Winston Churchill said, “I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.” This statement rings true when you are developing your learning and training program. You probably have quizzes, manuals, videos and a plethora of other material that needs to be digested and put into action by your employees, but how do you make this happen with various learning styles and different degrees of training interest? The simple answer is you use an instructional design model.
An instructional design model is a tool or a framework to develop your training materials. In other words, it gives a needed structure and provides meaning to the training materials themselves. With an instructional design model, employees can better understand why there is a training need and breaks down the process of designing training material into steps. These models provide guidelines to ensure training addresses the learning objectives set and meet the desired expectations for the learners.
Implementing the Addie Model
Although there are several instructional design models, one of the most common is the ADDIE Model of instructional design. ADDIE stands for analyze, design, develop, implement and evaluate. Let’s break down each step a bit further.
In the analyze phase, your goal is to gather information about your training program. This is a great time to step back and understand why you need a learning platform at all. If you don’t have strong learning objectives created, make sure you survey employees, team leaders and senior management to find out what the overall goals are. Then, create learning objectives to meet each goal. These objectives will give you the information you need to analyze the direction of your training program. Here are the analysis steps to follow.
Look at audiences
Write learning objectives for each of your audiences. For example, you are a publicly-held company who employs both full-time and global contractors so your audiences may be:
- Full-time employees
- Team Leads
1. Levels of learners
If your training program is geared toward all levels of employees than a person just starting out their career will need different training than a seasoned employee. With this in mind, craft learning objectives based on varying degrees of curriculum and material needed per employee level.
To help facilitate this process, consult Bloom’s Taxonomy. Bloom’s philosophy was started in the 1950s by Dr. Benjamin Bloom to promote higher forms of thinking in the education field. But today, this philosophy has further been adapted and is being used in several industries. One of these areas is in corporate training.Bloom identified six levels of learning that students go through in school. These same six principals can easily be applied to corporate employees as well.
2. Should be measurable.
After considering different employee learning levels, shift your focus to create learning objectives that can be evaluated. In order to accomplish this, all objectives must be measurable. Include a timeframe or a way to check that they were obtained when you go to analyzing.
3. Use action verbs.
Another way to make learning objectives measurable is to use action verbs when writing them. Use words like: identify, translate, test, and rank. Versus words like capable of, appreciate, be aware of, and know.
4. Analyze your objective.
Once you have finished drafting your objective statements, ask yourself these questions:
- Did I communicate my objectives effectively to my intended audiences?
- What is my framework for how my employees will learn?
- Did I convey what tools my employees will use to learn?
- Did I provide my employees with a way to measure their own progress?
- Do my facilitators understand their role and what they need to accomplish?
The next phase in the Addie Model of Instructional Design is the design phase. During this part of the process you want to layout the structure of your learning and development program. The best way to do this is to work backward. Start with an assessment. That way you can survey a test group of employees to see how well your design is received. Keep in mind these questions within your survey:
- Did you have adequate time to complete the training?
- Was the training engaging both visually and content-wise?
- Do you think you will use what was learned?
There are several different versions of a design layout. Some of the most common forms are bulleted outline map, mind map or a storyboard. We’ll explain all three of these in more detail so you can choose which format works best for you.
- Bulleted outline map – If you have a streamlined learning program with one type of learner, a simple bulleted outline map may be best to use. It’s quick, easy and everyone involved can understand the course direction.
- Mind map – A mind map is great if you need help shaping your overall design. It allows you to brainstorm in a free-form style. A mind map is a visual diagram where tasks, words or ideas are linked to each other. The best way to start this map is with a central concept taking from one of your learning objectives. Then plot out from there what concepts need to be learned to meet that goal.
- Storyboard – Finally, a storyboard is another great tool for course design. Just like a movie director may map out various scenes, a storyboard can be used to map out each slice of a training program. This should include every detail like graphics, voice-overs, video and more. This design map is the most detailed and if you have a complex program, maybe the best one to use.
