L&D: Book Review: Patti Shank’s “Practice and Feedback for Deeper Learning”

Just In Case You Wish to Employ Evidence Based Practices in Your L&D Efforts

Patti asked if I would review her book and I did most willingly. She knows the research and shares it to the benefit of all. I was excited to review her draft.

I received my finished copy yesterday. 



My review comments:

Patti Shank’s Practice and Feedback for Deeper Learning should be on the bookshelf, physical or virtual, of everyone who creates Instruction for improving the performance capability of their target audiences. If you are concerned with transfer back to the job you will benefit greatly from following her five strategies and 26 tactics. This is now the second book I would have every L&D staffer read after Mager and Pipe’s Analyzing Performance Problems.

Guy W. Wallace, The Enterprise Process Performance Improvement Consultancy

Review Comments By Others

on October 9, 2017
Patti has constructed an easy too read field guide for those of us involved in coaching and mentoring. This is well structured, rigorous, and directly applicable to our work. My unreserved recommendation: READ IT!
on October 12, 2017

Patti Shank’s “Practice and Feedback for Deeper Learning” is a summary of tactics you can use to create memorable, relevant practice opportunities and provide constructive, beneficial feedback for learners. Everything in the book is backed by research and written to be immediately usable by instructional designers and trainers.

Have you ever wondered…?

How do we create practice activities that will help transfer skills to the workplace?
Ho can we create practice activities that are more memorable?
How can we create more effective feedback than just “correct” and “incorrect”?
Do novice and experienced learners benefit from the same strategies?
How do we make sure learners are practicing the right skills and behaviors?
How can we help learners deal with errors and mistakes?
If we’re training a complex task, should we divide the task into small parts or train a simple version of the whole task?
Is it better to give feedback right away or to delay it?
What kinds of realism are important to training practice? Is it necessary to use lots of multimedia to make training look exactly like the work environment?
Is it better to set goals for specific performance levels or goals for making progress in learning?

The Book

Shank Book

Table of Contents

Introduction… 1
Why are Practice and Feedback Needed? … 2
How This Book Works… 3
Using This Book…4
The Science … 7
Deep Learning…9
Learnability … 11
Prior Knowledge… 13
Memory … 14
Mental Effort (Cognitive Load) … 18
Social Processes … 20
Transfer … 25
Metacognition … 29
In Your Own Words … 32
Why Practice and Feedback?… 35
Why are Practice and Feedback Important? … 35
Practice … 41
Feedback … 44
Five Strategies and Twenty-Six Tactics … 47
Strategy 1. Analyze the Job Context … 49
Tactic 1. Connect Learning Objectives to Job Tasks … 50
Tactic 2. Analyze Conditions Under Which People Perform the Tasks … 55
Tactic 3. Evaluate What Must Be Remembered and What Can Be Looked Up … 58
Tactic 4. Analyze Social Processes … 63
Tactic 5: Find the Typical Misconceptions … 65
Tactic 6: Find Out What Gets in The Way … 67
Tactic 7: Assess Support for Skills …71
Strategy 2. Practice for Self-direction … 74
Tactic 8: Work Towards Specific, Difficult, And Attainable Goals … 75
Tactic 9: Use Self-Directed Learning Strategies … 78
Strategy 3. Practice for Transfer … 83
Tactic 10: Make Training Relevant … 84
Tactic 11: Build Practice That Mirrors Work … 89
Tactic 12: Show the Right and Wrong Ways … 98
Tactic 13: Train How to Handle Errors … 100
Tactic 14: Use Whole Skill Practice … 101
Tactic 15: Help with Post-Training Support … 106
Strategy 4. Practice for Remembering …111
Tactic 16: Use Real Context(s) … 112
Tactic 17: Use Self-explanations … 118
Tactic 18: Space Learning and Space Practice … 120
Tactic 19: Support Memory with Memory Aids …127
Tactic 20: Support Essential Skill Upkeep …133
Strategy 5. Give Effective Feedback …137
Tactic 21: Keep the Focus on Learning … 138
Tactic 22: Tie Feedback to The Learning Objectives … 140
Tactic 23: Offer the Right Level of Information … 144
Tactic 24: Fix misconceptions … 148
Tactic 25: Give Feedback at The Right Time … 154
Tactic 26: Structure Feedback for Ease-Of-Use … 160
Now What? … 164
Remembering (Retrieval) Practice … 166
Practice and Feedback for Deeper Learning Checklist …175
Want More?… 181
References … 183
Index … 197
Notes … 199
About the Author … 203

It’s a Great Book

Order it – here.

