Monday, November 6

November's The Big Question
Are our models (ISD, ADDIE, HPT, etc.) relevant in the future?

October’s The Big Question was great fun and a great success. We had 38 posts regarding the topic “Should all Learning Professionals be Blogging?” There were over 70 comments made to the posts and we had 60 votes in our mini survey.

November's The Big Question is:

Are ISD / ADDIE / HPT relevant in a world of rapid elearning, faster time-to-performance, and informal learning?

The procedure is the same as last month. For details, please see the sidebar.

To follow The Big Question, click on any of the links to participating posts below. Please feel free to comment on this post or any of the others. The aggregated list of all the comments to participating posts can be seen by hitting the MySyndicaat button below.

Enjoy the Conversation!

Tony Karrer
eLearning Technology
Significant Work Needed to Help Instructional Designers
Matthew Nehrling
mLearning World
Choose the Right Door
Tom Haskins
growing changing learning creating
Vetting our use of ID models
Anil Mammen
Tata Interactive Systems
The future of instructional models
Clive Shepherd
Clive on Learning
Is instructional systems design still relevant?
Jay Cross
Internet Time Blog
Jay says, "Sometimes"
Karl Kapp
Kapp Notes
Yes, We Should Keep ADDIE, HPT and ISD Models
Phil Charron
Learning Simulations
ISD, ADDIE, HPT relevant?
Clark Quinn
Not your father’s ISD/ADDIE/HPT
Dennis Coxe
Sailing by the Sound
Is ISD / ADDIE / HPT Relevant?
Dave Lee
are we forgetting the forklifts?
Anol Bhattacharya
Big Question: ISD / ADDIE / HPT: Still relevant?
Karyn Romeis
Karyn's blog
The future of learning design models
Jacob McNulty
What Fate Awaits the Models (ISD, ADDIE, HPT) of Traditional Training?
Geetha Krishnan
Simply Speaking
Not ADDIEing up?
Russ Crumley
Make the Moment
Absolutely Yes
Harold Jarche
Harold Jarche
Wither ISD, ADDIE & HPT?
Wendy Wickham
In the Middle of the Curve
Clark Aldrich
Learning Circuits Blog
Web 2.0 and the changing face of editorial content
Dave Lee
addie? isd? hpt? - adapt or die!
Tony Karrer
eLearning Technology
The Big Question for November - Future of ISD / ADDIE / HPT?


Nancy White said...

Ok, time for the stupid question. What do all those acronyms stand for?

Harold Jarche said...

Hi Nancy, you're right, they're stupid acronyms and we should use plain English.

ISD - Instructional Systems Design, though some call it Instructional Systems Development

ADDIE - the process that is used in much ISD, standing for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation. There are several flavours of this model, with steps added and/or subtracted.

HPT - Human Performance Technology, the field of practice advocated by the International Society for Performance Improvement, once known as the National Society for Programmed Instruction.

Mark said...

Working on my post now but can I just say...geez..kudos guys for picking another questions sure to generate heat. This is right in that Jerry McGuire "Things We Know But Do Not Say" kind of moment. If the question of whether or not your job is relevant fails to stir up some considerable heat - then I despair for us.


Anonymous said...

Hmm, not sure if it is synchronicity or conspiracy, but on November 7th I referee a Learning 2006 Great Debate on "Instructional Design is Dead!". We'll post thoughts from the Pro and Con sides on the Learning 2006 wiki-

Anonymous said...

To be completely honest, I only knew the acronym ISD. After a brief Google search, I found that I knew ADDIE, just never used the acronym. But I am a programmer. I take the content designed by Instructional Designers and make it interactive.

I have been programming CBT and eLearning applications for ten years. Although I don't have a degree in instructional technology, I have seen enough to know which projects were successful and which ones were not.

The biggest challenge that I have seen is the fact that everyone thinks they know enough to teach. And why not, most people working have at least 12 years of experience watching others teach them. The tools make it easy for anyone to create a PowerPoint presentation. Now on the Internet, everyone can create their own Blog and edit content on a Wiki. I have worked with many subject matter experts who feel that since they know the material that they could design the course without the help of an instructional designer.

I feel that although it may be simple for others to create content, that the more effective training will be designed by people who understand learning styles and who can follow a process that identifies the best way to present information to the learners. Therefore, I must say that they will always be relevant.

Mike B

Russ Crumley said...