Once you get your design structure together, you’ll want to turn to the development phase. Now you will start actually putting your courses together. There are several software programs out there to help, but partnering with a learning management system (LMS) provider will be the easiest. These companies already have built-in templates and sample courses that can be customized to your needs. Plus, if you are struggling with taking your design to the development phase, an LMS company can help make your vision and reality.
Once you have your development phase created, take the time to test it. By selecting a small cross-section of users you will get a good sense if your development is effective or needs further tweaking. If your users are running into technical difficulties, this is another reason to use an LMS provider who has built-in customer support.
When the development is complete, it’s time to launch your learning and development program. But first, it’s a good idea to communicate the why and how. Whether it’s an email or a companywide meeting, make sure every team member understands why this new program is being launched and how to use it. Also, make sure to ask for feedback once it’s launched. It’s important to know what problems or issues users are having once in use.
If you use in-classroom or blended learning, also make sure your trainers or facilitators understand the new training initiative. If they need to be given different directions on techniques, make sure this is in place before training begins.
Also, if you are using an LMS make sure everyone understands how to log on, register, take courses and see their results. For facilitators, they should know the course curriculum, learning outcomes, how the training should be initiated and what the testing procedures are to ensure proper training.
The final phase is stepping back and analyzing how your program is running. If you use an LMS, this process is easy since there are built-in reporting features. You can see who has completed training, what the scores are, what the content engagement is and how different teams are performing in relation to one another. Plus, by using an LMS, you can empower managers to gain insight into how their teams are performing. That way, you can meet with the various department heads get their insights and implement change that helps the company overall.
How to resolve issues
No process is ever 100 percent perfect the first time. That’s why after your evaluation, it’s a great time to see how things can be improved. Here are some questions to ask yourself to further refine your Addie Model of Instructional Design.
Team members are missing training sessions
If after you speak to various department heads you learn that several team members are not taking the training assigned or are not completing it on time, you may wonder why. Take a look at the demographics of these individuals. For example, more seasoned employees like baby boomers may take longer to understand a new online program. Or if you employ offsite freelancers, do they have the necessary equipment to take the training assigned? Often times missing training is due to outside circumstances that can be easily adjusted.
Training sessions are started, but not finished
When you do your analysis, do you notice training sessions are halfway complete? Again, drill down to what the reason is. For example, maybe some of your training modules are freezing up causing a session to stop in the middle of training. A team member could be getting frustrated and decide to skip that training. Or did you try to accomplish too much within a training session? If a module is too long or requires too many steps to complete, a learner may opt-out of that training. A way to resolve this is wit bite-sized learning breaking sessions into more manageable information or simplifying the steps to take to complete the training.
Employees not using what was learned
After your training has been in place for a while, you should assess how well training is being put into action. In other words, are the learners using what is being taught on the job? If not, go back and look at your training sessions. It’s human nature to resort back to doing things the same way. However, it’s your job to affect change. So make sure your training is varied and uses things like gamification in training, peer to peer learning and even coaching to put new concepts into practice.
Managers, employees or facilitators not invested
If anyone involved in the training is simply “going through the motions,” than there is an issue. Everyone from managers to employees to course facilitators need to be fully on board for the training to work. If you find this not to be true, you may need to relaunch your Addie Model of instructional design displaying the benefits of training in greater detail. Think about how training will help all those involved and fully communicate this. That way everyone will feel true value from the training program and give it their full attention.
Training is not effective
As much as you can plan training ahead of time when it’s actually in use it’s a different story. For example, if you used a video for a training session and employees restarted the session consistently, maybe the use of video wasn’t the best option. There are several blended learning tools available today and varying these throughout training will keep learners active and engaged. For example, you could have used educational games, FAQ-cards, simulations or blogs. Make sure you are up-to-date on the latest learning technology and tweak your content as new options come available. The same course can look totally different using various learning tools.
Putting the Addie Model of instructional design into action
You may have a great training program, but if it’s not grounded by key learning objectives and company buy-in, it will mean little. But by using the Addie Model of instructional design you will lay a solid foundation for your training program’s success. Once your training program is up and running using this framework just remember it’s a plan in motion. You should check, assess and tweak your program constantly. This will ensure your learning platform is always running smoothly and becomes stronger over time.