Quality practitioners back in the 1970s and earlier were practicing Quality Circles to engage the expertise of the workforce in solving performance/ quality problems.
So were Instructional Technologists (our name until MIS took IT away from us in the late 70s/early 80s).
We observed and interviewed workers and experts to find the secret sauce of their success so we could repackage it and grow our own experts – better, faster and cheaper.
Then came e authoring tools; making it so easy that anyone could author Learning Content.
So our clients resisted, and our management acquiesced, and our painfully long with little value add Analysis practices were minimized or eliminated and experts were asked to create Instructional Content.
Analysis Paralysis killed itself, under its own weight.
External Consultants who know what they are doing (yes, many don’t) leverage their knowledge with the insights of the people who work there that also know what they are doing (yes, many don’t).
There are many successful methods and practices for Performance-Based Instruction and Performance Improvement Beyond Instruction, they’re just not widely embraced.
I’ve been trying to borrow from them since 1979. You should too.
I learned about – Experts Operating on Non-Conscious Knowledge – after decades of approaching ISD Analysis and Design using teams of Master Performers, Other SMEs, Supervisors and sometimes Novice Performers.
I found out early in my use of my Facilitated Group Process that I’ve been using as an external ISD consultant since 1982, that those types of experts, when collaborating, would add/augment each others contribution in response to my questions used to elicit data about Performance & Gaps 1st, Enabling Knowledge & Skills 2nd.
Dick Clark uses a process called CTA – Cognitive Task Analysis – but beware – he told me back in 2012 that his team at USC had documented over 100 versions of CTA. Here is a PDF on his approach:
I started facilitating experts in design of Instruction back in 1979. Today I call the whole thing a Facilitated Group Process.
Instructional Systems Design, or Instructional Design, or Learning Experience Design needs to be authentic and teach people how to perform. It’s not all about Learning for the sake of Learning. It’s all about Learning to Perform Back-on-the-Job.
It’s all about Learning “How To” Perform.
In 1999 I wrote about my experience 20 years earlier – here – in a 5 page PDF – for my then quarterly newsletter – here – on page 2.
Born Out of Frustration
I was on the 7th version of a video script when, in the famous words of Popeye, I reach THAT point – “that’s all I can stands ’cause I can’t stands no more.”
It was when I noticed that I was changing wording back to what had been in and then taken out of earlier scripts. I was caught in a never ending cycle.
The Facilitated Group Process
I had borrowed the idea from T-Groups, something I had read about back in college just before entering the T&D field in 1979.
I created a team. Something my friend Dawn Snyder calls a panel. Now I call it either a team or a group. Usually a Team. Such as an Analysis Team. A Design Team. A Development Team.
I like to use people on those teams that Tom Gilbert called Exemplars.
But my internal clients at Motorola, leaders in the manufacturing world told me in 1981 that that was a $3 college word and they didn’t like it. So I suggested Master Performers, and that how I refer to them to this day. Although there have been a few clients that didn’t like that language so I have used Top Performers or StarPerformers, because that’s what they already used for the notion.
Go with the flow.
I now use Other Subject Matter Experts instead of the traditional SME – Subject Matter Experts. And I’d happily do my Analysis and Design without any OSMEs because I’m more interested in working with people who can do the job/task at hand (in scope) at a level of mastery, than I am in someone who knows the subject matter.
And to interface with the decision makers in projects I work with a team that I call the Project Steering Team. The client and other key stakeholders.
I’ve covered my use of teams in articles and videos and blog posts going back into the 1980s.
The first two articles, one in September 1984 in Training Magazine, and the next in November 1984 for NSPI’s (now ISPI’s) Performance & Instruction Journal, both written in 1983 when the submit-to-publish cycle ran 11-13 months.
Models and Matrices- NSPI PIJ -1984 – 5 page PDF – the first publication of the performance and enabler analysis methods for ISD using a Facilitated Group Process, from NSPI’s (ISPI’s) Performance & Instruction Journal, November 1984.
We, my co-authors and I, had submitted them both back in the summer of 1983, in the reverse order hoping that the NSPI article would come out first, on using a Team approach to Analysis, and the Training Magazine would come out after that, with a focus on using Teams in the Design of a Curriculum Architecture.
In 1986 I published an article in the NSPI Chicago chapter’s newsletter on Project Planning & Management where I referred to working with the client group, as a group.
Proj Mgmt – CNSPI -1986 – 9 page PDF – originally published in the Chicago Chapter of NSPI (ISPI) Newsletter in December 1986 – on my Project Management Techniques for Project Definition, Project Planning and Project Communications.
If I recall correctly, the editor changed my Master Performer language to SME as they figured that everyone would understand SME better than Master Performer. Such was the focus, back-in-the-Day, on subject matter versus performance, that I have witnessed in other ISD practitioners since 1979.
I was lucky. I was taught almost since day 1, on using Job Performers as our source for analysis and development. In my first job in ISD there were 10 of us in the T&D department (Training Services) at Wickes Lumber in Saginaw Michigan. One was Geary Rummler’s brother-in-law, who had worked with Geary to identify two other staff members to recruit, that I worked with when I arrived a few months later. They had come from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (in Detroit) where they had worked with Geary’s brother.
