Design Models


Attacking the task of creating an effective and stimulating training can stress out even the most seasoned instructional designer. For those designers who are rather new to the task, it can be downright daunting. No matter what planning model you used in college, in the workplace it is a totally different ballgame. In order to flashback to your college days and reflect on the best planning model for your instructional activity, here are a few models that may come in handy.


The good old ADDIE model is tried and true. This five step model is very logical and sequential and the most commonly used model of the bunch. The five steps include:

Analysis: Taking stock of the training needs, goals, and participants is an essential start in this process.

Design: Developing the learning objectives based on the analysis and deciding on the sequence of learning objects as well as how the learner will demonstrate mastery is the backbone of the whole project.

Development: With your design all laid out it is time to review any existing training material and create any needed instructional courseware.

Implementation: With all your analysis done, your plans in place, and your materials created, it’s time to take your genius to the masses and actually conduct the training.

Evaluate: Reflection is necessary for any good designer to hone their craft and improve their trainings. You want to ensure your training is doing what you set out for it to do and that learners improve.


Human Performance Technology (HPT) Steps builds on the HPT goal of finding a cost effective way to eliminate performance gaps. The steps are very similar to the ADDIE model in lots of ways and include:

Performance Analysis: This is where you determine the gap or the spread between desired and actual performance.

Cause Analysis: Now that we can see the gap, how did it get here? What is the missing piece? Note that the first and arguably the most critical part of most design models is the analysis of client needs. Without this compass, you’re just doing to do.

Intervention Selection, Design, & Development: Now that we know where we going and where the gap is, we can make plans to eliminate it.

Intervention Implementation & Change: Feet to the pavement- let’s make this gap disappear by doing what needs to be done to change for the better.

Evaluation: At the end of any project is the need to look at what was done and assess it formatively, summatively, and confirmatively.


Performance Consulting (sounds fancy, huh?) is a fluffy way to say that the human resource people and the organizational development people are going to work together to make things better. The steps include:

Partnership Phase: working together is the key in this model and at this phase the business goals are identified. Again, as with all the models, it all starts with good analysis and identifying the design goal.

Assessment Phase: Here the data speaks for itself- the problem areas are identified as it relates to the desired performance.

Implementation Phase: Once you look at all the information, including the desired outcome, it comes time to take action. Here is where training happens and the stars align so everyone can be successful.

Measurement Phase: Thoughtful planning and targeted training underway, it’s time for reflection again. Is all this having a positive impact and leading towards the goal?

MB900442010These are just three of the many models that are out there for an instructional designer, specifically as it relates to project management. As I think about what all these models really mean to me as I work on my project design and training modules, there are some important key points to remember. No matter the project, it is important to have the client needs in mind as well as awareness of the gap the client is trying to close. From there, developing a training with the outcome in mind and effectively implementing it is part and parcel. Finally, no matter the model, you have to reflect and see if you are spinning your wheels or making real and positive change.

Good luck… and may the ID-PM force be with you!

Collier, G., Heldmann, S., Hyder, T., Li, Y., & Shrestha, R. (2005). Human performance technology: A reference manual.

Images Courtesy of Microsoft

Looking for more? Tutorialspoint might be the place for you. Check them out and expand your model mind!


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