Your client comes to you with a new Training/ Learning/ Knowledge Management “content development” request. They have told you before that they don’t want to hear any nonsense about conducting analysis – for they have seen analysis paralysis before – and it ain’t pretty.
What to do?
Ask them about the applications exercise for the Learners/Performers. What would it look like if they were to apply “whatever” the client wants them to learn? What would practice look like – and perhaps you are suggesting that that happen after the Learning because you know how the client feels about applications exercises already – they’ve whined before about Mickey Mouse Exercises, Jeopardy Games, etc. that took up time for little if any return.
I always “mentally” start in the Applications Exercise column of the PACT Processes’ Lesson Map. Yeah – I think about what the Learning Objectives might be – but my mind races ahead to “what does practice look like? Client’s would always prefer talking about applications (as that is what they are really after anyway) rather than 3-part behavioral learning objectives.
It’s my way to first establish the terminal, Level 3 (and Level 2) Performance Objectives.
Especially when dealing with designated Topics versus designated Tasks. Requests for Training/Learning Solutions typically come in those two basic forms: topics or tasks. Sometimes in combination.
If/when possible I jump up and grab a marker off the client’s white board (back in the day it was sometimes on their own flip chart easel) and frame the Lesson Map. I draw a box in that far-right column and label it appropriately and mention that practice with feedback is typically necessary – just as in learning anything new – and especially important if the learning requires first unlearning and then new learning, such as changing the grip in tennis or golf – or whatever I know about this client and their sports/hobbies.
I talk about that sometimes we need an easy exercise – APPO – before increasingly difficult ones. Sometimes. Not always. Giving them some flexible options to think about. More time in Learning is a business decision – just as making sure this investment pays off or not – is a business decision – and yes, a Learning/Training decision too. But investing shareholder equity that could have been returned as a dividend – or a profit – and plowing it back into the business should be “all about the Returns” possible – and then ensuring them.
The talk about the APPOs goes to “can we do real work?” – or can we do “last week’s real work” – or do we need to simulate the real work application here – and how to simulate that real work. How do we make it authentic enough?
Then after talking about the APPO or APPOs – I ask would if it help the Learners/Performers in the APPO to first see a DEMO before tackling the APPOs? A “SLO-MO-DEMO?” As in slow motion demonstration – because – as you’ve heard – the hand is quicker than the eye.
They either like that idea of a DEMO – or they don’t. Doesn’t mean that’s where we’ll end up – I am just broaching ideas with them here – unless they’ve been through this drill with me before – and then they sometimes lead the conversation about options. I allow them plenty of time and space to change their minds. It happens.
Then – whether there is a DEMO on the whiteboard or not – we talk about the INFO needed to help prepare the Learner/Performer for the APPO.
In my head (because I invented these) I run through my list of 17 categories of enabling Knowledge/Skills. You might need a job aid.
I list these in the same order as generated in the appropriate column – and worry about the actual sequence later – on the whiteboard.
Then an “acid test” question for the client: is this everything the Learner/Performer needs to learn and master this “well enough” in the Learning Event? What might be missing?
Then we go back and fill that in.
Then I ask what do the Learners and their managers need before this Learning? And then, what do they need afterwards?
What does the manager need to reinforce the Learning? Will they inadvertently require the Learner to forgo what they’ve learned and revert back to what the manager know – meaning: knows how to manage? And what can we do about THAT?
Then we circle back – beginning at the end again – and put time estimates down for each box on the Lesson Map. In 5 minute increments – except for the Open and the Close “Instructional Activities” as these are Administrative Activities – that do take up time – but I always cheat here and lower the estimates to an arbitrary 2 and 3 minutes respectively.
Later in that same meeting – or deferred if the client needs to defer – for another time and/or for other people’s input – we complete the Instructional Activities Spec (Specification) for each of the boxes on the Lesson Map.
We use these templates in the PACT Processes – covered in my book: lean-ISD – to nail down the specifics as what needs to be built/acquired to crate a performance-based set of Instructional and Informational set of Content – driven by the authentic Performance Context.
Get a free copy of lean-ISD here. This is covered in the chapters on MCD and IAD – and not in the chapters on CAD: Curriculum Architecture Design. MCD and IAD are the ADDIE-like levels of design – of the 3 Levels of Design – of The PACT Processes of T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management.
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