After reading Siemens’ “Questions I’m no Longer Asking,” I spent the next week pondering my own questions from the entrance of my instructional design and technology program. For example, walking into class the first night, I was looking for the girl named ADDIE. (Obviously, I didn’t find her.) Since then, I have found answers to these questions. A few of my relevant questions include the following.

  • What authoring tools should be used?
  • Are Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) necessary?
  • Is online learning effective?
  • Who Is ADDIE?

Authoring Tools

I use the appropriate tools for the learner, content, and system. “Authoring tools help bridge the gap between experts and learning technology” (Dempsey & Van Eck, 2007). There are many tools available to designers. If we are not careful, the content is lost and the tools are the focus. Nicole Fougere’s recent post about Interactive Learning is a good example of restricting tools usage. At this site, the learners experience the Apollo 11 trip using mainly Adobe Premiere Pro.

Cascading Style Sheets

Yes! I was dragged kicking and screaming because I do not think in code. Authoring using CSS is a more efficient method of content sharing than tables (Keller & Nussbaumer, 2009). After late nights of reworking multiple pages, I learned CSS was truly a friend. CSS example templates are located at speckyboy, and desizn tech.


When I hear this question, it is usually from someone reminiscing of “Oregon Trail.” Online learning is more than educational games or online courses. Educational games and online courses include evaluations to establish learning. According to Guftafson and Branch (2007), the evaluations are formative or summative. Online games offer feedback with or without the collection of responses. An interesting game for identifying body parts is Anatomy Arcade.


ADDIE is not a who – but an instructional design model. Analysis, Design, Development, Implement, and Evaluate is the process of the design model. The best way to describe it was through this humorous ADDIE video.

Now, I no longer look around the room for a girl named ADDIE! I have developed new questions which include the following.

  • What role will the LMS have?
  • What new tool is available? Will it add to my instruction?

What are some of your questions? What are your answers?


Dempsey, J., & Van Eck, R. (2007). Distributed learning and the field of instructional design. In R. Reiser, & J. Dempsey, Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology (p. 296). New Jersey: Pearson.

Gustafson, K., & Branch, R. (2007). What is Instructional Design? In R. Reiser, & J. Dempsey, Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology (p. 11). New Jersey: Pearson.

Keller, M., & Nussbaumer, M. (2009). Cascading style sheets: A novel approach towards productive styling with today’s standards. WWW 2009 Madrid! (pp. 1161-1162). Madrid: ACM.

Guest Blogger

Jamae Allred is a doctoral student at the University of Memphis. While attending courses, she is a graduate assistant for the early childhood department who teaches an undergraduate course. She is also employed part-time by International Paper as a content developer for the Environmental, Health, Safety, and Sustainability Group. She plans to continue working in the corporate environment before pursuing her goal of teaching at the university level.

Image Available at Creative Commons from CarbonNYC

About Michael M Grant

Dr. Michael M. Grant is a passionate professor, researcher, and consultant. He works with faculty members, schools and universities, and districts to integrate technology meaningfully and improve teaching and learning. When 140 characters just won't work, then he blogs here at He has a beautiful wife and three equally beautiful daughters, who will change the world.

11 Thoughts on “Questions I’m no longer asking

  1. Jamae,

    I totally agree with you that I no more ask what ADDIE is but I find it interesting that being in the same field and environment some of us refer to it as a model while some of us consider it a framework. Also, as I read I understood that you got your answer to what authoring tools should be used. You say that you use appropriate tools for the learners, context etc. So how do you know that the tools are appropriate without questioning the tools in context of the need/environment?

    • Good question Smita. Honestly, I do consider the environment of the tool. I think about learner access and the tool’s application in the content.

  2. Jennifer on February 23, 2011 at 9:35 am said:

    Great blog Jamae. I am with you on the CSS. Sometimes I feel like I dream in code as much as we have had to use it. I would also like to point out about your statement about ADDIE. Smita is correct…there are a lot of people who think of it as a model or a framework. I would be interested hearing your side (or anyone who thinks ADDIE is a model) as to why it is not a framework.

    • Thank you Jennifer. I understand why ADDIE may be considered a framework by others because it requires other instructional design models at various levels. I consider it a model for developing or instructional design. I know I need to use other models with it to be successful, but I use ADDIE to stay on task. My computer desktop has folders devoted to each ADDIE step. This way I know where I am with multiple projects.

  3. Jamae, I remember feeling the same way you did two years ago! I just want to reiterate and agree with you that online learning is more than games. It needs to have feedback for the learner, in order to constitute as learning. Otherwise, it is just a supplement to instruction–not instruction.

  4. @Logan, what questions are you no longer asking?

  5. I am no longer asking,
    1. “How do people make a website?”
    I have made multiple ones now, using Dreamweaver and one with Flash. There is a lot more behind them, than I ever could understand.
    2.”Why is my boss making me take this online instruction?” AND…
    3. “Where (the people and the content) does this online instruction come from?”
    I know now, if done properly, that the people are instructional designers and they conducted a needs assessment meaning that we, the employees, show a deficit in the area.
    and maybe the biggest question, and one I answer probably once a week…
    4. “What is IDT?”
    IDT, to me, is applying the learning theories to designing effective instruction. (Not just using technology in instruction!)

  6. PrathiNarayan on February 24, 2011 at 12:23 am said:

    I guess ADDIE was a revelation to many of us, although in varying degrees. Coming from a software background, I was familiar with the D-D-I and E (to a certain degree). But the importance and power of “A” and “E” were astounding!And then to see Dr.Branch’s quote on the possibility of designers having to conduct all the five phases simultaneously was such a huge ‘Aaha’ moment for me. About the question that I ask now has to be “does using [insert technology) enhance the learning experience or deter it?”

    • @Prashanthi, moving to a concurrent design process, where multiple phases of instructional design occur together, is a revelation to many students. As we discussed in theories and models with cognitive flexibility theory (CFT), one of the biases we insert into content to make it easier to teach and learn is a sequence, when in reality it is not actually a true sequence. Instructional design and even ADDIE present this sequence when in fact the walls between phases are nonexistent or at least permeable. Dr. Branch is emphasizing this point for sure.

  7. Suha Tamim on March 1, 2011 at 4:51 am said:


    At the end of this discussion, I would add that yes, as we try to think “learning”, “design”, and “technology”, I think I came to terms with that the only question I want to ask is whether learning is happening and performance is improving and the rest is easy.

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