Main Body

By: William Wildberger and Brenda R. Lee, edited by Steve Covello

About Development

Historically, the terms design and development have been used interchangeably in common vernacular. However, in the profession of instructional design, we make the distinction that Design is a planning phase and Development is the actual production of what has been planned in the Design stage (Richey, Klein, & Nelson, 2004).

Your goal in this stage is to produce the following sections:

Selection of tools and systems: The Design stage is where you conceived which modes of communication are optimal for instruction. The Development stage is where you will select and employ the tools and systems that will produce or host the modes of communication you intend to use in instruction.

Production of actual instructional content: The production of instructional content can range from plain text content to elaborate interactive multimedia. Your decisions in the Design stage inform which instructional content you need to produce and in what mode of communication. In some cases, the SME produces the instructional content in collaboration with the ID.

Selection of tools and systems

There are two decisions IDs make when they go about producing instructional media: Which tools can be used to develop instructional media? Which systems will be needed to host, stream, playback, or distribute instructional media?


Your decisions about which tools to use may be driven by your personal preferences, the tools you are most confident using, the tools which produce the best media, or the tools that happen to be available. For example, a small software company might use Adobe Captivate exclusively, while a large university might use tools like Articulate Storyline, Photoshop, or Audacity. In fact, in a 2008 survey conducted by the E-learning Guild, more than 70 percent of developers surveyed used more than one authoring tool, and nearly 40 percent used four or more tools.

Many of these tools require specialized training to use and can sometimes take months to become proficient enough to take on the demands of producing an instructional program. There are dozens of authoring tools with varying costs ranging from no-cost opensource programs to expensive programs costing thousands of dollars.

Certain types of authoring tools may be designed for specific platforms, types of learning, and types of files. Your selection of a tool (or tools) depends upon the following factors:

  • Type of training: Instructor-led, , .
  • Media required: Audio, visual, animations.
  • Interactivity level: No interactivity, low interactivity, high interactivity.
  • Skill of design staff: SMEs, advanced designer, junior designer.
  • Cost: The limitations of a program budget may preclude using certain tools.
  • Complexity: Some tools may be prohibitively complex to learn for a given project if the time and effort to learn them is not available.

Below is a list of various development tools:

Multimedia authoring: These tools are specifically designed to create interactive web-based learning content. Examples of multimedia authoring systems include H5P, Camtasia, Snagit, Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, Lectora Online,, and Elucidate.

Simulation: These tools are designed to mimic how a user would interact with an actual software system through screencapture and coding for controlled interaction. Example of this type of tool are Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline. There are other more complex simulation tools designed to reproduce a real 3D environment for such things as training scenarios. Examples include FlexSim, Heartwood, and ForgeFx.

Presentation recording: These tools are for recording yourself producing a narrated slideshow with a webcam: VidGrid, Zoom, Visme, Adobe Spark, Animoto, Prezi,

Image editing: Some image editing tools are for creating objects from scratch while others are designed to edit existing images. Snagit is designed to edit and annotate existing images. Adobe Photoshop, Pixlr, PicMonkey,

Mobile learning tools: While many types of tools can deliver content to mobile devices, certain tools exist that are specifically designed for mobile devices. Some examples include LearnCast and AppInventor.

Social learning tools: Development tools designed to create learner-generated content capture learner-to-learner communications and facilitate group collaborations. Some examples of these types of tools include Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, and Blogger.

Video production tools: These tools are designed to specifically create or edit video content. Some examples include Adobe Premiere, Apple iMovie, DaVinci Resolve, Canva, OpenShot, Camtasia, Moovly, and Snagit.

Audio production tools: These tools are designed specifically to create or edit audio content. An example of this type of tool is Audacity.

Other tools: Besides specific authoring tools, a number of other programs can be used to create learning content. For example, common tools like Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Adobe Acrobat can be used to create an entire training course or just a learning artifact like a help document.


Whatever media you produce, it will need to be placed somewhere learners can access. For example, once you have produced a video for use in instruction, where can you place it so that multiple people can access it simultaneously without a disruption in video playback? Which system is most compatible with the means by which learners access media?

