Analysis – The “Most” Important Part of Instructional Design

In this article, I will explain the first phase of ADDIE – Analysis . You may find examples related to transcription and speech recognition in my articles. I use them because I have spent a reasonable period of my career in that industry. Analysis is the most important part of instructional design. However, this is…

In this article, I will explain the first phase of ADDIE – Analysis . You may find examples related to transcription and speech recognition in my articles. I use them because I have spent a reasonable period of my career in that industry.

Analysis is the most important part of instructional design. However, this is the most neglected phase as well. Many e-Learning courses that you find in the internet are ineffective because of lack of analysis. Whenever you find training materials that go wayward from the client's needs, are boring or difficult, or show inaccurate content, you can assume that the author has ignored the analysis phase.

You do the analysis to find the answers to these questions:

  • What is the goal of the training?
  • How does the training help the client?
  • What is the state of the learner before undergoing the training?
  • Where does the client want to see the learner after the training?
  • What are the required resources and the resources that are already present?

As is obvious, you find the answers to these questions by interacting with the client personnel responsible for the project, the subject-matter experts (SMEs), and the representatives of the learners.

In some cases, you may be upgrading a training program, rather than creating a new one. The training materials and other resources may already be present. During client interactions, you can ask for these materials and collect them.

Analysis includes four sequential activities:

  • Find the instructional goal.
  • Analyze the learners.
  • Perform instructional analysis.
  • Develop learning objectives.

You conduct a training program to empower the learner with a new skill. This is the goal of the training. Typically, the client provides you the goal of the training. The goal must be linked to the business needs of the client (how does achieving the goal help the company?). An example for a goal of training is “we want to increase the productivity of our transcription team members by teaching them how to create automatic translations using the ABC sound recognition software.”

If you find that the goal is not realistic, you can give suggestions to make revisions. During the discussion, you also gather the details on the time you have to develop the training, the resources you need to develop the training, and the elements you need to support the training.

The second phase is the learner analysis. You do the learner analysis to find what the learners already know and what they do not know, that is, the knowledge gap that the learners must fill to reach the goal. If you do not conduct the learner analysis, you may have to make assumptions about the learners' current capabilities. In most cases, instructional designers will be dealing with a large number of learners. Here, conducting a learner analysis individually for each learner may not be possible. Here, you do the learner analysis by considering the learners as groups.

The learner analysis sets the starting point of the journey for the learner. The goal that you obtained from the client is where you want the learner to be at the end of the journey. Now, you need to guide the learner to reach the goal by giving instructions at the required intervals. You develop these instructions in the instructional analysis. Instructions must be accurate and complete so that they guide the learner to reach the goal. Assuming the learners' knowledge to create instructions, giving incorrect instructions, or missing any instructions will result in your training not giving the expected results.

Now that you have completed the three Phases, you reach the final phase, which is, in fact, the output of all the three Phases – setting the learning objectives. The learning objective tells the learners what they could achieve at the end of the training. It must be specific and clear.

A good learning objective motivates the learners as it informs them that once they complete the training, they will be able to do something that they were not able to do before. On the other hand, giving a good learning objective and not meeting the objective at the end of the training demotivates the learners. An example for a good learning objective is “given the identification number of a raw audio file, the transcriptionist should be able to download the file from the server in 5 seconds.”

There you have it, a brief explanation of the Analysis phase of ADDIE . Remember that it is a concise explanation. I am developing an e-Learning course that, I hope, would give budding instructional designers a more real-life picture of the Analysis phase.