Poster Visual Aids as Advanced Organizers for Complex Designs

This is me in my CADDI offices in 2000 looking at one of several “wall poster charts” of the inventory of gap “Modules” from a Curriculum Architecture Design (CAD) project for a client I had been serving (under about 3-4 different names) since 1983.

Modules in a CAD – Curriculum Architecture effort are equivalent to chapters in books – as they are the components of Modular Events in a Modular Curriculum.

In my PACT Processes for T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management – a modular curriculum is not a collection of modules (which I have seen too often in the last 30+ years) – it is a modular design of T&D Paths, Events and Modules.

Clients liked this set of charts – as it gave them a large visual to share with others as to the development/acquisition steps post-CAD needed to address (only) the priority gaps. Many had them on their walls – marking off Module after Module as they were developed/acquired. And marking the “priority level” on that chart too – so others could see what was deemed important – by the client – and what was not.

“Modules” in the PACT Process become “Lessons” in MCD – Modular Curriculum Development/ Acquisition (the ADDIE-like) efforts of PACT – “IF” they are a priority “to close the gap.”

Not every Module of every Event – or every Event on the Path – is “worthy” of development/acquisition. Those are business decisions – not ISD decisions. All the Events that “could be” are on the Path – and on this Module Inventory visual. If it’s not a priority to resource – then it remains Un-Structured OJT – something akin to guided Informal Learning in today’s parlance.

Those Events/Modules that “should” are the top priorities that fall within the “budget parameters” of the client – and targeted for “will be” when resourced – Note: many CAD efforts lead to multiple years of multiple MCD-like efforts  – although many of my clients end the PACT Process efforts and turned the CAD results over to their own version of ADDIE. unfortunately that often led to a blurring of the boundaries of content as “specified” by the CAD design outputs – as developers did their own ISD-Thing – resulting too often in redundant and gapped content – something the CAD effort was intended to avoid in the 1st place.

The sheer amount of data inherent in the typical CAD effort – cover all of the T&D (Formal/ Informal/ blended/ etc.) is simply too overwhelming in the binder of Event Specs and Module Specs – and long ago I provided both the mind-numbing details in those Design Document binders – plus the visual aids of large poster-size charts: for the Paths and the Module Inventory.

The charts were always a good place to start – to provide the BIG PICTURE – before diving in to reviewing the details in the binders – some of which had perhaps 50 to 150 Events – each with perhaps 1 to 15 Modules. Geary Rummler used to joke about selling projects by the eventual binder size – I took that as a serious warning about what to avoid. So the posters were an advanced organizer – and I provided smaller copies on 11×17 paper – and had those in those Design Document binders too.

Oh – another point: creating Paths and Event Specs and Module Specs and these visual posters can be a meaningless exercise – unless there is solid analysis data informing all. Making it pretty when there’s really nothing to it – behind the curtain – is a sham – and an extreme example of poor Stewardship in the T&D/ learning/ Knowledge Management space.

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