SAM - The Successive Approximation Model of Instructional Design

Devlin Peck
. Updated on 
May 4, 2023
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If you’re looking for an instructional design process that’s all about building prototypes, moving quickly, and iterating, then SAM may be the process for you!

Michael Allen’s book, Guide to e-Learning, focuses heavily on prototyping and offers the Successive Approximation Model of Instruction design to address the shortcomings of other waterfall-type methods like ADDIE.

I’ve used this model in my own instructional design projects because it builds consensus quickly and work more rapidly with key stakeholders

This is a popular model in the tech space, so if you’re looking for an ID role in that field, being able to speak to your experience with SAM may help you stand out to potential hiring managers or clients.

Follow along as we discuss how to make motivational design more accessible and start applying these principles immediately on your next project!

Devlin Peck
Devlin Peck
Devlin Peck is the founder of, where he helps people build instructional design skills and break into the industry. He previously worked as a freelance instructional designer and graduated from Florida State University.
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