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Advanced Instructional Design for Successive E-Learning: Based on the Successive Approximation Model (SAM)

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With its agile and iterative approaches, the Successive Approximation Model (SAM) is suggested as an alternative ISD model for ADDIE. However, few studies have been conducted to provide real-world examples of how SAM can be used by instructional designers to develop e-learning content. The purpose of this study was to develop e-learning content based on SAM and to provide empirical descriptions of the instructional design process for researchers and practitioners. This model was designed and developed through three phases: preparation phase, iterative design phase, and iterative development phase. The participants were learners, subject matter experts (SME), instuctional designers (ID), and prototypers. The alpha, beta, and gold versions of the e-learning content were developed based on the SAM method. The results revealed that the final (Gold) version, based on SAM, was more impactful and user-friendly, compared to the traditional e-learning environment, according to the learner’s perspective. © 2019, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education. All rights reserved.
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International Jl. on E-Learning (2019) 18(2), 191-204
Advanced Instructional Design
for Successive E-Learning:
Based on the Successive Approximation Model (SAM)
HYOJUNG JUNG
General Education, Dankook University, South Korea
hyojung.jung@dankook.ac.kr
YOUNGLONG “RACHEL” KIM
Educational Technology, Oklahoma State University, U.S.A
younglong.kim@okstate.edu
HYEJEONG LEE
Educational Technology, Hanyang University, South Korea
gogolhj@gmail.com
YOONHEE SHIN
Educational Technology, Hanyang University, South Korea
shinyoonhee06@gmail.com
With its agile and iterative approaches, the Successive Ap-
proximation Model (SAM) is suggested as an alternative ISD
model for ADDIE. However, few studies have been conduct-
ed to provide real-world examples of how SAM can be used
by instructional designers to develop e-learning content. The
purpose of this study was to develop e-learning content based
on SAM and to provide empirical descriptions of the instruc-
tional design process for researchers and practitioners. This
model was designed and developed through three phases:
preparation phase, iterative design phase, and iterative devel-
opment phase. The participants were learners, subject matter
experts (SME), instuctional designers (ID), and prototypers.
The alpha, beta, and gold versions of the e-learning content
were developed based on the SAM method. The results re-
vealed that the final (Gold) version, based on SAM, was more
192 Jung, Kim, Lee, and Shin
impactful and user-friendly, compared to the traditional e-
learning environment, according to the learner’s perspective.
Keywords: SAM, Instructional Design, E-Learning
INTRODUCTION
As vast amounts of new information and ideas are rapidly emerging,
instructional designers are confronted with demands, not only to create high
quality content, but also to reduce time and cost for the design and develop-
ment process. Training departments, management, learners and even share-
holders have pointed out that a majority of e-learning content was created
without the consideration of learner’s needs (Hort, 2011; Jones & Richey,
2000). This suggests that the traditional ISD processes need improvement.
For these reasons, rapid prototyping methodology was evolved as a solution
(Hort, 2011; Jones & Richey, 2000).
To quickly and meaningfully design and develop learner-friendly e-
learning content, the interest in SAM (Allen & Sites, 2012) has increased.
This model is a rapid prototyping methodology which is considered as an
alternative model for traditional ISD models - such as ADDIE. However,
few studies have been conducted to provide empirical descriptions of design
and development efforts using SAM. Therefore, the purpose of this study
is to share our experience of designing e-learning content based on SAM,
and this study also proved the effectiveness of the SAM framework by inter-
viewing learners for their perception on the e-learning contents.
Needs of Alternative ISD Model for ADDIE
A huge number of traditional e-learning contents have been developed
based on the ADDIE model (Morrison, Ross, Kalman, & Kemp, 2011). The
ADDIE model provides instructional designers with systematic design pro-
cedures and helps them make more effective and productive instructional
programs (Gustafson & Branch, 2002). However, ADDIE has been criti-
cized for being too systematic; meaning it is too linear, too inflexible, too
constraining, and even too time consuming to implement (Kruse, 2009). It
has long been considered too rigid and drawn-out for most instructional de-
sign projects, especially for the fast-paced e-learning design.
