Making changes in our organization—Invista Performance Solutions (IPS)—is just as painful as making changes in any organization.  Decisions to incorporate change sometimes seem to introduce a multitude of new problems-something we all recognize, but we still research, study, plan, and decide to make changes despite absolutely knowing that pain accompanies any institutional change.

Once we convince ourselves to make a change, or several changes, IPS has the additional problem of somehow convincing our clients that our innovation will, in effect, increase the success of the training and development programs we provide.  Every so often, a potential change is identified that can almost immediately be incorporated; this means, it is so outstanding that its ROI (return on investment) causes immediate adoption. Sometimes these decisions are -not difficult at all. One such easy change has been adding curated materials to our courses and even more so when we use those curated items as resources to support experiential learning.  EASY-and we do it!

Not so simple are more radical changes, which challenge some of the traditional methods we use in instructional design.  More and more we evaluate major modifications as to how they will help lower costs and yet, deliver improved products.  I believe that we will undoubtedly ‘stick with’ our current instructional design process-ADDIE-for the ‘foreseeable’ future.

SAM (Successive Approximation Model), based on new Agile Learning research and best practices, is one of those NOT so simple to adopt changes.  I have devoured lots of reading and research in my recent endeavor to compare ADDIE and SAM.  The best resource I recommend is Michael W. Allen and Richard Sites book, Leaving ADDIE for SAM: An Agile Model for Developing the Best Learning Experiences, published by the American Society for Training and Development in 2012. SAM has a repeatable 3-step process – is faster, has shorter timeframes and the steps can be completed at the same time, unlike ADDIE. We also would be more able to provide clients with feedback along the design ‘path’.

Exactly what is SAM? “Michael Allen’s Successive Approximation Model (SAM) follows the essential pattern of instructional design models. The SAM model, however, places greater stress on the iterative nature of each step in the process (Allen, 2012).  This is sometimes referred to as an example of agile learning design.  The SAM is derived from the agile software development process, which focuses on the development of working product through iterative and incremental development among collaborate teams of specialists (Allen, 2012; Wikipedia, 2014)”

Although I am convinced that it is a better instructional design method for IPS and our clients, I’m not recommending jumping on the bandwagon quite yet.  One of the major reasons for delaying SAM’s incorporation has to do with our large cadre of instructional facilitators-almost all of whom have been trained in the traditional five-step ADDIE course design and development process.  The ‘pain’ of shifting to the newer model would be one that almost all organizations face.  Our consultants and facilitators are highly skilled content area specialists with years of experience and a great deal of expertise already in course design.  In analyzing change incorporation, it is most often training and development issues relating to attitude that cause the most problems in successfully adopting changes. Staff ‘buy-in’ and support in the change are the most difficult training endeavors, and sometimes just not worth the time and effort.



If you’d like to read more about the fairly new researched SAM, see the following books, or just google SAM, Successive Approximation Model:

Methodology Wars: ADDIE vs. SAM vs. AGILE Wednesday, April 08, 2015 – by  Lou Russell 

Iterative Design Models: ADDIE vs SAM By Jack Makhlouf August 21, 2016 eLearning Solutions

Leaving ADDIE for SAM Field Guide:  Guidelines and Templates for Developing the Best Learning Experiences Richard Sites and Angel Green. ASTD Press 2014 (Amazon)

The Essentials of Instructional Design:  Connecting fundamental Principles with Process and Practice By Abbie H. Brown, Timothy d. Green  3rd edition. 2016 Routledge P. 19