ADDIE 2.0 — Designing Learning Without A Net

The other day my spirit guide to the world of learning Dr. Jane Bozarth got a question from a young person on the Twitters, who was looking for the person who “said ADDIE was great model for designing training, or building a strip club or invading a foreign land.”  Dr. B immediately suggested that it was probably me, and I confessed to saying something along those lines once upon a time.

William The Conqueror(For those of you NOT in the learning industry, ADDIE is an acronym for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation” — a design model first developed by William the Conqueror to write curriculum used to train his troops how to pour hot oil on enemies without burning themselves.)

Actually, there is some debate in the learning community that ADDIE may have been used earlier than that.  Some of us suspect that the project team for the big bang developed training materials and job aids using ADDIE because God was concerned that there might be user support issues.

When I said that ADDIE could be used for many other things than learning development, I was trying to use sarcasm to make a point. (Pause for shocked intake of breath by readers.) I’m not a big fan of the old girl, and was pointing out that you could really use this model in almost any kind of endeavor because it’s so generic and basic.

Tie My Shoes

Analysis:  Where are my shoes?

Design:  Criss-cross or horizontal?

Development:  Insert laces

Implementation:  Shoes on feet

Evaluation:  Attempt walking

Extreme Makeover

So — while it’s fun making fun of something near and dear to the hearts of many, and I love the angry comments and emails — how could we improve it?

Let’s rethink what the old girl might look like with a little lipo, some time with a personal trainer, and a few hours under the knife of a great plastics guy.

A is for “Amazing”

Let’s start with designing training that opens with something amazing.  Get your learners on the hook like a big ol’ catfish, so they can’t wriggle off.  It doesn’t matter what other good stuff you’ve got in that lesson if they’re not on the line headed towards the boat.

D is for “Delightful”

You’re gonna hate me for this, but all the other parts better be as good as the opener.  Today’s learners need to be engaged and delighted too.  Use videos.  Use humor.  Use fun, games, interaction, things to click on, multiple learning styles.  Yes — it IS all about the learner.

D is for “Doing”

Keep those little fingers busy.  If you’re teaching in person, have people working in small groups, get them moving in the classroom, have learners writing and giving responses.  If you’re online, you need to be taking polls and asking for input via chat and Twitter.  If you’re lecturing people are checking their mail and seeing who’s on Facebook.

I is for “Interactive”

I’m repeating myself because it’s so important.  Don’t lecture — ask leading questions, and let the students discover answers on their own.  Yes — I know it takes longer.  Yes — I know it’s messier.  Yes — I know it’s more work for you.  I don’t care!

E is for “Exhibit”

If you really want to measure the transfer of knowledge, you and I (the “learning professionals”) know that multiple-choice questions don’t mean squat.  Get your learners to exhibit what they know. Build a bridge, respond in a role-play, stage a server, or write a sales page.  That’s really the only way to measure if you taught them anything meaningful.


So what do you think?  ADDIE 2.0 is slim, trim, and quite a sexy little number.  Want to take her home to meet the parents?

P.S.  ADDIE 2.0 would still be quite effective for running a strip club, I believe.


  1. Terrence Wing says

    Fun post. Thanks for writing it. I’ve never really joined the ADDIE debate because no one (and I mean no one) has been able to present to me a model that doesn’t have ADDIE at its core. You hit it right on the nose when you said ADDIE is generic and basic. That is its value. It is a skeleton for more advanced ISD. My history of ADDIE doesn’t go back as far as yours but I do know that the US Military was contracted to help private corporations develop a training model. They presented ADDIE to private industry and the rest is history. As a veteran, I can attest for the potency of training in the military. ADDIE still works but it is simply the drive shaft of a more robust engine. The challenge is still open to anyone who can show me an ISD model that doesn’t have ADDIE at its core.

    Hope to see you and Jane at DevLearn 2010.

  2. Jane Bozarth says

    I didn’t realize ADDIE had been traced all the way back to the Big Bang. Earliest reference I heard was when first life forms crept out of primordial ooze and attended mandatory Orientation for First Life Forms session. On their smile sheets they complained that there weren’t any donuts, and said Earth was cold.

    Terrence, yes, I’ll be at DevLearn almost to the point of omnipresence! See you there!


    • dickcarl says

      @Terrence Since I didn’t snag a speaking part at the show, I won’t be making an appearance. (In all honesty, I’ve quit proposing. My brand of heresy usually doesn’t go over all that well, anyway.) Maybe we’ll see each other on the radio.

      @Jane Yes, yes — ADDIE was there with God at the Big Bang, ramming nothing together with nothing so that Darwin would have some ooze to work with. Now that I’ve lived in South Carolina for a while I’ve been able to integrate both evolution and creation and understand that all that really matters is that we managed to “git ‘er done” and now we have dominion over all those tasty animals.