Why Use a Common Approach to Instructional Analysis-Design-Development-Management — a.k.a.: Curriculum Architecture?

I have 7 good stewardship reasons to attend to a Curriculum Architecture – or a Content Architecture – if you are in an Enterprise Learning function context – versus an Educational or Personal Learning context.

To improve BOTH the PERFORMANCE IMPACT of content/curricula, and the ReUse of content – after all good stewardship isn’t reinventing any wheels or content. It’s about appropriate ReUse “as is” or “after modification.” For all of this you need an inventory scheme – mechanism. I have that in my ECA – Enterprise Content Architecture – thinks “labeled drawers” into my inventory of Instructional/ Learning stuff. Including a place to house/archive all of the actual designs of content.

If you had been operating in PACT-mode for a while – you’d find yourself post-Analysis shopping in your inventory for content to use: As Is – or – After Modification.

Oh – did I mention the need to be able to inventory and manage the parent and children content – the original and all derivative content?

Then you could build Paths/Menus of Content – that are performance-focused – task-focused versus topic-focused.


For many – but not all of the T&D/ Learning Events on a Path – there might be pre-requisite learning activities and post-learning activities. But many Events on a Path are some of those Pre and Post learning activities – and so you have got to be carefull to not over-engineer your Learning Path – just because you can.

And without a Path to guide developers and their management/clients – many over-engineered Learning Solutions make their way into the internal marketplace. Not a tight design.

Every Event should be modular in design. In PACT when I go from CAD – Curriculum Architecture Design to MCD – Modular Curriculum Development I change that next level in design from Modules to Lessons. Here is an example Event Map of Lessons from an MCD effort.

And each Lesson has a Lesson Map – created with the Design Team who themselves had created the Analysis data.

And it is the Performance Model data and the Enabling K/Ss data that makes its way into the design… 

But in MCD – and not in CAD – we reach a 3rd level of Event design – with Instructional Activities…

This is how I see eventual Instruction/Information when I start doing analysis. I mentally slot topics and tasks into this framework as I gather the analysis data with my teams of handpicked (by the client and not the L&D organization) Master Performers…

In 1984 I was co-author of the 1st article on Curriculum Architecture – in TRAINING MAGAZINE…

I think the graphic artist/editor had it spot on – innovation – without a focus on the terminal performance competence requirements of the Learner – isn’t going to be good ultimately for your career.

Also in 1984 I was co-author of the 1st article to describe the analysis methods that were part of a Curriculum Architecture efforts – or an MCD (ADDIE-like) level of effort.

In 1999 I published my book on the PACT Processes…

…which won an award from ISPI in 2002.

Then 20 years later after that first publication – CAD was published by ASTD…

I authored a 12-part series on ISD via the PACT Processes and Methods – for ISPI’s PX – a monthly e-newsletter – that was published throughout 2007…

There are many free resources available on PACT – lean-ISD – here on this site under the Resources Tab – including a free PDF copy of lean-ISD, other books, articles, presentations, audio podcasts and video podcasts. Enjoy!

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