Instructional Design Models for Employee Training

How do instructional design models help in employee training? Many models come and go, but a few learning theories continue to endure today. These models help in employee training by increasing engagement, improving collaboration, boosting knowledge retention, and a lot more. 

Employee training is a financial as well as time investment for employers. Therefore, employers must know what strategies will 10x their employees’ performance. Instructional design is the core of any e-learning strategy. It can either make up or break up your entire course or brand. This article discusses the top instructional design models for online learning and employee training and some tips to choose the right model.

Top 8 Instructional Design Models for Employee Training

Employee training is a crucial yet challenging task. If your human resource isn’t trained well, how can you expect it to perform better? However, if you don’t know where to start, consider these instructional design models. These tried, tested, and popular learning theories for instructional designers will help your employees design the most engaging e-learning content for LMS or any platform. 

1. The ADDIE Model

The ADDIE model was designed in the 1970s for the U.S. armed forces, but it was quickly adopted by several instructional designers across all learning environments and remains popular even today. It was developed by the Center for Educational Technology at Florida State University. The model is highly adaptable and consists of the “universal” building blocks for all design projects: 

  • Analyze: Why are we designing this course? IDs must collect detailed information about their target learners and what they want to learn before answering this question. It’s when we analyze the instructional objectives, targeted audience, and necessary resources required.  
  • Design: Constructing a learning solution that aligns with instructional goals and strategies
  • Develop: Developing learning resources, verifying and revising drafts, and performing a pilot test
  • Implement: Using training programs to test out your strategies
  • Evaluate: Determine the effectiveness of learning resources and whether or not they accomplish learning objectives

However, it has one drawback: it needs strong research and training goals, or you will be risking the “domino” effect. For instance, unclear objectives or errors while developing will negatively impact the implementation stage. You must also consider that ADDIE is more focused on the back-end development rather than learning about mental processes or behaviors. 

2. Bloom’s Taxonomy

No instructional design models for online learning list would be complete without Bloom’s Taxonomy. It is another vital model that helps IDs develop interactive courses for LMS. The model was developed by Benjamin Bloom in 1956. Creating a classification system of measurable verbs, he organized and explained different levels of cognitive learning. In 2001, his six dimensions were updated by Anderson and Krathwohl, which they named “Revised Taxonomy”.

In this image below, you can see that Bloom’s Taxonomy was changed by changing the top category to “Creating”, renaming three categories, and expressing them as verbs rather than nouns. 

blooms taxonomy instructional design model e-learning

Taxonomy aims to push learners beyond the first steps of learning (knowledge and remembering) to deeper levels of understanding, reflection, and implementation of concepts in order to help learners develop their own problem-solving processes. Establishing learning objectives in this way allows learners to engage with the content and ingrain new knowledge and concepts.

3. The ARCS Model

Similar to Bloom’s Taxonomy, the ARCS model also has a wonderful staying power. Through research, we come to understand that both of them serve one another. For instance, if Bloom’s taxonomy tells us that storytelling is the best way to teach a specific concept, then the ARCS model will help us determine which story will best go with the idea. Should it be funny, scary, or perhaps include a personal account of someone who witnessed an event? 

The ARCS model helps IDs answer the following questions:

- Will this activity/information grab and hold our audience’s attention?

- Is this activity good enough to build confidence in the learners?

- Will the learners feel a sense of satisfaction?

In short, this model helps in employee training by including the content that really deserves to be there. 

4. Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction

Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction was developed back in 1965, but its principles are still ringing true. Gagne claimed that some conditions must exist to help learners assimilate and retain knowledge. To achieve this ideal state of mind, he proposed 9 key events that stem from internal and external cognitive processes:

4.1. You need to make them focused with high-quality instruction or content and keep them engaged. 

4.2. Provide them with a clear understanding of the objectives and outcomes, as well as the methods for evaluating their performance. 

4.3. Before you introduce new material, make it relevant to pre-existing knowledge. Recalling is essential in learning.

4.4. Provide content in a way that is easy to understand and absorb to avoid cognitive overload.

4.5. Supplement the learning experience with guidance and support.

4.6. Motivate your students by asking them to demonstrate what they've learned.

4.7. Give feedback to help them consolidate what they know and point out hidden gaps.

4.8. Utilize the criteria you outlined in the second session to evaluate learner performance.

4.9. Enhance retention by allowing students to apply their knowledge to real-world situations.

5. Meril's Principles of Instruction

In employee training, Meril’s principles of instruction help in focusing on ways learning can be enhanced. According to this model, there are four stages of learning:

5.1. Activation: The content should stimulate the prior knowledge of the learner on the subject matter. It helps them better absorb the new information. 

5.2. Demonstration: The trainer or ID must convey the information through different learning methods like infographics, video, gamification, etc. 

5.3. Application: Allow students to apply the knowledge they have gained on their own for solving problems. 

5.4. Integration: Students must be skilled enough to apply this knowledge in real-life situations and solve their problems.  

