Facilitating Content Reuse Via the ETA Process

Existing T&D Assessment
After analyzing performance requirements and knowledge/skill enablers, existing T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management content – Instruction/Information content – can be assessed for its fit within the architecture designed via Curriculum Architecture Design, or for its fit for reuse in either the Modular Curriculum Development process, or the Instructional Activity Development process.

The PACT analysis process by which this happens is called the Existing T&D Assessment (ETA).

The goals of the Existing T&D Assessment are to
1. Reuse everything in the T&D inventory that fits, using the T&D as is in the new Curriculum Architecture Design, Modular Curriculum Development, or Instructional Activity Development project.
2. Identify what to fix if the T&D doesn’t quite fit; the T&D will need to be modified/updated for use in the CAD, MCD, or IAD efforts.
3. Ignore the T&D that doesn’t fit (at least for the Target Audiences we are analyzing!); the existing T&D will not be used at all, again, for this audience. Perhaps it is appropriate for others.

The Performance Model and Knowledge/Skill Matrices provide a “bill of materials” for the content of the ideal, blue sky Curriculum Architecture Design, or for a piece of a curriculum course/content being developed. They also provide a set of shopping criteria to be used to assess existing T&D. The criteria can also be used to procure T&D in the marketplace.

The Performance Model and Knowledge/Skill Matrices are used to investigate and assess learningware currently in the organization’s T&D inventory. In some instances, learningware from outside the organization is assessed. Using the Performance Model and the Knowledge/Skill Matrix means that the assessment is grounded in data, not simply opinion.

Who Does What
The key players in the Existing T&D Assessment are the PACT analyst (or the PACT project manager) along with representatives from the T&D supplier organizations. The analyst is usually the best person to represent the PACT side of things, unless the project manager was in the analysis meeting and understands the data in the Performance Model and Knowledge/Skill Matrix. Members of the Analysis Team – those Master Performers and Subject Matter Experts might also be appropriately used in this step – for they may already be familiar with the current offerings.

Each T&D supplier, internal and/or external is given the chance to nominate various training and development/ learning/ knowledge management products as being appropriate to the needs identified and captured in the Performance Model and the Knowledge/Skill Matrices.

Inputs and Likely Sources for the Existing T&D Assessment
Key inputs may come from existing course catalogs or from ISD personnel knowledgeable about the company’s T&D. It is sometimes a difficult task to gather all of the T&D and find the right people to speak for the T&D that may be applicable to the project’s needs.

The analyst can speed the effort by contacting likely sources prior to conducting the Existing T&D Assessment and forewarning them by describing the analysis process, the information needed, and when it will be needed.

Tasks Performed During an Existing T&D Assessment
The tasks performed during an Existing T&D Assessment effort are generally performed by the analyst, although in some cases the project manager may do them.

First, the analyst contacts the likely sources of T&D prior to the assessment. The sources may include outside vendors of T&D, but most often this effort is limited to internal sources. In a large company, this can be quite an effort; the team should not underestimate the task’s cycle time or the number of hours the task may take.

Once the analyst has documented the Performance Model and Knowledge/Skill Matrix data, advance copies can be sent to the T&D suppliers. The analyst needs to be sure the suppliers understand the format of these analysis outputs and how to interpret the data on them.
When meeting with the T&D suppliers, the analyst reviews the courses and other T&D that the suppliers believe meet the needs documented. Then the analyst fills out the Existing T&D Assessment forms.

Finally, the analyst includes the Existing T&D Assessment data in the Analysis Report and in the presentation for the Project Steering Team gate review meeting. This meeting occurs at the conclusion of Phase 2: Analysis in Curriculum Architecture Design, Modular Curriculum Development, and Instructional Activity Development, prior to the Design efforts.

An ETA Process Guide is presented next.

Below, a typical format for capturing and reporting out the ETA results, course-by-course, and/or content source-by-content source.

Another Approach
There are other ways to conduct the T&D assessments. You could send out your data with a set of instructions and ask providers to nominate their T&D as they see fit.

This is somewhat problematic, as suppliers tend to see many of their offerings as perfect fits. They won’t necessarily understand (or want to understand) your data as well as someone might who was present during the analysis process.

And the suppliers may be rewarded by their own organizations for making sure that their square courses are seen as fitting your round peg holes of need.

The Existing T&D Assessment effort saves organizational resources by identifying T&D that may be reused as part of newly designed curriculum or course – classroom, E-Learning, or for development of Knowledge Management type products.

The Existing T&D Assessment data is the last of four types of analysis data from efforts that occur during the PACT Analysis Process – always in Phase 2: Analysis. The others types of analysis efforts and data are always

• Target Audience Data
• Performance Model Data
• Enabling Knowledge/Skill Data

Together, these four types of analysis provide the ISD project team with everything they need to know to proceed with the next phase of the project -Phase 3: Design.

But the ETA effort is key to facilitate Reuse, and when driven by the other types of analysis data results in appropriate Reuse. Without this step ISDers inadvertently reinvent many Instructional/Informational wheels.

And those initial redundant First Costs come back and multiply many times over in redundant Life Cycle Costs from deployment, storage, administrative tracking and maintenance of all of that redundancy.

Something to be avoided – for the sake of the shareholders.

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