4MAT & ADDIE – A marriage made in instructional design heaven.

4MAT & ADDIE – A marriage made in instructional design heaven.

Most of the corporate groups I work with know all about ADDIE.  It is arguably one of the best-known models for instructional design in the corporate sector.  So, if ADDIE is considered an instructional design method why would you need to know about 4MAT? Afterall, how many instructional design methodologies do you need? Well, let’s take a look.

For those of you who don’t know, ADDIE stands for Analyse, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate and is more what I would describe as a cycle for the learning process in an organisation rather than an instructional design method.  In the Analyse phase, you identify the need or the problem and decide if there is a training intervention that could address it – the traditional training needs analysis phase.  Once it is agreed that training would help to solve the issue, you move on to the Design step.  At this point you would use the information from the first step to develop a high-level outline or design for your workshops or session.  It would identify learning objectives or outcomes, delivery mode, timing and evaluations etc.  When this is complete you move into the Development phase where the learning intervention is constructed.  Here it’s all about the presentation of the content, method of delivery and media that will be used.

The last 2 steps are fairly obvious.  Once your training is developed it then needs to be Implemented – delivery of the training to the relevant target group and then Evaluated, hopefully both during and after the delivery. This would take into account the original learning objectives and outcomes so that you either get the tick of approval in successfully addressing the original problem or you can make the necessary changes to the training to get to this point. It is a wonderful cycle and addresses the steps for using a learning intervention in the workplace.

However, there is one glaring issue and that is the lack of clarity about what training should look like in the Develop phase.  Deciding on the teaching and learning strategies; learning activities; method of delivery – online, face to face or blended; building appropriate evaluation strategies etc. are the keys to a successful training.  Just mapping out the content with accompanying slides is often not going to get the outcomes you were hoping for. This area is where most trainers– who are often subject matter experts and not trainers – struggle, and this is where 4MAT comes into play, because it is an instructional design methodology focussed only on – you guessed it – the Design and Develop steps of the ADDIE cycle.

4MAT provides the structure, using an understanding of learning style and brain-based learning, to support the development of effective training whatever the content.  It is the missing piece, the HOW of the training after you have already decided why you need this training and what the content of the training should be. 4MAT helps you to organise this content in a meaningful way that will engage all your learners for more of the time. 

So if your organisation uses ADDIE and has a collection of training with no consistent structure or layout,  4MAT will actually strengthen your learning design process and increase the power of ADDIE.

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