Those who oversee the design of theoretical knowledge training in the aviation industry are often required to adopt the ADDIE and TNA models. Mario Pierobon outlines the process.

ADDIE stands for Analyse, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate, while TNA stands for Training Needs Analysis. Indeed, when it comes to designing theoretical knowledge training, the two models are those that are recalled in the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regulations. More specifically, the ADDIE model is referred to under EASA AIR CREW regulations at GM5 ORA.ATO.230(a) regarding instructional systems design (ISD). The TNA model is referred to in AMC to point 3.1(d) of Appendix III to Part-66 regarding the theoretical element of aircraft type training.

These models are not referenced only in the EASA regulations and regarding pilot and maintenance technicians’ theoretical knowledge training. For example, ICAO (2016)1 has adopted the five-phase ADDIE model to highlight air traffic controller competency-based training and assessment (CBTA).

According to Michael Molenda, Charles M Reigeluth and Laurie Miller Nelson in an academic paper entitled ‘Instructional Design’, the ADDIE model has become one of the most widely adopted instructional design frameworks for creating and assessing various educational modules and programmes2

Robert Maribe Branch in a book, Instructional Design: The ADDIE Approach, affirms that ADDIE is not a model per se, but a product development paradigm3. “Instructional design centres on individual learning, has immediate and long-range phases, is systematic, and uses a systems approach about knowledge and human learning. Effective instructional design focuses on performing authentic tasks, complex knowledge, and genuine problems”, he says. 

Effective instructional design promotes high fidelity between learning environments and actual work settings. In addition, ADDIE can be applied when instruction is needed in response to a performance discrepancy, according to Branch4

Following is a review of best practices to implement both the ADDIE and TNA models; TNA will be covered under the Analyse phase of ADDIE, as it relates specifically to this stage.


According to Ganesan Muruganantham in a journal article, ‘Developing of E-content package by using ADDIE Model’5, the ‘analyse’ phase is the base for the ‘design’, ‘develop’, ‘implement’, and ‘evaluate’ phases. Throughout this phase, the course developer defines the matter at hand, identifies the sources of any concerns, and determines possible solutions. “The phase may include specific research techniques such as need analysis, goal analysis and task analysis. The output of this phase often includes the instructional goals, and a list of tasks to be instructed. These outputs will be the inputs for the design phase”, he says.

According to Maribe Branch, when the ‘analyse’ phase is aimed at identifying the probable causes of a performance gap, the implementation team focusses on the validation of the performance gap, the determination of instructional goals, the confirmation of the intended audience, the identification of required resources, the determination of potential delivery systems (including cost estimates), and project management plan composition.6

In the analyse phase of ADDIE the training needs analysis (TNA) is particularly helpful. According to Dinah Gould, Daniel Kelly, Isabel White, Jayne Chidgey in an academic journal article entitled ‘Training Needs Analysis, a literature review and reappraisal’7, TNA is the preliminary step in a cyclical technique which contributes to the general schooling and academic approach of personnel in an enterprise or an expert group. “Drawing on its similarities with the audit process, however, it is possible to view TNA as a means of improving service delivery through training”, the researchers say.

According to Jana Vejvodovà8 in a paper, ‘The ADDIE Model: Dead or Alive?’, the analyse phase is the most important one. “Some designers see this stage as too time-consuming. However, in the long run it saves money and time because when a suitable training tool is applied in a corresponding situation, the outcome is a satisfactory course for all concerned”, she says.

During the ‘analyse’ phase it is common for a single designer to have multiple tasks at hand. When dealing specifically with e-learning, trainers involved in course design often need help with the analysis of suitable e-learning tools and solutions, technical and graphical aspects, and the development of multimedia components, according to Vejvodov9. “Therefore, it is very helpful when an implementation team is available”, she says.

Indeed, in the ‘analyse’ phase of theoretical training design what happens is that course designers receive new or amended training requirements from regulatory changes and/or customer feedback. It is necessary to hold a meeting or otherwise liaise with the implementation team normally consisting of subject matter experts (SMEs) and course developers to consider the requirements and assess their impact on the training course. For example, regulatory changes may require new topics to be included in the training course, possibly requiring additional modules and/or the revision of the course materials. In the case, for example, of customer feedback indicating that certain important topics are not covered in depth, the team should consider this feedback and provide for corrective actions if and as needed.


