At the heart of any Agile method of development is the ability to brainstorm concepts with your stakeholders, try them out as prototypes, and be able to toss and modify them before a lot of time is spent in development. The SAM Model was introduced by Dr. Michael Allen of Allen Interactions.
SAM is all about filtering out any lesser effective design prototypes early, and trying out a few different possible solutions, rather than settling on the first one and not testing your idea until the end of the project timeline.
This is often an issue found in the pure ADDIE, or “waterfall”, method. SAM is not unlike ADDIE in its phases, but how and when these phases happen make all the difference. In ADDIE, implementing and evaluating for the first time follow analysis, design and development.
SAM is all about moving design prototype review and feedback to the top of the model, and not waiting until after development to test how feasible it is to the learning audience. Before we spend time and dollars to develop, we want to know that both users and our stakeholder have a very high confidence we are using the right design treatments to meet the behavioral objectives.
SAM is a better choice for learning courses and curriculums that are highly experiential and tend to cost more dollars and time to make. The fewer behavioral variables there are, the more likely the ADDIE waterfall model can actually save time with little risk. Think of ADDIE being safer for passive knowledge transfer learning with limited branches, scenarios and feedback.