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Richard Sites

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3 Ways to Start Implementing the SAM Process in Your Organization

by , vice president - training and marketing | @rhillsites

Over past couple of years, I have taught a number of workshops on SAM (Successive Approximation Model) and have given even more talks on the subject. In these workshops and talks, I always get the same basic questions, which I guess makes sense since I am talking about the same thing. But, the one question I can guarantee I will be asked is,  “How do I implement SAM in my organization?”

While I am happy to be asked this question, as I firmly believe organizations benefit from the efficiencies and improvement in quality gained in an iterative process, this is a tough question to answer! Truthfully, it is nearly impossible to answer even in a 2-day workshop, let alone a 90-minute lecture.  Since I do encounter this question so frequently, I have learned to focus my answer on a few key factors that increase the likelihood of success.

Angel Green and I often use the phrase “moving the needle” to describe the efforts when implementing SAM in an organization. By “moving the needle”, someone is making incremental changes that produce noticeable results.

Let me share some of these incremental changes with you.

  1. Start at the start.

    There is no better way to build excitement for the power of an iterative design than to kick-off with an active brainstorming and sketching session, which is called the Savvy Start in SAM.

    Sure, we recognize that you might face resistance when asking for the full amount of time required of a Savvy Start (as described in the book), but perhaps you can facilitate a one-hour brainstorming session on a single performance event or objective.  The energy and excitement generated from a robust brainstorming/sketching/prototyping event goes a long way to build credibility within the organization for a new instructional design approach.
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Your Questions Answered: 5 Savvy Tips for a Successful e-Learning Project Kickoff

by , vice president - training and marketing | @rhillsites

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Good e-Learning Design Begins with Asking "Why Not?"

by , vice president - training and marketing | @rhillsites

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Is Every Process Really ADDIE?

by , vice president - training and marketing | @rhillsites

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Effective e-Learning Design Through Collaboration

by , vice president - training and marketing | @rhillsites

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Four e-Learning Design Practices to Leave Behind

by , vice president - training & marketing | @rhillsites

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We Need More Design In Instructional Design

by , vice president - training and marketing | @rhillsites

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Give Us AdvICE on What to Check Out at ICE!

by , vice president - client services | @rhillsites 

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What Got Us Here Won’t Get Us There – A Conversation with Trish Uhl

vice president of client services & co-author of Leaving ADDIE for SAM
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Trish Uhl
Owl's Ledge 
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I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to a colleague of mine, Trish Uhl. 

As CEO of Owl's Ledge, a learning and performance and project management consulting firm, Trish travels the world speaking, coaching, and consulting with people and organizations about “professionalizing the learning profession” through the adoption of professional standards and skills-based assessment.

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Prototypes Are Essential to e-Learning Design

by , vice president - client services | @rhillsites

As many of my colleagues are at ASTD TechKnowledge 2013 enjoying the California weather, I am stuck here in the Atlanta airport – dodging tornadoes and dealing with weather delays.  For those of you at the conference, I hope you have been able to attend some of the Allen Interactions and ZebraZapps demonstrations, workshops and sessions.   We are sharing the new features of ZebraZapps Professional and the first day-long workshop about SAM, the iterative design and development process that Michael Allen and I co-authored a book about in September.

I admit I am a bit envious of those of you who, like my co-workers, are enjoying northern California in winter while participating in sessions and roundtables, engaging in conversations about building instruction and training, debating about the best tools to create high quality e-learning, or even spending time with old friends reminiscing about the old days.

I figured since I wasn't able to attend the conference and engage in some of those debates and conversations, I would share a topic that has been coming up a lot for me lately - the role of prototyping.

Designing effective and engaging e-learning can be a challenging endeavor. There are many expectations by many people in the organization – all needing to be recognized and accounted for before any course goes live. Couple those expectations with the requirements of budget and timelines, and it is easy to understand how designing quality learning events can be overwhelming.

So sadly, more often than not, we fall back on designs which made it through the approval process in the past – they are safe and reasonably effective. We fear rocking the boat with crazy notions of interactivity and settle for a fancy page-turner preceding an assessment. And why not? This has produced good results for us in the past, surely it will again. But has it produced the results you are looking for, or has it simply put a pretty course in front of a learner? Are learners engaged? Are they transferring their training to their work environment? Or, are they simply completing the course only to forget the content within minutes of exiting?

Perhaps it is time to try and push your design a step further - to avoid the trap of playing it safe. One way to make this effort more effective is through the use of prototypes. Prototypes are powerful because they provide clear insight into the design while assuring alignment of expectations of everyone involved.

Understanding what prototypes are, how they are built and their role in design is the biggest hurdle.  So what exactly is a prototype? I have seen people create semi-functional prototypes only to use them as screen captures in a storyboard. Others build prototypes which only demonstrate simple designs for assessment, like drag-and-drop or multi-select. And others simply sketch out where components will be on the screen.

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