The results of the ‘analyse’ phase are used in the ‘design’ phase to plan a strategy for making the case through the training course, according to Muruganantham10. “During this phase, the investigator outlines how to reach the instructional goals determined during the analysis phase and expand the instructional foundation. The outputs of the design phase will be the inputs for the development phase”, he says.

The aim of the design phase is to break down the path to the training goal into steps, and it is the best time to create specific goals, according to Vejvodovà11. “We can still make them more specific at the development stage”, she says. “There might be different approaches with regard to teaching: either we have some content ready and know our goal beforehand or we are undecided yet and we decide the goal and prepare the materials directly during the course writing. In a different approach, we may know our goal in advance but still seek the most effective content to achieve it”.

According to Branch12, the desired performance and appropriate testing methods are verified in the design phase. “The main procedures often associated with the design phase are as follows: conduct a task inventory, compose performance objectives, generate testing strategies, and calculate return on investment”, he says.

What happens in the ‘design’ phase typically is that learning objectives, prerequisites for training and the perspective audience are defined or updated depending on the considerations in the ‘analyse’ phase. Similarly, the training items and the training course duration which compose the syllabus are also defined or updated depending on the (new) learning objectives, prerequisites and perspective audience. For example, a customer request may raise the need for recurrent theoretical training course which the training provider may not have at catalogue. The end result of the ‘design’ phase would be a syllabus for the recurrent training, possibly summarising an initial training syllabus already available, including details of the training mode and provisions for the preparation of the course materials.

Moonyoung Park and Sarah Huffman, in a paper, ‘Developing an aeronautical English training unit based on the ADDIE model in an EFL context’13, describe the ‘design’ phase of the ADDIE model as a key point because in this phase the mode of delivery of the instructional unit is chosen. “The physical distance of the learners (e.g., recent online teaching and learning during the Covid-19 pandemic) plays a major role in choosing a mode of delivery. Instructional designers have to select a mode of delivering the instructional materials that would allow learners not only speedy access to materials, but also flexibility of access in when and how they would receive and interact with the materials”, they say.


The ‘develop’ phase builds on both the ‘analyse’ and ‘design’ phases. The motive of this phase is to generate the lesson plans and lesson materials and it is crucial for a positive implementation of the goals set before, according to Muruganantham14

According to Marime Branch, to generate and validate the learning resources, common procedures are content generation, supporting media selection or development, guidance for the students development, guidance for the teacher development, formative revisions conduction, and pilot test conduction15.

At the ‘develop’ phase, a large portion of creativity is desirable, according to Vejvodovà16. “In addition to texts, study materials can contain animations (with sound) and simulations, sound recordings, images, video sequences and other features. However, it is not practical to include multimedia components wherever possible just because they are simple to obtain/create”, she says.

The ‘develop’ phase starts indeed when the training course syllabus is already available. For the generation or update of the course materials (in whichever form they may be needed), the developers need the support of one or more SMEs, depending on the variety of training topics that need to be addressed. The ‘develop’ phase should start with a standardisation meeting with the SMEs to organise the work and any needed schedule. The references for the development of the course materials should also be defined and the developers should seek support from the SMEs for accuracy and thoroughness throughout the ‘develop’ phase. Prior to issuing any course materials, the SMEs should complete an extensive final review.

The completion of the ‘develop’ phase permits the identification of the resources that will be needed to deliver the training content. By the end of the ‘develop’ phase, one should also have selected or developed all of the tools needed to implement the planned instruction, evaluate the instructional outcomes, and complete the remaining phases of the ADDIE instructional design process, according to Marime Branch17.


The purpose of the ‘implement’ phase is the effective and efficient delivery of instruction, says Muruganantham18.

“The implementation phase is where the teacher will disseminate learning materials to target learners and SMEs, who oversee their training; allow a certain time period for unit completion; and gather feedback on the learning contents”, say Park and Huffman19.