My answer: absolutely yes.

Although it is a timely question, it is one we have already answered, and often forget that we have.

These days, conversations around "learning" remind me of a public aquarium. The curator brings food to one tank and the fish begin to eat, oblivious to anything around them but the food inside their tank. Meanwhile, the curator has moved on, tending to other tasks and animals that make the aquarium a great place to visit. Sometimes we focus on the tool or the technology, and forget the bigger picture.

If people back away (even just a little) from the etools/media tank, they will see that there is more to learning than just "tools" and that the models for creating "great learning" moments still apply - they just have not been applied with universal success to eLearning... yet.

I find that technologists and developers often frame their reply to questions about "learning" in terms of technology (everything is an elearning nail to be hammered by an electronic tool...). The reality is our equation still involves getting humans (not machines) to interact with more effecively with other humans, even if they use a myriad of tools in their task/job to do so. I love my elearning tools, but I still provide learning opportunities for humans.

The best lessons we learned in Instructor-Led Training (ILT) still apply: great teachers have a passion for the subject, they meet the learner where they are performance-wise, they stand beside the student - not in front of them, they focus on the outcomes while not clinging rigidly to one curriculum path, they let the learner dictate timing, speed, etc. Lots of timeless stuff there.

The challenge we now face is not the creation of more tools, but better use of the tools we have, while applying the fundamentals of human behavior and performance, including the role of emotion, curiosity, discovery, and the desire to improve.

It's a good time to be in the field of helping others connect with their audience and the content. In that respect, Socratic method, ADDIE, HPT and instructional design are needed more today than ever.

Tom Haskins said...

As long as there are factories and bureaucracies, there will be a need for instructional design methods and practitioners. The hardware/brick & mortar parts of the economy don’t mess around. There is one right answer for every detail. There are costly mistakes. Experts provide accurate content to port into instructional designs. Compliance training needs to get results. Procedures are linear and need to be followed in sequence. It’s a world that is well served by SCORM-compliant modules on LMS servers blended with instructor-led classroom material. Web 2.0 tools are “only tools” in the hardware world of manufactured goods, server farms and transportation.

The software/Web 2.0 part of the economy does mess around like crazy. There are so many right answers that a great search engine cannot find them all even if they are tagged and aggregated at one address. Mistakes are easily forgiven and forgotten by bloggers, subscribers and serial entrepreneurs. Everything is in flux and rapid evolution. SME’s become learners and learners generate new content. Learning support systems need to democratize production, nurture self expression and empower creativity. It’s a world where instructional design is dead. Experiential learning, storytelling and non-linear processes will show up on the web uncontrollably. Web 2.0 tools are a paradigm shift. It’s no longer about expert content. It’s about the conversation, connections and leaderless network effects. Can you say “starfish”, “long tail”, “power law dynamics”, “scale free networks”, and “blue ocean market space”?

Harold Jarche said...

Perhaps one of the new fields to come out of an amalgamation / evolution of these fields, and others, will be eOD as reported by Jon Husband.

Dave Lee said...


(I've also posted this comment to my blog.)

You raise an interesting and compelling issue of the two radically different ends of training/learning. There definitely is the more amorphous, change oriented learning that is happening. Leadership and innovation may well be best served by learner-centered Web 2.0 approaches.

But what about mechanical training? Legal compliance training? The learners cannot control the content of Sarbanes-Oxley training. Giving learners control over how to use a metal press or freedom to experiment with ideas on how to dock a river barge would result in deaths and loss of property.

I always found it both humorous and sad that at a large retail company that has over a dozen warehouses in the US, there was no one in the corporate training group that knew that the company conducted training on how to drive a forklift.

Why is it that our conversations regarding training often leave out procedural training. Do we assume that it's being done correctly? Have we outsourced it so we don't have to worry about it?

Worse yet, have we IN-sourced it? Have we left it to the business unit to handle this educaton because we in "learning and development" don't get our hands dirty doing that sort of training?

Tom Haskins said...

I completely agree about the need for imposed, rigorous compliance training in the physical world. The mistakes are costly, even fatal, and not to be messed with.

When I was an architect, we spent an inordinate amount of time doing “quantity takeoffs” to estimate the construction cost of a design. In spite of how much time was spent on this task by many of us, it got no mention in the magazines, no sessions at the conferences and no champions writing books about it. Methods and concepts for takeoffs were not changing. It simply needed to be done relentlessly. I suspect procedural and compliance training gets short mention for the same reason.

