SAMR: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefination


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As a management consultant frameworks are key tool for me; a well designed framework is quickly understood by the client and team and can aid understanding and adoption.

I am presently working in the education sector and have encountered SAMR to describe how technology can be used. Although drafted for education the principles are applicable more widely.

  • Enhancing the business
    • Substitution
      • Tech acts as a direct tool substitute, with no functional change. For example, an electronic typewriter
    • Augmentation
      • Tech acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement. For example a Word Processor with a spell checker
  • Transforming the business
    • Modification
      • Tech allows for significant task redesign. For example, the electronic exchange of PDF contracts for annotation  and wet ink signatures.
    • Redefinition
      • Tech allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable. For example the automated creation and signature of contracts by computers.

Who wrote it?

The SAMR model for education was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura but his website is not immediately useful.

A better source of examples is Technology is Learning which also has good examples. A description from this site is,


The Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition Model offers a method of seeing how computer technology might impact teaching and learning.  It also shows a progression that adopters of educational technology often follow as they progress through teaching and learning with technology.

While one might argue over whether an activity can be defined as one level or another, the important concept to grasp here is the level of student engagement. One might well measure progression along these levels by looking at who is asking the important questions. [The educational goal is to use technology to move the asking of questions from the mouth of the teacher to the mind of the student]

As one moves along the continuum, computer technology becomes more important in the classroom but at the same time becomes more invisibly woven into the demands of good teaching and learning.

Another link