Six Thinking Hats, Instructional Design, & ADDIE

Applying the “Six Hats” to the Analysis Stage of ADDIE

Edward Bono in his book “6 Thinking Hats” presents the metaphor of wearing different hats that represent different styles of thinking. Each style gives us a different perspective, which helps us gain a deeper understanding of the project at hand.

Let’s take a closer look at how we can apply Bono’s six hats to the Analysis stage of the ADDIE Model.

  • White Hat: Data and Information

While wearing the White Hat you will focus on information and data alone. In the Analysis stage, this is where you begin your consultation with your client by gathering as much information as you can about the current state of affairs. While looking at data, try to identify  trends. The ADDIE  Analysis Form Template can guide you in the data collection stage.

  • Red Hat: Emotion and Intuition

When you wear the Red Hat you’ll want to seek out feelings and intuition. Ask those involved in the process how they feel about current performance, and how they would feel if desired performance was achieved. Try to identify what people feel strongly about, and what their gut tells them. Strong emotions can be great allies or formidable rivals, and we should not ignore them. At this stage you may also consider using Kirkpatrick’s first level of evaluation as a way to get to the emotional reaction from those involved in the process.

  • Black Hat: Obstacles and Challenges

The Black Hat keeps us grounded by taking a closer look at possible challenges. Here we analyze everything that could go wrong. By addressing the bad news during the Analysis stage, we can create plans for contingencies upfront . Not all contingency plans need to be created in the Analysis phase, we only need to identify what needs to be addressed. The contingency plans themselves can be developed in the Design and Development phases. The ADDIE Analysis Form Template includes a section for challenges.

  • Yellow Hat: Advantages and Benefits

The Yellow Hat brings our focus back to a vision of success. Vision is what guides our Goals, and our  goals direct our Objectives. These VGOs need to be aligned, and they need to be positive. VGOs need to point to an Advantave and Benefits statement that clearly identifies how the learning intervention will make things better. In the ADDIE Analysis Form Template, in the Vision section, make sure to include an Advantages and Benefits statement.

  • Green Hat: Innovation and Creativity

The Green Hat is primarily used in the Design and Development phases because it relates to innovation and stands for creativity. In the Analysis phase, you can use the Green Hat as a reminder that not all problems are to be taken at face value. Often, a performance gap is the result of deeper issues. Keep an open mind as you develop your Analysis. The Green Hat also gives us an opportunity to find new and creative ways to address performance problems.  Some times your clients have pre-determined ideas as to the kind of learning interventions that should be used, only because they may not be aware of other alternatives. During the Analysis phase you may be able to introduce your clients to new technologies or approaches.

  • Blue Hat: Direction and Control

The Blue Hat is the one that provides structure, methodology, and decision making processes. You may have noticed that in the ADDIE  Analysis Form Template we included room for leaders, champions, and stakeholders. In the Analysis phase you want to establish an early structure of reporting duties, responsibilities, and a decision-making structure.

As you can see, this adaptation of “The 6 Thinking Hats” by Bono can help organize your thinking during the Analysis stage, and helps you gain a deeper understanding of the projects you work on.

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