3 Levels of ISD in PACT

There are 5 PACT Processes, per the model in the graphic below. One of the Processes is a sub-set of 3 others; and those three are a sub-set of the last of the 5. Project Management methods guide all 3 levels of Instructional Systems Design/Development, and all 3 levels of ISD use a common set of Analysis concepts, models, methods, tools, templates and techniques.

Why the 3 levels of DESIGN?

To better align to client needs.

MCD – Modular Curriculum Development/Acquisition (the ADDIE-like level) is the New Product Development (NPD) component of the methodology-set that is PACT. This is where new instructional/informational “products/services” get designed and developed after analysis. Every product/service industry has a NPD process somewhere, however informal or formal… however lean or clunky with unnecessary steps or unplanned iterations… however predictable or not.

MCD is lean, produces performance impacting content with greater ReUse of existing content – producing content and templates that themselves have great potential (in most cases) for ReUse in other Enterprise efforts.

MCD efforts can happen before or after a CAD effort. The MCD “POTs Model” for its Phases- Outputs- Teams — for a no-prior CAD effort is as follows…

CAD – Curriculum Architecture Design is when the client wants to look at all of the existing development (Training, Learning, Knowledge Management) resources compared to the actual job-driven needs (not wants) – and then clean up any overlaps and gaps in a prioritized manner – where they might even decide to forego any Formal stuff, and leave it to chance and Informal Learning…as a business decision to not resource any efforts for defined pieces of the ideal T&D Path.

A standard approach to a CAD effort is as follows…

IAD – Instructional Activity Development – is the 3rd level, and the most unique of the 3 levels of design. It is very similar to MCD as it is a sub-set of MCD – when what the clients needs first/early is parts of what could later be a holistic piece of Learning/Training – but right now they want the Performance Tests and the rest of it maybe later. Or they want Desk Procedures developed and no practice exercises or testing or lectures. Maybe that “for sure” will be done next year, in that budget cycle – but let’s get this part done this year on this year’s budget.

IAD makes sure that any downstream retro-fitting will require minimal changes to the existing content as it would have been designed to later fit into the PACT MCD Design frameworks and templates.

IAD can be done with or without as CAD on the front end. If there is no prior CAD effort’s data to start with, an IAD effort would follow this framework…

My clients over the years, one to another, have always had very similar needs – along with possibly very specific differences in their contexts, causing me to plan to go after the same end results, phase by phase, using varied techniques, within my very flexible PACT Processes for T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management.

Here is what ISPI’s current President, Miki Lane, wrote about the PACT Processes as covered in my book “lean-ISD” back in 1999..

lean-ISD takes all of the theory, books, courses and pseudo job-aids that are currently on the market about Instructional Systems Design and blows them out of the water. 

Previous “systems” approach books showed a lot of big boxes and diagrams which were to supposedly help the reader become proficient in the design process.  Here is a book that actually includes all of the information that fell through the cracks of other ISD training materials and shows you the way to actually get from one step to another.  Guy adds all of the caveats and tips he has learned in over twenty years of ISD practice and sprinkles them as job aids and stories throughout the book. 

However, the most critical part of the book for me was that Guy included the project and people management elements of ISD in the book.  Too often ISD models and materials forget that we are working with real people in getting the work done. 

This book helps explain and illustrate best practices in ensuring success in ISD projects.

Miki Lane  Senior Partner      MVM The Communications Group


Here is what the late Geary A. Rummler, wrote in 1999, at which time he also renamed the book and created a new cover look/design – which is exactly what I ended up using…

“If you want to ground your fantasy of a ‘corporate university’ with the reality of a sound ‘engineering’ approach to instructional systems that will provide results, you should learn about the PACT Processes.

If you are a leader of, or a serious participant in, the design and implementation of a large-scale corporate curriculum, then this book is for you. This system could be the difference between achieving bottom-line results with your training or being just another ‘little red school house.’”

Geary A. Rummler, Ph.D.      Performance Design Lab

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