The Learning Environment Design Model was conceived somewhat in response to statements that “the ADDIE model is dead.” I’ve certainly seen a number of critiques of ADDIE and its various iterations over the years, but when leading thinkers (like Michael Allen) are so adamant, I feel I need to take notice. My thought process, worked through during my driving time to and from work, led me to the conclusion that ADDIE is still alive, but it needs to change in significant ways. For starters, it looks more like a spirograph than a straight line – let me explain…
As an instructor in instructional design, I teach various process models. Luckily, for my current coursework, I don’t need to choose one model; I can instead discuss how several different thinkers have approached defining the process of instructional design. I show my students the ADDIE model (originally designed by the Air Force), the Systems Approach Model by Dick, Carey, and Carey), and the Instructional Design Plan (by Morrison, Ross, and Kemp). I even share Michael Allen’s Successive Approximation Model, which my students have loved because it’s iterative. Despite Allen’s statements to the contrary, I see them all as variations on the ADDIE theme.
So I don’t think the ADDIE model is dead, but I do know that it isn’t linear. In my own experience, the grand sweep of activities move through assessment, design, development, implementation, and evaluation, but undercurrents ebb and flow throughout. When I’m designing, I might consider implementation issues; when I’m developing, I might go back and tweak the design; when I’m ready to implement, I may need to re-assess to verify I’m still on the right track. So the ADDIE model is very iterative (and I would bet that anyone implementing any of the other design models would admit the same).
In drawing up the Learning Environment Design Model, I wanted to use a simple ADDIE process model, but I wanted it to speak more clearly to the iterative approach. From that idea came the spirograph-like graphic that shows the ADDIE model. At the center of the spirograph are our objectives, because no matter how much we spin around and through the different phases, we must always keep our objectives in mind. They are what keep us from spinning out of control.
Let me know what you think of the spirograph mental model for ADDIE. In Learning Environment Design, the ADDIE model is applied to a comprehensive learning environment, as well as to specific components within that environment. More on that next time.