ADDIE Development in the Workplace

Course Development Strategies

The ADDIE development phase calls for a prototype,a tabletop review,and a pilot session. However, it's tempting to cut corners and race through the development process. We live in a world where rapid prototyping and just-in-time delivery have become commonplace practices. Do training specialists really need to perform each of these training development steps? Are there any shortcuts? In this article, we look at how the workplace shapes the training development process.

Production and Quality Assurance

There are four steps in the training development process. However, only one of these steps involves content writing. The other three steps serve as review checkpoints.

Development Step Value Role
Prototype Produce and review samples of content and layout Quality assurance
Develop materials Create all course materials Content creation
Tabletop review Check content for completeness and accuracy Quality assurance
Course pilot Measure learner's response to the materials Quality assurance

At ILLAFTrain, we've seen some companies complete each of these steps thoughtfully and carefully. However, we've also seen companies that want to omit one or even all three quality assurance steps during the development phase.

Choices That Companies Make

Why would some companies skip these quality assurance steps during the course development proecss? It seems risky to launch an untested course. Learners may encounter inaccurate, incomplete, or even confusing learning materials.

We've generally seen four reasons that a company's course developers and project leaders make this choice:

Reason Effect
Don't know about the ADDIE methodology
  • Course developers can become so focused on writing course content that they don't think about quality assurance.
  • Team members may not know how to check the course materials' quality.
Don't see the value of quality assurance
  • People won't include sufficient time for quality assurance activities in the project schedule.
Have a tight timeline
  • People may treat quality assurance steps as desirable but impractical choices for this project.
Have a limited project budget
  • Project may face a strong temptation to reduce the scope of the prototype and course pilot steps.
Have confidence in the course developer's skills
  • A very skilled developer can possibly take informed shortcuts and still create a good course.
  • Increased risk when the course is launched, because QA steps have been omitted.
  • If the course developer makes a misstep, the launch may be especially bumpy.

Many project leaders trust their course developers to make the right choices. However, it's important to remember that many training projects are led and created by people who are not familiar with the ADDIE training methodology. After all, not every training project includes a training specialist. These project members have to figure out how to create a course that meets their needs. There's a huge irony here. The course developers who are unaware of the ADDIE methodology are also the people who could generally benefit the most from these quality assurance steps.

Why Experience Matters

  • When they build a prototype, they can draw upon past prototypes. They don't have to reinvent the wheel.
  • When they conduct a tabletop review, they flag specific areas for special attention and prepare questions for the subject matter experts (SMEs).
  • When they pilot a course, they make a list of issues that they want to test.

An experienced training specialist knows how to maximize the value of each quality assurance task. They also know how to minimize the time spent on peripheral and less-important issues. For example, a great training specialist can lead a tabletop review with all the elegance and grace of an orchestra's conductor guiding musicians through a particularly difficult section in a performance.

Sometimes, ILLAFTrain's training specialists must explain both the ADDIE development phase and its value. We've found that these quality assurance steps will generally produce more accurate materials, save time, and reduce production costs.

However, our training specialists serve as advisors to our clients, and it's the clients who guide our production choices. If the project has a tight timeline or a limited project budget, then our training specialists can advise the client how to make the most of their time and dollars.