No, we haven’t mangled a line from the old Herman Hermit’s song Henry VIII (though you’ll be humming it all day); we’re talking about TWO ITERATIVE MODELS for instructional design. You know what they say: “Different strokes for different folks.” Each has its place and time.

If you look at the phases in ADDIE, each of them makes perfect sense, and each builds on the previous step. It’s methodical, and if you love writing out lists and crossing off each item on the list, you’ll love designing using this model because each step goes through several iterations before moving on to the next step.

SAM, short for Successive Approximation Model, takes a ready, fire, aim approach. When you’re under the gun and you have to get something out yesterday, SAM can make perfect sense. It starts with a rapid prototype.

The first iteration of a SAM-developed eLearning might requires an overhaul with the plan solidifying only after a few iterations of the basic design.
Which model is better depends primarily on the cards dealt. Designers have their preferences: Perfectionists love the ADDIE model, and those who fly by the seat of their pants adapt well to SAM. Ultimately, the project usually dictates ADDIE vs. SAM outcome.