L&D: PUSH vs PULL Modular Learning Paths

And Behind the Paths’ Events Is An Architected Set of Content 

PULL Audiences are given access to the architected content of Instruction & Information in the ECA – Enterprise Content Architecture. You even produce a generic Path for them – to provide some guidance of where to start and what to do next.

PUSH Audiences are given performance-based Development Paths and Planning Guides for they and their management to further customize to meet the specifics of their situation. They look at the job assignments and work coming up – and take into account the existing education and experience and competence of the Lerner and plan accordingly. And then Execute to Plan, as they say.

Both sets of Learning Content – PUSH and PULL – are sourced from the ECA – Enterprise Content Architecture. This includes the inventory of all content, from Very Formal to Guide Informal. So that updates and pruning due to inevitable and needed changes can be managed.


Your Current State may not be as organized as the above graphic suggests. That might be the Ideal State while you strive to improve to the next Desired State. Driven by business goals and resource allocations.

My Premise Is That You Develop Exclusively for PUSH and Share As Appropriate With PULL

For PUSH Target Audiences you conduct CAD efforts – to produce Learning & Development Paths where you identify the need and then identify the fit of existing content, determine the gaps, prioritize the gaps and the shift into MCD and IAD efforts to develop or acquire the content needed.

CAD to Produce Paths & Planning Guides and Gap Priorities


Paths Guide Development Planning & Execution


Not All Gaps Are Equal


Priorities Are ADDIE’d or SAM’d or SAT’d 



This is where content is developed or acquired and adapted – or adopted if that was your lucky day – so that the authenticity of all content in Information chunks, or Demonstration chunks, and Application Exercises chunks, within all of that content, work in harmony to enable Performance Competence. By Design. Not by Chance.


I Call My ISD Methods: The PACT Processes for T&D/ Learning and Knowledge Management


PACT Is Covered In…

lean-ISD (1999)

Available as a free PDF and Kindle and paperback.

Click on image to link to the download page for the PDF.

My Book Six Pack

PACT 6 Pack

Available as Kindles and paperback books. Please go here for more info on that.

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L&D: What To Do If Given: A Topic to Deliver via Learning Content

What To Do If Given: A Topic to Deliver via Learning Content – Part 2 of 6

Part 1 covered each of 5 types of Request GIVENS an L&D organization may be dealing with. Part 1 is – here.

In short … Determine how those topics apply in task performance to produce measurable accomplishments and the enabling Awareness/ Knowledge/ Skill requirements.

Then … design for the user’s convenience of use in actual performance, or prior, or both.

What follows are 4 steps with a little more detail than In short provided above.


Determine the exact or approximate number of distinct target audiences to be addressed with the TOPIC.

If the number looks to be fairly small, determine the exact number. Different jobs/job titles. Assignments. Levels of individual contributor or management. This will impact your design later.

If the number looks to be very large … stop right there. This will impact your design later.

Name the Performance expected for each target audience.

Are they all the same, or some number smaller than the number of target audiences?

Saying HELLO with a BIG SMILE is something for everyone. How to incorporate Customer Service into each and every department will look different at the practice level. The APPO segment. That’s next…


Complete these blocks below: INFO-DEMO-APPO … backward chaining if you can, for each Performance you named above, or for some subset, knowing that you are reducing the authenticity of your Learning Content by doing so.

Yes this is my trap for you – to get you headed toward performance impacting Learning Content for each target audience.


Start with the APPO (Applications Exercise) by describing three practice exercises arbitrarily as Beginner, and Intermediate and Advanced. Or authentic situations A, B and C. Perhaps the APPO involves following a job aid of some sort.

Not that you would do all three exercises.

Just know what different levels of difficulty – always authentic – would look like if one were to practice applying the topic … or topics … with greater skills and/or different skills dealing with varied authentic situations.

Then determine if providing some sort of slow-motion-demo might help with the APPO s you’ve described.

Or would a DEMO be unnecessary?

As appropriate then, describe one or three demos to align with your 3 APPOs.


Outline the INFO necessary to appreciate the DEMO If there is one) in preparation for the APPO. Or just the INFO needed to participate in the authentic APPOs.

It’s all about the APPO, baby.


Review your INFO-DEMO-APPO design to determine if a different mix is more appropriate.

