Instructional Activity Development Process
Instructional Activity Development (IAD) is the microlevel PACT Process in which certain components of T&D are developed. For example, an IAD project may produce instructional activities such as knowledge tests, performance tests, simulation exercises, and performance aids.
The gated PACT Process Model for Instructional Activity Development is shown in the figure above. While the IAD flow is similar to Modular Curriculum Development, the two processes produce different levels of instructional components.
MCD typically produces events or courses, while IAD produces activities that may become part of events or courses or stand on their own.
In any case – all PACT Processes are “performance-based.”
With the lean–ISD approaches of the PACT Processes, the type of process used matches the type of deliverable needed. The Curriculum Architecture Design process produces overall curricula. The Modular Curriculum Development process produces T&D Events, which are collections of T&D Modules. And Instructional Activity Development produces still smaller components of T&D, instructional activities within T&D Lessons.
The Purpose of Instructional Activity Development
The Instructional Activity Development (IAD) process builds components of instruction― instructional activities―rather than whole pieces of instruction such as T&D Events.
Again, examples of instructional activities are knowledge tests and performance tests. Instructional activities may be produced within the context of a Modular Curriculum Development project using the MCD process and tasks. However, if the scope of the development effort is not of the level where an MCD project would be appropriate, a stand-alone Instructional Activity Development process may be used.
Sometimes you don’t need performance-based Instruction as much as you need performance-based Information.
When instructional activities are first developed using the Instructional Activity Development process, team members follow the same analysis and midlevel design steps found in Modular Curriculum Development. Then, team members build component instructional activities rather than T&D Events composed of Modules and Lessons. If it becomes necessary later to build T&D, team members can use the IAD-generated analysis data and designs to work from the bottom up―that is, moving from the microlevel to the midlevel.
Think of first building the Performance and Knowledge TESTS – and then building the Instruction (which of course is the proper ISD approach isn’t it?). In the PACT approach the Tests could be built in year 1, and the results used to help prioritize the development of Instruction in follow-on MCD (ADDIE) efforts.
Several of my clients approached their needs this way. One client later found it unnecessary to build any instruction after building the battery of Performance Tests. Their Tests (and all were Performance Tests with an occasional exception of Knowledge Tests where “regulations” dictated such an approach to insuring Performance Competence) were tied to their Pay Progression Program…and wouldn’t you know it – IF you provide the tests in advance and tie it to meaningful consequences – that the learners/Performers will probably figure out what to learn on their own – by hook or crook – using U-OJT (with a little guidance that the Test content provides)…sometimes INFORMAL Learning tainted with a little guidance is appropriate!!!
What About the “Accelerated” Component In PACT?
Following the 6-Phase approach to IAD may seem anything but Accelerated.
IAD efforts may be greatly accelerated after a prior effort…once you’ve formally followed the 6-phase IAD process to build dozens or hundreds of Performance Tests, Process Procedural Guides…the next batch or batches may follow an extremely abbreviated set of steps.
Of course the danger of batches of additional content development efforts without a Curriculum (or Content) Architecture is inadvertent content redundancy or content gaps….which is why many IAD efforts are undertaken with a CAD-like front end to the IAD effort – or – a separate CAD effort proceeding the IAD projects.
In one Instructional Activity Development project, we worked with a company developing performance tests. Performance tests are instruments to assess knowledge and skills and to ensure that incumbent jobholders are qualified for the tasks they perform.
The logical extension of developing these tests is to develop training that will help those jobholders acquire the knowledge and skills required to pass the performance tests and advance in rank. We’ll be able to use the same analysis data and design work from the microlevel Instructional Activity Development effort to drive the midlevel Modular Curriculum Development process, yielding T&D precisely geared to the performance demands of the job.
The PACT Processes work from the top down . . . or the bottom up!
My experience with IAD efforts for my clients suggests that it is most useful in building self-paced content…which “back in the day” of the late 1970s and early 1980s most often meant videos and workbooks…then later CBT…and sometimes both including a “Coaching/Mentoring” component. Nowadays of course this has been replaced with e-learning mechanisms.
Instructional Activity Development Outputs
The outputs of an Instructional Activity Development effort may include
• Instructional content at the awareness, knowledge, or skill level
• Knowledge tests
• Performance tests
• Simulation exercises
• Performance aids
• Electronic or paper desk procedures
These outputs are described in more detail in the section of my lean-ISD book on Instructional Activity Development (see Chapter 20).
The book is available as a free 404-page PDF here. Plus there are Podcasts (12) and many templates that you can also download for FREE!
And the book is still available in hardbound from me – or from Amazon.com here.
Instructional Activity Development Teams
Because the instructional activity development most often occurs within a Modular Curriculum Development project, Instructional Activity Development teams are generally the same as MCD teams. Each team has a distinct purpose, but the teams may share members. The teams are
• A Project Steering Team of T&D customers and stakeholders to oversee the project
• An Analysis Team of customer representatives along with an instructional design professional to perform the analysis work
• A Design Team of customer representatives along with an instructional design professional to design the actual instructional materials
• A Development Team of subject matter experts and master performers, assisted by ISD professionals, to draft and refine instructional materials
• An Instructional Systems Development team to plan and manage the project and work with other teams to develop project work products
• An ISD team to provide the professional instructional systems development skills and processes necessary for the project
Summary of the Business Implications of Instructional Activity Development
The Instructional Activity Development process allows instructional materials to be developed as part of a Modular Curriculum Development process or as a part of a stand-alone IAD process. This allows T&D management to fit the scope of the process to the scope of the project, matching organizational resources to organizational needs. For example, if the scope of the project is simply to develop tests, then the more expedient IAD process can be used.
The Instructional Activity Development process shares the key characteristics of other PACT Processes. It is structured, gated, and allows for good control by project management.
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