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L&D: Lesson Mapping of Performance Based T&D

I Created the Lesson Mapping Methodology in 1991

In the past few days I’ve been asked online if some of my methods and tool formats were simply derivatives of those methods and tools of others. Yes and No is my answer.

Yes. My Performance Model and Knowledge/Skill Matrices were both a derivative of the Rummler/Gilbert Performance Table and Knowledge Map that can be found in Tom Gilbert’s 1978 book: Human Competence – which I covered in a past Blog Post – here.

No. My Design methods and tool formats – the Lesson Map and other formats – however are mine.

Here is a current version of my Lesson Map. My intent was to create a visual tool for Design via a Group Process at this level of Instructional Systems Design. Just as I had a visual process for the design of a Performance Competence Development Path/ T&D Path/ Learning Path/ etc., etc.


Here is an example of the first version of the Lesson Map – labeled as a Lesson Specification Sheet – from a 1991 project for Illinois Bell – Labor Relations – covered in this past 2013 Blog Post – here.


The Lesson Map/Lesson Specification format was first presented to the public in the Fall 1993 newsletter from my firm SWI – Svenson & Wallace Inc.

Covered in 1993

Here is a PDF of that entire newsletter: swi-newsletter-1993-3-fall

A Lesson’s Content is Only As Good As the Analysis Data That Feeds It

This is critical IMO. Extremely critical. AND – for me that meant avoiding listening to One SME as THE source for input. I use a Group Process. A Group of Master Performers – and Other SMEs as necessary.


Followers know that the 2 key sets of Analysis Data that feed my ISD Design methods are the Performance Model and the Knowledge/Skill Matrices.

Again – this part of my methods – which I started using in 1979 at Wickes Lumber in Saginaw – are derivatives of derivatives of the work of the late Geary A. Rummler and the late Thomas F. Gilbert.

The people who taught me about this had worked alongside Geary Rummler’s brother (Rick Rummler) at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (in Detroit) where they acted as a laboratory for the methods of Rummler and Gilbert as developed at Praxis.


These Methods Are Covered in 2 of My Books

lean-ISD – something I worked on from 1983 until I finished it in 1998 – and published in 1999 – evolved as I evolved my performance-based ISD methods.

It is available as a free 204 page PDF here – and is also available as both a Kindle and paperback book. It was the recipient of an ISPI Excellence in Communications Award back in the day.


Rummler had this to say about these ISD methods after reviewing my 1999 book: lean-ISD…

Geary A. Rummler from the Performance Design Lab says, “If you want to ground your fantasy of a ‘corporate university’ with the reality of a sound ‘engineering’ approach to instructional systems that will provide results, you should learn about the PACT Processes. If you are the leader of, or a serious participant in, the design and implementation of a large-scale corporate curriculum, then this book is for you. This system could be the difference between achieving bottom-line results with your training or being just another ‘little red school house.’”

Geary even redesigned the cover of lean-ISD after his review. May he Rest in Peace.

In 2010 and 2011 I worked to update several of my books into a 6 Pack – and Performance-based Modular Curriculum Development/ Acquisition covers the Lesson Mapping methods.

Learn more about that 6 Pack – here.


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Remembering W. Edwards Deming on the Anniversary of His Birthday

W. Edwards Deming

From Wikipedia

William Edwards Deming (October 14, 1900 – December 20, 1993) was an American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant. Educated initially as an electrical engineer and later specializing in mathematical physics, he helped develop the sampling techniques still used by the U.S. Department of the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In his book, The New Economics for Industry, Government, and Education, Deming championed the work of Walter Shewhart, including statistical process control, operational definitions, and what Deming called the “Shewhart Cycle” which had evolved into PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act).