Examples of media systems include:

  • Content Management System (CMS) – An online system for uploading files and documents and then organizing them according to various needs. CMS typically include the ability to manage who is allowed access to certain media. Some areas may only be accessible to the Administrator or owner of the media. Some media can be designated for specific people to access, or for anyone to access. Generally, a CMS in a plain repository – not a streaming media system. Examples of common CMS include SharePoint, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box.
  • Streaming media system – Streaming media refers to media that plays back as a stream of data, like video, audio, or interactive multimedia. Streaming media systems are designed to sustain heavy bandwidth usage because video and audio media use more data space than plain documents. Examples of streaming media systems include YouTube, Kaltura, Vimeo, Mediasite, and VidGrid.
  • Interactive e-Learning hosting: Interactive online media requires serving a combination of video, images, audio, and interactive programming on a system that is able to interpret the interactive code in the media object. Most LMS (see below) are capable of hosting interactive e-learning media, but there are a few systems for hosting interactive e-learning content without an LMS, like, WordPress, and several cloud-based systems.
  • Learning Management System (LMS) – An LMS is a platform designed to accommodate both the media and structure of an instructional program. There are many LMS available to subscribe to, but the most common are Canvas, Blackboard, Desire2Learn, Moodle, Schoology, TalentLMS, and Bluevolt. Typical LMS are able to provide the following services (more details about LMS will be reviewed in the next chapter on Implementation):
    • Plain text pages for direct typing and publishing.
    • Embedded images, video and multimedia content from external sources.
    • External links to outside resources.
    • File upload/hosting for learners to download.

The decision to use one system or another depends on how you have designed the instructional engagement. For example, consider:

  • If learners will participate in in-person training with no other media than in-person instruction, you may only need a CMS to host documents. Learners can be sent an email with links for downloading important documents to bring with them to the training or to use for homework.
  • If individual learners will access a fully online training program using e-learning multimedia (without classmates), then you may only need a simple website that can host interactive multimedia or a simple cloud-based hosting system.
  • If learners will participate in fully online or hybrid interactive learning, then you may need an LMS where all participants can be gathered into a single enrolled class (or cohort).

Supplementary: Production of assessment material

This section is not required for COM 707, but you should be aware of the extent to which Development is employed to complete a course or training program.

In the Design stage, you established a Learning Outcome that contained four elements: an observable action, the subject content, the degree of achievement, and under what conditions the learned skill, knowledge, or attitude will be demonstrated. Let’s review the prior example:

Medical staff need to perform their assigned tasks at the Acme Family Medical Center
in compliance with PHI privacy requirements according to HIPAA Privacy Rules.

In the example above, the basis of learners’ degree of achievement will be according to HIPAA Privacy Rules. The value of this statement is that it informs several aspects of the Development stage:

  • The criteria for assessing a trainee’s performance of their tasks will be according to HIPAA Privacy Rules.
  • The basis of pre-testing learners to determine how much they already know about HIPAA Privacy Rules.
  • The basis of instructor providing feedback to learners.

From a development standpoint, the ID may need to produce several to provide evidence of the learners’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes. It is critically important that the basis of assessment aligns to the Learning Outcomes.

For example, let’s say that a Learning Outcome calls for pre-service social workers to demonstrate the ability to draft a referral for a child with a disability. If the final exam only assessed their ability to use a particular diagnostic tool, then the assessment and the Learning Outcomes are not in alignment.

The following are typical assessment instruments used for gathering evidence or information about learner proficiency.

Entry skills

Entry skills tests are given before instruction and measure prerequisite skills. They are used to ensure that learners are adequately prepared for the planned instruction or for using the tools or systems required to participate. If learners are not prepared to begin instruction, remedial instruction may be needed before beginning the planned instructional modules.


Pretests provide a profile of learners prior to engaging in the primary area of instruction. They can also be used to determine if learners have mastered all or some of the skills included in the planned instruction. If learners have already mastered skills, they may be able to skip some of the instruction or bypass the instruction altogether. Pretests can also be used to customize instruction for a particular group.

Practice tests

Practice enable learners to evaluate progress and allow instructors to monitor the pace of instruction. Practice tests are usually focused on a lesson rather than a unit or course level.

Post tests

Post-tests are administered following instruction. They measure the degree to which learners have mastered the objectives stated in the Learning Outcome.

Test item criteria

A test item refers to a test question or prompt to which learners must respond.  When creating test items, items should align with the performance objective or goal, take into account learner and context needs, and are designed appropriately for the assessment mechanism. The following are the guidelines for developing appropriate and valid test items:

Goal-centered: Test items should pertain to the objective in the Learning Outcome.

Learner-centered: Test items and assessment tasks should be tailored to the needs of the learner. Items should use vocabulary and language that is familiar to the learner. Reading level should be appropriate.

Context-centered: Test items or tasks should be realistic or authentic to the actual performance setting as possible.

Assessment-centered: Test items or assessment tasks should be well constructed and clearly written, and learners should be provided with adequate information to successfully complete the assessments. Time should be spent writing good questions that are not meant to trick the learner.

