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SAM – Why is it the Preferred Model for E-learning Development?

You must have heard about ‘SAM’ many times in recent days. So, what is it all about? And, why are eLearning organizations preferring this model for the design and development of online courses?

In this post, we will look at the WHAT, WHY, and HOW of SAM.


SAM is the acronym of Successive Approximation Model. This model was first proposed by Michael Allen. The title itself conveys the meaning – taking small and quick steps, instead of giant leaps to complete each milestone.

SAM incorporates contemporary design methods such as rapid prototyping and Savvy Start. Rapid prototyping involves stakeholder’s review and feedback implementation on a continual basis during the stages of elearning course development.

Savvy Start is a meeting involving the team members of the project and the customer / stakeholders to gather background information and finalize the initial course design.


SAM provides many advantages such as the following.

  • Unlike traditional elearning instructional design models, this model recognizes the challenges that arise during the process and provides a clear path to success.
  • This model involves the stakeholders throughout the e-learning design and development process, and this helps achieve the desired performance outcomes.
  • This model enables delivery of projects on time, with quality and within the budget.


To put SAM into practice, elearning designers have a few options. SAM 1 is a simple process that is ideal for projects that are small and do not require specialized skills. SAM 2 is useful for huge eLearning projects that require advanced programing skills.

To summarize, the SAM model provides room for iteration (development is done in small steps with continuous evaluation), helps manage projects effectively and supports collaboration with the project team. These aspects of the model make it the best model for eLearning development. I hope you find this blog helpful.

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