For more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Edwards_Deming

The Autograph My Brother Got Me

My brother saw an article in the college newspaper where he teaches – and he attended this presentation to snag this autograph for me.


Cool, huh?

Northwest Trail – From Northwest College in Powell Wyoming


It Wasn’t Deming That Created This Irony…


The Deming Plaza In Powell Wyoming


On the Northwest College Campus 


My Past Posts About Deming

My 1st Friday Favorite Guru Series: W. Edwards Deming

Why Did W. Edwards Deming Sign His Greetings to Me on Top of a Rodeo Photo?

Deming, Ackoff & Langford – Weekend Professional Development Matinee Video

W. Edwards Deming – Weekend Professional Development Matinee Video

The Late W. Edwards Deming Estimated That Around 94% of the Possible Improvements Belong to the System – the Responsibility of Management

If Deming Was Right

Deming’s 14 Points – The System of Profound Knowledge

Announcing – Deming Plaza – Powell Wyoming

I am thankful for all of the sharing he did in books and presentations!

Do you have specific “lessons learned” from his teachings?

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L&D: Performance Competence Development Paths Organized For Jobs, Teams or Processes

Performance Competence Development Path Defined

A Path is an assemblage of job/task appropriate Content downselected from the Enterprise Content Inventory – along with placeholders for Content needed that does not exist – but represents knowledge/skills that are needed on-the-job none-the-less.

Sometimes the Path is really a Menu or a series of mini-menus.

All paths are accompanied by a Planning Guide to help facilitate the downselect from the Path/Menu to an actual Plan for an individual whose job assignment might differ from peers with the same job title, and whose background education and experience created a unique need compared to others.

One size (most often) does not fit all.

The effort to produce such Paths/Menus was named Curriculum Architecture Design (CAD) back in 1982.

From my 1985 Presentation at NSPI:

NSPI 1985 Presentation- CAD -GWW_Page_02 (2)

If nothing exists I labeled the placeholder Unstructured OJT – later termed Informal Learning.

If the Unstructured OJT was later prioritized and resourced by management later – that US-OJT might move up the levels of Deployment Mode formality (and cost).

This next graphic shows this:

pactinstructiondeploymentmodesandexamples (2)

Performance Competence Defined

What’s it all about Alfie?


Path/Menu Examples

Performance Competence Development Path for a Job Title

The following Path was done in a project producing 2 Paths – one for Supervisors and one for their bosses, the Zone Manager.

If someone came in to this job from elsewhere – their planning would actually start with the Supervisor Path and then move to this – as the Zone Manager Path assumed the Performance Competence that the Supervisor’s Path helped develop.



This next Path was one (of 8 produced in the same CAD effort) where everyone in the Target Audience would progress through the series of Training/Learning sessions in lock-step.

The client’s situational need called for a Path and not a flexible Menu.

CAD Path Call Center Sales

The “Traffic Light” symbol was were students might wash out. The “W” symbol was were management could pull students out of training to deal with call overloads and would be routed only certain types of calls (that they were now Competent to do).

If a Call Center had too many people out sick during a period of high volume calls – that would trigger that kind of need.

Performance Competence Development Path for a Job Family

This effort was undertaken after the AT&T (the old Ma Bell) monopoly was ended and they would no longer “own” their customers and plan (centrally) the features and technologies evolution previously determined by Bell Labs.

This Path (Menu) was for the job family in Product Management and was an update (in 1989-1990) after the original effort done in 1986.

CAD Path Prod Mgrs

Performance Competence Development Path for a Process

This effort was undertaken after a Six Sigma effort was conducted to standardize the existing processes – country by country … or worse – where the future state still had tremendous flexibility country by country as to “who would do what” depending on local job titles and staffing levels.

CAD Path Global Clinical Trials

The CAD Process

I’ve done 75 of these CAD projects myself (since 1982) and my business partners and staff and clients-trained-by-me have done hundreds (if not thousands by now) more.

