My ADDIE Is Better Than Your ADDIE

Warning: I bet I edit this 20 times before being done with it.

Nah Nah Nah Nah


My ADDIE Is “Probably” Better Than Your ADDIE – or SAT – or SAM – or ETC.

Based on my experience with numerous large enterprises, anyway.

Most of my 75 clients have been large enterprises. So… this is IMO. I’m guessing. And yes… I could be wrong.

Your ADDIE process/approach could be just as good or even superior to mine. Tested and Proven. As mine are.

Let’s see.

The Quick Acid Test

Answer these 2 Yes-No Questions to decide if you can skip this Post, or that you might need to read further:

Q1- Does my ADDIE capture and reflect authentic Performance Tasks – rather than just Topics?

Q2-Is my Detailed Design either created or vetted by current Master Performers representing the key variations/segments of the Target Audience – before we begin Development?

If you don’t like the answers to these 2 questions, then it’s a fair bet that my ADDIE is better than yours. Read on…

Not All ADDIEs Are Created or Implemented – Equally

And there are so many variations of ADDIE that exist – once you look beneath the Letters, that I often wonder which one/whose are being bashed in the sport that bashing ADDIE has seemingly become.

First of all – My ADDIE – is an adaptation of ADDIE… and My ADDIE looks like this graphically…

MCD 6 Phases

MCD… the my ADDIE… is used to frame Projects, for Project Planning, Pricing, Scheduling of all Resources day by day or week by week, and then for Project Managing to that Plan, and of course, rolling with the inevitable punches regardless of who/what threw them.

Note: My ADDIE, MCD is a part of a 3-level approach to Macro ISD Design: Path, Event, Performance Competency Tests. MCD can be looked at in that context or in isolation. My full set of ISD Models and Methods is branded as PACT. Note: a larger graphic of the 3 levels of design of PACT is available at the end of this long post.

a PACT 1-a

You can see that I changed the traditional ADDIE model, shown below, slightly, to be more Process-oriented – IMO. I took creative license back in the mid 1980s with Your ADDIE.

I need something more, more better…

More reflective of what I/we actually do, and not trying to fit ourselves into a broad model. One model that doesn’t even account for Planning – although some have sworn to me that that properly resides in the Analysis Phase/Bucket.

OK then.


ADDIE as a process or project framework – can be applied to many types of efforts. Instructional/Learning Design is but one of them. And ADDIE is not a Design of Learning model. Not unless you’ve got good stuff under the Letters, so to speak.

And… good to remember while you peruse the following… the following loooooong post…

Adopt What You Can and Adapt the Rest

Back to My ADDIE…

1- Project Planning & Kick-Off

This is all about alignment – getting yourself aligned with the needs of the business, and getting key human resources aligned to the project plan and schedule.

This effort saves many projects from their inevitable doom starting on day 1. By involving the right Stakeholders from day 1.

MCD-Highlighting- P1

This to me is the #1 fault of Your ADDIE model. The lack of Proper Planning. With the right people.

Key Features of My ADDIE

Interviews are conducted to enable the development of a draft Project Plan for presentation to a group – the Project Steering Committee – of the key client and all other key Stakeholders. Wire into the politics immediately if you can.

Project (PRO-ject) all key issues so that ultimately there are no surprises. Get the right people committed to the approach and to the plan’s schedule. Establish a no-nonsense, business focus, because this should be a worthy investment for a predictable return, if you know what I mean.

Get the PST’s commitment to follow through in additional Gate Review Meetings – GRMs.

See the upside down Stop Lights in the graphic above. Those are the planned GRMs.

Maybe You Are Already Doing These

  • Getting aligned and resourced appropriately
  • Being predictive enough in terms of resource consumption and schedule adherence
  • Being feasible in your planning approach and schedule detail
  • Ultimately getting the results sought for in the first place

If not, what’s missing? What should you be doing differently?

2- Analysis

If you don’t nail ideal, targeted future state Performance Requirements here, and the key enablers, and the key barriers causing today’s Gaps, then you’ll forever be in a catch-up mode.

Here is where authentic performance end goals should be made clear.

MCD-Highlighting- P2

Key Features of My ADDIE

I do 4 types of analysis:

  1. Target Audience Analysis
  2. Performance Analysis
  3. Knowledge/Skill Analysis
  4. Existing T&D Assessment for ReUse

And I do the middle two in a Group Process approach, if at all feasible (and it’s not always feasible).

All of these are done quickly, in a matter of days or hours, and not weeks or months.

PACT Via a Group Process for CAD Analysis and Design

The Group Process was first presented publicly in 1984, in this Training Magazine article and this NSPI (now ISPI) Journal in September and November 1984 respectively.

