Part 2: Instructional Design Models for Teaching Library Workshops — ADDIE

Yesterday I wrote a quick overview of Instructional Design Models (IDM) and discussed how they can be useful for librarians when teaching library workshops. I also talked about how I wasn’t able to find any evidence that librarians are using models at all when teaching. My directed study gave me the chance to delve deeply into two design models and today I want to talk about ADDIE — a model that helps instructors structure their content before teaching a workshop.


The ADDIE model was developed in 1975 by the Department of Defense (Colborn, 2011) as a way to analyze learners, create new learning opportunities, and assess learning outcomes systematically (Swanson, 2005). ADDIE can be thought of as a continual process used to develop quality teaching and learning experiences. Using this IDM, each instructional designer can interpret the steps in the way that best fits their users’ needs (Colborn, 2011). ADDIE stands for: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation. I’ve provided an overview of each step below:


Identify the problem to be learned, the goals and objectives of the teaching session, the intended audience and their characteristics (skill level & existing knowledge)

Questions:  What will be the outcome of this workshop? Are there any learning constraints? What are the options for presentation? What is the timeline for project completion? (Dick & Carey, 1996)


Build a systematic process of learning objectives. Here the instructional, visual and technical design strategy should be documented (Leshin et al., 1992).

At this stage, building storyboards and prototypes is suggested – helps map ideas to learning objectives.


Creation of content finalized during the design phase

Opportunity for teaching content to be reviewed and revised according to acquired feedback (Colborn, 2011).


Development of how the facilitators will proceed with the training session, and how it will be organized for learners (Dick & Carey, 1996).

Training in this case should involve the course curriculum or outline, learning outcomes, method of delivery and testing procedures.

Should include a survey of the effectiveness of training procedures and course materials.


Encourages formative evaluation at each stage of the process.

Dick and Carey (1996) suggest that “rapid prototyping” or continual feedback can be used to improve the model at each stage because it provides an opportunity for the designer to reflect on the process as a whole.

Is it effective?

The ADDIE model provides a highly structured and useful way to approach the design of a library workshop. What I like most about this model is that it encourages the designer to review material at every step, and seek out revisions from peers.  A more collegial approach to teaching instructional sessions is important because it promotes collaboration, and ensures that everyone involved has the opportunity to provide input. The emphasis on evaluation also extends to the learners; this is crucial before a workshop in order to find out what it is your audience wants to learn, and after a workshop to find out if they learned anything. Summative evaluations are excellent because they provide the instructor with an opportunity to discover what the audience found useful about the workshop and how it can be improved in the future.

As a trial, I developed a prototype of the ADDIE model for a library instructional workshop introducing MEDLINE to medical internal residents. Completing this exercise helped me to discover some pros and cons of the model:

ADDIE Prototype


My first complaint is that ADDIE is almost TOO prescriptive. Because library workshops often have more than one goal and objective, I found that my ADDIE became overly complicated as I added more objectives and tasks. Ideally it would be better to create a separate ADDIE for each goal and objective but who has time to do that honestly? As you can see in my example above, even a simple introduction to MEDLINE can be a complicated endeavour. Imagine designing an ADDIE for a class on developing search strategies for systematic reviews?

My other issue with ADDIE is that it does not give the designer a chance to be creative. ADDIE is so linear that I found trying to incorporate dynamic learning content very difficult. As an instructor I like my lesson plans to be flexible, as often the material I have prepared may not work for my audience in a particular session. Having multiple strategies to fall back on is important and unfortunately ADDIE does not really provide the flexibility I need to change up content on the fly.

Wrap up

Despite some of its faults, ADDIE can be an effective way for librarians to organize their learning content before a workshop is delivered. I found it particularly useful for structuring the learning stages of a workshop and reviewing my material at every step of the process. Being mindful of each stage of instruction and seeking out feedback from peers are two elements that I think are often overlooked in library instruction due to time constraints. ADDIE almost forces you to slow down and make sure each step of your teaching design will be useful for your audience. And designing effective workshops for our user groups should always be our number one priority.

So what do you think? Is this the type of model you could see yourself using for the library workshops you teach?

In Part 3, I will move on to an instructional design model that is meant for the actual teaching process: Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction.


Colborn, N., (2011). Introduction to instructional design: A brief primer. Indiana Libraries, 30(1), 15-19.

Dick, W., & Carey, L. (1996). The systematic design of Instruction (4th Ed.). New York: Haper Collins College Publishers.

Leshin, C. B., Pollock, J., & Reigeluth, C. M. (1992). Instructional Design Strategies and Tactics. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Education Technology Publications.

Swanson, TA., (2005). ADDIE in the library: building a model for the information age library. Community and Junior College Libraries, 13(2), 51-61.


3 thoughts on “Part 2: Instructional Design Models for Teaching Library Workshops — ADDIE

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