Applying SAMR model to design a blended learning activity

In topic 4, we were introduced to three pedagogical frameworks to design blended learning. These include the Gilly’s Five Stage model, Communities of Inquiry and Constructive Alignment. Now that we are reaching almost the end of the course, I realized that as a learner, all these frameworks were embedded into the tasks that we are doing in the ONL171 course, particularly the Gilly’s SALMON Five Stage model. In addition to these three frameworks, I thought of sharing with you the SAMR model and suggest how it can be adopted to discuss a scenario and carry out a presentation for a small group.

To explain briefly, SAMR stands for Substitution-Augmentation-Modification-Redefinition model. This technological framework was designed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura to help educators integrate technology into teaching and learning. The model aims to enable educators to design, develop, and integrate digital learning experiences that utilize technology to transform learning experiences that lead to high levels of achievement for learners and meet learning outcomes.

The 4 Levels of SAMR Technology Integration:


By Lefflerd (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons


Below is a basic example of how the SAMR model can be adopted to discuss a scenario and carry out a presentation for a small group:

Level Description Example
Substitution Technology acts a direct tool substitute, with no functional change. The idea of this activity is to brainstorm ideas on how to solve the scenario provided for each topic in the ONL course. This process, when done with a direct technology substitute with no functional improvement, could be addressed by having basic synchronous text chat for discussion.
Augmentation Technology acts a direct tool substitute, with functional change. The exchanging of ideas could be augmented by having a video chat like Zoom/Adobe Connect/Skype/Google Hangouts instead of just a text chat. The delivery of message is more effective and efficient as participants can see each other’s facial expressions and unspoken cues. The facilitator or the people leading the group can give immediate feedback  if there are clarifications needed or if the group is going off the topic.
Modification Technology allows for significant task redesign. To allow for significant task redesign, participants can work collaboratively on a shared document/presentation in Google Drive while still discussing the scenario in the video chat simultaneously. While this is possible to send this through email, it will rather be difficult to keep track of the revisions each time somebody updates the document.
Redefinition Technology allows for the creation of new tasks that was previously inconceivable. Participants share their group presentation into the Google + to gather feedback from the community. This creates an opportunity to learn from one another, get another person’s different point of view and build personal network learning.

As for individual reflections, each member can record 2-3 learning points for each topic in Flipgrid ( As Flipgrid has limit response time, participants need to exercise critical thinking and be concise with their sharing.

Other examples of using SAMR:


Each user may have different interpretation and different ways of adopting this framework. More importantly, we need to reflect on our teaching practices – what we do, why we do it, and how it helps students’ learning. By thinking about the different levels, we can focus on designing a digital learning experiences that will help improve student learning outcomes.



Salmon, G (2013) The Five Stage Model.

Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Edmonton: AU Press. Chapter 1 “Conceptual framework”.

John Biggs. Constructive Alignment.

Ruben R. Puentedura (2010). SAMR and TPCK: Intro to Advanced Practice.

Ruben R. Puentedura (2013). The SAMR Model: Six Exemplars.

Introduction to the SAMR model video

Putting Activities Through the SAMR Exercise

10 ways to reach SAMR’s redefinition level



One thought on “Applying SAMR model to design a blended learning activity

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s