CAD – Training Mag – 1984 – 6 page PDF – the first publication about Curriculum Architecture Design via a Group Process – published in Training Magazine in September 1984. Original manuscript (30 pages) – How to Build a Training Structure That Won’t Keep Burning Down.

Models and Matrices- NSPI PIJ -1984 – 5 page PDF – the first publication of the performance and enabler analysis methods for ISD, from NSPI’s (ISPI’s) Performance & Instruction Journal, November 1984.

And as I wrote earlier – I can usually get the Performance & Enabler K/Ss Analysis done very quickly – in hours or days – depending on the overall scope, complexity and novelty, using my ADDIE’s proven Group Facilitation methods and tools/templates.

Note: Novelty comes into play when painting a picture – so to speak – about some unrealized Future State. Not the best being achieved currently, as my approach typically uses, which is to capture a Proven state, as achieved by today’s current Master Performers – and then trying to bring everyone up to the proven levels of Performance.

The ROI for Improvement to the Levels of the Master Performers

Maybe You Are Already Doing These

  • Getting clear about the terminal Learning objectives and the terminal Performance outputs to be produced by the Learner/Performer as a result of their Learning – and understanding the requirements and constraints inherent in the Learners’ Contexts – for both Performance and Learning

If your Analysis efforts don’t consistently provide this data and insight, and do that within a matter of days if not hours, then you need to relook at what you are doing and how you are doing it, and determine why it is falling short.

3- Design

Design covers the varied front end if needed as some Learners have different incoming prior knowledge, and that should be accounted for. Whether Formal and/or Informal.

And sometimes the Design needs to first address UnLearning.

golf 2

And design cover the middle ground of Formal – the INFos and the DEMOs and the Applications (APPOs).

And the design should cover Reinforcements as well, for the Learner, for their management, for their team mates, etc., etc. To guard against rapid UnLearning/Forgetting.

Hey, it happens. Unless the job context puts the new K/Ss to the applications test – immediately and continuously. Then reinforcement – part of it anyway – is cooked into the Performance Context.

Perhaps what’s really needed is not more content – INFOs and DEMOs – but more APPO guidance, feedback, to shape on-the-job behaviors and performance.


MCD-Highlighting- P3

Key Features of My ADDIE

  • The Design Team creates the design or critiques the design of the Designer
  • The Design Team is a subset of the Analysis Team and they keep it real, and appropriate
  • All Analysis data is used in the Design process
  • The Design (all but the Instructional Activity Specs) and completion all of the key Design Outputs is concluded in days if not hours, and not weeks or months – except for the Instructional Activity Specs which might take another day or two (scope and complexity depending)

PACT Via a Group Process for MCD Design

I focus on ReUse – ReUse of existing content and design for later ReUse by others for other needs.

ReUse Event Map and 5-Tier Inventory

Sharing Content needs to happen at much lower than the Lesson level – from the Learning Objects failed past – IMO.

Events – to me – are modular – with the Modules as Lessons, which are also Modular.

I Design at a 2nd level – The Lesson Level

My Lesson is composed on Instructional Activities of three types and at three levels.


  • INFO
  • DEMO
  • APPO


  • Awareness
  • Knowledge
  • Skill

Here is an example Lesson Map – completed with the Design Team using the Analysis data (that they created as the Analysis Team).


The design starts with the end in mind, by first capturing the Lesson Learning Objectives (in Performance terms) and then designing the final APPO (Application Exercise), and then backing out all of the INFOs-DEMOs needed prior to the APPO… in PACT-speak.

I Design at a 3rd level – The Instructional Activity Level

I-Act Spec TMC

This is where “the devil is in the details” – so to speak.

Maybe You Are Already Doing These

  • Multiple layers of architectural design of the Content
  • a focus on terminal Performance Tasks and not just Topics
  • ReUse – “As Is” or “After Modification” at any/all of the levels of design

Design feeds Development – which could include ReUsing some existing content – As Is or After Modification.

4- Development/Acquisition

This is where you use any authoring tool./template. PACT is agnostic when it comes to them, as they will come and go for sure. Using any blend of mode and media. Whatever. As long as it is feasible for the learner/Performer.

Could be for Before the Moment of Need – or During the Moment of Need. More Performance Support than Performance Preparation.

MCD-Highlighting- P4

Key Features of My ADDIE

  • The modular Design enables a divide and conquer approach to development if feasible
  • The design makes it more likely that what is produced is what was wanted

Maybe You Are Already Doing These

  • Developing based on a detailed design based on authentic analysis

If not, perhaps you should address your Unguided Development approach to ADDIE.

5- Pilot Test

Whether this is your first Delivery or Access of the content – it should be measured for both it’s effectiveness and it’s efficiency… in getting the Learning to occur as evidenced by the Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4 results of your Evaluation system.

