TrendSpotters – Lesson Map of Instructional Activities

From ISPI’s PerformanceXpress (PX) TrendSpotters – May 2010

Lesson Map of Instructional Activities
by Carol Haig, CPT, and Roger Addison, CPT, EdD

As we continue to showcase ISPI’s major annual award winners for 2010, it is our great pleasure to introduce Guy Wallace, CPT, this year’s recipient of ISPI’s highest award – Honorary Life Member.

Guy,, is a past ISPI president, prolific contributor to our society, author of numbers of books and articles, and a tireless cheerleader for our profession. Currently President of EPPIC,, where he provides performance-based instructional design and builds curriculum architecture, Guy contributes his Lesson Map of Instructional Activities to the TrendSpotters Open Toolkit (TOT).

Genesis of the Lesson Map of Instructional Activities
Guy developed the Lesson Map of Instructional Activities some years ago while working with Illinois Bell on a labor relations course. He needed a flexible way to share ideas with stakeholders while making the instructional design process visible. Guy has since used this tool successfully in a range of projects.

The Lesson Map of Instructional Activities is the core of a trio of design templates:

•Event Map, used to determine and sequence the major events in building an instructional product, including implementation and post-training performance measurement
•Lesson Map of Instructional Activities, used to display and organize all analysis data into sequential lessons/units/modules
•Instructional Activities Specifications, used to display details of each the Instructional Activities from the Lesson Maps

Description of the Tool
The Lesson Map of Instructional Activities is a visual, layering, hierarchical tool that design teams, in particular, can use to great advantage. In addition to the formalities of identifying a specific lesson and its learning objectives, this template captures the design, from left to right, of instructional flow from the Information to be presented, to a Demonstration of how the task is done, to the Application of the content in a practice exercise that enables the learning objective(s) to be met.

The example above shows the basic design elements of a lesson from a leadership program. The design team began by specifying the beginning and end of the lesson, numbers 1 and 8 in the Information column. Next, they identified the final exercise, number 7 in the Application column. Guy recommends that we begin with these three parameters when using the Lesson Map of Instructional Activities for any project, followed by the other components in whatever order they are identified and agreed upon.

How to Use the Lesson Map of Instructional Activities
This template is eminently scalable and works as well for the lone instructional designer as it does for a team. Gather your group around a flip chart and begin adding detail and moving components as views are expressed and ideas generated. Some tips:

•Always start with the lesson’s learning objectives, then the opening, closing, and final practice to set the lesson’s boundaries and specify the results to be achieved
•Include your most skeptical stakeholders on the design team so they can participate in the process and see the resulting learning product emerge as envisioned, adding input along the way
•Apply the Lesson Map of Instructional Activities to rapid development projects, to ensure that all critical information is captured and displayed
•Avoid embarrassing errors and costly rework: make changes at the design stage when they are ideas on paper, not completed materials
•Use the Lesson Map of Instructional Activities and the group design process to gain buy-in for your project and build positive buzz early

Success Story
At Illinois Bell, as described earlier, a large number of stakeholders were concerned about the labor relations training project Guy was leading. Based on past experience, one senior manager was skeptical that the training program could be designed and implemented to properly mirror how labor contracts were actually used in labor relations work: In previous training, an instructor read a sample labor contract to participants rather than having them actively engage with the document to look up salient information.

Using the Lesson Map of Instructional Activities enrolled even the most doubtful executive in the design process and resulted in the entire group of stakeholders serving on the design team and remaining active in the project through implementation. They could see the analysis results in the Lesson Map and enthusiastically participated to make sure the resulting training would reflect the way work was actually done.

Advice to Users
The Lesson Map of Instructional Activities is a flexible tool suitable for a range of instructional design projects. Guy recommends using it even when there is little or no allowance for analysis because you can back into an on-the-spot analysis by making the instructional elements visible.

Links to the Performance Technology Landscape
The Lesson Map of Instructional Activities supports these principles of Performance Technology:

R Focus on Results—starts with the final application exercise

S Take a System view—this template is the middle portion of a total design system

V Add Value—makes analysis information, learning activities, and results visible

P Establish Partnerships—uses a collaborative approach for designing training

+ Be Solution Neutral—enables analysis results to drive the instructional design


Direction for Performance Improvement
If you know Guy, read his blog, participate in ISPI discussions, or follow him on Facebook or Twitter, you are probably aware that he is worried about the future of the performance improvement profession. One of Guy’s main concerns is that we are limiting ourselves to too narrow a toolset, using just the trappings of our individual specialties—HPT, LEAN, 6 Sigma, OD, ID, etc.—rather than pooling our implements and talents to provide the most appropriate solutions to our clients’ performance issues.

Find all the models and tools featured in TrendSpotters at

You may reach Carol Haig at or at; Roger Addison may be reached at Roger blogs at

To get on the free mailing list for PX send your contact information to, and you will be added to the PerformanceXpress email list.

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