Rather than dreading that procedural training has been irresponsibly outsourced or “insourced”, I think the nature of blogging plays into this issue. It’s the nature of our daily postings to watch trends, to anticipate changes and to sort out loud proclamations. Blogging is a passion for those of us with a conceptual mindset and a predisposition to synthesize tidbits from diverse sources. The instructional design of procedural training calls for a practical, analytical mindset that may find blog postings overly conceptual and speculative. I doubt the consummate professionals of procedural training are even lurking, much less writing on blogs about elearning.

Clive Shepherd said...

I've posted my response on this subject at I have mixed feelings on this topic - one one hand I associate ADDIE/ISD with everything that's dull and boring with e-learning; on the other I wouldn't recommend anyone to develop learning materials without any proper analysis and planning.

Anonymous said...

This response has also been posted on our corporate blog at:

Here is November’s Big Question from Learning Circuits: Are our models (ISD, ADDIE, HPT, etc.) relevant in the future? The question does not stop there. The LC blog follows it up with “Are ISD/ADDIE/HPT relevant in a world of rapid elearning, faster time-to-performance, and informal learning?” Although Learning Circuits must have seen both these question together as defining one problem statement, I see two distinct questions here.

Let me respond to the “first question” first. The relevance of a model depends on how you use it rather than when you use it (past, present, and future). In this case, the question seems to imply that the models in question are traditional (ISD, ADDIE, HPT, etc.). However, the use of brackets, the addition of “etc.” and the absence of the word “traditional” or “conventional” makes the question open to interpretation—which is not a bad thing.

“Our models” are somewhat like this question. A model by its very definition is generic; it acquires specificity only in local contexts. So, if one is to assume that ADDIE is top-down, behavioristic, and ID driven, then it will appear to be so. On the other hand, if a few learners decide to use the process elements of ADDIE to design learning for their own use in a Second Life kind of platform, the application of this model takes on a completely different perspective.

Therefore, the problem lies not with the models, but in how we approach them and what we take out of them. We should be able to appropriate models, not just apply them literally or reject them outright. By appropriating a model, we make it relevant to us and to our times.

The second question, on the other hand, assumes that the future of learning lies in rapid e-learning and informal learning. And this “future” seems to be arguing for a shift in the ownership of content creation.

Who is the best person to generate content? Is it the learner (Learning 2.0), the instructional designer (Learning 1.0), or the SME (LCMS)? Should content generation be top-down, self-directed, or collaborative? Such questions most often lead us toward tautologies and not toward answers. Moreover, no content is born out of nowhere; most types of content are extensions of or responses to already existing content.

If we need answers, we might have to ask the following questions:

* What kind of learning experiences will help me sharpen my perspectives, take the right decisions, and do the right things?
* Where and how can I find, create, and participate in these experiences?
* How should I organize these experiences so that I’m able to make meaningful associations?

I’m not arguing that these questions are unambiguous—“right decisions,” “right things,” and “meaningful associations” are all ambiguous words in the absence of a defined criteria. The point I’m trying to make is this: Learning is linked to memory, retention, application, critical thinking, and creativity. And if adapting certain processes or ways of organizing content can lead to a learning experience that aids long-term retention or provides deeper insights, then there is nothing wrong in using a model that suits the purpose.

Give me the discursive content of a Google search and the conversations of a blog, but don’t deny me the effectiveness of a well-designed learning program. And models like ISD, if used creatively, can help produce highly effective learning programs. Let the future of learning be not defined by platforms (Web 2.0 or otherwise) but by the rigor of thought and the boldness of assumptions—supported by research, empirical evidence, and lived experiences.

(Anil Mammen heads the content & instructional design specialist group at Tata Interactive.)

Matthew Nehrling said...

I seem to have answered this 'Big Question' post before it was actually posted.

Tony Karrer said...

Dave - I think you took down the input form?

Here's a summary post that I just did:

eLearning Technology: Significant Work Needed to Help Instructional Designers

Dave Lee said...

I did indeed Tony. We needed the form for December. But I did leave instructions on how to have late posts added to the participating posts list. They just need to need to send their information to me directly

You can see that Matthew sent is info to me and he's in the table just before you. You're entry got there, well because this The Big Question venture of ours, I've got ya covered partner. LOL