Most people use “instructional design” and “instructional development” synonymously when they’re really as distinct as a square and a rectangle. In this case, “instructional design” is the square and “instructional development” is the rectangle, (and if you want to continue the metaphor, ‘E-LEARNING DESIGN’ is the circle encompassing the two). The design phase is the portion of the development cycle that addresses the actual course design; putting pen to paper, so to speak. Instructional development refers to the entire cycle from inception of the idea through quality control, implementation and assessment of the effort. Now that we’ve got that settled, let’s look at two distinct development methodologies.

The Clash of Instructional Development Civilizations

Are you an ADDIE or a SAM? The clash continues. Which is better? Why do you want one over the other? All instructional development falls loosely under the ADDIE or the SAM iterative model. Let’s take a quick look at the ADDIE VS SAM breakdown.

ADDIE – Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim, Fire

Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation (ADDIE) is a succession of iterations throughout the entire cycle, with corrections made every step of the way. This is the ideal iterative cycle for micromanagers and/or those who spend the bulk of their time analyzing and tweaking. To some extent, this is the iterative cycle of life, but when taken to the extreme, nothing gets done because you get stuck on first base, stuck in analysis!

SAM – Ready, Fire Aim

Successive Approximation Model (SAM) follows the rapid development playbook. If you’ve ever watched someone give a “cocktail napkin presentation, then you understand the basis of SAM. The components of ADDIE are compressed, and often occur together in real time with corrections taking place on the fly, as in “fly by the seat of your pants.”

If time were no object, it wouldn’t matter which development cycle you use. However, with the corporate mandate to “adjust” to market changes at the speed of greased lightning, much of today’s instructional development falls under the SAM umbrella.