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Project Management Instructional Design: ADDIE Model Proposal


Instructional design denotes the process through which tutors or other relevant education stakeholders improve instruction through the systematic development of teaching materials to respond to the identified learning requirements. It is also referred to as instructional systems design. To guide the process of instructional design, many approaches have been suggested and their effectiveness supported and criticized in equal measure. One of the most popular instructional system design models is the ADDIE model, which represents five phases of the instructional design process. The phases comprise the Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation stages (Branch 23).

Following a wide study, the ADDIE framework has been declared a highly effective instructional system design model that has the potential of informing the formation of other instructional design models such as the Dick & Carey, Kemp ISD Models, and Rapid Prototyping among others. The ADDIE Model is also deployed in project management where the five phases of the model have been used to enlighten the key project execution processes. In this case, the ADDIE Model is a central part of learning project management since it helps to define vital processes and methods whose close follow-up, can help to facilitate the transfer of project management-related knowledge and skills (Van Rooij and Williams 852). A good instructional design helps individuals to learn by presenting the required information more simply and systematically to enhance learning. As such, the ADDIE model is a central instructional design model, which helps to guide the process of learning in project management.

Statement of the Problem

The application of the ADDIE model in the instruction of project management has remained unaltered for many years, despite the many changes that have occurred in subject or project management. Technological advancements among other changes have meant that project management has to incorporate many aspects and processes that were previously overlooked. In this case, while the available literature links project management to the ADDIE model, concerns have been raised that the application of the latter as an instructional design must be reviewed to reflect the emerging issues and demands of project management. Consequently, in this paper, the main problem is the fact that the ADDIE model is inadequate in its current form when it comes to informing the project management instructional design process.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to show that the ADDIE model is not adequate to inform project management instructional design. In this case, the focus will be on the identification of various emerging issues in project management instruction design that the ADDIE model has not addressed or has inadequately addressed. The study will further provide recommendations concerning the future of project management instructional design.

Research Questions

The subsequent questions will form the basis of this study:

  1. What are the best approaches to better instructional design through the incorporation of project management?
  2. What are the inadequacies of the ADDIE framework in informing the instructional plan?


The hypotheses of the study are as follows:

  1. H1: The ADDIE framework is inadequate in directing and informing instructional plan
  2. H2: There is a need for new approaches to better instructional design through the incorporation of project management?

Definition of Key Terms

Instructional Design/Instructional System Design (ISD)

Refers to the process of creating instructional experiences to guarantee effectiveness and efficiency of knowledge and skill acquisition

The ADDIE Model

Refers to a framework of instructional design, which provides key phases of instruction, which include analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation

Project Management

Refers to the process of projecting or planning and controlling resources to achieve specific goals that meet specific success criteria

Project Management Instructional Design

Refers to the process of creating instructional experiences and approaches to guiding the learning of project management.

Theoretical Framework

Many theories have been established to guide the process of learning and instruction. According to Branch, one of the major theories that guide learning is the constructivist theory (25). In this theory, the main argument is that people generate knowledge and meaning through the interaction of their experiences and ideas (Reinbold 245). Many learning approaches, including instructional design, incorporate some or all concepts that are enshrined in the constructivism theory. In this case, the knowledge that is imparted through instructional design is built on existing knowledge, which is based on the individual’s experiences and environment (Davis 205). In the process of understanding the effectiveness and efficiency of the ADDIE model in project management instructional design, this paper will apply key tenets of the constructivism theory.

Review of the Literature

The ADDIE Model and Instruction Design

The literature review seeks to identify and discuss the knowledge that exists concerning the ADDIE model and its application in project management instructional design. Through this review, gaps in the existing knowledge will be identified to guide the research towards creating awareness to fill such knowledge gaps.

Instructional design involves providing instruction towards the acquisition of knowledge and skills in a given field of study. The instructional design process comprises various key aspects of which the most important is needs analysis, which helps to identify knowledge or skills gaps that can be remedied through training. Further, the main goals of the instructional design process include warranting measurable outcomes at the end of a program or training, as far as improvements in the required human behaviors are concerned.

