ADDIE “A” is for “Analyze.” But, at some point, you just gotta keep moving.

Trust: The essential ingredient required for group effectiveness.

While completing the Master of Science – Learning Technologies program, I was exposed to ADDIE’s “Analyze” component of instructional design which requires:

  • Assessing customer needs;
  • Evaluating learner characteristics, learning styles and behaviors;
  • Creating meaningful, measurable, and observable learning objectives;
  • Designing formative and summative learning and performance measures; and
  • Identifying possible constraints.

ADDIE on Trial

So, I was not bothered when our instructor sprang a surprise ADDIE small group project on us last week. My group’s ADDIE scenario required us to design a face-to-face learner-centered “flipped” classroom course for a fictitious Frisco High School History teacher with ten years of experience.

As a refresher, the learner-centered “flipped” classroom approach seeks to move the learning process outside of the traditional classroom.  The method involves the teacher using classroom time to provide necessary guidance and learning tools. Students are then expected to use self-regulating strategies to work on the project at home using step-by-step instructions and problem-solving instructional supports. During the next classroom period, the teacher organizes the students into groups and facilitates the collaborative learning process while students interact and share what they learned with their peers (Lu and Han, 2018).

The teacher’s main concern was that his “Gen Zs” students were not as digitally literate as they needed to be and that some might face challenges with the self-regulated learning method of teaching.

Small Group Dynamics

Our group started by reaching a consensus that the teacher should use Habermas’ Learning and Teaching as Communicative Actions and a web-based teaming platform such as Google Docs. After that, we pretty much got stuck in the ADDIE Analyze process for the next hour until we ran out of time.  

As a group member, I do not fault our team leader because I suspect other small groups dynamics were at work.  

For instance, Gonzales, Hancock, and Pennebaker (2010) studied the social dynamics of small groups to understand the role of linguistic style matching (LSM) on small group interactions and communications. Specifically, the researchers examined how language impacts group cohesiveness and task performance. Citing other works that found small group members often observe then mimic the behavior, gestures, and responses of group leaders (p. 4), Gonzales, Hancock, & Pennebaker sought to replicate the findings by observing small groups comprised of 174 females and 150 males collectively. Gonzales, Hancock, & Pennebaker reported “unexpectantly” finding that the more groups bonded around achievement-oriented language, the more poorly they performed. The researchers speculated this might be related to a group mentality that attempted to compensate for the poor performance of some by covering for them (p. 15). 

Miller and Curry (2017) studied the impact of subject matter specialists in small group decision making. Using the judiciary as the environment, Miller & Curry found evidence that non-specialist tended to rule consistently with the rulings of those considered as subject matter specialists which documented how specialization amplifies the ideological nature of decision making for US Court of appeals judges (p. 61).

Alarcon et al. (2018) examined an individual’s propensity to trust. After defining trust as the willingness to be vulnerable to another (p. 69), Alarcon et al. explained that, during interactions, individuals are thoughtfully undergoing considerations of whether to trust someone. Using the Five Factor Model personality dimension tool, Alarcon et al. found, when an individual has little or no information about another individual, their decision whether to trust that person is influenced by little other than the individual’s subjective world view, cognitive biases, or heuristics (p. 70).

What’s trust got to do with it?

But ..what does this have to do with my group’s ADDIE project?   I am glad you asked.  The connection is that our group may have been influenced by how little we know about each other. The only trust information we had was that our team leader established himself as an ADDIE subject matter expert during an earlier class presentation. 

Because our leader was considered as an expert, most of my group members tended to subconsciously mimic his reactions to suggestions and feedback not originated or explicitly endorsed by him because – they trusted him. The majority of our group members felt comfortable with leaving responsibility for decision making to our team leader and expected the rest of our group to simply fall in line.

After watching a few of my ideas and suggestions drop from the discussions, I decided to bow down, accept the force of small group dynamics, relax, and observe.

Jennie’s Perspective

What could we have done differently?  In my opinion, my group would have benefited from gathering information about each member’s background and experience with instructional design and the ADDIE ID model before our brainstorming activity began.  

I feel this would have opened the floor to a more in-depth consideration of all suggestions which may have facilitated an orderly progression toward cohesively completing the project instead of starting over repeatedly until our time ran out.

Where does my group go from here?  I am not sure.  We had this week and will have a limited amount of time on Monday to get our act together before we are required to make a group presentation.

I used this time to find a clear and clean ADDIE toolkit which I shared with my group members in the hope we can use it to guide our discussions when we next meet. Should that not work prevail, I am sure our instructor will have some choice words for us.

I’m shaking in my shoes.


Alarcon, G. M., Lyons, J. B., Christensen, J. C., Bowers, M. A., Klosterman, S. L., & Capiola, A. (2018). The Role of Propensity to Trust and the Five Factor Model across the Trust Process. Journal of Research in Personality.

Meiling Lu1,, & Qingchi Han2, hqchi2012@126. co. (2018). Learner- Centered Flipped Classroom Teaching Reform Design and Practice — Taking the Course of Tax Calculation and Declaration as an Example. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice18(6), 2661–2676.

Miller, B., & Curry, B. (2017). Small‐Group Dynamics, Ideology, and Decision Making on the US Courts of Appeals. Law & Policy39(1), 48-72.

Gonzales, A. L., Hancock, J. T., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2010). Language style matching as a predictor of social dynamics in small groups. Communication Research37(1), 3-19.

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