ADDIE vs. SAM; it’s the ultimate debate between two main instructional design methodologies. These are two of the main methods instructional designers use to create, develop and evaluate their courses. So what do each of these methodologies have to offer and which is the best option for you?
The ADDIE Model
Created in 1975 by Florida State University, the ADDIE model was designed to provide a framework for creating training for the US Army. It includes five stages of design:
In order to practice ADDIE, you have to go through each step in the process before you start the cycle over again. Because this can usually take a long time, ADDIE is best for longer projects. Because of the precision and thorough nature of the ADDIE methodology, you will most likely finish with a usable product. However, keep in mind that the process can be a bit slow and difficult to backtrack.
The SAM Model
SAM, short for Successive Approximation Model, is more rapid than ADDIE. Multiple steps are happening at the same time. It often begins concurrently with analysis and design. Because the SAM model doesn’t include buy-in at each stage, the iterative design process flows fast and furiously.
SAM has three steps:
SAM has a smaller cycle length that can be used through each step of the process. It’s also considered an AGILE approach, which means you can go through two or even three steps at the same time. Because of it’s short cycle, this is best for smaller, less complicated projects.
Many prefer this method because there are more opportunities to evaluate your work, discuss projects with your client and implement changes. Still, for the larger-scale works that require high-production videos or special programming, ADDIE might be the best option.
Which model is better?
Unfortunately, there is no way to definitively say one model is better than the other. It is up to your organization and the kind of content you want developed. If your organization focuses on creating instructional content over a long period of time, ADDIE might be best. Conversely, if your organization wants content delivered fast, you may want something more flexible like SAM instead. What is your preference? Let me know in the comments below!