Main Body

By: Brittany Eichler and Owen Beatty. Edited by Steve Covello.

About Implementation

All purposeful instructional activity is embodied, or contained, in some form (Smith & Ragan, 2005).

The Implementation stage in the ADDIE Model is where decisions are made about the context, conditions, and timeframe of an instructional program. These include decisions about the orientation/grouping of learners, access to instructional material, and the participation of the instructor as a coherent “instructional unit” that makes sense to the learner. Once configured, the program is put into effect, or launched.

Implementation, in instructional design literature, may refer to it as simply “the teaching part,” which is true to an extent. But the structural aspects of teaching play an important role in how a given program can be successful. For example, a training program for social workers on suicide prevention may work well enough as an e-learning program where individual learners navigate through online instructional media to earn a certificate. However, as a cohort group in a classroom setting, social workers may have a lot of work experience to share with each other that elaborates beyond the instructional content itself. The ID needs to recognize the qualitative effect on the learners’ experience with each form of instructional configuration.

As you already saw in the Development phase, considerations about implementation begin before the actual “>implementation phase begins, such as the means by which instructional media is accessed. This chapter will provide more details about the various methods of instructional delivery, their strengths, and limitations.

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

Method of delivery:  There are several methods of delivery to consider for a program of instruction such as individual self-directed learning, learning in a group, in-person instruction, virtual live () instruction, fully online, or a hybrid mixture of both online and in-person. The ID must select the method that best accounts for several critical conditions.

Structure of learning:  Instruction can occur in a variety of configurations including dedicated all-day events, scheduled weekly increments, or unscheduled self-directed learning. The ID must consider the conditions that are optimal for the nature of the instructional experience given the subject matter, the costs related to travel, the need for a facility, the cost of  downtime, and the science of cognitive processing that supports the greatest advantage for learners to remember what they have learned.

Method of delivery

“Delivery” sounds as though a package with “instruction” in it is transported in some way from the instructor to the learner, but it shouldn’t be thought of in that way. Think of method of delivery as an execution of an instructional program through a process of communication.

As mentioned before, instruction is fundamentally a communications challenge. Each of the methods of delivery below are reliant upon a variety of ways that humans communicate. As you will see, each method of communication has strengths and limitations. You may find that your decisions in selecting a method of delivery may include a combination of methods that are optimal for the specific needs of the instructional program you are proposing.

Face-to-face (F2F)

The F2F method of delivery encompasses several variations, each with their advantages and limitations.

“>Lecture: Lecture, also known as group presentation, is the most commonly used form of instruction. “>Lecture is when the instructor delivers information to the learners through words, visuals, demonstrations, or dramatizations. This delivery method can be employed with both large and small groups (Morrison, Ross, Kalman, & Kemp, 2011).

“>Lecture is convenient when it is necessary to present information to a fairly large group of learners. The number of learners that can be instructed using “>lecture is limited only by the size of the facility instruction is taking place in (Briggs, Gagne′, Wager, 1992).

There are some limitations to using the “>lecture method. The instances where learners can actively participate might be limited by the circumstances of the environment. The group of learners might be too large to allow for the opportunity for the instructor to ask and receive questions during the presentation (Morrison, et al., 2011). A “>lecture does not provide many opportunities for learners to practice and experiment.

Since the instructor controls the material and is disseminating it to a group, there is little opportunity for individualized instruction. The instructor sets both the pace and the content of the lesson. Lectures covering the same topic(s) presented by different instructors might contain different material. Learners who do not learn at the same pace that the material is being presented may struggle or become bored during a “>lecture (Morrison, et al. 2011). Depending on the number of learners, the instructor provided feedback may be impossible.

Small Groups: A sub-set of F2F classroom instruction is small group instruction where learners are grouped together in pairs or in groups of up to ten to work together to pursue learning. The size of the group depends on the purpose of instruction. Small groups can pursue various learning activities such as tutoring, discussion, role play, and recitation (Gagne′, Briggs, Wager, 1992).  

