PACT’s 3 Levels of ISD Design and the 5-Tier Inventory Framework

The PACT Process for T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management has 5 Component Methodology-sets: including 3 levels of ISD: CAD, MCD and IAD. One Analysis methodology-set; and one methodology-set for Project Planning & Management.

Which I believe, makes them easier to learn, to master and to become a coach for others; as well as easier to plan, to monitor and to manage.

PACT CAD does not create content. It rationalizes exiting content and then configures the gaps for priority planning and resourcing. MCD and IAD both generate new content, and modify existing content to ensure “high fidelity” of context.

The Research suggest that only about 15% of people can learn something in one context and transfer that to other contexts. That means training/educating people on something without that “high-fidelity to context” is often a total waste of time and money.

If your design isn’t anchored to something familiar to “my context” you are probably going to put me through some instruction that won’t seem relevant. Your definitions and examples may be foreign. We may spend a lot of time up-front trying to establish relevancy of these learning objectives to my Performance Context – and waste a lot of time getting to some common ground – my context – not your foreign version. AfterallWIIFM?

I learned a long time ago that the only way I’d get from the box of ANALYSIS to through the box of DESIGN in a course-development effort (often building self-paced content) “successfully” – was to have great analysis data. And then during design – have real insights into the performance environment context and into the learning environment context – the real one in the real world of the target audiences – and beware – there may be more than one profile of a Performance Environment Context as well as the Learning Environment Context for any Target Audience.

While my goal is often to generalize whatever I can (because it suggests great share-ability) – I want to also know and understand the different segments of the Target Audience – what makes them different and how can I flexibly address that – without driving up my life cycle management costs for being in the business of providing “Learning Solutions” to meet client needs.

One of the ways I approach all of this need to reduce life cycle costs for being in a Product business (internally), is to look for ways to configure content to increase its Reuse potential for other Target Audiences TBD (to be determined). And to look for ways to reduce the life cycle costs.

So I created the 5-Tier Inventory Framework/Structure. Now part of the ECA – Enterprise Content Architecture – the “home room” so-to-speak for content being managed as a product business “back at HQ” – keeping content up-to-date, developing new content and/or taking content developed by others – and integrating all of that into the hositic curriculum – on a T&D Path – for the Target Audience. Trying to avoid development chaos and deployment chaos.

After the first CAD done anywhere – the amount of content is reflected in e above version of the 5-Tier/ECA model. It suggests that there would be more Tier 3 content than any other Tier.

Tier 1- is where all of the very share-able orientations to all levels and entities within the Enterprise. This is where one parks and keeps evergreen the unit, function, department, team’s content about their mission, their vision, their values, their service/product offerings for use within or external to the Enterprise, how to do business with them, all of their smiling faces with names, job titles, responsibilities, goals, etc. etc. Back in the day (mid-1980s) we had to develop this modular set of content configuration specs for deployment on paper – in booklets – for one client. It was about an inch thick.

They updated it twice a year. It was bought by their business unit – but it was also purchased by many business unit people “outside” our Target Audience. It was really a best seller each year from that entire CAD, for over 60 of the 120 modules (modular T&D Events) were self-paced reading (sometimes with a video tape in the blend). Plus classroom training. Plus a couple of purchased video series, etc.

Today all of this would be accessible to the learner via a wiki. One wiki per Target Audience.

Tier 2- is reflective of the PACT Analysis data. This content presents both the raw analysis data, the Performance Model charts and the Knowledge/Skill Matrices – and ideally has some “advanced organizers” to the data sets of these advanced organizers. For that is how I see Tier 2 – as advanced organizer content before I learn things from Tier 3 so they all come together in the Tier 4 and 5 content.

Tier 2 is itself organized by the Target Audiences, necessitating the need for an EPPA – Enterprise Process Performance Architecture – where we can see the processes of our organizational scheme – and the roles/responsibilities of the jobs in an aligned view.

After orienting me to being a cog in the big machinery that my Enterprise is – in Tier 1 – and then giving me a thorough overview of my job via Tier 2 content – I am ready to learn the various piece-parts of the Tier 3 content – keeping the “end in mind” – the terminal learning objectives of being able to perform – be Performance Competence – that the Tier 2 content explicitly described.

Tier 3 – Content is organized by the 17 categories of K/S used in the analysis efforts of PACT. This is highly share-able content. The “enabling” Knowledge/Skill Matrices are organized using a list of K/S categories, listed below.

