The ADDIE model is a problem solving process that has emerged in the last 30 years as the key process that is used to design, develop and implement training for medical students. Instructional design is the systematic approach to the Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of learning materials and activities. Instructional design aims for a learner-centered rather than the traditional teacher-centered approach to instruction, so that effective learning can take place. This means that every component of the instruction is governed by the learning outcomes, which have been determined after a thorough analysis of the learners' needs.
First, Analysis is the process of defining what is to be learned. Design is the process of specifying how it is to be learned. Next, Development is the process of authoring and producing the materials. Implementation is the process of installing the project in the real world context. Finally, Evaluation is the process of determining the adequacy of the instruction.
The ADDIE model has been criticized by some as being too systematic, or linear, to implement. This is because each step in the ADDIE model has to be completed before the next step can begin. The outputs of the first step become the input of the second step. If an initial needs analysis takes one month longer than was scheduled, then the design process is on hold until the analysis is complete. Likewise, if the design step requires many modifications, the development step is further delayed. This contributes to the slowness of the traditional ADDIE model. Unfortunately for students, if one step is missed or incomplete, the rest of the process suffers.
Another aspect of this complaint is the unsteadiness of the ADDIE model. Users of the model can make the mistake that every step and every sub-stage of the process must be carried out regardless of the situation. As an alternative to the "linear" approach of the ADDIE model, some researchers have suggested the use of a more systemic design model which will emphasize a more holistic approach to the development of training. Instead of developing the instruction in phases, the entire development team works together from the start and then revises accordingly. Despite these advantages, there are also practical challenges with a purely systemic design approach in the management of resources. In most cases, training programs must be developed under a fixed and limited budget and schedule.
Another problem noticed within the ADDIE model is the fact that the model was created as the process that when used appropriately would produce predictable reliable results from learning. However, once the contexts are changed the outcomes are changed. What this means is that when the research moves from the laboratory to the real world of teaching and learning, most effects are lost. The ADDIE model should be considered a valuable tool in instructional design without adding the constraints of treating it as a scientific process. Treating the ADDIE model as a scientific process tends to make it rigid and inflexible.
An additional issue with the ADDIE model is the negative problem solving effect it can have in the business world. The shift, in the world of education has been from behaviorism, through cognitivism, to constructivism. What this means is that the model is philosophically inconsistent with recent thinking about human learning and that interesting, interactive and exploratory environments require a different way of conceptualizing the development process. These behaviorist principles decontextualize and oversimplify learning. Another issue is that the world outside of education has changed from a static and simple traditional world of work to one that is uncertain, indeterminate, and unpredictable.
Medical students are no longer just young adults -- they are now viewed as life-long learners. This means that the ADDIE model has to deal with a wider variety of students, a wider variety of learning contexts and a wider range of delivery methods. Despite these arguments supporting the difficulties of the problem solving aspect of the ADDIE model, the process remains relevant. The ADDIE model needs to address these concerns and accommodate different perspectives and new theories.
An alternative to the ADDIE model could be behaviorism. Behaviorism looks at learning in a traditional teacher-centered classroom, where teaching occurs based on prescribed objectives and learning is measured by determining whether or not the learner has achieved the desired behavior. Several learning theories have emerged since behaviorism, such as situated cognition, constructivism, and postmodernism. This shift toward learning-centered classrooms brings with it a thinking of a new concept of classroom. Instructional design researchers need to visualize a type of learning environment that is capable of instruction about anything, anywhere, and at anytime. In this way instructional design models and processes would switch from prescriptive and prefigured instruction to descriptive and configured learning.
Constructivism is identified as the latest learning theory to be incorporated into instructional design. Currently, instructional designers are adapting more flexible models and more comprehensive ways of thinking about learning and instruction in order to meet the demands of a changing market. Constructivists tend to see knowledge as connected to practice and as context-dependent. In constructivism, the learner builds his or her own personal interpretation of learning through an active process of collaboration, negotiation and exposure to multiple perspectives. Students are encouraged to participate in establishing goals, tasks, and methods of instruction and assessment. In this way constructivists see the whole problem instead just a piece of it. They then try to incorporate as many perspectives as possible to create solutions to a particular problem. Unlike supporters of the ADDIE model, constructivists would argue that instructional design should have several different solutions as compared to a "one solution fits all" theory.
Any learning model that is forced upon a specific situation and made to fit could produce negative consequences, because the complications of some situations cannot fit a simple form of design model. Designers need to adapt rather than apply the learning theory to the present environment of the student or learner to achieve the best solution for that particular situation. The traditional ADDIE model, developed to create instruction in a teacher-led classroom, is an example of this. The ADDIE model without any changes cannot address the needs of adult learners in its present form without considering the characteristics of adults and how they learn. Both "Situated Cognition" and "Constructivism" are theories that recognize and support the characteristics of adult learners and must be considered in any effective instructional design.
It is important that instructional designers build relevance into course and program content to ensure that the student not only understands the instruction but also can apply it to their everyday situation. Applying constructivism to instructional design helps to personalize the design process and will help to ensure the learning is relevant to the student. Postmodernist views on instructional design also differ widely from the traditional view of instructional design. The goal of the postmodernist theory is to create, appreciate and interpret meanings from learning rather than the prediction and control orientation of the traditional ADDIE model of design. Learners are encouraged to participate in considering concepts, setting goals and celebrating the dynamics of learning.
Since the ADDIE model is criticized for being overly proceduralized and rigid, some researchers have suggested combining one or several learning theories to ensure that the design conforms to the needs of the student. Research has noted some principles that should be included in the ADDIE model to make it a more dynamic and responsive model. These principles are Flexibility, Adaptiveness, Parallel Processing, Continuous Evaluation, Outcomes-based, and Contextualism.
An instructional design model that will successfully meet the needs of business and education today must adhere to time constraints, resource constraints, and be individually-focused within an audience in order to achieve flexibility. It must also be adaptive to change…