Advanced Instructional Design for Successive E-Learning 193
To make up for these weak points of the ADDIE model, Allen and Sites
(2012) created an alternative ISD model -SAM. SAM utilizes a more itera-
tive process that emphasizes prototyping more heavily than the other mod-
els. This model assumes that stakeholders will change their minds about
what is necessary, what will work, what they need, and who will be includ-
ed in the group of learners. The change that will be made in each stage of
the project will need to be updated through an iterative process. With this
model, collaboration is crucial to prevent potential problems (Allen & Sites,
2012).
Main Characteristics of SAM
One of the primary differences between SAM and ADDIE is that SAM
is a more agile approach (Allen & Sites, 2012). SAM focuses on speed,
flexibility and collaboration for the purpose of generating more effective
and efficient e-learning content. Moreover, SAM focuses on learner expe-
riences, engagement, and motivation over the entire process of design and
development (such as content organization, presentation of information, and
post-tests). Every project, project team, and project sponsor bring a whole
new set of challenges - requiring agility and flexibility by the project team.
SAM provides the options, strategies, and tools for these teams to be suc-
cessful. These characteristics of SAM require project members to meet of-
ten. As a result, project teams collaborate more effectively. For example,
they can generate more ideas and opinions, share experiences, and employ
the knowledge of team members.
The distinguishing characteristic of SAM (versus ADDIE) is its itera-
tive process. An iterative process provides opportunities to experiment, test,
and revise the designs. Development in small steps, with frequent evalua-
tions, allows for changes that can be modified or reversed at a time when
changes cost the least. Thus, SAM is efficient and effective. With limited re-
sources, edits or changes to e-learning content can be conducted efficiently.
SAM Process
SAM consists of three main phases: preparation, iterative design, and
iterative development (Figure 1). First, in the preparation phase, SAM starts
with gathering all the information and background knowledge relevant to
the project. This process is called “savvy start”. The savvy start serves as
194 Jung, Kim, Lee, and Shin
a kick-off meeting and gives project members opportunities to review the
collected background information and generate initial ideas for designing e-
learning content (Sites, & Green, 2014).
Second, in the iterative design phase, all design, prototyping, and evalu-
ation rotate iteratively in small steps. Prototyping is a vital part in the design
phase. A prototype can function as a means of communication among team
members by making conceptual ideas visible, instead of describing and list-
ing all the design specifications. Several prototypes are developed with each
evaluation (Sites, & Green, 2014).
Finally, in the iterative development phase, the project team members
rotate through development, implementation, and evaluation. Design proof,
the product of the first cycle, is made at the beginning of the development
phase. After presenting and testing the design proof, an alpha version is re-
leased, and then evolves to a beta version before finally rolling out the gold
version.
Figure 1. Process of SAM (Sites, & Green, 2014).
METHOD
To collect data, interviews, surveys, and observations were used. Eight
students voluntarily joined the interview and survey activities. The inter-
views and surveys asked the learners what they thought about previous e-
learning content, and how they used the courses. They were asked about
cognitive load and perception regarding previous e-learning content. They
were taking the online courses at H university in South Korea. The partici-
pants agreed to join in the beginning of the study, and they were informed
about the confidentiality of their responses.
During the savvy start, a total of eleven people worked together. These
eleven people were SMEs, recent learners, potential learners, IDs, and pro-
totypers. The SMEs, IDs, and eight leaners worked together from the first
stage of the savvy start. After the alpha and beta versions were revised, po-
Advanced Instructional Design for Successive E-Learning 195
tential learners joined for a usability evaluation of the gold version, which is
the final version.