1. Company Policies/Procedures/Practices/ Guidelines
2. Laws, Regulations, Codes, Agreements, and Contracts
3. Industry Standards
4. Internal Organizations and Resources
5. External Organizations and Resources
6. Marketplace Knowledge
7. Product/Service Knowledge
8. Process Knowledge
9. Records, Reports, Documents, and Forms
10. Materials and Supplies
11. Tools/Equipment/Machinery
12. Computer Systems/Software/Hardware
13. Personal/Interpersonal
14. Management/Supervisory
15. Business Knowledge and Skills
16. Professional/Technical
17. Functional Specific

The content organized via the above framework (for Tier 3) addresses both Tasks and Topics at three levels of depth…awareness, knowledge and skill.

Much of this content can be deployed by more flexible and less costly modes, such as e-learning of mid-level sophistication, or lower-level sopshisitiction such as PDFs of Policies, versus booklets. All accessed through that Target Audience’s wiki (their portal).

Tier 4- Is the “how-to” content that reflects the Tier 2 content when the Tasks are shared. Many of these tasks can be learned via e-learning. But some require a group experience for best results.

Tier 5- Is the “how-to” content that reflects the Tier 2 content when the Tasks are NOT shared. Many of these tasks can be learned via e-learning. But some require a group experience for best results.

The How To content of Tier 4 and 5 is where the lessonjs learned in the “somewhat generic-but-still relevant” content of Tier 3 – is brought together in a Tier 4/5 set of content that is of high fidelity because it is applied in my performance context. And I “saw it coming” due to the Tier 2 content that set me up, sharpened my anticipation and understadning of my future state perfcormance that I could easily see relevance to my new performance context.

The analysis data configuration of PACT is deliberate – begun with several ends in mind – and one of these ends was utility in the downstream phase of Design – where the analysis data should facilitate design.

In PACT MCD the analysis data is first sorted into the Event Map of Lessons. It takes some skill for the Designer to facilitate a team of Master Performers and other Subject Matter Experts to make the initial rough cut of sorting.

Then the analysis data is further sorted and organized and embellished further in the facilitated development of the Lesson Maps (of Instructional Activities). When the design work is accomplished with a set of designated Master Performers and SMEs – who participated in the analysis efforts (as a Team or as individuals) – then you can trust the performance relevance, you can better trust the content accuracy, completeness, appropriateness and most importatnly -“impact to the job tasks” of the learners.

The analysis data is then captured and tagged via the ECA. The graphics used in this Posting reflect the organization scheme for the new content. The rest of the ECA – Enterprise Content Architecture – address legacy content, analysis and design data repositories, lessons learned and the all-purpose WELL.

That analysis data includes 4 types:

1- Target Audience data
2- Performance data
3- Enabling Knowledge/Skill data
4- Existing T&D Assessments for Reuse Potential data

The heart of all analysis efforts is the Performance data – which anchors all other data to the real world of the workflow, the processes of the Enterprise…or your function, or your department. It is the analysis data itself that drives the pairing of Tier 2 Content with a linked Tier 4 Content or Tier 5 Content (but neither “both” unless as a source- and set of derivative – as in a parent-children configuration). And it is the analysis data’s use in the design process that gets all of the Tier 3 Content configured appropriately.

I’ve been using the Performance Model chart format in one version or another since 1979. I prefer it to process maps, but if process maps already exist they can be used with a slight modification to the other data gathering processes.

Facilitating the Design Team to process the analysis data is done via 7 major steps with some iteration (by design) in the meeting process that improves the quality of the design. CAD design team meetings are often 2-4 days in length. The analysis team meeting that would ideally precede the design effort is often a 2-4 day meeting of Master Performers and other relevant SMEs/Stakeholders.

The Performance data is used in the systematic – deriving – of the enabling Knowledge/Skills. One K/S Category at a time, the Performance Models is scrutinized to elicit relevant K/S Items from that category. For example at some point all of the Performance data on the wall is walked through so the Analysis Team Members can call out the relevant K/S items for the category of Laws/Regulations/Codes/Contracts. Then on to the next category , walking through the Performance data, which is often experiencing continuous improvement at each pass of the up-to- 17 categories. Not all 17 categories are relevant for each Target Audience.

Why do this? To minimize overlaps and gaps. To enable one to better assess existing T&D for its reuse potential and appropriateness. To avoid unnecessary first costs for developing redundnancy and then incurring the life cycle costs for administration, storage, deployment, maintenance. Or expose the Enterprise to Risks due to negligence in the creation and keeping of current of performance enabling content.

All of this is addressed in my Blog and much in my book: lean-ISD – which is available as a free 404-page PDF at – along with many other free related resources.

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One comment on “PACT’s 3 Levels of ISD Design and the 5-Tier Inventory Framework

  1. Pingback: pb-ISD: Keeping Content Masters in My 5 Tier Inventory Framework | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

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