Stine Snekkenes is Motimate Creative Studio’s trained pedagogist and resident expert in the method and practice of creating online courses. Her experience working with diverse organizations has proven just how important well-thought-out design and communication is in creating successful online learning. Stine has made it her mission to help learning teams everywhere design and deliver the best learning content that they possibly can.

When it comes to developing great online learning, how do you know where to start? You’re not the first person to ask this question and, luckily for you, I am kick-starting this blog series with a topic that’s going to give you the answer. At Motimate Creative Studio we use the ADDIE model to help our clients optimize learning content. 

ADDIE stands for analyze, design, develop, implement, evaluate. It’s a 5-step guide used by instructional designers to create great digital learning courses. What makes this such a robust model is that it is cyclical, putting the emphasis on getting the foundations right, but also allowing you to improve on what you’ve created once it is out there.  

The five stages help you take a structured approach to delivering the best possible digital training experience for your learners. It’s simple to follow and a useful checklist to help you get your digital learning right the first time round. Here’s how it works… 

Phase 1: Analyze – scope out the learner landscape and identify their needs 

This first stage is about understanding training needs and setting goals – the broader picture of what you want to achieve with your training course. So, you could carry out a needs analysis to understand exactly who your learners are and what they need to learn. As well as identifying knowledge gaps, it’s also important to understand whether there are any constraints on learners, as well as the ways in which they learn best, (on-the-job, outside work time, using video, individually or as a team effort, competitively, rewards-driven), because you will need to design these considerations into your training.  

Phase 2: Design – plan for what your training will look like and how it will work

This is the moment to figure out how you are going to achieve your training goals. To do this, you will need to know if the training is working. Good learning content is designed around a set of learning objectives. These are measurable indicators that tell you how learners are responding to the training as they go along. So, the first thing to do here is decide what you are going to measure and how you are going to measure it, so that you can design these into your course content. For example, you might decide to use quizzes after each learning module to understand how well learners are responding to the learning content compared with branches that haven’t, or that have been presented with different content, this way you can see what works best. 

This is also the phase during which you must decide what the training will look like – the types of content you want to use (photos, video, quizzes, infographics, podcasts, text) and the way it will be executed (order, timeframe, compulsory/optional). Learning courses fall into two camps, information-based and performance-based. Information-based learning is usually best supported by text and video-based resources, whereas performance-based learning tends to lend itself better to more interactive learning modes such as quizzes, or applied, real-time learning (learning whilst you are performing work tasks). 

Storyboarding and prototyping are typically used at this point, to help map out the training journey – identifying the different components and seeing how they fit together to make a complete learning experience. So, this is also the point at which you need to write the words that you will include in your content.  

Phase 3: Develop – put your plans into practice and test, test, test

This is where you get to work creating the course content and making sure it works smoothly. If you’re lucky enough to be using Motimate, you’ll know that you can create great courses (motis) yourself, quickly and easily, with zero programming skills. 

Sometimes, though, no matter what learning platform you are using, you might need a bit of extra help to create something tailored or give your content an extra polish. If you don’t have the time, tools, or the know-how to do this in-house, you might want to get some help from an expert content creator – a programmer, graphic designer, photographer, videographer, or copywriter. This is what we do at Motimate Creative studio.

It’s very important to proofread and test everything that you create, to pick up any language errors and get rid of any bugs that might have crawled into your training modules. 

Phase 4: Implement – get your training course out there 

Finally, it’s time to get the training out there! If you’ve done your job in phases 1-3, this should be simple. If you’re using new software to deliver the training, you might need to give your learners some training on how to use it before they begin. 

Phase 5: Evaluate – find out how the training can be even better 

Although this is the last phase in the ADDIE model, it actually isn’t! Remember, this is a cyclical model and it’s designed this way for a reason. Even though you did all that prototyping, proofreading and testing in the design and development phases, it isn’t until you get the training in front of your learners that you really put it to the test. 

During the evaluation phase, you can gather feedback from users, and measure performance against the learning objectives you identified in the design phase. Then you can use this data to make your training courses even better, creating happier learners and achieving your learning goals. 

Need a helping hand?

Now you know the secret, you can start planning and delivering your own awesome digital learning courses and, if you need any extra help, tips or support to get it just right, contact the Motimate Creative Studio team and we’ll give you a helping hand.