I first trained my client’s staff and contractors back in 1983. – the same time I began training my own staff.

I needed a predictable process, more easily replicated by others, that I could trust – and price (as a consultant) fixed fee. Not every CAD effort I did – or that my staff did – was fixed fee. Only about 80%. Which was easy once I had tracking data about the actual touch time of me and my staff after a dozen efforts using the standard – but flexible – process represented in this next graphic.

Note: I only tracked my staff’s time per Phase – and not each task within these 4 Phases.


Note the “touch time ranges” for each CAD project Role type – of the Client’s people.

An entire effort might be done within a month – if all the people resources could be scheduled aggressively.

Most of my efforts over the past 3 decades took 2-3 months.

Architecture Before Build/Buy

A CAD effort does not produce any new content.

It determines the Performance-based/Competency-based needs and determines what existing Content fits “As Is” or “After Modification” … and what then are the gaps from the ideal set of Content.

Again – gaps might be left as UnStructured OJT forever – now known as Informal Learning.

And of course, Informal Learning happens anyway, all of the time – augmenting the Formal Learning – as it has forever.

It’s important IMO to remember that all Learning starts as Informal until someone decides to and then resources the effort to Formalize it.

Prioritization of gaps to formalize what is now informal in the Curriculum Architecture Design process – and therefor the one or more Paths produced in each CAD effort – is done in Phase 4 of CAD – and then addressed in subsequent MCD efforts – my version of ADDIE or SAM or SAT.


Why Bother?

For the R for the I.

It’s a business decision. Not an ISD decision.


I literally have hundreds of free Resources on this on my web site – in Blog Posts and in the Resource Tab – to help people climb this particular Learning Curve – with or without my involvement.

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L&D: Content Design for More Effective & Efficient ReUse

And By ReUse I Mean Either “As Is” or “After Modification”

And I also mean ReUse at higher and lower levels of Design than the RLO levels – Reusable Learning Object level – which most often was the Lesson Level.

ReUse Event Map and 5-Tier Inventory

Engineering Content to Meet Customer Requirements

Back in the early 1980s while at Motorola’s Training & Education Center (MTEC) I was exposed to MRP – Materials Requirements Planning where “materials” that would be pulled into the manufacturing process for one or more uses/products – as is or after modification.

Soon I began to see the concept’s applicability to my assigned 3 target audiences: Manufacturing, Materials and Purchasing – where Content for one audience “could/should be” shared “As Is” or “After Modification.” When appropriate.

While almost every job might require the generic Competence of “Active Listening” (as but one example) – to aid “transfer back to the job” it would be necessary for the Training/Learning Content to go beyond generic content, applicable to all, to very specific content via authentic/job relevant “examples, demonstrations and application exercise” (INFOs, DEMOs, and APPOs).

blog 1

So when I created my ISD methodologies (PACT) in the 1980s I wanted to create a Design process and tool/templates to improve potential ReUse after the first design/development effort at a reduced cycle time and cost in a “Plug and Play” manner – where all successive efforts for new target audiences whose Performance Context would differ, slightly or mightily, would involve simply “displacing” some content chunks with slightly or mightily edited sets of the original Content.

PUSH vs PULL Target Audiences

Even though you could – I don’t think you should customize Content for every Target Audience – as that wouldn’t always make sense from a “business perspective.”


In my approach you customize for critical, PUSH target audiences … and simply share every version that exists with PULL target audiences.

Not ideal – but who can afford ideal?

Sharing/ReUse As Appropriate

In PACT one could share modified Paths, Events, Lessons or Instructional Activities “if” they weren’t authentic enough in the original version – designed and developed using any approach.

My approach in PACT was to lower costs and cycle time while improving authenticity when/where modification would be needed to help and not hinder transfer.