Perhaps the DEMO goes first.

Or a blow-off APPO is needed to help those over-confident target audience members prove to themselves that they are not quite he master that they might think as they begin the Lesson.  A Wake Up Call APPO if you will. Then you do a typical chain of INFO followed by a DEMO (as needed) and then the APPO.

Or you need several passes at INFO-DEM-APPO for topic A, then B, then C followed by a big APPO on ABC.


Add time estimates for each Block – an INFO or DEMO or APPO.

Use this Lesson map to determine existing content and what might be sourced and used as is or after modification from resources available internally and/or externally to the Enterprise.

Group Process Improves Speed and Authenticity

Of course all of that is much easier if you are doing Steps One Two Three and Four above with a team of Master Performers and perhaps Other SMEs so that you get it much righter the first time.

Righter in authenticity. Righter estimates of how long something might take if authentic.

OK, More Right.

More Right in authenticity. More Right estimates of how long. Etc. More Right Etc.

And that’s always Mo Better.

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L&D: ISD Gate Reviews with a PST


A PST – Project Steering Team is a group of stakeholders around an ISD – Instructional Systems Design initiative in my PACT Processes (ISD processes).

Rather than work with a single or small group of clients alone, I always attempt to work with a team of those clients and their stakeholders.

This quickens and improves that team’s decision making. And this assemblage improves their Command & Control & Empowerment of the ISD team and other key resources.

They as a group are sunsetted after their initiative and might be within the control of a larger, more strategic group that I label as the Governance & Advisory System.

TD Gov & Adv Structure

WWWWWH ISD Gate Reviews

Who– The client and all other stakeholders that have a STAKE and will be impacted by this undertaking – and will be necessary during the post effort implementation. I call them a PST. Your term may vary/

What– A Gate Review is a formal, facilitated Data Review and Decision Making with the PST at key milestone review points.

Where– Face to Face is best. Remote call in will work, but demands total discipline in paying attention to the details and being able to discuss various points of view from a distance.

When– At the end of key project phases – signified by the upsidedown traffic lights in the graphics below.

Why– to enable the client and key stakeholders to take Command & Control & Empowerment of their effort (assuming it’s their money/people). AND TO PROVIDE A PLATFORM FOR DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE CUSTOMERS and SUPPLIERS.

How– Follow a logical meeting agenda and give the PST plenty of time for a group review where everyone is on the same page at the same time. Don’t assume that any will read the Report thoroughly enough beforehand. It happens – but is rare.

CAD Gate Reviews

There are typically four GRMs – Gate Review Meetings in a CAD effort.

CAD - POTs 2012

MCD/IAD Gate Reviews


There are typically four GRMs in an MCD … or an IAD effort.

Project Planning & Kick-Off Phase Gate Reviews

  • Review the Project Plan (and Proposal Costs)
  • Discuss the Stakeholders’ interests and biases
  • Identify the Analysis & Design Team members
  • Schedule the Analysis Team Meeting
  • Schedule the remaining PST Gate Review Meetings

Analysis Phase Gate Reviews 

  • Review the Analysis Data/Report
  • Discuss the Stakeholders’ interests and biases
  • Confirm identify of the Design Team members
  • Schedule the Design Team Meeting
  • Confirm schedule the remaining PST Gate Review Meetings

Design Phase Gate Reviews

  • Review the Design Document in detail
  • Discuss the Stakeholders’ interests and biases
  • Confirm identify of the Team members for the next Phase(s)
    • CAD: Implementation Planning
    • MCD/IAD: Development and the Pilot-Test
  • Confirm schedule the remaining PST Gate Review Meeting


Implementation Planning Phase Gate Reviews (CAD) 

  • Review the Implementation Report
  • Discuss the Stakeholders’ interests and biases
  • Determine the Gap Priorities
  • Identify MCD/IAD projects

Pilot-Test Phase Gate Reviews (MCD/IAD)

  • Review the Pilot Test Report and Revision Recommendations
  • Discuss the Stakeholders’ interests and biases
  • Determine the Updates for the final phase: Revision & Release

Additional Resources

PACT Alpha Phase Client-Stakeholder Interview Guide – 10 page PDF – is a job aid for the initial meetings with the client and other key stakeholders for a Training Request. Developed in the mid-1990, and published in 2002.

