The Pilot-Test Phase in The PACT Processes for T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management

MCD Phase 5

Pilot-Testing by that or any other name – is intended to be a final QA (Quality Assurance) step.

It is done, as a Phase, when the Risks and Rewards for doing so are “worth” the time, effort and money – so not always. Not always FORMALLY – as the first few deliveries and accesses of the content may serve as INFORMAL Pilot-Test sessions, IF evaluated as a Pilot might be. The greater the Risks and/or Rewards, the more Formal Pilot-Testing should be in my opinion.

The Key Outputs of all of the tasks in MCD – Modular Curriculum Development are portrayed in the diagram below, from my book “lean-ISD” – available as a free PDF here.


Here is the 6-Phase model for MCD – in a larger, separate graphic.


Pilot-Test results reflect the MCD upstream activities.

 Here are the sub-Phases of MCD’s 6 Phases that portray those activities.


MCD Phase 5: Pilot Test

Overview of Pilot Testing

Description – In Phase 5 of Modular Curriculum Development, the training is delivered during a pilot test, and extensive evaluations are conducted.

 Key Activities/Tasks – Project activities in this phase include preparing for the pilot delivery (conducting train-the-trainer sessions, as appropriate); conducting the pilot test; evaluating the results of the pilot test; documenting the evaluations; and developing revision recommendations for the Project Steering Team. The Project Steering Team turns the recommendations into revision specifications.

 Key Outputs The outputs of this phase include

  • The Pilot-Test Report
  • A Project Steering Team presentation

Tasks for MCD Phase 5 – Pilot Test

The tasks of Phase 5 for Modular Curriculum Development are organized into five subphases.

MCD Subphase 5.1 – Prepilot

In this subphase, the project team prepares for the pilot test. Preparations include coordinating logistics, producing materials, coordinating the personnel required for the pilot, setting up the pilot-test location, and doing final readiness checks.

MCD Subphase 5.2 – Pilot Deployment

During Subphase 5.2, pilot testing is conducted in circumstances that replicate how the T&D will be deployed once it’s ready for general release to the marketplace. Basically, the project team conducts the pilot test, coordinates the resolution of issues that arise, and conducts evaluations on the T&D being pilot-tested. Tasks in this subphase will vary depending on the chosen deployment platform and need to be adjusted accordingly by the project manager.

MCD Subphase 5.3 – Postpilot Revision Recommendations

From this subphase comes a draft of the revision recommendations of the project’s ISD professionals, based on a thorough review of the data collected during the pilot test. These revision recommendations are later reviewed and processed by the Project Steering Team.

MCD Subphase 5.4 – Pilot Phase Gate Review

In this subphase, the last formal meeting is held with the Project Steering Team for the Modular Curriculum Development effort. The Project Steering Team receives an overview of the phase along with the ISD Team’s revision recommendations. The Project Steering Team’s decisions and reactions to the recommendations evolve into a set of revision specifications for use in MCD’s sixth phase, Revision & Release.

MCD Subphase 5.5 – Post-Gate Review

In this subphase, the project manager distributes the revision specifications and obtains sign-offs on the progress completed during the phase.


The Pilot-Test Deployment Team

The Pilot-Test Deployment Team conducts a pilot delivery of the newly developed T&D. The team includes instructors, facilitators, and administrators who conduct the pilot session. These members coordinate all logistics for facilities, equipment, media, food and beverages, invitations, and confirmations for the attendees. They also deliver the instruction or oversee the instructional delivery. Finally, they conduct written and verbal evaluations and debriefings to gather feedback for revision purposes.

There are two types of pilot-test facilitators and instructors.

  • Lead pilot-test facilitators and instructors
  • Guest pilot-test facilitators and instructors

Lead facilitators are assigned specific lessons for delivery administration, depending on the deployment method of the design. Lead facilitators typically come from the ranks of the project’s SMEs.

Guest facilitators are brought in to teach specialized subjects in specific modules or lessons. For example, in a course on product management, a representative of the corporate finance department may teach a lesson on measuring return on investment. Guest facilitators may or may not be lead or review SMEs.

Along with the roles of facilitators and instructors, another role is crucial for the conduct of a pilot test: that of the pilot-test participants.

Pilot-test participants are handpicked by the Project Steering Team to create a balance between

  • Target audience representatives
  • Management representatives

Participants attend and evaluate the initial delivery of the T&D for the purpose of generating evaluations and revision recommendations; the Project Steering Team considers these evaluations and recommendations.

Target audience representatives come from the pool of learners who will eventually participate in the T&D once it is finalized. They are used to measure the amount of learning that occurs. Management representatives (a.k.a. “management spies”) are handpicked by the Project Steering Team to participate in the trial. They are used to determine whether the right learnings have been included in the pilot. In combination, the two perspectives give the ISD Team the right data to determine what happened well and what did not.

For more about The PACT Processes – search this site in the Resources Tab.

And in the ” lean-ISD” book, in Appendix B – see the entire set of Tasks for MCD that one might copy and paste and edit – including editing out some tasks that may not be needed in YOUR situation. The Task list was meant to be all inclusive of almost EVERYTHING one might need to do, so that a Project Planner could “down-select” from that Master List and adapt as needed.

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