How to Apply the SAMR Model to Your Adult Ed Lessons

Posted by on June 14th, 2017

Higher education, the work force and society in general are evolving technologically. Adult learners should be equipped to succeed in the tech savvy environments. You can help your students face the changes and challenges associated with the use of technology by adapting your instruction with the SAMR model.

The SAMR model is a teaching framework that incorporates technology into the learning process at various levels. Divided into two categories, enhancement and transformation, the SAMR acronym stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition. The level of student engagement with technology increases as they move across the continuum. Some examples of transformation through SAMR include:


Task: Geography

  • Substitution – Presentation software replaces traditional handouts and pictures.
  • Augmentation – Links to files, clips and other resources are embedded into the presentations.
  • Modification – Students create digital brochure for the area of study.
  • Redefinition – Set up virtual field trips using Google Earth and Maps.


Task: Math

  • Substitution – Separate, handheld calculators are replaced with apps on mobile devices, tablets and computers.
  • Augmentation – Use Google Sheets to have students solve problems or shade in fractions. Provide feedback directly within the document.
  • Modification – Offer access to different lessons, audio/visual aids and interactive internet resources.
  • Redefinition – Use apps for various games and practice. Have students build a game using the technology of choice.


Task: Reading

  • Substitution – Content is loaded onto computer, tablet or mobile device for student access.
  • Augmentation – Students access supplemental and reference material online.
  • Modification – Students access the content, highlight, provide commentary, and other engagement using tools like Google Docs/Classroom.
  • Redefinition – Students respond to reading prompts through the curation of their own reference materials and creation of their own presentations and videos.


Task: Taking an Assessment

  • Substitution – Assessment is printed out for completion and turned in.
  • Augmentation – Assessment is administered and submitted using a Google form.
  • Modification – Assessment and responses are delivered via audio recording.
  • Redefinition – Students create a documentary detailing their response and knowledge on a particular subject.


Task: Writing a Paper

  • Substitution – Pen and paper are replaced using a word processor or app.
  • Augmentation – Text to type software is used allowing students to dictate their essay.
  • Modification – An audio recording of the essay is created and turned in.
  • Redefinition – Multimedia tools are used to share the content with other users.


Your role as an instructor is to align your lessons using the SAMR framework so that technology can be integrated in a meaningful way for your students. The use of the SAMR model eliminates the challenge of learning new technology skills through isolated attempts.


Instead, adult learners are introduced gradually to using technology as a substitute for some of their regular tasks. As their comfort grows, students can move through the degrees of SAMR with the final result being their ability to complete tasks that were previously unachieveable without the use of technology.


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