Since the focus of this week’s activities is designing learning, it is important to distinguish learning design from instructional design. George Veletsianos in LRNT 523 commented in one of my assignments that “learning is not something to design, but it is a process that happens at the learner level as a result of a variety of activities”. Regarding this observation, instructional design (ID) models are used when designing a training program which is comprised of learning activities; this is where learning design makes more sense to be applied, meaning designing activities geared towards learning. The argument I’m making find Thomas (2010) in agreement who states that all ID models include the notion of “classroom” setting at the delivery level. Specifically, Thomas argues that educators take into consideration the best conditions under which learning happens and focus on the needs and abilities of the individual learner by developing effective learning activities. However, both Thomas (2010) and Bates (2014) criticize the traditional design models (such as the ADDIE) for being prescriptive and rigid by disregarding learner differences in the way they learn, especially in the digital age, where technology-mediated learning requires a constructivist rather than an objectivist learning approach. For me, this raises the main question:

  • Why is Bates criticizing the ADDIE model for not being fit in the educational environment which tends to gravitate towards constructivism learning? Bates should consider the origins of the ADDIE model: it comes from the military where objectivism and behaviourism are important in order to achieve performance-oriented outcomes. The same applies to corporate training where the key purpose is to enhance employee performance and evaluate training effectiveness by linking training to the company’s ROI.

This is to say, there is no single model that is “one size fits all”. Competent instructional designers use the ADDIE as guidance and complement it with other models and learning theories to achieve the best results by taking into consideration the learner profile, business outcomes, technology used and methods of learning evaluation.


Bates, T. (2014, September 9). Is the ADDIE model appropriate for teaching in a digital age? [Blog post]

Thomas, P. Y. (2010). Learning and instructional systems design. In Towards developing a web-based blended learning environment at the University of Botswana.