In addition to promoting active learning and developing social skills, “>small group instruction allows students the opportunity to think about and express their ideas regarding the material. It also gives learners the opportunity to receive feedback from both the instructor and their peers. Working in small groups can encourage the development of intrapersonal and communication skills. Also, by monitoring the groups, instructors can receive feedback from the learners regarding their understanding of the material (Richey, Rita C.; Klein, James D.; Tracey, Monica W, 2011).

A drawback of using “>small group instruction is that it requires, as the name suggests, the use of small groups. This might be impossible given the number of a particular group of learners. Also, in order to form groups to be able to have a meaningful experience, it is usually necessary for prior readings or instruction to occur. If any or all of the group members lack any essential prerequisite instruction or knowledge on the subject, the “>small group instruction may be ineffective.

Fully online ()

Course instruction occurs completely online with no requirement to participate live, in realtime, at a certain time or place with other learners nor the instructor. Typical fully online instruction involves self-directed activities that do not require participants to interact in realtime. Fully online instruction is usually facilitated through a .

As described in the Development chapter, an LMS is a platform designed to accommodate both the media and structure of an instructional program. The most common LMS are Canvas, Blackboard, Desire2Learn, Moodle, Schoology, and Bluevolt.  Typical LMS are able to provide the following:

    • Manage student membership and course access.
    • Options for structuring a course into module or units.
    • Grading and assessment records.
    • Completion reporting and badging.
    • 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.
    • Structured units or module spaces within a given course that correspond to the modular structure of the instruction.

The benefits of a fully online asynchronous course is that it enables geographically dispersed participants to manage their time to complete their work when it is convenient for them. Some participants enjoy the privacy of learning outside of the classroom environment, especially if they have had bad experiences in the past or have experienced frustration with live F2F classroom discourse because of a disability. When online instructors are appropriately engaged, there is no “back of the classroom” dynamic that is unfavorable to certain students.

The disadvantages of fully online learning include the limitation of subject matter that can be studied online (such as certain kinds of training with machinery or authentic conditions), the reliance on learners’ computer skills to participate effectively, and overall unfamiliarity with fully online learning if they have never done it before.

Virtual online (synchronous)

Virtual online instruction occurs through a form of remote communication, like video conferencing. Structurally, virtual online instruction is similar to F2F instruction in the sense that the instructor and students are present together at the same time. The benefits of this method are similar to F2F in that the realtime discourse is conducive to instructional interplay.

However, like fully online instruction, there are similar limitations: some subject matter (like hands-on training needs) would not work well, students will be reliant on computers and an Internet connection, and some students may find this form of engagement lacks the motivating environmental factors found in F2F. Students (and instructors) sometimes report “Zoom fatigue” from sitting in front of a computer for hours each day.

Blended F2F/online

Blended F2F/online is a combination of F2F and online engagement. In some educational institutions, blended F2F/online is defined as weekly scheduled F2F instruction with additional engagement in between each F2F session conducted online. This method would be useful if learners were able to effectively work independently on certain aspects of the instruction and then convene in-person for the weekly instructional engagement that required the use of a facility or the oversight/feedback of the instructor and other learners.

Blended F2F/online, since it is a combination of both F2F and fully online, is also hampered by the limitations of both. A F2F components requires learners to be in the physical proximity of the facility; fully online instruction relies on computer, Internet, and learners’ ability to work independently to be effective.

An alternative version of blended F2F/online is blended virtual synchronous (via live video conferencing) with asynchronous online.

Hybrid F2F/online

Hybrid F2F/online is similar to blended F2F/online with the exception of F2F sessions taking place only at specified times (not necessarily every week). Its benefits and limitations would apply similarly to blended online.

Field based

“Field” in field based instruction refers to the authentic context in which the instruction is relevant. One of the most common forms of field based instruction is teacher education where a teacher-in-training is placed in a school under the supervision of an in-service teacher. From a training perspective, field based instruction would operate in a similar fashion. The benefit of field based instruction is, of course, the ability to apply learned skills in an authentic environment where there is immediate feedback.

Naturally, field based instruction is limited to the availability of placements for trainees and the learners’ geographical proximity to them.

A sibling to field based instruction is journeyman apprentice instruction where trainees split their time between classroom instruction and field based instruction. This is a method of delivery that is popular in Germany.

