Instructional Design Models

white dry erase board with red diagram

I’m currently taking a new course at Udemy to sharpen my skills and knowledge so that I can create better e-learning courses and materials. The course’s goal is to learn how to implement instructional theories practically on the job and goes by the title: A practical approach to instructional design.

In the course, different instructional models are explained. All of them can be very helpful when defining the course syllabus, structure, and approach. I’ve decided to create this post to summarise the main points for future reference (and, of course, share the knowledge with anyone interested in this topic).

The course considers three main instructional models:

  1. The ADDIE model
  2. Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction
  3. Kirkpatrick’s Training Evaluation Model

Note: the steps of these three models can be combined.

The ADDIE Model

The ADDIE model defines the lifecycle of a project with step-by-step instructions. This model is very simple and the most commonly used, but requires some project management knowledge.

It consists of five components:

  1. Analysis
    • In this step, the instructional designer identifies the user needs, and the course scope and objectives.
    • It takes into account the existing knowledge of the target audience.
    • The learning environment, release channels, budget and timeline are also an integral part of this phase.
  2. Design
    • In this phase, you create a blueprint of the course.
    • You also define activities, assessment techniques, and media.
    • An instructional design document is created, which contains the course structure, flow, presentation strategy, and activities.
  3. Development
    • In this phase, you develop a prototype of the training materials based on the instructional design document.
    • Mockups and a storyboard are created.
    • A pilot session should be conducted to test and validate the prototype and ask for feedback.
    • The following aspects must be checked:
      • Are the learning objectives being met?
      • Are the learning needs of the audience being addressed?
      • Is the content aligned with the project goals?
  4. Implementation
    • The learning material is delivered to the participants.
    • The course is integrated into the Learning Management System
  5. Evaluation
    • Continuous assessment of the course is considered a good practice.
    • It plays an important role in the ADDIE model because it measures the effectiveness of the training.
    • There are two types: formative (evaluates the effectiveness of each step and helps to assess the progress of the user and the instructor) and summative (assesses the course effectiveness).
    • You can use different tools, for example: questionnaires and surveys.
    • The “periodic table of instructional design” is available at:

Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction

This model helps users to understand and retain information effectively. This is the second most commonly used model in instructional design. There is a template you can use to apply this model, available, among others, at:

The model consists of 9 “events”, which ensure effective learning:

  1. Gain attention – capture your audience’s attention by presenting a scenario, asking provoking questions and/or using media.
  2. Inform about the course objectives: set goals and expectations. Inform your audience about the benefits of taking the course and how the course is organised.
  3. Stimulate recall of prior knowledge: Help your audience link existing content with new concepts.
  4. Present the content: use a combination of methods to present the information: graphics, videos, flowcharts, diagrams, multimedia, etc.
  5. Provide learning guidance: examples, scenarios, cheat sheets, additional references, tip boxes, analogies, etc…
  6. Elicit performance: make sure that the learners can test their newly required skills and knowledge by answering questions, quizzes, simulations and other activities.
  7. Provide feedback: let your audience know how they did, their strengths and weaknesses. Include de-briefing sessions, quiz feedbacks, etc…
  8. Assess performance: Is the learning outcome achieved? Conduct surveys and post-training discussions.
  9. Enhance retention and transfer: your audience should be able to apply what they have learnt on real life situations. Repetition is the best way to ensure retention. Recap trainings are an option to refresh knowledge.

Kirkpatrick’s Training Evaluation Model

You can use this methodology to evaluate training sessions after you have implemented a training program. By using this method, you gather feedback from your audience to continuously improve the training materials you create.

The evaluation method consists of 4 evaluation types:

  1. Reaction
    • Measures the participants’ feelings about the training. Was it useful/enjoyable/relevant?
    • Tools: Questionnaires and happy sheets.
  2. Learning
    • Here you measure what the audience has learnt.
    • Tools: Tests and surveys.
  3. Behavior
    • Have the participants incorporated the new knowledge to real world situations?
    • Tools: Checklists, interviews, observation.
  4. Results – This is the most important and maybe the most difficult evaluation type. It is also the most expensive and time-consuming process.
    • Analyses how the training program impacts the business environment by measuring KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
    • Tools: Surveys, questionnaires.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s