look like?
  • How will it flow and what will the touchpoints be?
  • What type of digital learning resource do we need to build?
  • How will we design each of these resources to make them engaging and impactful?

The result from this phase will typically be a series of storyboards that map out the flow of a digital learning experience.


The development stage is where the storyboard is brought to life using content authoring tools and software to build learning resources.

There are a number of steps in this phase and it can include things like prototyping, video production, audio production and user testing, as this is normally the most time-consuming part of the digital learning design process.


The next phase is implementation, which means how the digital learning course will be rolled out. This is generally an overlooked phase that should be planned from the analysis stage. A few topics worth exploring are:

  • How are we going to roll it out?
  • Will we need an LMS (Learning Management System)?
  • How are we going to promote and market our courses? 
  • How are we going to drive engagement?
  • How will we support learners during the course?
  • How will we monitor their experience and engagement?


The evaluation phase sits in the middle of the ADDIE model as it’s necessary to keep evaluating your decisions all the time as you go through the process. Here’s a guideline on what should be evaluated at each stage:

  • Analyse stage: Evaluate whether the learning objectives meet the business need.
  • Design stage: Evaluating whether the storyboard meets the learning objectives.
  • Develop stage: Evaluate whether the resources match the storyboard.
  • Implement stage: Evaluate the engagement, experience and whether learning transfer has been achieved.

We hope this overview of the Digital Learning Design process has been useful to you.