In Instruction System Design (ISD), the main idea is that training is most effective when it provides instructors and learners with a clear understanding of the required training outcomes together with how their performance will be evaluated. With such understanding, the training program is then designed to ensure that learners are taught the required skills through performance-based instruction or hands-on experience.

However, several other models of instruction system design have been established to guide the process of instruction for the best outcomes. The ADDIE model is an example of the ISD, which has attained immense popularity to become greatly enshrined in the instructional design process for many programs and training activities (Van Rooij and Williams 853). The ADDIE model and other ISDs facilitate the fast and efficient design of training programs. They provide guidelines, which a designer can use to deliver the expected instructions for the best learning outcomes for students if he or she remains within their framework.

The ADDIE model is widely popular for its easy-to-follow five phases, which guide how the instruction design process should be undertaken. Indeed, the instruction design and the ADDIE model are so enshrined such that it is almost difficult to mention one without referring to the other. Despite the popularity of the ADDIE model in instructional system design, concerns have been raised that the model is no longer adequate to inform instruction system design accurately and satisfactorily. The available literature provides overwhelming support to show that instructional designers are on the side of the ADDIE model. In other words, instructional designers have a difficult time separating the two concepts since the instructional design is almost entirely built around the model (Van Rooij and Williams 852). However, this assumption should not be the case since the ADDIE model is just one of the many frameworks of instruction system design that exist in the field.

The blurring of the instruction design process with the ADDIE model implies that very little progress has been made towards addressing the emerging issues that now face the whole process of the instruction design process. For instance, issues such as the emergence of technology and other aspects of the 21st century imply the need to incorporate these aspects into the instructional design process, yet the ADDIE model does not expressly offer a room for such inclusion. Further, other issues such as resource considerations are not well considered in the ADDIE model and consequently the wider instruction system design.

Criticism has been witnessed on the credibility of the ADDIE model. Some scholars such as Reinbold assert that the model is ineffective and inefficient (246). Hence, unlike the claim that supports the model, it fails to automatically lead to the best teaching design results. Further, it fails to provide coaching design elucidations in a judicious or proficient time. For instance, Davis observes that the model “does not take advantage of digital technologies that are emerging as compared to other models such as the Rapid Prototyping among others” (206). The latter frameworks allow linear approaches to an instructional structure. However, the main criticism lies in the lack of evidence concerning parties that claim that the ADDIE model does not represent the way instructional designers carry out their work. In summary, the model has been criticized for not guaranteeing quality and efficiency. Also, the model is out of date such that it does not truly reflect what instructional designers do.

Understanding the ADDIE Model and its Relation to Project Management

The ADDIE Model is an instructional design approach, which guides instructional design in many areas. A close analysis of project management indicates that it has a close interrelation with the ADDIE model of instructional design. For instance, the major tenet of project administration is the scheme life succession, which constitutes five phases that include the commencement, setting up, implementation, supervision and control, and the concluding phases. These phases provide a sequential and step-by-step process, which guides how a successful project should be carried (Van Rooij and Williams 854).

The phases of the ADDIE instructional model are closely related to those of project management. Consequently, the emphasis of project management in the instructional design is a common theme. However, despite this close interrelationship between project management and the ADDIE model, the importance of project management in instructional design has not been appreciated as it ought to be (Reinbold 246). Instructional designers appreciate the fact that indeed the process of instructional design draws significant inspirations from project management, yet project management has not been incorporated effectively into the instructional design process. Instead, projects have over-relied on the ADDIE model alone.

The main reason why project management has not been well incorporated into the instructional design is the fact that many instructional designers view it as a subset of the ADDIE model, as opposed to being an independent discipline. However, according to Van Rooij and Williams, valid reasons have been cited for this situation, especially since the processes that are in the project cycle management are found in the ADDIE model (856). Such a view means that project management has not reached its maximum potential in terms of being incorporated into the process of instructional design.

