3 Questions for the Master Performers In Any Line of Work

A Line of Questioning

Mark Britz (@Britz) asked a question on Twitter and LinkedIn the other day:

I have the opportunity to interview about 20 leading voices in L&D. Topics like AR, VR, Workflow learning, Design Thinking, Video, etc. Let’s say I’ve got 5 minutes with them, 3 questions… what’s the line of questioning that would bring YOU the most value?

I originally responded with my question #1 below – and then the next day I added #2 and #3:

1- How do they go about affecting terminal Performance back on the job?

2- What are the most typical barriers they encounter?

3- What strategies and tactics do they employ to successfully avoid and/or address those barriers?

I believe that these 3 are at the heart of any T&D/L&D/ISD/ID/Performance Improvement Analysts tool-set.

Here I rework my 3 Questions a bit for this Post…


I use a Performance Model chart to both capture the performance data – and to report it out. That’s after first framing the Performance (within scope) using a chunking approach – chunks of Output-Task-Sets – that I call “Areas of Performance.” Also known as Major Duties, or Key Results Areas, etc., etc.

Here my focus is narrow for one chunk – and would be replicated for each chunk, say for Analysis and Design and Development and Implementation and Evaluation — or S and A and M, or any other framework you might use. Whatever.

What are the ideal Outputs & Measures and what Tasks are required?


What are the typical barriers in the way?


What are the strategies and tactics – in Task form – used to avoid the barrier – and to address if the barrier was unavoidable.


These are simplified questions. For more in-depth – 25 pages of depth – see my 2006 chapter in the HPT Handbook:

Modeling Mastery Performance and Systematically Deriving the Enablers for Performance Improvement – by Guy W. Wallace, CPT – Chapter 11 of the Handbook of Human Performance Technology – 3rd Edition – 2006.  This methodology was first published in this 1984 article in ISPI’s (then NSPI’s) PIJ in November 1984.


Bonus Graphics/Job Aids

FGP – Facilitated Group Process

Again, I prefer a FGP – Facilitated Group Process – when feasible. It’s not always feasible.

Covered in depth in my 1999 book: lean-ISD in conducting Analysis, and Design of T&D Paths and Planning Guides and in Design of T&D modular Events.


For a free 214 page PDF of lean-ISD – please go here.

Performance Analysis Job Aid

Covered in depth in my 1999 book: lean-ISD.


The Solution – beyond Instruction

The solution may be:

1- Standalone Job Aids

2- Job Aids covered in Training

3- Training for memorization and/or Skills honing)

4- Informal Learning/Doing Nothing At All

The right solution/solution-set, of course, might be totally outside Your Lane.


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The Matt & Will Podcast Show: THE “WHERE’S THE EVIDENCE” EPISODE

Posted December 2, 2019 – from Matt Richter and Will Thalheimer: The Truth in Learning Podcast

In this episode, Will has a conversation with The Good Practice Podcast guys, Ross Garner and Owen Ferguson. You can find them at https://podcast.goodpractice.com. They share their origin story of the show. Will asks them whether we podcasters should go after and challenge the “bad actors” in our industry. The answer will surprise you.


After Matt and Will debrief his Good Practice conversation, they dive deep into what makes evidence good evidence. In other words, how does one evaluate the quality of evidence in our field. In the discussion, Will and Matt discuss his first draft on a taxonomy for evaluating research. IT IS A FIRST DRAFT! But, click here to see it. They use 70-20-10 as an example for their exploration. The article Will wrote on 70-20-10 is here.

And, of course, they tease the possibility of an exploration of A/B testing… again.

In the final segment, Will and Matt share the Learning Translators they turn to when exploring new research. There also might be a pumpkin pie recipe. The list below is more people than directly referred to in the episode, as we left a few out as we discussed the topic.

*** *** *** ***

Listen to it here: https://www.truthinlearning.com/podcasts/the-wheres-the-evidence-episode

It is just under 75 minutes in length.