6. Kemp Instructional Design Model

Kemp’s instructional design model is also known as the Morrison Ross and Kemp Model. It consists of nine non-linear steps. Moreover, it involves a cyclical framework that is comprised of:

 - Support services

 - Planning

 - Revision

 - Project management 

 - Formative evaluation

 - Summative evaluation

Below are the nine principles of the Kemp ID model:

6.1. Clarify your goals and identify problems with your current approach.

6.2. Identify learner characteristics and behaviors that need your attention.

6.3. Evaluate and divide the subject matter into individual tasks.

6.4. Clearly define the learning goals and outcomes for your audience.

6.5. Content should be arranged, so every unit provides better knowledge comprehension.

6.6. Develop Instructional Design strategies that enable learners to attain their goals.

6.7. Establish a method for effectively delivering ID and clarify the takeaways.

6.8. Decide what the evaluation criteria will be based on the objectives.

6.9. Determine which resources and activities are most effective.


ASSURE was developed by Heinrich and Molenda and is particularly suitable for blended learning environments. It is comprised of six different stages, which include:

7.1. Analyze: Learn about your target audience and evaluate their prior knowledge, interests, and gaps. And don’t forget to examine their backgrounds and learning styles. 

7.2. State Objectives: Clarify the goals and outcomes of the course/activity. 

7.3. Select the right media: Opt for the most suitable method of delivering knowledge on the subject matter, goals, and student demographic. For example, case studies and real-life scenarios will help them understand the information.  

7.4. Utilize technology and multimedia: Identify how you will be using tech tools and media to attain your goals. 

7.5. Require Learner’s attention and performance: Learn about the best methods of keeping the learners engaged and elicit performance to relate to the content. 

7.6. Evaluate and revise: Determine how the knowledge is received and if it meets the learner’s goals. Has the learner got what he or she expected? Are there any areas where you need improvement? 

8. Individualized Instruction

This ID model focuses entirely on personalization. Employee training using this principle will help them develop e-learning strategies that encourage learners to proceed only when they completely understand the concepts. However, the students who find the subject matter difficult can take their time to grasp the information. This model consists of four principles:

- Students should be able to work at their own pace and independently to concentrate on the strengths they possess and the gaps they need to fill right away.

-  There must be an evaluation at the end of each activity or module to assess their comprehension and progress.

- Written training materials are more effective than ILT presentations.

- It is the facilitator's responsibility to support learners and encourage social interaction during the training process.

How to Select the Best Instructional Design Models for Employee Training

A well-designed online training program will increase profit margins and staff retention. But how do you ensure employees assimilate the information and meet their objectives? What are the best ways to create an emotional connection and induce intrinsic motivation? 

Employee training can be successful by developing a strong framework to select instructional design models that offer your L&D department continuous guidelines and practical implementation for front-end users. Consider the following tips to choose the most suitable ID model for employee training.

Ask Your L&D Team for Input

Your HR would definitely have worked on various projects in the past. And even if they haven’t, they will surely have some go-to models. They might have gathered these instructional design models from research or during ID training, apprenticeships, or real-life trials. Therefore, it’s best to ask for their input in order to find the best models that align with their skills, talents, and experience.

In addition, they can help you avoid strategies that have obvious errors or well-publicized criticisms. Also, they can provide some amazing advice regarding ID models that is suitable for your objectives and outcomes. 

Reconsider Training Objectives

You will choose an Instructional Design process based on your objectives and desired results. Therefore, you need to reevaluate your processes, determine gaps, and clarify your goals and objectives. How do you maximize ROI and motivate employees? In terms of your business objectives, what evaluation methods will you use to ensure that the ID model is effective?

Distinguish Between Fact and Fiction

Break myths about certain models and evaluate your own assumptions. It is possible that you avoid certain learning theories due to untruths. As an example, you only heard the critiques, but you were unaware of the benefits they could bring to your learning and development program. Therefore, you should explore your own cognitions and biases in order to consider additional ID models and eliminate those that might be popular but are not appropriate for your company or LMS.

Analyze your training requirements

Analyze assessment results, LMS metrics, and employee surveys to assess where you need improvement. Can your new ID model fill up these gaps and stay on budget? What is the underlying problem, and how can you increase employee motivation in the future? With an effective Instructional Design strategy, you can improve knowledge transfer and explore learning behaviors.

Look for the most popular models 

There might be a reason why popular instructional designs have achieved their status. They have been used for years and are tried and tested by various professionals in the real world. Additionally, these models can answer all your important questions. And, they are peer-reviewed, case studies, and psychological principles. Researching these ID models can help you determine the features you seek and the processes, pedagogical pillars, and steps that must be avoided.    

Consider the pros cons of the selected model

Even the most popular instructional design models for online learning can have disadvantages. Compare the pros and cons of your selected models to assess both ends of the spectrum. Are your priorities and objectives aligned with the pros? Does the supporting research remain accurate and relevant, or has the passage of time reduced its validity?


Perilous situations can arise in instructional design. A stressful project schedule, unanticipated software issues, and constantly evolving objectives are just a few of the challenges faced by e-learning authors. A number of factors, including the authoring tools you use, determine the success of your ID model. 

Cinema8 has come up with some easy-to-use features that can be proved beneficial for employee training. Your employees can develop the most exciting e-learning videos that provide an enhanced learning experience with these features.