EDU623: The Design Process and Models

This is the first blog post of a four part series for edu623 Designing Learning Environments.  Today’s blog post focuses on some of the key components of the design process as well as different instructional models to consider when planning a project.

The ADDIE instructional design model is one of the most widely used models used by designers and developers. It consists of 5 components that progress in a cycle: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation.  Each phase is flexible in nature and allows for adaptation to different environments and conditions (Hodell, 2011).

As Gustafson and Maribe (2002) point out, “No single ID model is well matched to the many and varied design and development environments in which ID personnel work.  Hence ID professionals should be competent in applying (and possibly adapting) a variety of models to meet the requirements of specific situations” (p. 16).  With an understanding of the need for flexibility, Heinich, Molenda, Russell and Smaldino created the ASSURE model which is a classroom-oriented instructional development model that offers structure and stability for the k-12 environment.


(Picture used with permission from

The A refers to ‘analyze learners’ and takes into consideration the characteristics of the participating learners (Gustafson & Maribe, 2002).  The S stands for ‘state objectives’ and seeks to identify the goals of instruction in clear and measurable terms.  The second S refers to ‘select media and materials’ and accounts for how teachers have limited time to actually create their own materials.  The U stands for ‘utilize media and materials’ and focuses on how the planning aspect of any project or initiative should be a primary concern for teachers.  And the R refers to ‘require learner participation’.  This phase concentrates on ensuring that the participants remain actively engaged and part of the learning process (Gustafson & Maribe, 2002).  Finally, the E stands for ‘evaluate and revise and is concerned with making sure outcomes are met and no instructional gaps remain.

In contrast to both the ADDIE and ASSURE model, the PIE model has three essential components: Planning, Implementing and Evaluating.  Here, technology and media is leveraged to create and provide instruction.  In true socratic form, the PIE model is “…a shift from a teacher-centered to a learner-centered classroom environment” (Gustafson & Maribe, p. 44).  Computers can be used to enhance instruction and allow for the learners to investigate and engage in more problem-solving activities.  The instructor, therefore, becomes more of a facilitator rather than a disseminator of information in a controlled setting.  Creating an environment where learners are motivated and engaged also plays a significant role in the PIE model.


(Picture used with permission from


I can identify with several models and see all of their potential value in a k-12 environment.  However, I believe the PIE model seeks to break tradition more than the others by seeking to integrate technology into the core of its methodology.  It provides ample opportunity for planning, delivering and evaluating but it creates a different role for the instructor, one that notably breaks from traditional models where teachers are the ‘controllers’ of information and how it is introduced into the classroom.  Today, all of the information is available with a few clicks online.  It then becomes the teacher’s role to teach the necessary skills to work with that information and assist the students in creations that demonstrate learning.  I believe allowing students to ‘figure things out’ and collaborate to solve problems has tremendous value but is not occurring enough in the traditional setting.


Gustafson, K. & Branch, R. (2002). Survey of instructional development models. ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology.4h Edition

Hodell, C. (2011). ISD from the ground up: A no nonsense approach to instructional design. (Third ed.). Alexandria, Virginia: ASTD Press.

Additional Resources to consider:


The 8-Step Process for Leading Change:

Socrative: Response system for student ENGAGEMENT:


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