MCD-Highlighting- P5

Key Features of My ADDIE

  • We test in an authentic environment
  • Level 2 and 3 and 4 are all linked to the before and after implications of Level 2 – which is The Performance of tasks to produce Outputs to Stakeholder Requirements

Selling needed

Maybe You Are Already Doing These

  • Testing your content against ability to Perform on the job via some authentic-enough Performance Simulations (APPOs) – if you cannot use Real Work itself – and not just proving via some written test (which proves little I am afraid)

The Pilot Test is driven by the Analysis data from the Performance Model. The question is – can the Learners do the following and avoid the Typical Causes of Performance Gaps?????

Here is a Performance Model chart (adapted from real work I did in the 1980s).

Can you see the Pilot Test Performance Tests – the APPO – already? I can. Even the monkey wrenches to be thrown in so it’s not as easy as 1-2-3. And therefore: Mickey Mouse – MM.

ABC Sales PM Chart Example

MM APPOs are way too prevalent IMO.

If your Pilot Tests are too MM – then look as to how you might up the relevance and Learning.

6- Revision & Release

Post Pilot Test you might need to revise the content and then release it to the Deployment/Delivery/Access systems available, per the Design.

MCD-Highlighting- P6

Key Features of My ADDIE

  • Most often there are darn few Revisions to make


Maybe You Are Already Doing These

  • Making minimum revisions based on your Pilot Test results

If you need to make many revisions, then check upstream at your first 3 phases. IMO that’s where the fault most often lies.

Sometimes MCD Efforts Follow CAD Efforts

Modular Instruction/Learning is hard to tackle all at once. Sometimes the Performance and the enablers are so complex, that it’s best to lay out a Learning Progression – a Learning Path – a Performance Development Path – etc., – in advance of the development of one set of content – when there are many – and it is complex.

Key Features of My ADDIE

Is the CAD – Curriculum Architecture Design methodology. It looks at the totality of the needs and architects a Path. That typically leads to the Development/Acquisition approaches for many of the GAP sets of content needed to fill out that Path.


A path might be flexible or quite rigid, depending on the situation.


Maybe You Are Already Doing These

  • Developing a Performance-based “Path” or “Roadmap” prior to any ADDIE-like development so that the pieces of the puzzle minimize overlaps and gaps of content. Unless overlaps is “by design” – as it always should be.

If not, then you may be creating content that is overlapped and is gapped – and negatively impacting the results of the Learning/T&D/Knowledge Management content.  


Here is an overview level look at the POTs… the Phases, Outputs and Teams of CAD – Curriculum Architecture Design.

CAD - POTs 2012

Key Features of My ADDIE’s CAD

  • Focused on Performance
  • Fast
  • Collaborative or Customer/Stakeholder-driven
  • Training – with terminal Performance in mind


Here is an overview level look at the POTs… the Phases, Outputs and Teams of CAD – Modular Curriculum Development/Acquisition.

MCD - POTs 2012

Key Features of My ADDIE’s MCD

  • Focused on Performance
  • Fast
  • Collaborative or Customer/Stakeholder-driven
  • Training – with terminal Performance in mind

And when my MCD (My ADDIE) follows on the heels of a CAD effort – so to speak – the effort is typically further streamlined to look like this…

MCD v2b

Where Analysis/Design are combined – in one Group process Meeting – versus two.

Or this…

MCD v2c

The above model might be most appropriate where another set of like-modules of content are being cranked out – say on Product Features – for the next 50 Products on the priority list – and we don’t need to go through all the steps if this is our 5th, or more, effort of a very similar nature.

Many steps needed in MCD are done in a prior CAD effort, if done right… IMO.

But beware taking too much out of ADDIE, yours or mine… or changing into a very NOT Value Added Process… which is too easy to do… here from a client just recently retired…


My Free Resources

The following are free and are available on this site.


  • lean-ISD – here.
  • T&D Systems View – here.


  • See the dozen plus – here.


  • See the dozen plus – here.

Video Podcasts

  • See the 55+ videos (from several minutes to 20 minutes each) from The School of PACT – here.

Audio Podcasts

  • See the 20 Audio Podcasts – here.

My Related Consulting Services

  • Consulting on development of Enterprise-wide ADDIE/ISD Process Models for CAD, MCD and IAD
  • Staff Development as Project Planner/Managers, Analysts, CAD Designers, MCD Designers, Lead Developers for team development efforts

Plus some books for sale… – here.


For the purposes of…


Here is the larger model of the 3 levels of design, all fed by Analysis, and Project Planning & Management…

PACT Logo w 5 Methodologies 2

Here is the PACTLogic – My ADDIE’s DataLogic Model…

PACT Data Logic

Please email me for more info about my Consulting Services, availability and fees:

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