Watershed’s BALDDIE Method for Instructional Design

In the introduction to this blog series, we promised to unveil our learning design model, which we’ve designated as BALDDIE. Just as we created Watershed’s 7 Steps of Learning Evaluation based on our favorite parts of other popular learning measurement models, BALDDIE brings together elements of the methods we’ve covered in the last few posts. And so, without further ado, we give you the BALDDIE model for instructional design.

What's the BALDDIE instructional design model?

The BALDDIE instructional design model is a modified version of ADDIE that puts more emphasis on the analysis stage and draws in concepts from Cathy Moore's Action Mapping model and LEO Learning's Chain of Evidence method.

Embedding evaluation into every stage, this model is comprised of these steps: Business Goal, Action Required, Learning Needed, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. We’ll cover each of these steps in more detail later in this series—but for now, here's an overview of each stage of the BALDDIE process.

1) Business Goal

Learning starts with a business goal, not with a pile of content you want to dump into learners’ brains. Ideally, you should focus on a single goal, which should be a business goal—not an L&D team goal. Your goal should be something specific that’s linked to a measurable KPI (e.g. monthly units sold) so it’s clear whether or not the goal has been achieved.

The business goal has most likely been defined by the executive team, so the L&D team should focus on identifying and responding to that goal. It's important to coordinate your learning efforts to align with any existing non-learning initiatives working toward that same business goal.

2) Action Required

Having identified a specific, KPI-linked business goal, you need to determine how that goal will be achieved. This step is super important because if instructional designers don’t know what the learners need to meet the goal, there’s no way they can properly instruct learners. In other words, designers actually have to know what to do in order to teach others to do it.

At the same time, this can be quite a challenging step because the L&D team often doesn’t know what learners need to do to meet the goal. And with the pace of technological change and new challenges, sometimes the business doesn’t know either. But even though this step is difficult, it’s not any less important than the other steps. You have to find a way to overcome the challenges and come up with a credible plan of what the workforce needs to do to meet the goal.

3) Learning Needed

For each action, you’ll need to identify what people need to learn in order to support that action (i.e. learning outcomes). That might mean practicing a particular skill, learning a new way to do something, developing supporting knowledge, or learning the proper channels for finding the right information.

Your defined learning outcomes should be based on the performance goal they are intended to support and written in a way that allows the assessment of completed job tasks. And don’t forget to consider how the learning will be assessed at this stage, too.

4) Design

With a thorough analysis under your belt, you enter the design stage knowing:

  • the business goal,
  • what people need to do in order to meet that goal, and
  • the learning that supports people meeting that goal.

Now all you need to do is design content, resources, and experiences to provide that learning.

5) Development

Development is where your design comes to life. During this step, make sure you build in appropriate tracking for the solution so you can monitor and analyze the success of the learning, performance, and business outcomes you outlined during Steps 1–3.

6) Implementation

Implementation is more than “chucking a learning program on the LMS.” It’s about launching and marketing the learning program to your learners. Throughout implementation, you should be monitoring uptake (i.e. how many people are using the learning program) and progress so you can continually make tweaks and adjustments to ensure the best success of the learning program.

7) Evaluation

Remember, evaluation is not the final step of the process. Rather, you should evaluate and iterate at every single stage.

  • Evaluate your Business Goal.
  • Evaluate your Actions Required.
  • Evaluate your Learning Needs.
  • Evaluate your Design, your Development and your Implementation.
  • Evaluate it all and make improvements before calling each step complete.

Enhance learning design and measurement with the BALDDIE model.

By forcing you to focus on analysis and start with business goals, the BALDDIE method ensures your learning is designed with the right objectives in mind.

This makes measuring the effectiveness of the learning program easier because you have clear goals to measure against. And more important, BALDDIE helps ensure you actually hit those business goals because the training has been designed with a clear plan of how to do so.

Up Next: How to identify and articulate good business goals

The business goal is the foundation for your learning programs, so ensuring that your training initiatives are correctly aligned with that goal will help keep everything else straight as you go through the BALDDIE process. In our next post, we set out four guidelines to help you correctly identify your business goal.

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And the learning measurement survey says...

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