During the ‘implement’ phase all materials and procedures are put to use, according to Vejvodovà20. “Although this phase may seem to be the simplest stage, it is not. It would be a mistake to expect that the materials will simply be handed out and the course will follow the desired path on its own. The success of the course greatly depends on the tutor and the way of teaching. The fewer face-to-face lessons there are in the course, the more intense should be the communication between the tutor and course participants. It is desirable to set rules for communication during the course and publish them”, she says. “Both tutors and course participants should get to grips with the learning environment. In pure online courses, this can be achieved in the introductory tutorial. Its content should be less demanding. Instead, it should provide participants with a secure feeling about working in the online learning environment”.

To make training effective and efficient, it can be useful to engage during course delivery an additional observer to monitor classroom activities to ensure a positive learning experience and that trainers apply classroom management techniques. This observer should not be an active participant, but should have a discrete presence and should be able to capture training course delivery dynamics, such as participants engagement, in order to provide feedback to the trainer as necessary.

The purpose of the ‘implement’ phase is to prepare the learning environment and engage the students. The common procedures associated with the ‘implement’ phase are to prepare the teacher and the students. Upon completion of this phase, one should be able to move to the actual learning environment where the student can begin to construct the new knowledge and skills required to close any performance gap, according to Branch 21.


According to Park and Huffman22, in the ‘evaluate’ phase a final evaluation of the learning module is conducted, which can be either formative or summative. “The teacher can also define and redefine an instructional unit’s objectives and activities, make decisions based on new information or newly identified parameters, make modifications to the unit or plans, and collect summative feedback by creating surveys for students to evaluate the unit”, they affirm.

To assess the quality of instructional products and processes, both before and after implementation, common procedures are the determination of evaluation criteria, the selection of evaluation tools, and the conduct of evaluations, affirms Branch23.

Typically, when seeking feedback from course participants, the evaluation criteria include the satisfaction of training expectations, depth and length of the course, and quality of trainers, viewing materials and course administration. 

According to Vejvodovà24, the evaluation takes place throughout the whole preparation period. All factors of the evaluation are beneficial for tutors and additionally they facilitate mirrored image and self-mirrored image in students and enhance the studying process. “In addition to such subjective references by students, the tutors can find a substantial source of information on the overall success of students in running and final assessments (tests, individual or group assignments). Where tests were used, an important part of the assessment can be obtained from test items - using standard methods”, she concludes.


1 ICAO. 2016. Manual on Air Traffic Controller Competency-Based Training and Assessment (Doc 10056 AN/519). Montréal, Canada: International Civil Aviation Organization.

2 Molenda, M.; C.M. Reigeluth; L.M. Nelson. 2003. Instructional Design. In L. Nadel (Ed.). Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, London, Nature Publishing Group, 2: 574-578.

3 Robert Maribe Branch, 2009, Instructional Design: The ADDIE Approach, Springer New York Dordrecht Heidelberg London.

4 Ibid.

5 G.Muruganantham, Developing of E-content package by using ADDIE Model, International Journal of Applied Research 2015; 1(3): 52-54.

6 R. M. Branch.

7Dinah Gould, Daniel Kelly, Isabel White, Jayne Chidgey, Training Needs Analysis. A literature review and reappraisal, 2004 International Journal of Nursing Studies 41 (2004) 471–486

8 J. Vejvodovà, The ADDIE Model: Dead or Alive?, 2009

9 Ibid.

10 G.Muruganantham.

11 J. Vejvodovà.

12 R. M. Branch.

13 Moonyoung Park and Sarah Huffman, Developing an aeronautical English training unit based on the ADDIE model in an EFL context, 2020.

14 G.Muruganantham.

15 R. M. Branch.

16   J. Vejvodovà.

17 R. M. Branch.

18 G.Muruganantham.

19  Park and Huffman.

20 J. Vejvodovà.

21 R. M. Branch.

22 Moonyoung Park and Sarah Huffman.

23 R. M. Branch.

24 J. Vejvodovà.