Saturday, June 24, 2023

Techniques of Teaching: A Discussion on ADDIE for Systematic Course Design

A good course can be planned through a systematic approach. A widely recognized method for systematic course design (ISD: Instructional System Design) is ADDIE, which represents the five steps of course planning: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. This was actually a study published in 1975 by Branson and colleagues at Florida State University for military training, and as early as 1965, the U.S. Air Force had a five-step course development model. However, it wasn't until an article by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) that the term ADDIE became widely known.

Don't worry, the theory ends here. Shall we explore a practical application? Suppose we are now planning a course, say, "Time Management". How should we apply the ADDIE model to develop this course?

1. Analysis

Before a course begins, it is essential to understand who the students are, what the course objectives are, how much time is available, and where the classroom is. Several other factors include the number of students, teaching environment, classroom arrangement, and teaching tools. The most crucial things to consider are the students, time, and teaching objectives. For example, if the students are engineers in the high-tech industry, the teaching objective may be how to apply time management skills or tools to work more efficiently and finish work earlier. If the course duration is half a day or 3 hours, considerations might include what practical activities or discussions can be held, apart from lecturing, to help everyone integrate time management tools and methods with actual practice.

The analysis phase is essential, and the most common issue is misunderstanding the course objectives, setting goals too broad or vague, or not aligning with the students' needs. We will delve into this in a separate detailed discussion later.

2. Design

Personally, I'm not a big fan of paperwork, so I avoid drafting extensive documents. In this phase, my go-to tool comes into play - the post-it note! Similar to designing a presentation, I start brainstorming with post-it notes in this phase and design the course content (see "On-Stage Techniques - Post-It Method"). Of course, if it's a new course, I would also collect a lot of data in this phase to stimulate thought and summarize better planning ideas.

For example, in the topic of "Time Management", things like time management matrix, Pomodoro technique, Top 5 Daily To-Dos, Prime Time, and different time management tools such as timers, time logs, etc., are all organized in this stage, tagged with post-it notes, and divided into teaching sections and flow. More details about the things to consider in this phase will also be discussed in a separate article.

3. Development

There are two main focuses during the development process: instructional materials - the development of slides, and teaching methods - the application of teaching techniques. Teaching slides differ from presentation requirements; they don't need to be fancy, but they need to be effective. That means continually considering the learning outcome. The three crucial techniques for slides: large font flow, half-image-text, full-image, are generally sufficient for teaching slide requirements. Never treat the slide as a handout, filling it with densely packed text; it will only have a hypnotic effect!

Once the slide design is nearly completed, it's time to consider how to integrate teaching techniques, which involves deciding how different teaching methods, such as Q&A, group discussions, drills, videos, cases, etc., can be combined with teaching methods. For a course like "Time Management", you could ask everyone to write down their regular tasks and then place them in the time management matrix, or have group discussions about 'what are your biggest time killers? What consumes most of your time?'. Perhaps you could use videos to demonstrate a standard day... We'll describe these applications in more detail in later articles.

As for Course Implementation, of course, it refers to the teaching process: how to teach a course effectively. We've already discussed quite a bit about a teacher's mastery of the classroom, students, and teaching techniques. The core question that teachers should carefully consider is: "How can the teacher say less and the students learn more?"

And lastly, Course Evaluation, the focus is not on scores, but on genuinely reflecting students' thoughts, the teacher's self-evaluation of their teaching, and ultimately reflecting these in future course designs, continuously improving the course. Of course, 'total competition' and NPS scores are also focal points in this phase.


In a brief time, we've provided an overview of the five steps of the ADDIE course planning model, using a 'Time Management' course as an example to illustrate how these five steps are applied. We will continue to delve into each step in future discussions.

If you have any questions about teaching techniques, feel free to raise them at any time. I may also be able to share some of my thoughts with you!

Note: I'm continuing to write this by the beach in Bali, hence the mismatch between the text and image, XD.

Note 2: I wrote something yesterday too, just didn't post it, haha.

If you're interested in "Teaching Techniques" and related courses offered by SFCLASS LTD, you can fill out the course priority notification form below to stay updated on the latest course openings (so you won't miss out when courses are already full!). And don't worry, we won't spam you with advertisements when there's nothing happening XD

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