Perf Modeling & Enabler Analysis – HR-Com – 2003 – 17 page PDF – an online publication at HR.Com in 2003 covering the analysis of both Performance Competence Requirements and the Enablers – part of my ISD (PACT) and Performance Improvement (EPPI) methods.

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.

CAD – ASTD – 2004 – 5 page PDF – an overview of when to do a Curriculum Architecture Design effort, the outputs of the effort by phase, and the 4 phases of a Curriculum Architecture design effort, published in ASTD’s Links in 2004.

MCD-lite PP – 2002 – 10 page PDF – of when and how to shorten the “standard process” for my version of ADDIE (MCD – Modular Curriculum Development) – when the client isn’t attempting training for skills – but communications for awareness. Written to convince a client to not force every effort to go through the same rigorous approach when the desired outcome wasn’t skills-building. I was unsuccessful in convincing them. Originally written in 1997.

Performance-based ISD – ISPI PX 12-part Series – 2007 – 122 page PDF – an update in 12-parts to my 1999 book: lean-ISD – which covers my ISD methods: The PACT Processes for T&D, Learning and Knowledge Management. Published in ISPI’s PerformanceExpress during the 12 months of 2007.

lean-ISD Book

lean-ISD (1999)

Click on image to link to the download page.

Note: the cover design for “lean-ISD” was created by the late Geary A. Rummler.

Lean-ISD - Rummler

Note: Guy W. Wallace’s book “lean-ISD” – was a recipient of a 2002 Award of Excellence for Instructional Communication from the International Society for Performance Improvement.

lean-ISD is also available as a $15 paperback book – and $7.50 as a Kindle – for more and to order – please go – here.

Lean-ISD - Lane

lean-ISD covers Guy Wallace’s PACT Processes for T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management.


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L&D: Turn Topics to Tasks – and Other Responses to Client Requests

Responses to Client Requests

Client Requests for Learning Content often need some clarification before proceeding. Sometimes they are in need of much clarification.

And clients often have something specific in kind. They’ve often pre-produced the movie in their heads of what they want you to produce for them in reality. That’s not the focus of this post. Dealing with fuzzy requests is our focus.


What To Do If Given: A Topic to Deliver via Learning Content

Determine how those topics apply in task performance to produce measurable accomplishments and the enabling Awareness/ Knowledge/ Skill requirements.

Then … design for the user’s convenience of use in actual performance, or prior, or both.

What To Do If Given: Given a Skill to Develop via Learning Content?

Determine how those skills apply in task performance to produce measurable accomplishments and the enabling Awareness/ Knowledge/ Skill requirements.

Then …  design for the user’s convenience of use in actual performance, or prior, or both.


What To Do If Given: Given a Task to Improve via Learning Content?

Determine how those tasks apply in overall process performance to produce measurable accomplishments and the enabling Awareness/ Knowledge/ Skill requirements.

Then … design for the user’s convenience of use in actual performance, or prior, or both.


What To Do If Given: Given a Target Audience to address via Learning Content?

Determine the overall task performance requirements to produce measurable accomplishments and the Awareness/ Knowledge/ Skill requirements.

Then  … design for the user’s convenience of use in actual performance, or prior, or both.


What To Do If Given: Given a Problem to Solve via Learning Content?

Determine the ideal, actual performance required to produce measurable accomplishments, and assess for gaps in the process itself and in the human and environmental enablers.

Then … implement gap resolutions.

01 Training Requests

Get to the real root cause.

Awareness/ Knowledge/ Skills are but one set of 12 variables – in my model. Your models may differ.


Additional elaborations on each of the 5 to follow.

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L&D: Happy Birthday to Bob Mager

Happy Birthday Robert F. Mager

Or – Bob Mager. Saturday, June 10, 2017.


My First Book Read in the Profession

Scan002 (2)

This key graphic from the book:


The Perfect Banquet Speech Video

At ISPI in 1999. With a visit – simultaneously – of two Thiagis.

See one Thiagi in the photo above and the other Thiagi in the photo below.


Past Posts About Bob

Click here.

And one special past post…

1st Friday Favorite Guru: Robert F. Mager

A special past post from 2012 – here.

Happy Birthday Bob!