CAD - Incremetally Building Perf Comp

In PACT the modifications happen in MCD – but are anticipated in CAD…

My Version of ADDIE – MCD


CAD – Curriculum Architecture Design


Where Paths are produced and existing content is rationalized as appropriately used “As Is” or “After Modification” or “Not Applicable” – given the analysis data on Performance requirements and enabling Knowledge/Skills required.

CADs Precede MCD Efforts


After All These Years

I found that very few T&D/L&D clients worried about the effectiveness or efficiency of their Product Line. Unlike how many of their internal customers might.

Too often L&D Content is a “one-off” and not a component of a System of Instruction.

Will that Circle be Unbroken?

I wish.

For More About PACT

I have newer books on PACT – but you might wish to start with lean-ISD…

My free PDF 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.

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.


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L&D: I Try to Avoid Visiting ReWork City

Especially If It’s Not In the Plan

Sometimes it is in the Plan.

Yeah, sure. During Development, after the Alpha Tests and the Beta Tests.


And after the formal Pilot-Test’s Full Destructive Test. That last phase in our 6 phase approach was named Revision & Release because we not only anticipated ReWork, we planned for it.


But other than those 3 exceptions?

ReWork ReWork ReWork?

Dislike. Dislike. Dislike.

It’s a Crowded Place, ReWork City 

The more people in the L&D business that don’t know how to Plan really jam up the place. They dislike Plans and Planning. It can’t be done they say. Not well enough to even bother trying they say. So they set out to see where it takes them. Just do it seems to be their motto.

You can find them on those highway cloverleaf exchanges going in figure eights over and over again, just trying to get their bearings. In the back, the client, along for the ride, was getting dizzy.

And that’s after they’d first arrived at what they thought was their destination. But no, something was wrong. Something was missing and they’re retracing their steps, mile by mile.

Mr. ISD in the driver’s seat, was looking for the right way.

And those using faulty, partial Analysis methods. You find them in the ditch unless you catch them being pulled out with a Tow Truck. Bad luck they claim. Bad directions they find out too late. They listened to the wrong expert. Who thought he could recall all the twists and turns. But he couldn’t.

Some got through that and were on their way, but then their Design was incomplete – and they found out too late. They couldn’t recall the correct twists and turns after descending the Forgetting Curve, notorious for its wide ditches on both sides of the roadway. If only they had jotted it all down in some aid. Something to support their performance once they were already down the road. Something that was quick to scan and follow.

But, they Developed a manual when it could have been more like a Flash Card.


So when they went on their Pilot-Test they failed. Drove the old wagon right into the ditch.

The old guy on the side of the road gave them a piece of his mind. He’d been here before. And he wasn’t sure that he hadn’t pulled these same people out of the same ditch before.

“Plan!” he started out before getting really hot. “FOCUS on the Performance.” he berated those he assisted. “Design the trip to avoid ReWork City,” he begged. And then, “Develop a thin Job Aid and not some dang fat course manual!”

“What are you getting paid by,” he snidely inquired, “by the pound or by the inch?” He had just caught a glimpse of their 3″ binder.

“Rookies!” he shouted as he shook his fist in the air as they started up the car again.

The driver muttered, “Next time we’ll do better,”as they pulled away, looking for a sign, any sign telling then that they were on their way, the correct way. Something other than the long way.

But … then … he remembered telling himself that one before. Several times before.

He didn’t want to look over at his client in the passenger seat.

The other passengers were still steamed. “What a waste of time,” everybody was thinking.

Finally a sign.


Once the adrenaline subsided they turned on the radio for a distraction, where they found an oldies station, and a familiar rock classic came on.

And they all sang along out loud – changing the words just a bit to the classic, “Tobacco Road.”

They sang real loud and even the speakers accompanied them word for word, except when they replaced the words “Tobacco Road.”

And on the line after “Blow it up and start all over again” they were screaming it, man.

The non-radio voices replaced the words “Tobacco Road” … with “ReWork City.”

After the song ended and was replaced by static they all drifted off in separate thoughts about how to avoid this next time. The client. The participants. And Mr. ISD, the driver.

“It was possible,” Mr. ISD thought.

“But it might require a different approach,” the client thought. She wasn’t smiling.

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