Alternative assessments

Alternative assessments are effective for evaluating performances, products, or attitudes. When developing alternative assessments, the instructional designer is not writing an assessment or developing test items, but rather developing instructions for the assessment. Instructions should be clear and should include all information the learner will need to effectively complete the assessment. Grading rubrics or checklists will help the learner understand how evaluation will be performed and will provide a standard of measurement for instructors.

Portfolio assessments

Portfolio assessment is defined as the process of meta-evaluating the collection of work samples for observable change or development (Dick, Carey, & Carey, 2009, p. 146).

Below is a sample Development plan for a fictitious family medical center.

HIPAA Training Program: Development plan

Each of the Learning Outcomes and their respective activities are described below along with recommendations for the means by which to produce or curate them. We propose hosting the content of the training program on the Canvas LMS which can support plain text course content, quizzes, videos, multimedia, and downloadable files. Canvas is also capable of tracking trainee progress and assessment scores.

The use of Canvas strengthens the ability to control the training program but it will require some training for Acme executives to access the data and other progress information. The trainer/expert may need similar training to monitor trainee progress.

Learning Outcome 1: Learners will be able to recognize all instances of information that are considered PHI according to HIPAA rules.

Pre-test quiz: The pre-test quiz will be composed within the quiz feature in Canvas since it is both the easiest system to develop a quiz and track learner progress..

Readings and media: Readings will be curated at no cost from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, from the American Medical Association, and other open resources. Other video media will be provided from YouTube resources published by the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Readings and media will be hosted on the Canvas platform which can accommodate external links and embedded video resources, with completion tracking.

Group discussion: Groups discussion will be conducted in-person. Handouts for topics and notes will need to be produced in collaboration with the trainer/expert.

Multimedia assessment: Production of the this multimedia object will be authored in Articulate Storyline and will be composed of a combination of text-based multiple choice items, drag-drop items, and video-based situations that will require a correct response before proceeding. Articulate provides the high level of authoring capability required to produce this object given its controlled programming, tracking, scoring, and reporting capabilities. The rendered media will be hosted within the Canvas LMS.

Learning Outcome 2: Learners will be able to perform their assigned tasks at the Acme Family Medical Center in compliance with PHI privacy requirements according to HIPAA Privacy Rules.

Hands-on group work simulation: As a hands-on activity, no media production will be required.

Gamification: The “spot the violation” game will be authored in Articulate Storyline as an interactive multimedia object composed of video content and interactions asking the trainee to identify all of the HIPAA violations. Correct answer award completion awards and points which must be attained to earn a completion certificate. Articulate Storyline is best suited for this type of activity given its controlled programming, tracking, scoring, and reporting capabilities. The rendered media will be hosted within the Canvas LMS, with a downloadable completion certificate available upon completion.

In-person assessment: The trainer/expert will need a checklist document for observation and assessment of trainee performance.

Learning Outcome 3: Learners will be able to recognize situations where the appropriate actions are unclear and ask for help before taking further action.

Group discussion: The trainer/expert will need to produce a slideshow presentation composed of images and videos to use as a focal point of discussion with trainees. Video may be curated from open sources depending on the case study needs or developed internally. Further discussion with the trainer/expert will determine production needs for this activity.

Multimedia assessment: Interactive online media will be produced on Articulate Storyline and hosted within the Canvas LMS. It will be composed of text-based, video, and interactive assessment content that will require a 90% score or higher to pass. Articulate Storyline is best suited for this type of activity given its controlled programming, tracking, scoring, and reporting capabilities. The rendered media will be hosted within the Canvas LMS.

HIPAA Training Program: Development Example

The following infographic PDF offers an example of a downloadable reference document suitable for use in Learning Outcome #1.

Your Health Information, Your Rights


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Morrison, G. R., Ross, S. M., Kemp, J. E., & Kalman, H. (2010). Designing effective instruction. John Wiley & Sons.

Ozdilek, Z., & Robeck, E. (2009). Operational priorities of instructional designers analyzed within the steps of the Addie instructional design model. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1(1), 2046-2050.

Reigeleuth, C. M., & Stein, F.S. (1983). The elaboration theory of instruction.

Richey, R. C., Klein, J. D., & Nelson, W. A. (2004). Developmental research: Studies of
instructional design and development. Handbook of research on educational communications and technology, 2, 1099-1130.

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Sweller, J. (1988). Cognitive load during problem solving: Effects on learning. Cognitive Science, 12, 257-285.


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ADDIE Explained Copyright © 2017 by Albert D. Ritzhaupt and Steve Covello is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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