Design and Development for Tool
The course was designed and developed with three phases: preparation
phase, iterative design phase, and iterative development phase. Learning ex-
perience was thoroughly scoped and developed with minimal costs. A small
amount of learning content was presented in the lecture, in order to reduce
cognitive load. We produced bite-sized (five to ten-minute-long) video lec-
tures to let learners focus on and process information more effectively. This
also helps with updating video lectures and learning materials; for exam-
ple, an instructor can update a smaller segment of the lesson, rather than
re-recording and uploading an entirely new 45-minute or hour-long lecture.
Finally, we chose HTML5 to publish content that is readily accessible from
various devices (such as a computer, tablet, or mobile phone).
Preparation Phase
This phase consists of four substages; information gathering, under-
standing learners’ needs, savvy start, and analyzing roles and opinions. The
following explains each stage in detail.
Information Gathering
Students who had previously taken an e-learning course were surveyed,
and they were also interviewed with the questions below (Table 1). The
survey asked about their perception regarding the previous e-learning con-
tent. The survey (regarding the previous e-learning content) indicated that
achievement, pace, interest, and concentration were relatively higher than
difficulty, fatigue, and irritation (Figure 2). The learners also considered
some of the content to be unnecessary and stagnant (Figure 3). For example,
there were too many click activities to go to the next slide. They had a posi-
tive perception about the previous e-learning content (Figure 3), and this
is because the lectures were provided for free. The interviews and surveys
were used to develop a new prototype and scenario.
196 Jung, Kim, Lee, and Shin
Figure 2. The Result for Cognitive Load from Learners about the Previous
E-Learning.
Figure 3. Learners’ Perception about the Previous E-learning Content.
Advanced Instructional Design for Successive E-Learning 197
Table 1
Interview Questions
Learners E-learning Content
How do you find information that you need
for your work?
Can you share your recent learning experi-
ence?
If there was any enjoyable learning experi-
ence, can you share it?
Can you share your recent online learning
experience?
If there was any enjoyable online experience,
can you share it?
What is the most difficult or challenging
learning activity?
How was the assessment in the course?
What determines your success or failure in
your learning?
Where are learners from?
Where does the learner’s performance
take place?
What does it sound like?
What does it look like?
What does it feel like (hot or cold)?
Are there any dangers the learners need
to be aware of?
What are learners doing for living?
What needs to be done?
Are there any people involved?
What are the risks involved?
The Learners’ Needs
Based on the survey and interviews, core needs were extracted (Figure
4). Core needs were matched with current e-learning trends. Based on the
needs and trends, we integrated technologies such as HTML5 and respon-
sive web into the instructional design.
Figure 4. Core Needs from Learners, Trends, and Technology.
198 Jung, Kim, Lee, and Shin
Savvy Start
With basic information and ideas related to the study, the savvy start
phase begins. The goal of savvy start is to collect useful information and
gather various ideas (through brainstorming) for design and development of
e-learning content. For gathering ideas and information, researchers, SMEs,
IDs, content designers, current learners and potential learners participated
in the savvy start. In this study, 3D printing was selected as the e-learning
content. The following (Table 2) shows the question list and context during
the savvy start.
Table 2
Question List and Context for the Savvy Start
Question List Context
What mistakes do people make when they
are new?
What mistakes do they make or continue
to make after one month? After one year?
How do you act differently than others?
If you could change one thing, what do
you want to change?
Where do you go and what tools do you
use when you need help?
What is the most difficult or challenging
aspect of your tasks?
How does evaluation occur?
Which metrics determine success or
failure?
Where are learners from?
Where does the learner’s performance
take place?
What does it sound like?
What does it look like?
What does it feel like (hot or cold)?
Are there any dangers that the learners
need to be aware of?
What are the learners doing?
What needs to be done?
Are there any people involved?
What are the risks involved?
Roles and Opinions
SMEs, recent learners, potential learners, IDs, and prototypers each
have their own roles and opinions about designing and developing content.