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Tis the Season for Job Aids

As the end of the year holiday season approaches, it brings to mind my many year end tussles with poorly prepared Job Aids.

I’ve put together children’s toys, furniture, exercise equipment, and mixed drinks.

And nothing ruins the holidays than gift construction ReWork. Other than the mixed drinks of course. :)


Job Aids, or Guidance, Performance Support, etc., etc., are supposed to be Instructional.

And Instructions are supposed to be: detailed information telling how something should be done, operated, or assembled.

To ensure that they work as intended – do something that Bob Mager (Robert F. Mager) always preached:

“Always Alpha Test, Beta Test and Pilot Test.”

From a Past Post (2011)…

Whether your Instructional Content is Training, E-Learning , or Knowledge Management information, process maps, decision tables, lessons learned, demonstrations, application exercises, etc. – testing your content in an Alpha Test, or Beta Test, or a Pilot-Test – should focus on the 4 following aspects:

  1. Performance Impact
  2. Accuracy
  3. Completeness
  4. Appropriateness

Testing with the Target Audience is the ONLY WAY to test aspect #1. But the Target Audience cannot help you with Tests #2-4. How could they?


To review the rest of that Past Post – please go here.

To see Bob Mager talking about testing – see this 47 minute 1999 video of him delivering The Perfect Banquet Speech – at ISPI in Long Beach CA. See those comments beginning around the 34:00 minute mark.

Note – this video is chalk full of insider jokes and commentary.

And From NPR – December 26, 2015

Toy Stories: When Some Assembly Is Required

Christmas with children usually means lots of toys under the tree. And sometimes those toys aren’t quite ready for the kids straight out of the packaging.

The dreaded words “assembly required” can make any post-Christmas day more stressed than relaxed. We asked some of our listeners and readers to share their most memorable — and panicked — experiences putting together toys, with any advice for minimizing frustration along the way.

To read that NPR article – please go here.


Here’s hoping that your Holiday Experiences with Job Aids can be avoided entirely as I attempt to do – or that their use goes “as smooth as silk” – as the saying goes.

Happy Holidays!

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From 2014: My Top 5 Problems/ Opportunities* with the Learning Profession’s Practices

It’s been 5 years – and although I wasn’t expecting any kind of rapid turnaround – it is disappointing.

What are yours?


1. Lack of focus on authentic task performance requirements – too much focus on topics and delivery/access technology.

Too often the effort begins by listing the topics, and sketching out perhaps some very lame learning objectives – objectives that don’t scratch the surface of authentic performance – you know, the real job back outside the Learning Box – because there was no need for analysis when your cultural bias for action tells you to…

Just do it.

Performance Competence graphic

Instead we too often tout the shiny new technology instead of the targeted terminal performance.

Second Life anyone?

If the learning/ training isn’t “authentic enough” it won’t transfer – because it’s Learning/Training for someone else’s job. Or maybe no one’s.

And … only 5-15% of the population can learn out of context – and then apply it in a new context.

So if it’s not authentic enough – it’s a total waste for 85-95% of your audience.

Unless you’re …

Just lucky.

Will It Ever Be Different?

For the original 2014 post – please go here.

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Free PACT Processes Self Development Resources

PACT Practitioner Self-Development and Certification Paths

This page leads to 5 website “PACT Path Pages” – which are intended to provide guidance in using the Free Resources that Guy W. Wallace offers for the self-development of Performance Competence in the 5 Key PACT Practitioner Roles:

  • PPA– PACT Performance Analyst
  • PCD– PACT CAD Designer
  • PMD– PACT MCD Designer
  • PLD– PACT Lead Developer
  • PPM– PACT Project Manager


Note: “Roles” can sometimes equate to Job Titles – but more often the “Role” would relate to one of the “many hats” one might need wear in the conduct of their ISD job. One could be an Analyst and the Project Manager and delegate the other Roles to others, as one example.


Focus on the Performance Requirements – and Enable Them.

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