Acronym of the Month: Successive Approximation Model (SAM)

By Star Moretz (Instructional Designer & Training Specialist, College of Engineering)

Wait a minute!!! Didn’t we do SAM last month?

Yes, we did. However this acronym is an updated version of the ADDIE ID model. ADDIE is an acronym for Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate, which is another gold standard in Instructional Design. Like last month’s Dick and Carey’s Systems Approach Model (SAM), ADDIE has been around a long time.

ADDIE is the long version requiring a step by step process that could possibly run for several years from initiation to completion. The new SAM came about in an effort to reduce time and cost in producing quality learning assignments, and even full courses. The premise is to speed up the design by applying a process of repeat, modify, and revisit. Rather than rely on the Instructional Designer to work through each successive step of ADDIE before moving on, stakeholders are present throughout the process. In the first step, scope and content is gathered utilizing a variety of interested parties (subject matter experts, administration, teachers, students). From there, a prototype is created and tested by the stakeholders. Lastly, after any/all repeat, modify, revisit sessions have ended with the final prototype, implementation and subsequent evaluation by the stakeholders can take place completing the cycle. The key word to remember for this SAM model is “iterative” (the practice of building, refining, and improving a project, product, or initiative) design.

I love this model because it takes the total and complete control out of the hands of the ID and involves everyone that has a stake in the outcome. It gives a wide breadth of vantage and viewpoints that might not necessarily be forefront in the mind of the ID. I like to look at it as an “it takes a village” approach to design.

So, let’s call this application SAM 2.0.

Image: KSU Digital Learning Innovation


Successive approximation model (SAM). Digital Learning Innovations. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2022, from