Many instructional designers and scholars who support the incorporation of project management into the instructional design also of the ADDIE model assert that the former provides central guidelines, skills, and knowledge that allow the process of instruction to be viewed as a unique project whose main objective is knowledge acquisition (Branch 59). In this case, the proponents claim that by viewing the process of instruction as a project, it will be easier to plan and put in place the measures and activities that are necessary to achieve the expected learning outcomes as guided by the instructional design and project management guidelines.

To have a successful instructional design project, there is a need to have adequate planning, execution, monitoring and control, and closure. The instruction design process must ensure that it meets the unique organization or institution’s goals concerning the identified training needs (Davis 228). The training process incorporates many activities beyond the curriculum deeds such as budgetary planning, strict timeframes, and the management of personnel, which the ADDIE model overlooks, despite them being important tenets in a triumphant instructional design process. The project management offers essential insights into how such overlooked aspects of instructional design can be considered effectively before being incorporated into the process of instructional design (Van Rooij and Williams 856). From the discussion, it is evident that the two disciplines, namely the instructional design process, and project management, are highly related and that they complement each in ensuring the success of the instruction process. As such, ignoring project management in the instructional design process is a step towards negative outcomes for the whole process.

It is imperative to understand how the key phases of project management can help to achieve better outcomes for the instructional design process. Firstly, the first phase of project management is the initiation stage. In this stage, the aim is to identify the primary objectives of a program to ensure that the main motivations and the expected deliverables are put into consideration right from the start (Project Management Institute 34). In this case, linking this process to instructional design means that an instructor must have a clear understanding of the expectations of the training process. The second phase in project management is the planning phase where the focus is on the identification and determination of the project scope, as well as refining the objectives and actions that need to be carried for the success of the project (Project Management Institute 36). This phase is central in informing the instructional design process by ensuring that instructors identify the best instruction actions and objectives that they must consider to ensure the best outcomes for the instruction process.

The third phase in project management is the execution stage, which represents the undertaking of the actual performance of identified actions (Project Management Institute 38). In other words, this level is the primary phase of the program where the various actions towards the achievement of the deliverables are undertaken. The relevance of this project management phase in instructional design cannot be overlooked. This stage indicates the processes and efforts that go towards delivering instruction to learners to achieve the expected instructional design objectives.

The fourth phase is the monitoring and control phase. In this phase, the main objective is to ensure close observation and review of the execution efforts to ensure that they conform to the expectations of the project and provide the best opportunity for the achievement of the set deliverables (Project Management Institute 39). The phase is very relevant in the instructional design process since it provides the opportunity for instructional designers to review and reflect on the instruction processes to ensure that they have the best outcomes. Monitoring and control allow the necessary checks to be undertaken during the program execution process where constraints or any arising issues that may hinder the success of the project can be addressed as the project proceeds to completion (Project Management Institute 40).

In instructional design, the main aim of the instructional process is to deliver the best learning outcomes for learners. Therefore, it is vital to have monitoring and control measures in place to ensure that the prospectus and curriculum implementation processes are implemented as planned through teaching and other activities to ensure the best outcomes for learners. The last phase of project management is the closing stage, which indicates the termination of the project following the achievement, or lack thereof, of the deliverables (Reinbold 259). The closure phase is crucial since it reveals the efforts that were put towards the project. In the instructional design, this phase indicates the finalization of the training where the tuition outcomes have been achieved as per the instruction schedule. However, it also provides an opportunity for a review and reflection on how the instruction design process was undertaken to obtain essential lessons for future program improvements.

Key additional aspects of project management are time management and budgeting. It is central to note that the instructional design process must be undertaken within the specified timeframes and the available resources. In this case, instructional design through the ADDIE model has overlooked these aspects, which are h highly considered in project management (Summerville and Reid-Griffin 46). Time management allows project managers to ensure that each stage of the project is completed within the specific timeframes for the overall timely completion of the whole project. In this case, each step and stage of the project management has a stipulated timeframe, as opposed to the blanket timeframe for the whole project. The incorporation of time management in the ADDIE model will be significant in ensuring increased focus on the timely achievement of minor objectives, which guarantee the achievement of the overall goals of the instruction design process (Branch 41). On the other hand, budgeting is very vital.

