As a novice instructional designer, I was taught that all instructional design projects could be managed using ADDIE (Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate). Dousay suggests that ADDIE is the foundational process of which all instructional design models are specific applications of (2017). Using ADDIE has provided a useful and familiar process for developing learning solutions in my corporate training role. In my experience, the safety and predictability in using a traditional design process is valued by corporate training departments.

With experience, I have found growth in my designs by gradually starting to ‘color outside of the lines’ of ADDIE. Brown & Green postulate that the use of rigid templates presented in some traditional instructional design models can inhibit the design process and lead to less innovative and creative design strategies (2018). It is not my opinion that this means that ADDIE needs to go however, I think that we would benefit greatly from taking a flexible and exploratory approach to selecting models that complement our current design processes thereby making room for innovation and creativity. It can be beneficial to take a hybrid approach where more than one model is incorporated into the design process and very different models can be complementary to each other (Gawlik-Kobylinska, 2018).

In selecting models based on the context of the project better learning experiences can be supported. I have created a more agile and iterative approach to ADDIE by bringing in principles of the successive approximation model (SAM) which elicits early feedback and repeatedly revisited steps which I have found especially valuable in more complex projects. In doing so, my team saves time and resources in making changes and improvements continuously throughout the project rather than major modifications needed at the end. Other models to consider in my designs would be those that are more focused on the learner such as in design thinking approaches or models that are more conducive to online learning delivery such as Dick and Carey (Dousay, 2017).

I have been incorporating principles from other models in my designs in an unintentional way. To improve as an instructional designer, I need to intentionally add a new first step to my design process. This step will include analysis of the learner, content, and delivery mode and based on those individual characteristics of the project a selection of instructional design models that will be most suitable. There is a plethora of models, frameworks and templates available for an instructional designer to choose from (Dousay, 2017). A successful instructional designer will learn how to use, adapt or create models of instructional design to fit their purposes (2017). My future projects will benefit from taking time to select and adapt models that are most suited to the learner, the content, and the delivery mode of the individual project.


Brown, A.H., Green, T.D. (2018). Beyond teaching instructional design models: exploring the design process to advance professional development and expertise. J Comput High Educ 30, 176–186 (2018).

Dousay. T. A. (2017). Chapter 22. Instructional Design Models. In R. West (Ed.), Foundations of Learning and Instructional Design Technology (1st ed.).

Gawlik-Kobylinska, M. (2018). Reconciling ADDIE and Agile instructional design models – Case study. New Trends and Issues Proceedings on Humanities and Social Sciences, 5(3), 14–21.