So who is SAM?

Successive Approximation Model (SAM) is an agile development model created by Michael Allen, a recognized pioneer and leader in the design of interactive multimedia learning tools and applications.

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SAM is a method that Allen applied to his instructional design models as a means of creating more effective and efficient ways to build quality training and instructional tools. With SAM, the goal is to take smaller more flexible steps within a larger framework to achieve high quality in training and learning as opposed to following the rigid, step-by-step process that is attributed to other instructional design methods such as ADDIE.

Another key aspect of SAM that reflects a more business solution focus than ADDIE is the Preparation Phase with its SAVVY START. It is putting explicit focus on ensuring there is alignment between the actual performance needs of the client and the learning solution that is provided. Putting the AGILE workflow aside, the focus on client need is how both SAM and FKA’s Instructional Systems Design (ISD) methodologies are like each other and different from ADDIE.

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SAM and FKAs ISD start with a strong focus on learning solutions that target performance improvement.

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To be fair anyone can follow the ADDIE approach and in their implementation, focus on the required performance improvement and follow an iterative workflow that delivers the learning solution in smaller chunks.

SAM looks good and so does FKA’s ISD with its AGILE cloak(http://www.fka.com/agile-instructional-design/). However, looks aren’t everything. I think the take way from this is when you remove the clothes what you are left with, and what you need, is a systematic approach to cost effect designing learning solutions aligned with your client’s needs.



Jim Sweezie
VP Research and Product Development


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