The instructional system design process requires resources for its successful completion. Hence, this information affects project managers who have to make prior budgetary planning to ensure that the limited resources are allocated adequately to facilitate a smooth instruction design process to warrant the overall success of the project. The incorporation of project management into the instructional design process is long overdue. However, there remains a major knowledge gap on how project managers can incorporate the concepts successfully together to ensure the success of the ADIE model in facilitating better instructional design outcomes. Besides, the incorporation of the project management will benefit both learners and instructional designers by ensuring that they are aware of the expected outcomes of the learning process (Van Rooij and Williams 858). Lack of incorporation of project management into the instructional design will only result in the irrelevance of the ADDIE model for its lack of adaptability to the emerging issue in the field of instructional design.


The literature review has clearly shown the growing criticism of the effectiveness of the ADDIE model as the main framework of instruction system design. Such criticisms paint a model that has been greatly enshrined in the instructional design process, yet it has major shortcomings and questionable concepts that defeat its mandate. For instance, the criticism of its inefficiency and effectiveness is a foremost call for a review of the ADDIE model to ensure that it can be improved to achieve accuracy in its representation of key tenets of effective and efficient instructional design processes. Despite the criticism, the ADDIE model will continue to be the most popular instruction system design tool.

The most significant step is to review and incorporate new approaches, which can fill the existing gaps in the model. In this process, project management is a key addition to the ADDIE model, which can address many problems and shortcomings of the instruction design process. The ADDIE model and project management are closely related since the latter informs the former. However, project management has only received a little recognition in terms of its importance towards the successful instructional design process. The incorporation of project management into the ADDIE model can create a room for effective instructional design by incorporating key tenets of project management into the whole process.

Research Method

The study is qualitative. It will use literature reviews and research to identify key aspects and shortcomings of the ADDIE model. It will show how the incorporation of project management into the model can help to fill the witnessed gaps. The existing literature will also be used to provide essential insights into how other scholars view the two concepts and/or how to best incorporate and recognize the importance of project management in the success of the instructional design process that the ADDIE model should offer. Lastly, the existing literature research will guide the identification of central recommendations that will guide the incorporation of project management into the ADDIE framework.

Operational Definition of Variables

In this study, the dependent variable will be the instruction design outcomes. The independent variable will be the ADDIE model while the moderating variable will be project management.


The measurement of success will be carried out in terms of the instructional design outcomes that will be achieved through the ADDIE model, with and without project management instructional design.


The primary purpose of the research is to show that the ADDIE model is not adequate as a framework for guiding the instruction design process. The research will use literature research to identify the gaps that exist in the ADDIE model. It will also show how the incorporation of project management into the ADDIE model can be undertaken successfully. The study has immensely supported its main hypotheses using the existing literature, which has revealed gaps in the ADDIE model. Hence, the model needs to be reviewed to fill the existing gaps for better instructional design outcomes to be attained.

Works Cited

Branch, Robert. Instructional Design: The ADDIE Approach: Proceedings of the Second Sussex Conference, 1977, Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Science & Business Media, 2009. Print.

Davis, Anaiah. “Using instructional design principles to develop effective information literacy instruction The ADDIE model.” College & Research Libraries News 74.4(2013): 205-214. Print.

Project Management Institute. A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK Guide), Newton Square, PA: Project Management Institute, 2013. Print.

Reinbold, Sarah. “Using the ADDIE model in designing library instruction.”Medical reference services quarterly 32.3(2013): 244-256. Print.

Summerville, Jennifer, and Angelia Reid-Griffin. “Technology integration and instructional design.” TechTrends 52.5(2008): 45-51. Print.

Van Rooji, and Shahron Williams. “Project management in instructional design: ADDIE is not enough.” British Journal of Educational Technology 41.5(2010): 852-864. Print.

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