The ADDIE model, a well-known instructional design process used to develop training, includes the stages analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation. The analysis stage is one of the most important — but often overlooked — parts of the instructional design process.

During this stage, instructional designers answer questions like:

  • What is the performance problem and it’s root cause? Is training the right solution?
  • If training is the right answer, what are the goals of the training?
  • What do you want learners to know at the end of the training? What do you want them to be able to do?
  • Who is the audience for the training and what are their characteristics?
  • What are the expectations of the learners? What is their current knowledge level of the topic? Do learners have varied levels of knowledge? What motivation, interests and attitudes do they hold?

Completing a thorough analysis saves you, as an instructional designer, time and effort once development starts. Here’s my take on the analysis stage of the instructional design process. I’ll use a fictitious case study to demonstrate how to capture information for the first two questions mentioned above.


Case Study

The flight attendants at XYZ Airline have a performance issue that could jeopardize the safety of the aircraft, crew and passengers. When an aircraft arrives at the airport gate, flight attendants must complete a series of steps to make the deplaning aircraft door safe and ready to open by Company personnel. One of the steps include disengaging a large, powerful slide located in the door system that is used during emergencies. If this slide is not disengaged when the aircraft door is opened, it deploys resulting in damages to the aircraft, serious injury to Company personnel and thousands of dollars to replace the slide. Airline management noticed a sharp increase in the number of incidents of slides deploying in these situations over the past six months and they must fix it immediately.

The airline’s management team insists that the flight attendants need more training regarding how to disengage the door slide. The instructional designer, Maggie, pushes back and explains that completing an analysis before selecting a solution will save the airline time, money and other resources. She tells the management team that an analysis will help them identify the real cause of the problem and then they can brainstorm for the best solution. Here’s Maggie’s approach.

  • Performance Problem: Flight attendants are not disengaging the door slide at the deplaning door prior to Company personnel opening the door.
  • Root Cause: After reviewing the data for these types of incidents for the last six months, Maggie sees that most of these incidents occurred with flight attendants who were on the job less than six months. Next, Maggie reviews the debrief statements of these incidents and interviews some of the flight attendants involved in the incidents. Maggie finds out that the flight attendants know exactly how to disengage the door slide. However, when the aircraft captain makes the announcement for the flight attendant to disengage the door, he/she also announces that the passengers can get out of their seats. The passengers immediately get up, go to the door and start asking the flight attendant questions, which distracts new flight attendants and they lose track of the process. Most seasoned flight attendants do not get distracted because they’ve developed tricks to disengage the door before the passengers can distract them.
  • Solution: Since the problem involves distractions new flight attendants experience from the passengers, Maggie adds a training module to the current new hire training program that includes specific scenarios where new flight attendants can work through disengaging the aircraft door with those types of distractions. She includes practice and coaching learning activities. And since the seasoned flight attendants have tricks that they use to cope with this issue, she interviews some of the seasoned, star flight attendants, find out their best practices for this situation and incorporate these best practices into the training module.

Wrap Up 

In this case study, a thorough analysis allowed the airline to clearly identify the real problem. Once, they identified the problem, then they were able to come up with a viable solution. Without the analysis, the airline’s management would have added more training regarding the process of disengaging the door, which would not have solved the problem.

How deep do you engage the analysis stage when you’re designing training? Share your thoughts!

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