Course Development Process (the ADDIE model)

Designing and developing a high-quality, engaging course is a systematic process.  If you are new to course development or interested in redesigning current courses, the following process will be helpful. In this article, the instructor will be referred to as the course developer and the instructional designer as the course designer.


The ADDIE model outlines the course development process most often used by instructional designers at TILT. ADDIE stands for the five phases—Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. This model provides a dynamic, flexible guideline for building a high-quality course.

The ADDIE model is used as follows to demonstrate a systematic way for designing and developing a course. Resources are provided in each phase.


During the analysis phase, the course developer identifies learning gaps to determine course outcomes, takes into account learner characteristics such as prior knowledge and learning styles, identifies the specifics of the learning environment, and curates required course resources. Establishing course learning outcomes lays the foundation for the pedagogical considerations. Identifying the learning environments is important since delivery and interactions will be guided by whether a course is online course, hybrid, or face-to-face. Required resources often include a textbook that is assigned at the beginning of a course.

  • In this phase, our goals are to:
    1. Identify course learning outcomes (CLO) or called course outcomes (CO). Course outcomes are often identified based on program-level outcomes or created by previous faculty who teach the same course. Course Learning Outcomes (CLO) need to meet the following requirements:
      • CLOs are clear and measurable outcomes of learning
      • CLOs are aligned to course assignments
      • CLOs align with the mission of the program
      • CLOs use action verbs and includes higher order and critical thinking skills
      • 600G courses include unique CLOs for those students taking the course for graduate credit
    2. Identify prerequisites as well as students’ prior knowledge and skills for this course.


This phase is all about course alignment, which is a process of planning a learning experience by organizing content with learning sequencing optimized to provide an effective learning experience. Every activity and assessment in your course should serve a purpose. The learning activities provide opportunities for students achieve learning objectives by engaging in active learning, while assessments (formative and Summative) evaluate a student’s progress toward achieving those objectives. The course alignment can be mapped out through the use of the TILT Course blueprint and syllabus.

This phase requires careful planning and will often take more time to complete than initially anticipated, particularly if this is the first course you are developing. Course developers need to identify and articulate the major course elements, including: module topics, learning objectives for each module, learning activities (with learning resources embedded in each activity), and assessments. 

The alignment between module learning objectives, learning resources, activities, and assessments need to be ensured.

  1. We begin with a Course Blueprint to map out and organize content that can be easily transferred to the syllabus, CourseTune and the Blackboard course shell. Utilizing the course blueprint template is a systematic way to articulate all the above mentioned major elements of a course. If you need more information about how to create learning objectives, please visit the Instructional Design Resource page on the Tiger Learn Blog.
  2. Learning objectives. An important component in the course blueprint template is module learning objectives, which need to be aligned with your course outcomes and program-level outcomes. If you need more information about how to create learning objectives, please visit this page “Instructional Design Resources”

  1. Coursetune is a visualization tool for course mapping, enabling you to easily identify learning gaps and any misalignment between learning objectives and course activities and assessments. In addition to providing an intuitive visualization, it generates a list of reports including syllabus report and a course alignment report.

Note: If you would like to use this tool for your course development practice, please contact TILT.


The development phase is the next step and where course content will be curated and integrated into the course design structure. The modules, assignments, discussions and assessments are all integrated and infused with the learning resources that have been chosen to reinforce the course’s learning objectives. These resources can be prepackaged in the form of a textbook or specifically designed or curated by the course developer.

  • In this phase, faculty members and course designers will build the online course on Blackboard that was constructed during the design phase. The steps are to:
    1. Develop the Syllabus
    2. Develop content based on OSCQR guideline
      • Major topics that need to be considered: 
        • Module # Overview page: including module overview, learning objectives, learning activities checklist, assigned readings, other learning resources like videos and podcasts, discussion prompts if applicable
        • Assignments: providing clear instructions including examples, setting the points, deadlines, and adding a rubric if applicable
        • Discussions: choosing to use discussion board on Blackboard Ultra or other tools like Yellowdig or Packback, providing effective discussions prompts, setting deadlines, and rubric if applicable 
        • Assessments: quizzes and exams if applicable 
        • Finding and/or developing learning resources
          • Copyright and OER


In this phase, the course is piloted to determine that all aspects work as designed and to identify areas in need of improvement. Necessary revisions can be made based on student performance and feedback and faculty’s self-reflections on the pilot course.

Faculty members will pilot their developed course to identify areas of improvement and continue to communicate with Instructional Designers for revisions based on student feedback and additional reflections on the course work.


Formative evaluations can be conducted through self-reflections and feedback from students and colleagues. Summative evaluations can be gained through course evaluations by students at the end of the semester. It’s possible to obtain student feedback though a course review survey that is added to a course or asking them directly via email or Zoom.  Formative evaluations are most effective when deployed throughout the course and particularly at times when difficult or complex processes have been introduced to the course.

Although courses will all vary, the ADDIE model is a wonderful guide to get us started i

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