Friday, January 23, 2009

Is ADDIE Dead?

ADDIE in Theory

We all know ADDIE: the standard framework for corporate training development. In theory, it's a well-oiled, reliable machine: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation. In theory.

ADDIE in Practice

In practice, from what I've observed, the complete ADDIE model is not often implemented. In particular, the Evaluation phase gets minimized or bumped in the rush to tackle the next problem. I tell my clients that ADDIE is an excellent framework, but its use must be weighed against business realities. What do you really have time and resources to do? Which parts of the process do we need to focus on to solve the problem? In his excellent book, Rapid Instructional Design (2000), George M. Piskurich seems to agree with this approach (at least as I read him.)

What About NOW?

But now, with all the buzz about social media, collaborative learning, and Millennials in the workplace (not to mention the economy), things are changing, more rapidly and profoundly than ever. One wonders how long ADDIE will survive, if it isn't already dead.

This week I attended an ISPI chapter meeting. The presenter was a learning manager for a large, international service organization. He described an impressive spectrum of technologies and delivery methods they use for employee training: WBT, SharePoint, EPSS, synchronous e-learning, podcasting, satellite video.

The VP of Learning for the same corporation was in the audience. During the discussion, he pointed out that for thirty years he'd been using instructional design. His method was to start with the Analysis phase of ADDIE, then come to a decision point: Was training needed, or would a job aid suffice? This methodology, he said, has served us well.

But now (he continued) we are seeing workers who have grown up using Instant Messaging. When they have a problem, their solution is to reach out to their network, ask for help or opinions, and find a solution by collaboration. They expect to do this on-demand, when they need it, and much faster than they could get an answer from a training course or a job aid.

What Comes Next?

So if ADDIE and the whole model of training development are on their way out, what will replace them? To what degree will social media become the norm for learning and problem solving on the job. And how can learning professionals best position themselves to facilitate these processes and continue to add value to their organizations.?

Guess I'll pose this question to my network....