Exploring Design Models

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What are some things to consider when selecting a design model? Dousay (2017) highlights some concrete factors to consider such as delivery format (online or face to face). In my experience based on student feedback from my online courses, content can be a well organized and in a logical layout, but they want to meaningfully engage with the content. This is supported by Veltesianos’ (2011) position that instructional design should take into consideration how technology will enhance learning, not just take lecture content and move it online.
Because I have not really studied formal instructional design theory/models until now, I have done “whatever works” in the past. I have not intentionally been involved in choosing or implementing a specific design model, but my program seems to follow an ADDIE approach, the most studied and prevalent design approach (Bates, 2015, Campbell & Schwier, 2014, Göksu et al., 2017).

Here is a breakdown of how my program seems to use an ADDIE approach based on Bates’ (2015) description of the ADDIE model:

• Analyze- Consideration of learning environments (classroom and lab design and technology required such as anatomical models)
• Design-institutional requirement for course outlines and learning objectives, prominent use of LMS (Moodle). Design of in class theory, lab experience, online course concurrently while in clinical placement to allow theory and practical learning to continue at the same time.
• Develop-creation of content by individual instructors whether online on in person, heavy use of LMS (Moodle).
• Implement-course delivery, student assessment, (assignments, exams, formative and summative practical assessments) varies depending on if it is a theory or practical/clinical course.
• Evaluate-feedback and data is acquired in the form of course surveys (student providing feedback on the course), instructor assessment of how course went and what short term and long term changes will be made based on their experience and student feedback. All data is saved and presented to a national accreditation body at regular intervals. The accreditation process required for health care educational programs also evaluates for compliance in teaching all competencies required by a national association. Accreditation also plays an external evaluation role that may make recommendations for improvement.

I can’t say whether the use of ADDIE is intentional or accidental, but as I have been involved in the program since the beginning and having been through 3 program revisions, I can say that there has never been specific discussion around purposeful instructional design by name.

One of the main limitations to ADDIE is that is too inflexible for the digital learning environment (Bates, 2005) which has been highlighted in my experience with the quick pivot from face to face instruction to digital instruction.
Because of this inflexibility limitation, ADDIE is not something that will work if designing for the digital environment. Design models I am eager to explore more are problem based learning (PBL), experiential learning theory (ETL) and guided experiential learning (GEL) because these designs are promising to be effective in medical training (Göksu et al., 2017).


Bates, T. (2015). 4.3 The ADDIE model. Teaching in the digital age. BCcampus. https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/chapter/6-5-the-addie-model/

Campbell, K., & Schwier, R. (2014). Chapter 13: Major movements in instructional design. In O. Zawacki-Richter, & T. (. Anderson, Online distance education: Towards a reserach agenda. Athabasca, AB: AU Press. https://doi.org/10.15215/aupress/9781927356623.01

Dousay, T. (2017). Chapter 22. Instruction Design Models. In West, R. (Ed.), Foundations of Learning and Insturctional Design Technology (1st ed.). https://edtechbooks.org/lidtfoundations/

Göksu, I., Özcan, K. V., Ç. R., & & Göktas, Y. (2017). Content analysis of research trends in instructional design model: 1999-2014. Journal of Learning Design, 10(2), 85-109. http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/jld.v10i2.288

Veletsianos, G. (2011). Designing opportunities for transformation with emerging technologies. Educational Technology, 51(2), 41-46. https://www.veletsianos.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/designing-opportunities-transformation-emerging-technologies.pdf

6 thoughts on “Exploring Design Models

  1. You make a great point about learning content needing to engage the learner through proper use of technology. I think this is particularily relevant in today’s higher education landscape, especially when you take into consideration the evolution of today’s learner – digitally orientated and arguably prone to lateral thinking. Perhaps it is best to incorporate LMS delivery systems that harness such learning preferences and backgrounds. The question is, how do you know which Edtech to incorporate?!

    1. Thanks for the comment! That is a big question about what Edtech to incorporate-it can be overwhelming for sure. It’s sometimes hard when you come up with engagement activities but can’t find the tech to achieve your vision.

  2. I like the both the Dick and Carey Model and the ABCD Model by Knirk and Gustafson. They both introduce the concept of knowing your audience. Perhaps knowing your audience will help guide the decision of which LMS to use?

    1. Definitely audience is a part of the context to take into consideration, but usually when in an institutional post secondary environment you don’t have a choice. We only have Moodle at my institution. But I find working with the teaching and learning peeps help me to use it to its potential.

  3. Thanks for this interesting post, Shelley. I can completely relate to the “whatever works” model you mention. To be able to react and revise your plans to make it work though takes confidence and a wide repertoire of alternative activities to allow you to effectively react to the circumstances.

    1. Since I come from “industry” before education, I always find I’m paying catch up on things like instructional design. Always learning more!

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