Wham Bam Thank You SAM

Wham Bam Thank You SAM

It’s been about a year since I started using the Successive Approximation Model, or SAM, as we call it in the eLearning world. In that time, SAM and I have gone through growing pains, endless rounds of trial and error, noticeable progress, and memorable successes.

SAM is the predominant development framework we use at Allen Interactions, so I have gotten to know it well. At its core, SAM is about rapid prototyping and iteration, bringing you closer and closer to the final product through successive approximation, as its name would imply.

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 2.24.27 PMI recently gave a presentation on SAM at the Bay Area Learning Design and Technology meetup, with nearly half the audience having never heard of SAM before. After fondly recounting my first failed design attempt at Digido, involving a big honkin’ design doc that nobody read, I told the story of our successive attempts to learn about our audience and to build a product that would make a difference. All those lessons, in the form of our prototypes MotionMaze and Pop & Dodge, led us to create Zoopnium, which made it into the top 10 kids’ games in the App Store.

Presentation Photo

Looking back, I realize that through the multiple rounds of iteration, we were essentially living SAM. And while SAM doesn’t always work for every client, it does push me to work quickly to create and test prototypes, which teach me much more about the project needs and learner audience than documents and discussions. So thank you, SAM. Thank you for getting me out of the design doc mode, for giving me the creative freedom to test and retest different concepts, and most of all, for making me a better designer.

Interested in learning more? Click the image below to download the full presentation.

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 2.24.11 PM