By Michael Molenda
[Published in slightly amended form in Performance Improvement, May/June 2003]
As a professor of instructional technology and as a participant in discussion forums on
instructional design (ID), one of the most frequently asked questions is “what is the original source for the ADDIE Model?” Students, fellow professors, and practicing professionals are often interested in finding an authoritative source to cite in papers and to provide to clients. Practitioners tend to be curious about the pedigree of the term: is it from academia? Business? Military?
I was curious, too, but not motivated to go beyond a cursory search until I was invited by the editor of a forthcoming encyclopedia (Kovalchick & Dawson, in press) to write an entry for The ADDIE Model. Now it was personal.
The most obvious place to start such a search is in the existing dictionaries and encyclopedias of instructional technology, education, and training. ADDIE does not appear in any of them. Next, the large (Saettler, 1990) and small (Reiser, 2001, Shrock, 1995) histories of instructional technology and ID.
Again, not a single mention. Next, the textbooks on ID (Morrison, Ross & Kemp, 2001; Gentry, 1994; Dick, Carey & Carey, 2001; Smith & Ragan, 1999; Heinich, Molenda, Russell & Smaldino, 2002). ADDIE is not mentioned in any of them, neither older nor more recent editions. How about the surveys of ID models (Andrews & Goodson, 1980; Gustafson, 1994; Gustafson & Branch, 1997, Gustafson & Branch, 2002)? Again, ADDIE is invisible.
By this point I was beginning to form the theory that ADDIE existed more as a label than as an actual ID model. To try to falsify this theory I contacted about twenty people including professors and practitioners who I thought would be knowledgeable in this area, especially those whose institutional memory goes back to the 1960s. Their responses indicated that they did not know of any original, primary source. When asked if they could remember when they first heard the term, the typical response
was “around the late 1980s.” Some suggested leads or sources that might be early references, so I tracked down each of the leads, which are reported later in this article.
Again, none of the sources mentioned could truly be said to be a source of the ADDIE Model. I interviewed some of the authors cited as possible early references and they all said “No, I didn’t invent ADDIE and I don’t know who did.”
Actually, three of them said, “No, I didn’t invent ADDIE; I thought you did!”
For the rest of Michael’s article – get this 4 page PDF – In Search of Elusive ADDIE.
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