The ADDIE Analysis Phase

The First Steps to Quality Training

Let's take a look at the first phase in the ADDIE instructional design model—the analysis phase. Great training programs don't come together by accident. They require planning and analysis. You'll produce the best training if you first analyze three important areas:

  • The business goals you want to achieve
  • The material that must be taught
  • The learners' current capabilities

In this section, we'll examine how the ADDIE analysis phase works.

The Value of a Needs Analysis

We're regularly contacted by clients that have important and urgent training projects. Sometimes, a client will ask ILLAFTrain to skip the analysis phase and jump straight to training development. They'll say, "Let's get people writing training materials now!" However, that can be a risky and very costly approach.

Carpenters utilize the old adage, "measure twice; cut once." Even though carpenters are talking about wood, and we're talking about training, we share a common goal—do it right the first time. So, we could change the carpenter's old adage to fit the ADDIE methodology. "Analyze fully; design once."

The ADDIE analysis phase serves a major role in the quality assurance process. It defines the project's needs and ways to measure its success. If you skip the ADDIE analysis phase, you can easily introduce mistaken assumptions into the project.

  • Wrong focus—the course content may not address the company's business needs
  • Too easy or too hard—the course could bore or frustrate the learners
  • Incomplete, redundant, or inaccurate content—the course might not teach the correct material

If you rush to development, you may not catch those errors until you launch the course. At that point, it can be very costly to fix or redesign the course. In essence, the training needs analysis is time well-spent.

Who Guides the Needs Analysis?

During the needs analysis phase, the training specialist may speak with many people to learn about the project and its overall goals. Here are just a few examples of individuals who can provide information:

  • Project sponsors (executives or senior leadership)—who can discuss the business goals and objectives
  • Subject matter experts—who can describe undocumented knowledge
  • Representative members of the target audience—who can demonstrate their current skills and behaviors

It is often critical to work with anyone who will be impacted by or have influence on the final training product.

Questions that Drive the Analysis

When you start your project with a training needs analysis, you collect critical information about business needs, learners' capabilities, and course content. Here are some of the questions that a training specialist may ask during the ADDIE analysis phase:

  • What are the business needs driving this training project?
  • What are the goals and objectives for this training project?
  • How will you define success for both the learner and the project?
  • How will you measure that success?
  • Who is the intended training audience?
  • What do the members of the learning audience already know?
  • What do they need to learn?
  • What resources are already available?

The training specialist uses the answers to these, and any possible combination of other questions, to write the course's performance objectives.

Steps in the Needs Analysis

In this section, you can learn about the five steps that ILLAFTrain's training specialists perform during the ADDIE analysis phase:

Some of these steps can happen concurrently, but generally our training specialists begin with the discovery process.