The 4 instructional design models


Whether you’re just starting out in the world of e-learning or are already a veteran, this article will be interest to you.

Understanding and implementing the different instructional design models are crucial in making your online training a success. These models are used to define the different activities that form the basis of your e-learning courses. Moreover, they allow you to effectively communicate the purpose behind your strategy. While also providing a framework that will give you an overview of the course’s main components.

Although you will come across countless theories, resources and models that have worked for others, forget about them for now. Focus first on the 4 basic models used by instructional designers to structure their training courses.


The ADDIE model is based on 5 phases: analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation. Each phase is an opportunity to reflect on the content and make changes before moving on to the next one.

  1. Analysis: What is the objective of the training? As designers, the first thing we have to do is to answer this question, but not before collecting information and defining our target learner in order to understand their needs. This analysis drives the design and development process..
  2. Design: Once we’ve decided the strategy to be followed, we then choose the most appropriate means and methods to achieve it.
  3. Development: Having chosen the methods in the design phase, we can now start developing the course materials.
  4. Implementation: The course is launched and we monitor student progress.
  5. Evaluation: The course is evaluated to ensure that it’s producing the expected results, based on student comments and surveys.

ADDIE model instructional design

Merrill Principles of Instruction (MPI)

Proposed by David Merrill in 2002, this model is based on 5 basic principles:

  1. Task-centered principle
  2. Activation principle
  3. Demonstration principle
  4. Application principle
  5. Integration principle

Merril model instructional design

These principles provide the instructional designer with a new vision, as well as equipping them with the keys to ensure effective learning:

  • Training should focus on real-world problems. In other words, it should reflect real problems/needs of the learner and how to solve them.
  • In addition, training should stimulate the learner’s existing knowledge base, by connecting previous knowledge with what they are about to learn.
  • Training should alsopresent knowledge in a way that stimulates the different regions of the brain, so that knowledge is retained for longer.
  • Training must provide thenecessary tools for learners to apply their new knowledge on their own, by practicing and learning from their mistakes.
  • Finally, training must offer leaners the chance to integrate this knowledge in real situations they face, through reflection, discussion and presentation of the new knowledge acquired.

Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction

Robert Gagne devised a framework comprising a series of events aimed at a systematic instructional design process. It involves creating a flexible model that can be adapted to different learning situations. Gagne’s model is one of the most widely used as it provides a solid foundation for effective e-learning development.

Gagne model instructional design

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Benjamin Bloom created a classification system of measurable verbs to describe and organize the different levels of cognitive learning. This system was modified in 2001 and is known as the revised taxonomy.

The idea is to push learners beyond the steps low down on the learning scale towards gaining greater mastery of the higher capabilities of understanding, reflection and application of their knowledge. The aim is to develop the individual process of problem solving and content creation.

Bloom model instructional design

Now that you’re familiar with the 4 basic instructional design models, it’s time to put them into practice for your next training sessions. What better tool than isEazy Author to shape your e-learning courses? With isEazy Author, you can design your courses in a flexible, simple and attractive way that will arouse your students’ curiosity, stimulate their eagerness to learn and get them to make the most of their potential. What are you waiting for to get started?

Sara De la Torre


Sara De la Torre

Content Marketing Manager at isEazy

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