The Subjective ADDIE: an unmeasurable look at an ID standard

There is a special place in my heart for this little thing called #MOOCMOOC. Before #FutureEd or #rhizo15 I stumbled into #MOOCMOOC and it was a taste of what I would, in the next few years, start to more fully understand about cMOOCs and public discourse on the Internet in my field. It allowed me to see what it was like to have some fun and get creative with complex ideas in public.

Now the #MOOCMOOC monster is taking on instructional design! Wo! We are not playing around folks. We are pulling out all of the stops and turning all the foundations upside down. I have to respect that.

There was amazing conversation on twitter the other day that I could not seem to insert myself into except for a few likes, due to time and other concentrations, about scaffolding. It was suggested that there may be a fine line between scaffolding, molding, and imprisoning.

Rebecca Hogue and Giulia Forsythe did a great job of speaking out in defense of scaffolding and I found a tweet by Angela Brown of particular inspiration:

The thing is, I have never really identified with the term instructional designer. It is true, I’ve done this kind of work and I can check my boxes off the same as the next guy. But I don’t think that is the point of what #MOOCMOOC is trying to get at here and I’m sure it seems hard for some especially when ideas are held so closely.

So, here is the deal. I know when I work with a faculty member to create an online course I do work through a systematic process. Sometimes I call this ADDIE but I’m really mixing a bunch of stuff: yes ADDIE but also Dick and Carey, and Dee Fink, and others I have studied. But I’m also doing other stuff. Stuff that does not get as much attention and stuff that I don’t have to document and present to a committee or anything. I’ve never written it down before and this is just a first attempt so forgive me if it seems simple or silly.

One of the things that #MOOCMOOC is trying to do is turn ADDIE on its side and I figured I would try my hand at it. A bunch of folks are working in a gdoc on this but I decided to just go ahead and create my own here in a blog post. So ladies and gentlemen I give you:

The Subjective ADDIE

I see the value in paying attention to matters of efficiency and I think that great strides can be made here when used in the right areas but I also think that concentration on efficiency to an extreme can hamper our ability to be creative in a time when the same old solutions may not be working.

So, for this reason I would like to suggest that The Subjective ADDIE is the other side of the traditional ADDIE and that it might be just as important. We don’t have to report out on it and we can’t boil it down to a simple checklist but it might be just as important and we might be in jeopardy of loosing sight of it if we are too closely looking at efficient matters and not paying attention to it. Energy goes where attention flows you know.

This is my first attempt at writing it down – I’m sure it needs refinement.

A is for Analysis

Traditional measurable ADDIE will analyze by asking very specific measurable questions here. Who are the learners? What is the desired behavior? When will this course run? – let’s not get rid of these but can we do more?

The Subjective ADDIE also relies on questions to analyze this area of the model, however, they will be subjective and unmeasurable questions aimed at getting to the most important reasons for having the course in the first place. These questions will focus on creating a transformational learning experience for learners. These questions are important in constructing meaning and purpose for the course and should work toward setting the course up as a collective creative endeavor. The following are only meant as examples – you might have better ones.

  • What does this course mean to you?
  • Will this course feed learners souls?
  • Is there some aspect or assignment in this course (or that you envision for this course) that particularly tugs on your heart?
  • How will you understand your students’ point of view throughout the course?
  • Are you ready to learn from your students?

The first D is for Design

This is normally the place where we start defining measurable objectives, goals, and outcomes and aligning them to assignments, content, and structured experiences. We think about content and media and technology but we don’t create anything. We plug it all together on paper in some kind of a blueprint.

I’d like to suggest the all of this can be useful for The Subjective ADDIE – often this step will be necessary to meet the stern eyes of oversight. Let’s do that. Subversion need not always be destructive – it can be additive – this is a value proposition. I would like to suggest that it is at this point that The Subjective ADDIE will ask what are the subjectives of each of those objectives? Can we get students to think about what their subjectives are for each of those objectives? Let’s put that on paper, perhaps as an abstract poem.

The second D is for Development

In regular ADDIE this is where we move from the paper blueprint to actual course content.

All I can say for The Subjective ADDIE – go make art.

The I is for Implementation

In the old fashioned ADDIE this is where the course facilitator and learners meet. The content is delivered and the assessments are taken.

In The Subjective ADDIE – go make relationships. Listen. Inspire. Dream of what could be… together

And the final step E is for Evaluation

In the traditional ADDIE we have been doing formative evaluation of the design all along these steps but then we do this summative evaluation at the end and I guess call it a day? – I’ve never really gotten that part.

In The Subjective ADDIE – I ask you to ask yourself, did you make a difference? Was it good? Sanity note: it may not work the same way next time. Everyone is different.

And I may have just lost several of you with this post. I know it’s crazy silly talk. Feel free to return to your original programing and don’t mind me – I’ll get back to checking boxes.

7 thoughts on “The Subjective ADDIE: an unmeasurable look at an ID standard”

  1. Not crazy silly at all, and I think will add is as a reading for my course on designing online courses – I think my more senior students are ready to have their fixed ideas expanded a little – to see that ADDIE alone isn’t enough. I really like the idea of subjectives in addition to objectives. I also don’t see it as a linear process but rather a circular one. The summative evaluation at the end is intended to feed back into the design of the next iteration. But going back to subjectives, I think they feed right back into course goals – so you might start with goals, then break the down into objectives, but then look again at subjectives – to try and get to the heart of the lesson and bring that back up into the goals, but also down into the media and activities …

    1. Thanks for coming by Rebecca. I would be honored if you had your students read something of mine for class. It is funny when you write in public thinking of all the ways your writing could be used.

      I too think of the process as a circular one but that does not seem to fit with the idea of summative – if it feeds back around then isn’t that formative? I think it is all formative really but they want to create some kind of illusion of summative evaluation for motivation factors.

  2. Love this post. I’ve recently started by asking questions such as What does this course mean to you? It helps to build a relationship and create empathy. I’m wondering about the idea of feeding learners souls and how we can incorporate that kind of meaningful experience more often into STEM courses. I think, frequently, that is missing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *