Leaving ADDIE for SAM. With a Crossbow?

I got a chuckle out of the reaction from some of my valued PLN members when I shared a photo of a (nerf) Crossbow training aid from today’s “Leaving ADDIE for SAM” workshop. *

I was laughing at myself because, in hindsight, I probably should have added a little context to the image.

Crossbows are, by definition, weapons, and instinct says that they probably don’t have much of a place in the average classroom. However, this unique training aid was really an object lesson on the concepts of analysis and impact.

In this exercise, 4 groups were handed a Nerf Crossbow. Two of the groups were told they had to analyze the use of the thing and – without any prior test firing, hit a target set up in the room. The constraint was that they could take all the time they wanted for analysis and discussion but they only got one shot at it. The other groups were allowed to take as many shots as they wanted in the time the other groups took for analysis, but they were allowed no prep time.

Let’s extend this to a learning situation.

Would you prefer lots as lots of time for analysis so that you could increase your odds of a bullseye, or would you prefer to be guided by instinct and feedback and keep taking shots and increasing your accuracy.

It’s an interesting dilemma, and one that Allison Rossett wrote about, saying that we often spend more time than needed in Analysis activities; hoping for that magical bullseye. In fact, it’s one of the knocks on the ADDIE process that people either bypass Analysis entirely and hope for the bullseye, or they get so lost in it that the solutions takes too long and may still miss the mark.

So, are there other ways to make the same point? Yeah, probably. But this exercise encompassed the 3 core things SAM wants to accomplish with any activity: it was Meaningful, it was Memorable, and (seeing the results) it was Motivating. It could be argued that this approach was a disruptive innovation of sorts because you likely wouldn’t think of using something like a Crossbow to illustrate the finer points of instructional design.

Interestingly enough, the audience was very receptive to the exercise; no small accomplishment considering that Canadians are among the least weaponized people you could think of. What’s more telling is this: the guy who did the instinctive shot had no experience with something like a crossbow and he scored a lot of hits. The secret? Continuous support from his group and immediate feedback from his results.

Lots to think about….

*A very interesting but quick look at the Successive Approximation Model.  A good start, but it may be worth waiting for the 2-day workshop if you are going to be a real practitioner.

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About Mark L. Sheppard

learning geek, lifelong learner, terminally curious, recovering blogger and Ed Tech explorer.

Posted on April 9, 2013, in commentary, conference summary, CSTD, ideas, Innovation, Instructional Design, learning, opinion, Performance, PLN, professional development and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. SAM speaks to an agile design process but it also highlights the importance open communication, collaboration, trust, and JiT all the things we see in successful PLN’s. Interesting approach Mark. And yes, memorable way to make a concept come to life. I assume the audience was learning professionals?

    • ADDIE never said “don’t communicate” but like other things that are harder to do, it often got skipped in the process. SAM basically says, “this is not going to work nicely unless you get all people talking.” The collab and trust are big, as is support from some kind of sponsor for big initiatives. Otherwise, Sr. Mgmt tends to lose interest.

      The audience for the session was largely IDs. Some developers, some learning PMs and a few hybrid types. SAM is pretty new, but we look forward to trying it out here.

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