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Overview of ID Models

Recently, I ran into a Linked In conversation where people were asking about Instructional Design (ID) models - some individuals were new to ID, some have been in the ID world for a while, and some were just there to add to the conversation. However, it made me realize that maybe there is a need for a blog post that discusses the different ID models I work with (especially in the higher education setting).

First, let's discuss what exactly an ID model is. Long story short - it is a way to provide structure or a framework when developing courses, content, or really any instructional learning experience. ID models are especially important for those new to the field - it helps guide new IDers to make sure they aren't missing any key elements crucial to the design of the content. So, which models do I use? Let's discuss and dive in below.

Working in front of a computer


Probably one of the best known ID model, ADDIE is an acronym for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation.

Analysis - this is where instructional goals are identified. Learner information is also identified during this stage (learning environment, learner specifics, existing knowledge, skills, etc.)

Design - this is where specific learning objectives are developed. Instructional activities should be aligned with the objectives. Also during this phase, storyboards should be developed to outline how the training will be implemented.

Development - IDers start to develop the actual training (content, images, graphics, audio, media start to become developed and organized).

Implementation - this is where the IDers test the training. It could be to a pilot group or a live running of the training.

Evaluation - after the running of the training (either live or to a pilot group), IDers will collect data (evaluation) and start to see where the training is working well and where it can be improved. After this information is collected (both summative and formative), the model can revert back to a previous stage and the training can be updated accordingly.


For more information, click on the ADDIE Model above (will link to outside website).


Dick and Carey Model

The Dick and Carey Model also known as the Dick and Carey Systems Approach Model looks at instructional design as a "systems view." This model looks at specific relationships between context, learning, and instruction.

According to Instructional Design Models | Instructional Design Central (IDC):

  • Identify Instructional Goal(s): goal statement describes a skill, knowledge or attitude(SKA) that a learner will be expected to acquire

  • Conduct Instructional Analysis: Identify what a learner must recall and identify what learner must be able to do to perform particular task

  • Analyze Learners and Contexts: Identify general characteristics of the target audience including prior skills, prior experience, and basic demographics; identify characteristics directly related to the skill to be taught; and perform analysis of the performance and learning settings.

  • Write Performance Objectives: Objectives consists of a description of the behavior, the condition and criteria. The component of an objective that describes the criteria that will be used to judge the learner's performance.

  • Develop Assessment Instruments: Purpose of entry behavior testing, purpose of pretesting, purpose of posttesting, purpose of practice items/practice problems

  • Develop Instructional Strategy: Pre-instructional activities, content presentation, Learner participation, assessment

  • Develop and Select Instructional Materials

  • Design and Conduct Formative Evaluation of Instruction: Designer try to identify areas of the instructional materials that are in need of improvement.

  • Revise Instruction: To identify poor test items and to identify poor instruction

  • Design and Conduct Summative Evaluation

Dick and Carey Model

For more information, click on the Dick and Carey Model above (will link to outside website).


Backwards Design | Understanding by Design Model

The Backwards Design Model looks specifically at student learning and understanding. However, rather than focusing on activities and instruction, the Backwards Design model looks at the outputs and learning objectives first and then develops the instructional pieces last.

Step 1: Identify desired results. Here is where you look at the learning objectives. What do you want your students to learn?

Step 2: Determine acceptable evidence. What is the best way for students to demonstrate their learning? This step looks specifically at identifying the assessment tools for the training.

Step 3: Plan learning experiences and instruction. After the assessment and objectives have been determined, what can the instructor do to help the students get from point A to point B.

UbD: Backwards Design

For more information, click on the Backwards Design Model above (will link to outside website).


Out of the three models listed above, Backwards Design Model works best for me in the higher educational setting. Faculty almost always know which assessment activities work best for the topic they are instructing. Learning objectives are already developed and set into place (University policies sometimes take up to a year to change out the learning objectives). Therefore, many instructors really only have flexibility in terms of teaching styles and assessment . Many times, the assessment piece remains the same. Therefore, the faculty I work with normally only look to change and modify the last step in Backwards Design - the experiences and instruction piece.

While this works best for me - it many not work for you. There are also plenty of other models out there that should be considered. Instructional Design Central (IDC) has a great overview of the basic instructional design models.

Which model works best for you? Did you learn about a new model today? If so, please comment on what works or doesn't work for you! I'd love to hear your feedback!


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