How to Ensure Authenticity? First Understand the Various Target Audiences!

Ask yourself: has most of the training you’ve been to – been “authentic enough” – in terms of your real-world on-the-job applications?

Or was it a stretch of your imagination to buy into what was being delivered – via any media/mode?

Did you have to temporarily suspend your disbelief in order to “get into it” and learn what was being delivered? In the end did you apply what was learned as taught/deployed/accessed?

It all goes back to the designers/developers and what they understood to be the Learner’s Performance Context. It all goes back to what is typically thought of as Analysis.

There are many types of Analysis in the Learning/Training field. We are opportunity rich in terms of what types of Analysis we can learn about and master. We can also be stymied by that richness – where to start is a question I’ve heard from others for 30 plus years now.


I ask the clients to help me understand the TARGET AUDIENCE first. Who are the Primary Target Audiences for the intended Content? My definition of them is that we are to meet their total needs given whatever other “scoping” boundaries are set. They are in the box.

Who are the Secondary Target Audiences? We will meet some but not all of their needs. They are borderline in the box, outside the box.

And who are the Tertiary Target Audiences? Those that might be confused by others as being in the box – but are really outside the box.

Then – having clarified and confirmed that with our Clients and key Stakeholders – a sometimes mixed bag themselves – whom I’ve found weren’t always on the same page themselves regarding this Target Audience Classification scheme that I’ve been using since the mid-1980s – we can focus on the ideal terminal performance capabilities we wish them to have post-Learning…

So my second type of analysis is Performance Competence Requirements.

My third type is the Enabling Knowledge/Skills (using up to 17 categories of K/Ss to elicit the specifics).

And finally – we want to know what we’ve already got in inventory Content-wise – so as not to inadvertently reinvent any Content-Wheels that the owners/shareholders have already invested in! That’s my 4th type – Existing Training Assessments. Can we use anything as is – or – after modification?

Then we are ready for Design. Which is different than Development. In my model for MCD – Modular Curriculum Development – the ADDIE-like methodology-set of my PACT Processes for T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management.

And rather than do all of that analysis course-by-course, or module-by-module, or project-by-project – I use the CAD – Curriculum Architecture Design approach to do that once, design the entire architecture of content, and then launch into Rapid Development – knowing that we will have minimized the gaps and overlaps – unless by design.

In my approach it is very OK to leave some potential Content to chance – and not develop it formally – and leave it to informal means.

In my approach it is OK to have redundant Content – by design for reinforcement, remedial and refresher reasons – as needed.

But those are business decisions that lead to design decisions. And those should be made in conjunction with the Client. For “they” live with the consequences of those decisions.

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