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Oliver Karstel Agency / All Articles  / eLearning Models SAM vs. ADDIE
eLearning Models SAM vs. ADDIE

eLearning Models SAM vs. ADDIE

When it comes to eLearning and eLearning content design there are a few different methodologies that can be used but among these, there are two models that are most widely used. 

Those models are: 

  • SAM ( Successive Approximation Model)
  • ADDIE ( ADDIE model for Instructional Systems Design )

There are many reasons why a developer would opt for either one or the other, the most noticeable being the fact that with the SAM method multiple methods may take place at once whereas The ADDIE method has a more straightforward and linear approach. 

Below we will be discussing the main key differences between the two methodologies:

Instructional Design models for eLearning

SAM Model:

The SAM model acronym for Successive Approximation Model is a rapid approach to eLearning content development and instructional design. 

This method focuses on developing content through multiple steps that can be carried out in short periods of time and sometimes more than one step can be completed at once. 

These steps lead to your goals, this goal being eLearning content. 

Content developed using the SAM model may require many changes as the content needs to be reviewed by the client and subject matter professionals after each step has been completed.

The SAM model would best suit development projects with tight deadlines. 

However, because of its lack of structure, many developers tend to stray away from this method. 

The SAM method is very experimental and mainly works for complex material that has not been turned into learning material before. 

The method very much follows a failure and solution trend with the content being developed alongside subject matter experts. 

Content developed with the SAM model is best suited for regular content updates and changes as the need arises and is thus a much more modular approach.

ADDIE Model:

The ADDIE model is most commonly used among instructional designers, because of its structure and well-planned design model.

The ADDIE model is made up of five phases: 

  • Analysis: in this phase, the instructional problem is identified as well as the instructional goal, the learner’s current knowledge and learning style. It also focuses on which methods are best suited to present the content to the learner and which mediums fit into the project timeline. 
  • Design: In the design phase things such as exercises, course content, learning objectives and lesson planning are involved, the look and feel and framework are designed so that the development stage has clear instruction and direction when developing the platform and content. 
  • Development:  The development phase is where developers make use of information provided from the design and analysis phases to develop the content. 
  • Implementation: Within the implementation phase the course material developed during the development is taken and used to create a training guide for both facilitators and learners, thereafter the course material is tested. 
  • Evaluation: This phase has two parts, the first part is referred to as formative evaluation which takes part in each step of the ADDIE model to ensure that content is developed and planned correctly. The second phase is referred to as summative evaluation in this part the content is tested by learners and is open to suggestions and changes. 


Both the SAM and the ADDIE methods are well used and valid methods for instructional design, the use of each really depends on variables such as course material, budget, deadlines and development capabilities. 

Sam is the more experimental method and ADDIE is the longer but more structured method. 

We hope you have a better understanding of what these two models are and why we make use of them, if you have any further questions regarding eLearning and eLearning content development, get in contact with one of our team members today.

We are a leading video production company in Johannesburg and have one of the top learner management systems in South Africa. We specialise in Video Production, Photography, Graphic Design, eLearning Development, Web Design, Animation and Creative Consultation.info@oliverkarstel.co.za | www.oliverkarstel.co.za | IG.com/oliverkarstel

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