Instructional Design Essentials

Knowledge can be conveyed in many ways, TELMeD specialise in electronic learning environments.  However were not just techies! We pride ourselves in enabling our students to have a productive and successful learning experience by embedding proven learning theory’s and models into our work.

When developing learning environments there are also various models for a team to work from, that make for a smooth, creative and successful development process, this is called Instructional Design.

Instructional Design is the systematic development of instructional specifications using learning instructional theory to insure the quality of instruction. It makes sense to have a plan that everyone can work with, that way our students get the best learning experience we can provide.

What are the models?


The stages in ADDIE include Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluate.


Firstly we clarify the knowledge that our academics want our students to learn, what do they need to know when they have finished the course? what are the learning objectives for the modules or sections. Using our analysis we can create a project timeline, budget and scope. We then create a storyboard laying out the structure and duration of the course.


Now we can design our course with the knowledge that we have the right information to give to our students, we can then source and create if needbe the assets that we need, such as animations, graphics, video, audio and text.


This is where all that knowledge and hard work is put to use and the students get what they need in a way that they need it. However if your like me, I know I can always do better, but at times I may not know exactly what it is that will make the perfect learning experience and that’s okay. Our students and academics are clever people and they know best how they like to gain knowledge. So this is our opportunity to get some feedback about their experience so we can better fit their needs.


Once we get the feedback from the students and academics we can then improve the delivery/design of the course, and the academic can also if needbe improve the learning objectives to better fit the needs of the students.

ADDIE is more of a linear process and may not suit every project, it is also seen as a more time consuming and costly way of producing content as if there are any setbacks or changes it can take more time to regroup.


There are three stages. Evaluate, Design, Develop.

This is described as being a fast, agile and collaborative model based on ADDIE. This is an iterative process, Iterations are repetitions. In an iterative model, you will repeat a process or a stage, and continue to build upon each repetition, a Successive Approximation Model.


One starts with gathering information in the same way as with ADDIE, then having a collaborative conversation with the team about the goals and objectives. This is known as the savvy start.


You will then move into the design stage and then finally evaluate your findings so that you can add them into the prototype for the next round of design.


This process happens three times incorporating the changes in the design and development. Rollout is the final stage. SAM is an iterative process and is designed to look for errors. Collaboration and communication is the key to its success.

Teams collaborate early and often and allows teams to be flexible, and because of the repetitive nature, it gives lots of opportunities to communicate any changes or feedback. schedule can be adjusted as the team is communicating therefore the project doesn’t need to be remade. SAM is usually cheaper and quicker than ADDIE. It is said that because of the repetitive nature of SAM it can waste time if the project doesn’t need that level of review. 

Rapid Prototyping

Rapid Prototyping uses the stages of ADDIE but can be used in whatever way you like, so not such detailed research or design and prototype at the same time. Good for if you have a team that’s flexible and works well together, one may break up the responsibilities of the project, and assign parts to each individual. We are a team that can change directions quickly, and we have trust in each other to be responsible for each parts of the process. Rapid prototyping involves the continual design and evaluation cycle.

Gradual Release Model

The basis of this model is that you are moving a student or team member from dependence to independence using the methods; I do, we do, you do it together, you do it alone.

  • I do
    • would be a focused meeting lead by the team leader, demonstrating the process and reasoning for the knowledge to be gained.
    • this could be what, why, when and how, this would cover what is the skill or task, why is the purpose of completing the task, when is the reasoning behind the task and when it will be used, how is a detailed demonstration of how to complete the task.
  • We do
    • where one would guide the team through the process, such as giving prompts, facilitation discussion and being able to dedicate more time to individual members.
  • You do it together
    • would be a group based activity where each member of the team would have a task within the team making them accountable for there part of the activity and they can ask there team mates questions without needing the lead there to help. At the end of the task individuals would then evaluate the tasks to see how well they did and where they need to improve.
  • You do it alone
    • self learning. At this point a team member will be able to learn tasks on there own, giving feedback to the other members on the task.

This is a linear process but each person can move back and forth until they have become master of the skills. The pros of this method is that the team members can learn mastery of the skill, and gain confidence in there own learning as they have been responsible for it within the team. Cons, It takes more time to unlearn misconceptions or misunderstandings if the process is taught incorrectly or prematurely. The gradual release model is better in small team settings, which is not always possible.

In Conclusion

There are more models out there such as Dick and Cary, Kemp and the backwards model to name but a few. I feel one of the better models for us to use is the rapid prototyping, we trust each other, and need to work on any aspect of a project or several projects at a time. The least favorable method would be the Gradual Release Method unless we were to be training members of the team in a new software environment. This was a useful module to do and I now feel like i have enough knowledge, where if we are deciding on the most appropriate method for the team to use, when approaching a new project.

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