First, SMEs should be professionals on the topic, and their job is to pro-
vide insight and ideas for the lesson. SMEs said that when the lecture begins
with interesting information, learners can easily focus on the lecture with
motivation. Also, each goal in the lectures should be presented in a clear and
direct manner. This gives the learner the opportunity to see how valuable the
content will be in their life and increases their engagement. Second, recent
learners contributed by choosing the content. Recent learners also help sav-
vy starters to understand the strengths and weaknesses of current learning,
which parts are easy or challenging to learn, and what content might be the
Advanced Instructional Design for Successive E-Learning 199
most relevant for their jobs. Third, potential learners support the ongoing
development of the course through a user-test and review. They said that it
was important to let learners understand how a 3D printer (selected content)
relates to the real world, in business, or even in small companies that do not
possess enough experts in a given field. In small companies, workers should
possess a broad array of skills. Therefore, good content could help learners
improve their skills at work. Fourth, IDs provided recommendations for in-
structional treatments, and kept the instruction focused on the learners. They
said that the length of the previous lecture was approximately 20-30 min-
utes, but 10-minute lectures were more effective in keeping concentration.
Finally, prototypers sketched and built the prototypes to give savvy starters
the opportunity to visualize their ideas.
The Iterative Design Phase
In the iterative design phase, SMEs, IDs, and learners worked together
for the entire process. First, SMEs designed a lecture by using text narration
and giving directions to the IDs. Then, the IDs reviewed the text narration
alongside the learning content (on PowerPoint slides) and provided sugges-
tions to the SMEs. Based on the suggestions, the SMEs revised and record-
ed lectures. The IDs combined the lectures and learning activities, and then
simulated the prototype using InVision which is an online prototyping tool.
The learners reviewed the prototype and gave comments by pointing out
necessary revisions. Finally, the IDs revised the entire lesson based on the
feedback from the learners, and then published the final contents.
The Iterative Development Phase
We developed this iterative design based on the idea from savvy start-
ers. During the iterative design phase, the IDs and SMEs rotated through de-
signing, prototyping, and reviewing the content. We made the alpha version
prototype from the iterative design process. In the alpha version, we tried to
show the whole structure and the primary function of the HTML5 platform.
Based on the opinions of version alpha, we developed version beta. The e-
learning content was developed based on the script prepared by the SMEs,
and then two types of lectures were created. Type 1 was designed for begin-
ners, and type 2 was designed for helping workers who already have basic
knowledge about the topic.
200 Jung, Kim, Lee, and Shin
RESULTS
This section will show the feedback from the potential learners for the
alpha and beta versions, and it will also show the learners’ perception on the
final version. During the beta version, we developed two different lessons
for beginners and experienced learners. This helped us in designing the gold
version.
The Feedback from the Potential Learners for the Alpha and Beta Version
After reviewing the prototype from savvy start, the alpha version was
finalized. Based on the feedback from learners about the alpha version, the
beta version was then developed. The lecture was continuously updated
based on the script by the SMEs, and then two types of lectures were made.
Type 1 was designed for rudimentary learners who want to be experts (Fig-
ure 5). In this type, content was divided into several interactive pages, so
learners could click to the next page step by step.
Type 2 was designed to help workers (experienced learners) that wanted
to save time while studying (Figure 6). In this type, more contents were pre-
sented on fewer pages, and learners could easily check the content outline
from the very first page. This was intended so that learners could use the
scroll bar whenever they want to skip some content. The feedback described
below (Table 3) is from the learners regarding the beta version prototype.
Figure 5. Beta Version 1. Figure 6. Beta Version 2.
Advanced Instructional Design for Successive E-Learning 201
Table 3
Feedback from Learners Using the Beta Version Prototype
Type one Type two
I like
Scrollbar was not needed. Just
one glance is enough to see the
entire contents.
The amount of content on each
page was just right, so learners
could feel comfortable with the
content.
The divided content decreased
the cognitive load.
Neither next button nor clicking
was needed for the learning
process.
Using scrolling function made
the learning process easier.
Learners could skim through
(scan) the content, and it was
easy to move to the next section.
Summary part was very intuitive.
