Rapid Instructional Design (RID) is a method of design courses that offers a lot of flexibility when designing content/activities for a course. The problem with traditional methods is that they are often slow and cumbersome.

I remember my early training to be a teacher. My college professors would have me develop a whole “unit plan”. Basically, everything that the students would do and learn over the course of two weeks. This is also sometimes called “Backward Design”.  In the world of Instructional Design, the process is called ADDIE.

Backwards design works well to perform a needs assessment, establish the goals of the lesson, and determine the assessment(s). No matter what the process, the designer/teacher needs to figure out those two things first. But then backwards design/ADDIE involves creating all of the material of the lesson and then deploying it.

Problems With Backwards Design/ADDIE

There are two major problems with method of designing courses:

  1. It is slow. It takes a long time to plan out every last bit of content before any worksheets, videos, tutorials, guides, lessons are built. Teachers/designers often don’t have that much time to go through all those steps in between lessons, units, projects.
  2. Things don’t always go as planned. I have planned countless lessons that have fallen apart. Mainly because how the lesson goes in my head is vastly different than how the students engage with the lesson.

How Can Rapid Instructional Design (RID) Help Develop Material Faster?

Rapid Instructional Design takes the ADDIE model and speeds it up. It was first proposed back in 2000 and was a faster development method for building online courses.

ADDIE involves the following steps to build targeted online lessons:

  1. Analyze
  2. Design
  3. Development
  4. Implementation
  5. Evaluation

The problem is that all of this could take a long time. So Rapid Instructional Design cuts out some steps by focusing on the Four-Phase Learning Cycle.

The “Four-Phase Learning Cycle” of RID

Another aspect to the RID model is a focus on dividing instruction into a “Four-Phase Learning Cycle”. These phases are the steps involved with the phases of the human learning process:

  1. Preparation (gaining student’s interest). Discuss the learning goals/benefits, raise curiosity, hook them.
  2. Presentation (absorbing the new skill/knowledge). Show examples from the real world, give interactive presentations, problem solving, and simulation scenarios.
  3. Practice (practice) Use games, hands-on activities, simulations, individual reflection and group skill building activities.
  4. Performance (application) Apply their knew knowledge in real-life. This would be the Apply/Create phase of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Any of those activities in Bloom’s Taxonomy would work to further the skills of the student.
Four_Phases_of_Learning
Image Courtesy of Dashe & Thomson

Some of the shortcomings of RID

Rapid Instructional Design certainly feels “lighter” than ADDIE. There is less of a focus on the buildup of the learning and more focus on the learning itself. The Four-Phases offer a way to develop effective learning activities quickly.

The downside is that it lacks a lot of the design phase that includes needs assessments and tools for evaluation. RID “removes” a lot of the ADDIE steps but doesn’t really replace them with anything.

Therefore, the RID model feels less like an independent replacement for ADDIE / Backwards design and more a plug-in that complements but does not replace the existing models of learning design.