Structure of learning

The structure of a program of learning can be selected independently from a method of delivery. An example might be a management training program that is conducted online in small groups (a delivery method) experienced as a one-day intensive (a structure of learning). Or the same management training program can be conducted in-person over several weeks, in half-day sessions. The following are some common structures of learning.

Scheduled intervals

Most of our typical school education experiences have occurred over a prescribed period of time with scheduled intervals set each day for instruction, i.e. a three month course that meets two or three times a week for 90 minutes per class. Generally, training experiences occur over a prescribed period of time, though the overall length of time, the frequency of engagement, and the duration of each engagement is determined according to the needs, conditions, and subject matter.


An intensive program emphasizes longer class time but the course takes place over a shorter time period. The benefit to this format is the learner’s immersion in the subject matter, though the density of the subject matter may impede learners’ ability to absorb it all.


Self-directed learning refers to any form of instruction where the learner engages with the instructional program on their own at their own pace. There may be a form of interaction with the instructor as-needed.

HIPAA Training Program: Implementation Plan

The nature of the training program lends itself to a combination of approaches for the instruction. All hosted instructional media, quizzes, and assessments will be hosted online in the dedicated Canvas course. Canvas is optimal for hosting various file-based and multimedia content and for managing trainee access, tracking, and reporting completion data.

The following are proposals for implementation for each learning goal.

Learning Goal #1: Staff will be able to recognize all instances of information that is considered PHI according to HIPAA rules.

Pre-test quiz: Since the subject matter is primarily about remembering HIPAA rules, this form of instruction can take place with each trainee accessing text and video-based instructional media and then accessing online pre-test multimedia independently. As proposed in the Development plan, the e-learning media would be accessed through an online Canvas LMS course that streams interactive media and records learner progress and completion. It is estimated that the time of engagement with this instructional media would be no more than two hours. Learners will be able to engage in the media in increments without losing their progress. Pre-test must be completed prior to the Group Discussion.

Readings and media: Trainees will be provided with reading material and resources through the Canvas LMS for accessing online video content. The amount of time required to read/watch instructional content will not exceed three hours.

Group discussion: Trainees will convene at the Company facility after business hours in one large group of 20 participants or in two 10-person groups, according to scheduling and work coverage needs. Session will be conducted as a single two hour discussion led by the trainer/expert. This session topics will be informed by the results of the pre-test.

Multimedia assessment: Trainees will access the exam for this learning goal through an online Canvas LMS course that streams interactive media and records learner progress and completion. Learners must complete the exam with a passing score of 85% prior to participating in module 2.

The timeframe for this module will be one week, and must be completed prior to beginning module two.

Learning Goal #2: Staff 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.

This module of training requires access to the medical facility so that the trainer/expert can oversee participants carrying out their duties according to their learned skills and knowledge. We recommend participants conduct training in-person at the facility after business hours over the course of one week.

Hands-on group work simulation: Since there are 20 staff members scheduled to participate, some general discussion activities can be conducted in a single large group while specific activities related to actual performance of tasks will be done in small groups according to the commonality of tasks and responsibilities. It is also possible to conduct training in two separate 10-person groups so that scheduling conflicts or staff coverage needs can be accommodated. Each session will take no longer than two hours each session, with two session required to cover all situations.

In-person assessment: The assessment of trainee performance would also occur on-site at the facility at the conclusion of the hands-on simulation session(s). The timeframe for assessment can be set so that all trainees are examined the day after hands-on training or by appointment according to trainer/expert availability. Each examination session should take no longer than 15 minutes each.

Gamification: The “Spot the violation” interactive game can be accessed the online Canvas LMS course. Trainees will be required to complete each of the examples in the game with a score of 85% or higher to earn completion. Completion must be achieved within one week of the beginning of module two.

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

Group discussion: Training sessions will take place on-site in one large group or two 10-person groups, according to scheduling accommodations. Case study examples will be presented by the trainer/expert followed by small group problem solving. Each group will report their conclusions. This session should take no longer than two hours during one evening session.

Multimedia assessment: Trainees will complete an interactive e-learning program on their own by accessing it in the online Canvas LMS course.


Smith, P. L., & Ragan, T. J. (2004). Instructional design. John Wiley & Sons.


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ADDIE Explained 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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