I was told that our analysis methods were a derivative of a derivative of a Geary Rummler methodology.
I shared that with Geary when I got a chance to work with him in 1981-1982 when I was at Motorola.
Geary never corrected me when I showed him what Analysis data I produced, and how I went about doing it with a team – although he called my FGP – Facilitated Group Process a Group Grope – someone once confided in me. He preferred to do his Analysis and Design solo. At least back in those days.
I’ve written about my methods many times and produced many videos in a series back in 2011 I called The School of PACT.
I recently put together a series of guides (Paths) for those wanting to take advantage of my FREE RESOURCES to learn about my ISD methods, including articles, books, audio podcasts, and videos – here.
My hope would be to see more people in the biz embrace a more performance-based approach to Instructional Development – of Job Aids, Communication, Education and Training.
My new book, Conducting performance-based Instructional Analysis, which should be out in early November 2020, addresses that as well.
A MTEC – Motorola Training & Education Center colleague gifted me this during my last week on the job while we were all out to lunch on October 22, 1982.
I had spent 18 months at MTEC where I had a chance to work directly with Geary A. Rummler, and Neil Rackham and John Carlisle, and indirectly with Ray Svenson. And a great staff of fellow Training Project Supervisors (TPS) at MTEC.
This Award has been on the wall of very home office I’ve had since 1982. As a reminder. Just as one of my “dog tags” has been on my key ring since 1975.
Let it be known to all who read (that’s the humor of John Cone’ shining through)…
FM as Tyrant,
Encountering No Client, Has, Incredibly, Loosely, Approximated our Design Activities.
That’s John’s humor continuing. He was our MTEC class clown, so to speak. He had remarked the week before presenting this to me, one of my most coveted awards, that he had forgotten that I had a sense of humor.
It would seem to have disappeared a while back. 9 months back, in fact.
A Little Context
FM was Functional Manager. My boss at MTEC. I had worked at MTEC for my first 9 months skip-level-reporting to our Director, Bill Wiggenhorn.
Once they hired my boss who lived/worked in Arizona while I sat in the corporate HQ in Illinois, my role was downgraded quite a bit. I no longer sat on the Advisory Council (taking notes) for Manufacturing, Materials and Purchasing – where those disciplines in Motorola culled through all of the Training Requests for what could be – to a final list of what they really wanted to ask the Governance Board to fund – which would determine what would be.
This is where we took orders – after due considerations about the potential Impact and Business Decisions had been made. I the worked on those projects that had been fully vetted and were supported and resourced by my internal clients – who empowered me to do their bidding – and improve performance in their operations.
But when my new boss arrived he wanted to make these BIG and LITTLE decisions himself. So he tried to manipulate the Advisory Council in the Governance & Advisory System that Ray Svenson had helped Bill Wiggenhorn install and ramp up – as they say in manufacturing circles.
He was a manufacturing guy used to making BIG DECISIONS and getting an entire manufacturing facility to stop doing one thing and IMMEDIATELY begin another due to whatever issue had come up.
A collaborative approach was not in his DNA. He micro-managed me and changed his mind so often that I felt as if I were a top, spinning this way and then that way. The last straw for me was when he went against our collective decision about a vendor to develop what I had done the analysis and design of, and had me sign contracts with one vendor, which he then had me renege on two days later.
I was not happy.
So I made my issues known to top management – and asked to be reassigned – but nothing happened – and so when an opportunity came up a few months later – I took it and left.
I left in the middle of several MTEC projects I had going with Geary A. Rummler. THAT was not easy. Rummler had been a mentor and guide before I even knew the man. And after working with him at MTEC and at Rummler’s office back in Summit NJ, the decision to leave was almost the hardest decision I ever had to make. I had worked on what became the MTEC Design Process, based on Rummler’s approach to Performance-Based T&D. That was finalized after I left (and I treasure the copy of that that I have from MTEC fellow Sam Volpe).
And so I joined the small consulting firm owned by Ray Svenson starting on November 1st, 1982. I was the 4th person on his team. I’ve told the story recently about doing a Curriculum Architecture Design (CAD) at MTEC and then one for Ray (and my 2nd wife, Karen) – here – based on their Analysis data. So when I heard about Ray’s intent to add to his staff, I jumped (after due consideration) at the chance.
I did CADs. A lot of CADs that were associated with Ray’s focus on Strategic Planning for T&D, of which the Governance & Advisory Systems and CADs were key, integral parts. And I started doing CADs not associated with his Strategic Planning gigs.
I had started to promote and sell these CAD efforts on my own.
I became a silent partner a few years later and my wife (at the time) became a full partner – based on the advice of our accountant. I remained a sub-contractor to Ray and had a few other clients as well, as the law required.
A few years later I joined as a full partner. And then a few years later my separation and divorce led to us splitting up the business into two entities after 15 years together.