What are the core instructional design models?
When designing digital learning there are a few options to choose from when talking about models and processes.
In this short article, we will explore five of the most widely used models and the pros and cons of each one.
Deciding on the right model to drive the processes and manage the project depends on many factors such as team experience, scope, the complexity of the project, resources, budget and time pressures. But all of these instructional design models mentioned will help you in achieving your goal – that is a learning experience that delivers on the learning outcomes.
The most commonly used and well-known instructional design model is ADDIE. It now serves as a base for other instructional design models and laid their foundations. Addie follows a 5 stage process: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation
ADDIE is commonly used because it is clear and easy to understand. It is suitable for organisations that are new to digital learning (across many industries) or individuals who are only beginning their careers as instructional designers.
- In its linear nature, the ADDIE model allows for front-loading analysis and research in the design phase. That leads to lower costs of development as the design is thorough and well laid out.
- Easy to measure its effectiveness and cost.
- Can be adjusted in a way that you move from the waterfall approach in which one stage stems from the other, into a cycle in which evaluation is cyclical after each stage.
- A clear distinction of the design and development phase might lead to some assumptions of the final output. So in other words, what is developed might not (but does not have to) meet the initial expectations/ goals of learning.
- In a linear manner might be less flexible.
- For beginner Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in design it might be difficult to visualize end products and design effectively.
SAM stands for The Successive Approximation Model. SAM model has been proposed by Michael Allen as an alternative to ADDIE in his book from 2021 Leaving ADDIE for SAM.
It allows the rapid development of content or courses based on feedback elicited from all stakeholders and it ensures developing and rolling out content or courses that are motivating and that meet the goals of the training course.
But it can be time-consuming with the rounds of feedback applied at different stages and it can be difficult to manage for beginners in project management because of multiple feedback cycles and inputs from people involved in the process.
- It allows developing rapidly content or courses based on feedback elicited from all stakeholders.
- It ensures developing and rolling out content or courses that are motivating and meeting the goals of training.
- Can be time-consuming with the rounds of feedback applied at different stages.
- Can be difficult to manage for beginners in project management because of multiple feedback cycles and inputs from people involved in the process.
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Dick and Carey Model of Systematic Design of Instructions
The Systematic Design of Instruction was introduced in 1978 by Walter Dick and Lou Carey as an innovative model showcasing steps in the design process. ADDIE steps are broken into 9 stages which are smaller and focus on the relationship between them.
According to Dick and Carey in the Analysis stage, there are three activities: Identifying goals, completing an instructional analysis, and determining entry behaviours and learner characteristics. Then in the Design, it is writing performance objectives, developing assessments, developing an instructional strategy. Then the Development phase is about choosing learning materials and activities moving to formative and summative evaluations.
- It drives the performance objectives of the designed programme.
- Uses a systematic process with measurable and straightforward objectives.
- Evaluation and revision can take place throughout the process in a cycle.
- Too many phases which can take up a lot of time.
- Each phase is of importance and must be completed to move on to the next phase.
- Might be complex for beginners in instructional design.
Kemp Design Model
The Kemp Model was introduced by Jerrold Kemp with Gary Morrison and Steven Ross in 1994 in a published book “Designing Effective Instruction”. Its latest, 8th edition, is still popular and used in instructional design.
Looking at this model, we still have ADDIE phases but in a circular cycle like a wheel of nine events. A designer can start at any point in the wheel with the development and implementation. For larger projects, that model might be ideal for catering for multiple stakeholders.
- This model is designed to be flexible for modes of delivery including digital and F2F learning
- A holistic approach to the programme design.
- It is not a step-by-step process.
- Constant review required resources. (financial and personnel)
- Not for beginners.
Backward Design is a three-stage process that starts with identifying desired results of the learning process at the very beginning. Next, you determine the acceptable evidence that will show that learning took place. It still aims to provide learners with the best learning experience and makes the process streamlined.
- Intuitive and easy to implement so might be good for beginners.
- Focus on the objectives of the programme.
- Cost-effective as it is completed by the designer and the facilitator in one sitting, and in a short space of time
- Could be regarded as test-focused as it focuses on getting learners ready for assessment of learning outcomes.
- Not fully inclusive, learners are not considered in that model, just the objectives and the end goal.