I wish There was more content on each
screen/page, so there would be
less unnecessary clicking.
There was an option for scroll-
ing instead of repeated clicking.
Each page had less text and
materials.
Excess content could be
trimmed, and it could have a
simpler structure.
The gold version was developed based on the potential learners’ opin-
ions about the beta version prototype. There were some necessary factors
described from the learner’s feedback. First, the beta version prototype
should be more effective in content design and have more learning support,
such as text related multimedia. As a result, instead of providing an entire
video lecture, essential images or captured GIF files were posted for each
activity in the gold version (Figure 7). Well-structured content and a proper
volume of content helps to decrease cognitive overload. In the lecture teach-
ing the 3D modeling process, each video lecture and supporting documents
were attached as files instead of posting too many additional items. This was
designed according to the learners’ preference. Therefore, learners could
choose what they preferred using among different learning tools. Another
factor was the support for active interaction between learners and the con-
tents. As a result, Tips and Q&A sections were developed (Figure 8). The
Tips sections were created based on the content that learners might be curi-
ous about. There were additional interactive functions, such as a comment
section, a search engine function, and online materials. They were intended
for self-directed learning. Functions such as leaving comments, printing,
and a like-button are available on every page. All of them were designed
for supporting interaction. The last factor was usability. As a result, we used
HTML5 to improve web accessibility. Moreover, subtitles and sign lan-
guage were offered in the lecture.
202 Jung, Kim, Lee, and Shin
Figure 7. Gold Version. Figure 8. Gold Version.
Learner’s Perception on Final Version
The following describes an evaluation on the usability. This evaluation
was used to check if the final version was well developed or not. The tra-
ditional version, which was based on flash, was used as a comparison. The
results show that the developed content got a higher score on the usability
evaluation, and the gap between the two versions was quite high (Figures
9 and 10). Comparing the traditional version to the final content (gold ver-
sion) we developed, learners preferred the final version because of suitabil-
ity and accessibility (Figure 9). Other usability factors on the new version
were higher than the ones on the traditional version (Figure 10). The follow-
ing illustrates the opinions and preferences between the traditional version
and the new version (Table 4).
Table 4
Opinions and Preferences between the Traditional Version and the Final Version
Traditional version New version
It was comfortable to learn, because it
was a familiar structure.
Even though it was comfortable, some-
times learners felt pressure to finish the
entire class when they saw the interface
provided.
Sometimes, the length of video seemed
too long and boring, which decreased
focus on the content even though it was
helpful for understanding the lesson.
By using the search engine, searching the
information was easy.
It was easy to explore the entire lesson with
the preview and review functions.
Simple interface helped learners’ concentration.
Well-structured videos, text, and guidelines
improved learning activity.
There was less pressure to finish the entire
lesson.
The video lecture was a comfortable length.
It was convenient to move to the next or
previous content because of the design.
Advanced Instructional Design for Successive E-Learning 203
Figure 9. Comparison between the Traditional Version and the Final Version.
Figure 10. Comparison between the Traditional Version and the Final Version.
CONCLUSION
The purpose of this study was to develop e-learning content based on
SAM. We proved that strategic collaboration amongst learners, IDs, and
SMEs led to a successful re-design of the e-learning course. Collaboration
for generating ideas and developing the course earned positive learning
implications. Feedback from previous, current, and potential learners also
helped in creating two different versions of the course. We concluded that
SAM was effective in terms of allowing agile revisions and accommodating
on-going learners’ needs throughout the course; the weekly sessions could
be rapidly created and revised.
Developing the content was a dynamic process. Since many people
were involved in developing the content, making a schedule for meeting
in each phase was challenging but still meaningful in terms of developing
the final version. Here are our suggestions we have for the future study. The
content we designed could be analyzed to explore more diverse perspec-
tives, such as the relationship between content and learners’ characteristics.