Thank you for all that you have shared with so many over the decades!

And our best to Eileen!

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L&D: Killing Analysis Paralysis

Are You Just Skipping Analysis Paralysis?

Or just slimming it down? Analysis efforts.

Has Analysis become just too predictably unpredictable in terms of the quality of the data and decisions produced, the cycle time and all the touch times of everyone involved, and all of the direct and indirect costs?

So you gloss over it or just plain skip it? Analysis that is.

It just wasn’t worth the time and money.


It’s been taking way-too-long and just getting-in-the-way for the just-do-it reality you face?

So you jump right into design, or worse, right into development … and usually without a predictable plan. Just all noses to the grindstone and wailing away.

Wondering why there is so much rework. So many false starts.

IMO it would be the project planning and analysis segments, of the work that you do, that are suspect. Per my model below.

MCD 6 Phases

Although “analysis” is done in each and every phase in the model above, in the Analysis Phase, I call out 4 distinct types of analysis.

  1. Target Audience
  2. Performance
  3. Enabling Knowledge/Skills
  4. Existing T&D Assessment

These can all be done quickly, but, to borrow from a current lawn mower commercial:

It’s not how fast you do Analysis – it’s how well you do Analysis fast.

3 Key Keys IME

In My Experience – and I’ve been doing this Enterprise T&D/L&D thing since 1979 – and as a consultant since 1982 – that most L&D organizations have three major issues.

1- They do not have a standard process – or sets of processes – that they have improved upon over successive projects that they can use as is or after modification.

2- They cannot get the right people to participate in the effort in the right sequence for data generation and data reviews and the differences expressed by the individual SMEs involved are not quite understood by the ISDer – Instructional Systems Designer – that is uncovering what many in the target audience’s Performance Context all already understand – or think they do – as everyone expresses themselves differently about the work, the processes, the potential problems and avoidance strategies and recovery tactics if unavoidable.

And then there are the reviews of all of that. And updates and reviews. And more updates and reviews.

And 3- The predictable but not predicted tasks overwhelm those expected to do the work – and schedules are missed, etc.


Here are some quick thoughts about this – and links to some of my resources.

Use a Lean Process 

I use a standard process, laid out in great detail, step-by-step, in almost every book I’ve published on ISD – Instructional Systems Design – including “lean-ISD” – which is available as a free PDF here and a paperback book here. Or a Kindle here.


Here are my key ISD processes in graphic form.

It might start at CAD, most logically. But an MCD or IAD effort could have preceded the CAD effort.

CAD – Curriculum Architecture Design


This effort produces a modular Learning Path – or a – modular Development Path. From which numerous T&D or L&D Plans are produced for individuals. It also identifies the ideal, the actual, and the gaps for development and/or acquisitions. Those efforts happen in MCD and IAD efforts, downstream from CAD efforts.

MCD – Modular Curriculum Architecture


I can do a complex job “Analysis” in less than 2 weeks – including the documentation and review with a Project Steering Team.

Analysis can happen quickly if the inputs, resources and outputs are known in advance.

And the process.

Use a Group Process

Bring all the people who know the real work application – the Tasks and the sub-Topics – together and detail what is needed for downstream intents – as a group. I’ve been doing this since 1979/1980.


This is covered in many of my articles and books and blog posts.

Use a Dedicated Team 

To plan, schedule, prep for, conduct and document the work. And conduct the reviews of the data and to facilitate the decisions of the PST – Project Steering Team – as they review the work the ISD Work Team (or whatever they call themselves) did with the Master Performers and Other SMEs in the Analysis Team, Design Team, and Development Teams, and, as appropriate, the Pilot Test Teams.


The ISD Work Team is your team of internal consultants, external consultants, and staff needed to execute your work Processes.

And … You Can Do This In All Other, Non-Analysis Phases and Tasks

The same approach of using dedicated people in teams with well defined work processes and practices can be applied to all of the other non-Analysis Phases/efforts.


Your models and labels may vary. Mine are framed by the graphic below.

My approach, is – as rigorous as required and as flexible as feasible – is adaptable. By Design.


  • For Free: Book PDFs – several books offered as free PDFs – and please note: most are also available “for sale” in either hardbound and/or paperback versions.

Other Resources are available here.

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