We all want an efficient and more collaborative development model—a model that not only fosters creativity, but that is practical too. To help instructional designers better achieve success, we developed the Successive Approximation Model, known as SAM.
SAM is a different approach to the development of instructional design products that addresses the performance need through iterations, repeated small steps, rather than with perfectly executed giant steps. SAM challenges the notion of moving through a linear process (like ADDIE) from Analysis to Evaluation as an effective strategy for designing learning events intending to produce greater performance. SAM addresses the roadblocks we all face (product quality, meeting timelines and budgets, and managing SMEs). Most importantly, SAM is an agile e-learning development process built specifically for the creation of performance-driven learning.
With SAM, we start with performance so that our clients end with performance. We focus on learner experiences, engagement, and motivation over content organization, presentation of information and post-tests. Every project, project team, and project sponsor brings a whole new set of challenges requiring agility and flexibility by the project team. SAM provides the options, strategies, and tools for these teams to be successful.
Instead of starting with a long, drawn-out evaluation of the existing or “needed” content, SAM starts with the preparation phase—where you gather information and get all the background knowledge. This is intended to be a very quick phase.
This phase begins with the Savvy Start, the initial collaborative brainstorming meeting that establishes the foundation for a successful project. The Savvy Start focuses primarily on performance and will serve as the project kickoff meeting and the main environment for all project team members to converse. Throughout the Savvy Start and the Iterative Design Phase, your team will be rotating through design, prototype, and review.
Much like the Iterative Design Phase, in the Iterative Development Phase your team will rotate through development, implementation, and evaluation. You’ll start with your design proof, moving to Alpha and Beta, before finally rolling out the Gold. As the instructional product is being developed, you continually analyze and evaluate, so that at any point if a change needs to occur, it can happen quickly and limit any risk of the project moving out of budget or time.
In the Savvy Start, we saw rapid prototypes evolve in front of our eyes—we witnessed months of what would've been wasted time and resources with ADDIE melt away—and instead felt an incredible ROI developing in this short, intense amount of time together.
Director of Global Learning and Development, Manhattan Associates