Second, 3D printing was selected as the content in this study, because it is
204 Jung, Kim, Lee, and Shin
a very trendy technology and many industries have begun using it. We as-
sumed that there are many potential learners who want to study about 3D
printing. Still, a systematic way to select attractive learning content for po-
tential learners would be a great topic in a following study.
References
Allen, M. W., & Sites, R. (2012). Leaving ADDIE for SAM: An agile model for
developing the best learning experiences. Alexandria, VA: American Soci-
ety for Training and Development.
Gustafson, K. L., & Branch, R. M. (2002). What is instructional design. Trends
and issues in instructional design and technology, 16-25.
Horton, W. (2011). E-learning by design. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.
Jones, T. S., & Richey, R. C. (2000). Rapid prototyping methodology in action:
A developmental study. ETR&D, 48(2), 63-80.
Kruse, K. (2009). Introduction to instructional design and ADDIE model. Retrieved
April 2009, from http://www.transformativedesigns.com/id_systems.html.
Morrison, G. R., Ross, S. M., Kalman, H. K., & Kemp, J. E. (2011). Introduc-
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(6th ed.) (pp. 1-26). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
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Background The COVID‐19 pandemic posed significant challenges to traditional simulation education. As simulation is considered best practice for competency‐based education, emergency medicine residencies adapted and innovated to accommodate to the new pandemic normal. Our objectives were to identify the impact of the pandemic on EM residency simulation training, to identify unique simulation adaptations and innovations implemented during the pandemic and to analyze successes and failures through existing educational frameworks to offer guidance on the use of simulation in the COVID‐19 era. Methods SAEM’s Simulation Academy formed the SimCOVID task force to examine the impact of COVID‐19 on simulation didactics. A mixed‐methods approach was employed. A literature search was conducted on the subject and used to develop an exploratory survey that was distributed on the Simulation Academy list‐serv. The results were subjected to thematic analysis and examined through existing educational frameworks to better understand successes and failures and then used to generate suggestions on the use of simulation in the COVID‐19 era. Results 30 programs responded to the survey. Strategies reported included adaptations to virtual tele‐conferencing and small group in situ training with a focus on procedural training and COVID‐19 preparedness. Successful continuation or relaunching of simulation programs was predicated on several factors including willingness for curricular pivots through rapid iterative prototyping, embracing tele‐conferencing software, technical know‐how, and organizational and human capacity. In specific instances the use of in situ simulation for COVID‐19 preparedness established the view of simulation as a “value‐add” to the organization. Conclusions Whereas simulation educator’s responses to the COVID‐19 pandemic can be better appreciated through the lens of iterative curricular prototyping, their successes and failures depended on existing expertise in technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge. That knowledge needed to exist and synergize within a system that had the human and organizational capacity to prioritize and invest in strategies to respond to the rapidly evolving crisis in a proactive manner. Going forward, administrators and educators will need to advocate for continued investment in human and organizational capacity to support simulation‐based efforts for the evolving clinical and educational landscape.
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This study investigated the use of rapid prototyping methodologies in two projects conducted in a natural work setting. It sought to determine the nature of its use by designers and customers and the extent to which its use enhances traditional instructional design (ID). With respect to describing rapid prototyping use, the results pertain to designer tasks performed, the concurrent processing of those tasks, and customer involvement. With respect to describing the enhancements facilitated by rapid prototyping, the results pertain to design and development cycle-time reduction, product quality, and customer and designer satisfaction. In general, the two projects studied show ID efforts that created products that were usable for a conveniently long period of time without revision; delivered in a shorter period of time than would have been expected using traditional techniques; and received by satisfied customers who had been involved throughout their development. In other words, the rapid prototyping methods lived up to their promised benefits.
Leaving ADDIE for SAM: An agile model for developing the best learning experiences
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Leaving ADDIE for SAM field guide: Guidelines and templates for developing the best learning experiences
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Sites, R., & Green, A. (2014). Leaving ADDIE for SAM field guide: Guidelines and templates for developing the best learning experiences. Alexandra, VA: ASTD Press.