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Groin Tarasov
Groin Tarasov

The Benefits of Leaving ADDIE for SAM: A Practical Guide




Leaving ADDIE for SAM: An Agile Model for Developing the Best Learning Experiences




If you are a learning professional, you have probably heard of ADDIE, the traditional instructional design model that stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. ADDIE has been around for decades and has been widely used as a framework for creating effective learning solutions. But is ADDIE still relevant in today's fast-paced and dynamic world?




Leaving Addie For SAM An Agile Model For Developin



The answer is no. ADDIE was developed long before Agile and other iterative processes that have introduced greater efficiencies in design and development, fostered more creativity, and addressed effective stakeholder involvement. ADDIE is a linear and rigid model that does not allow for flexibility and adaptation to changing needs and feedback. It also tends to be time-consuming and costly, as it requires extensive upfront analysis and documentation before any development can begin.


That's why many learning professionals are leaving ADDIE for SAM, an agile model for developing the best learning experiences. SAM stands for Successive Approximation Model, and it was introduced by Michael Allen and Richard Sites in their book Leaving ADDIE for SAM: An Agile Model for Developing the Best Learning Experiences . SAM is a cyclical and iterative model that simplifies instructional design and development, yielding more energetic and effective learning experiences.


In this article, we will explore what SAM is and how it differs from ADDIE, what are the benefits of using SAM over ADDIE, how to apply SAM to your learning projects, and a real-world case study of how SAM was used to create a successful learning solution.


The Successive Approximation Model (SAM)




SAM is based on the idea that the best way to create a learning solution is to build it gradually through successive approximations, rather than trying to design it perfectly from the start. SAM involves three main phases: Preparation, Iterative Design, and Iterative Development. Each phase consists of several key activities and deliverables that guide the project team and stakeholders through the process.


Preparation




The Preparation phase is where the project scope, goals, constraints, and expectations are defined. The key activities in this phase are:


  • Identify project parameters: This includes determining the project budget, timeline, resources, audience, objectives, success criteria, risks, assumptions, etc.



  • Gather existing information: This includes reviewing any existing data, materials, content, feedback, research, etc. that are relevant to the project.



  • Conduct a Savvy Start: This is a collaborative session where the project team and stakeholders brainstorm ideas, explore possibilities, create prototypes, test assumptions, and agree on a project direction.



The key deliverables in this phase are:


  • A project charter: This is a document that summarizes the project parameters and serves as a contract between the project team and stakeholders.



  • A performance map: This is a visual representation of the desired performance outcomes, the gaps between current and desired performance, and the learning interventions that will address those gaps.



  • A prototype: This is a rough draft of the learning solution that demonstrates the look and feel, functionality, interactivity, and content of the final product.



Iterative Design




The Iterative Design phase is where the learning solution is designed in detail, based on the prototype created in the Preparation phase. The key activities in this phase are:


  • Design the instructional strategy: This includes defining the learning objectives, content, activities, assessments, feedback, etc. that will support the desired performance outcomes.



  • Design the media strategy: This includes selecting the appropriate media elements, such as graphics, audio, video, animations, etc. that will enhance the learning experience.



  • Review and revise: This includes soliciting feedback from the project team and stakeholders on the design documents and making revisions as needed.



The key deliverables in this phase are:


  • A design document: This is a document that describes the instructional and media strategies in detail and serves as a blueprint for development.



  • A storyboard: This is a visual representation of the learning solution that shows how the content, media, and interactivity will be presented on each screen or page.



  • A style guide: This is a document that defines the visual and audio standards for the learning solution, such as colors, fonts, icons, images, sounds, etc.



Iterative Development




The Iterative Development phase is where the learning solution is developed, tested, and implemented, based on the design documents created in the Iterative Design phase. The key activities in this phase are:


  • Develop the learning solution: This includes creating the media elements, writing the content, programming the interactivity, integrating the components, etc. using the appropriate tools and technologies.



  • Test and debug: This includes conducting various types of testing, such as functionality, usability, accessibility, compatibility, etc. to ensure that the learning solution works as intended and meets the quality standards.



  • Implement and evaluate: This includes deploying the learning solution to the target audience and environment, collecting feedback and data on its effectiveness and impact, and making improvements as needed.



The key deliverables in this phase are:


  • A functional prototype: This is a working version of the learning solution that can be tested and reviewed by the project team and stakeholders.



  • A final product: This is the completed learning solution that is ready to be delivered to the learners.



  • An evaluation report: This is a document that summarizes the feedback and data collected on the learning solution and provides recommendations for future enhancements.



The Savvy Start




One of the most distinctive features of SAM is the Savvy Start. The Savvy Start is a collaborative session that takes place at the beginning of the project, during the Preparation phase. The Savvy Start involves the project team and stakeholders working together to brainstorm ideas, explore possibilities, create prototypes, test assumptions, and agree on a project direction. The Savvy Start has several benefits:


  • It fosters creativity and innovation by allowing for divergent thinking and experimentation.



  • It reduces ambiguity and uncertainty by clarifying the project goals, constraints, and expectations.



  • It increases engagement and buy-in by involving all relevant parties in the decision-making process.



  • It saves time and money by avoiding rework and revisions later in the project.



To conduct a successful Savvy Start session, you need to follow these steps:


  • Prepare for the session: This includes inviting the right people (such as subject matter experts, learners, managers, sponsors, etc.), setting up a conducive environment (such as a spacious room with whiteboards, sticky notes, markers, etc.), and creating an agenda (such as introduction, brainstorming, prototyping, testing, etc.).



  • Facilitate the session: This includes leading the participants through various activities (such as asking questions, generating ideas, sketching solutions, presenting prototypes, giving feedback, etc.), keeping them focused and engaged (such as setting time limits, encouraging participation,

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