Comparing The Differences Of ADDIE And Agile In Learning And Development

ADDIE Vs. Agile In Learning And Development
Summary: While there are many training course creation methodologies out there, two of the most widely used are the ADDIE Model and the Agile Framework. Read on to learn the major differences and see which model is best for your needs!

ADDIE Vs. Agile In Learning And Development

A good Instructional Designer will tell you that the secret of building an engaging and useful employee training course starts with the process of creation itself. This process is known as an Instructional Systems Design (ISD). While there are many course creation methodologies out there, two of the most widely used are the ADDIE Model and the Agile Framework.

Many companies are using the ADDIE model in employee training development. And, many are using Agile learning design. Some, still, are using both ADDIE and Agile in eLearning production. What makes these course development methodologies stand out from the crowd and why? Let's find out!

What Is ADDIE?

The ADDIE framework was initially developed by Florida State University for the purpose of creating an ISD for the military. This model consists of 5 steps that the Instructional Designer or course developers walk through to develop efficient training modules for employees. Beginning with the first step, Analysis, designers go through each subsequent step in a linear fashion, first completing the step and then moving on to the next.

The 5 Steps Of The ADDIE Model

1. Analysis

This is the phase in which you need to gather data. The data that results from this surveying phase will be useful throughout the process. The point is to collect as much information as possible which will help the decision-making process during the development of the course. You'll want to delineate instructional goals and objectives as well as survey the learners to identify skill and knowledge gaps and boundaries.

2. Design

Based on the data gathered in the previous step, the Instructional Designer will create a storyboard from which the course can be developed. The layout, course content, and objectives all come together at this stage to help solidify the design.

3. Development

The development stage brings together production and testing. An Instructional Designer prepares the deliverables and ensures that the course has the necessary elements to move forward by launching the pilot test.

4. Implementation

The course is now made available to learners.

5. Evaluation

Evaluation happens throughout the process but it is most important at the end of the course. This is where you can assess the success of the course by measuring whether learners and trainers have reached the desired learning objectives.

What Is Agile?

ADL, or Agile Learning Design, is a course development model that accents speed, teamwork, and flexibility. Unlike ADDIE, ADL is a non-linear method. It is vastly different than the ADDIE model, but it does include a lot of its elements. The biggest distinction between them is that a lot more people are actively involved in the modeling and development of the training course.

The first step is to gather the necessary people and brainstorm a plan. Once a segment of learning is agreed upon, a discussion about the look and content of the segment ensues. The learning module is then developed and another meeting might be set in place to add or subtract elements before the segment is deployed. At this stage, the design team will repeat the process for each subsequent section of the training course. With Agile, each course chunk is developed before reaching the next section.

The Differences Between ADDIE And Agile

As mentioned, there are quite a few differences in methodologies between the ADDIE and Agile models.

  • ADDIE is a linear process while Agile brings each section to completion before repeating the process and developing the next course segment.
  • Agile combines elements of the ADDIE model and implements them as two-week sprints.
  • Agile is more flexible than ADDIE in that it allows everyone involved to contribute changes to each course section.
  • In the ADDIE method, Instructional Designers work together with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), project managers, and department managers to develop the full course before it reaches the learners.
  • With Agile everyone is involved, including the learners, designers, SMEs, managers, clients, and stakeholders. Thus, efficient collaboration is a crucial element.
  • Transparency is also an integral part of the Agile method, due to the frequent evaluations taking place at each stage. With ADDIE, evaluation happens at the end so transparency might only happen at the beginning of the process, if at all.

Combining The ADDIE And Agile Methodologies

Depending on the project's scope, timeline, size, and content complexity, a mix of ADDIE and Agile methodologies might work best. If your project is large it might benefit from an ADDIE-style planning stage. After the initial planning, you can apply the Agile methodologies for each section of the course to refine and correct any content or implementation errors.

If time is of the essence, the Agile method might be more useful. The same applies if content creators are still working on the writing but you're asked to deploy the course faster. You can faithfully launch a prototype knowing that you can modify the process and content as you go.


The difference between ADDIE and Agile are obvious, but their base is the same. Although ADDIE is more traditional while Agile works well in today's fast-paced working environments, both methods are highly valued and widely applied. Get in touch with Designing Digitally today and together we can see which method is best for your particular eLearning project.

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