At some of our recent conference presentations, Harriet and I have been discussing our problems with ADDIE. We usually get a large show of support when we say ADDIE doesn’t work well. But we also get some passionate objectors. Our presentation is not meant to criticize ADDIE, so I decided to save that for a blog post. So here we go – hold on tight.
If you take your time and follow the ADDIE process, you will end up with great course content.
For many people, this is a great statement. For an active learning constructivist like myself, this is a bad statement. Sound crazy? Here is why.
First of all, most of us aren’t afforded the time that it takes to go through the entire ADDIE process. That is just life. People want their class now. “Well then,” you might say, “you are still going through ADDIE whether you realize it or not.” Is that really a good thing? Do I really want to walk into a restaurant someday and have the waiter tell me “sir, you already ate a nice steak. You didn’t realize it, but you really enjoyed it. I have charged your credit card, and thanks for the generous tip.” You may not agree with me, but personally I want to be aware of what I am doing in life.
Second problem is the major focus on the production of content. Look… I know ADDIE. I teach ADDIE in an online class. People need to know what ADDIE is to see if it works in their corner of the work world. I have seen hundreds of people go through the ADDIE process, and they always produce a mountain of passive learning-based content. I know ADDIE well enough to know that if you focus enough, you can come out with an active-learning based class. But there is just something about ADDIE that steers so many people into writing a book. We need a process that just naturally steers people in to creating active, hands-on, higher-order thinking focused lessons, not sit-and-soak passive online lecture reading.
What is my beef with content? Some people today even talk a lot about how quality online classes MUST have quality content. Well, I’m about to say something that may rattle a few cages out there. Ready?
Content production is becoming irrelevant more and more every day.
Do you really think that you are the first and only person to ever write about the subject you are writing about? Let me introduce you to a site you need to use more. Every piece of content you could possibly write is already online somewhere. Probably half of the opinions you want to write are already somewhere. In education, we need to get over the notion that we are producing so much original content. It is already out there – in probably a hundred places.
Just reading content is becoming less important today. Knowing what to do with content is what people need to know in more and more jobs. They need to evaluate, reflect, connect, and expand ideas. Your students do not need to know how witty you can be in re-stating what is already in the textbook. They need to take content and do something with it.
That is the world we are coming to today. Can you use ADDIE to create a course that prepares students for this? It is possible. In my experience, it is not likely. That is why we need a new instructional design process.