PACT Analysis – 4 Types – For 3 Levels of Instructional Design

I am preparing for my Bagel Barrel session at ISPI in Orlando next month – which focuses on one of the four analysis methods of my ISD methodology-set: PACT. It’s also a methodology-set within my HPT methodology-set: EPPI – Enterprise Process Performance Improvement. And those efforts lead to this post…

There are 4 types of analysis in PACT’s 3 levels of ISD methods and processes for CAD – the Curriculum Architecture Design level of ISD – as well as for PACT’s ADDIE-like levels of MCD and IAD – Modular Curriculum Development and Instructional Activity Development (a subset of MCD).

Here are the three levels of ISD – Instructional Systems Design in my PACT-view:

PACT is an acronym:

The 4 types of analysis are defined in my book lean-ISD – award recipient for Instructional Communications and available as a free 410-page PDF here – in chapter 21-27, pages 239-291. Here from chapter 21…

The four key analytic methods used in Phase 2 of each of the PACT Processes are

  • Analyzing Target Audience Data
  • Performance Modeling
  • Knowledge/Skill Analysis
  • Assessing Existing T&D


The goal of the PACT project manager and the analyst is to collect the analysis information, understand it, communicate it to key customers and key stakeholders, and have the Project Steering Team “buy it.”

The first three methods of analysis are covered in the next three chapters (22-24). The fourth is covered in Chapter 26.

Miki Lane, the current President of ISPI, wrote an early reviewers review for me back in 1999:

lean-ISD takes all of the theory, books, courses and psuedo 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

The Goals for PACT are:

The 5 methodology-sets of PACT:

Chapter 21: About the Four Key PACT Analytic Methods

Four key analytic methods used in the second phase of Curriculum Architecture Design, Modular Curriculum Development, and Instructional Activity Development make the outputs of those three PACT Processes performance-based. In addition, analysis is performed in other phases of CAD, MCD, and IAD projects. A good grasp of the analysis process and work products lays the foundation for a successful PACT project.

The Importance of Analysis

All too often, training and development is designed without the benefits of good analysis data, driven instead to meet some arbitrary specifications that usually focus on content topics rather than performance. Or worse, learning objectives are quickly generated off the tops of the heads of the key clients as a way of heading off the dreaded analysis paralysis. When this happens, the realities of the job performance requirements are not factored into the design. As a result, T&D suffers, learning suffers, and the chance to improve business process performance suffers.

Too many organizations are unwilling to commit the time and resources necessary to perform a good set of analyses. The corporate thought process usually is: Avoid analysis paralysis. Just do it. Unfortunately, this bias toward haste typically guarantees waste down the road. What is needed is a lean approach to the analysis effort that clients can see is quick, adds value to the process, and is subject to their managerial oversight and control.

To design successful, performance-based T&D, the ISD organization must have a solid understanding of

  • The individuals who will be performing
  • The specific performance required
  • The level of performance currently being achieved
  • The knowledge and skills that enable mastery-level performance
  • The strengths and weaknesses of any current T&D and what might be salvaged from that T&D

This can only come through credible, thoughtful, and documented analysis. It does not need to be long, drawn-out, or complex. It should be lean.

The PACT Analysis Process

The second phase of each of the three PACT Processes―Curriculum Architecture Design, Modular Curriculum Development, and Instructional Activity Development―is Analysis. The PACT Analysis process addresses the issues and needs described above.

The four key analytic methods used in Phase 2 of each of the PACT Processes are

  • Analyzing Target Audience Data
  • Performance Modeling
  • Knowledge/Skill Analysis
  • Assessing Existing T&D

The goal of the PACT project manager and the analyst is to collect the analysis information, understand it, communicate it to key customers and key stakeholders, and have the Project Steering Team “buy it.”

The first three methods of analysis are covered in the next three chapters. The fourth is covered in Chapter 26.

The heart of the PACT Processes for T&D, the drivers that keep T&D performance-based, are the Performance Models that lead to performance-based Knowledge/Skill Matrices.

Analysis of both the performance requirements and the enabling knowledge/skills is done quickly and effectively in the PACT methodology. The resulting data drives the design at the macrolevel (Curriculum Architecture Design), midlevel (Modular Curriculum Development), and microlevel (Instructional Activity Development) of the PACT Processes.


Figure 21.1 The PACT Processes


Additional analyses in the second phase of each of the PACT Processes gather data and generate insights into the target audiences’ demographics. This Target Audience Data helps ISD professionals better understand their customers. Project members also assess all existing T&D for its functional fit to the newly defined, performance-based needs for T&D; this is the Existing T&D Assessment.

Key Analysis Roles

The PACT analytic methods use an Analysis Team of master performers and subject matter experts. This team generates a consensus view of the human performance requirements within the business processes and then systematically derives enabling knowledge and skills. Most analyses are completed in an intense two- or three-day Analysis Team meeting.

The key roles within the PACT analysis methodology include the following:

  • The analyst, who facilitates the data gathering effort in a team meeting, or else does it as an individual effort
  • The Analysis Team members, who confirm the validity of the data, which is sometimes necessary if the data was hard to come by and is potentially dubious
  • The customers/requesters of Training
  • The suppliers of existing T&D
  • Human Resources or Personnel Department staff

The analyst and the Analysis Team are key in this effort. Having the right people in these roles is critical

The analyst facilitates the process and must know what she or he is doing to avoid wasting the valuable time of the members of the Analysis Team―the master performers and the subject matter experts. The Analysis Team members provide the content, and they must know what they’re talking about in terms of performance requirements and enabling knowledge/skills.

The analyst owns the process. The Analysis Team owns the content.

  Don’t Lose Sight of This!

We ISDers own the specific process used to get the content the way we need it―using our method and our output format. We understand our downstream uses of this data in the PACT Processes, and the client typically doesn’t. On the other hand, they know the content we are after, and we typically don’t.

That’s why you and the people on the Analysis Team are involved in the process together! We both can collaborate and have a better end product than what any one of us alone could produce.

Analysis in Other PACT Process Phases

The predominant analysis is conducted in Phase 2 of each of the three PACT design processes for T&D. However, some analysis is conducted in each phase of a PACT Process project.


Figure 21.2 Phase 1 of CAD, MCD, and IAD

In the first phase of each of the PACT Processes, Project Planning & Kick-off, analysis is conducted about the customers/requesters and other stakeholders to determine the following:

  • Background and situational needs, constraints, wants, biases, etc.
  • Why the project is being requested right now
  • Problem symptoms along with thoughts regarding root causes
  • Stakes, cost of nonconformance estimates, the payoff for resolving the issue, etc.

Figure 21.3 Phase 3 of CAD

In Phase 3 of CAD, Design, analysis is conducted on

  • Media and deployment methods appropriate for new T&D Events and Modules
  • The sequence of learning best suited for a particular audience; this learning path is suggested for the learner and is to be modified by the learner’s manager or supervisor during periodic planning sessions

Figure 21.4 Phase 4 of CAD

In Phase 4 of Curriculum Architecture Design, Implementation Planning, the analysis efforts continue with

  • The estimated costs for filling the gaps following the design specs of the CAD
  • Establishing priorities for developing and/or acquiring T&D to address gaps in the current curriculum based on business needs and impact; this analysis may involve return on investment
  • Other infrastructure needs in the T&D system that need to be addressed in order to ensure the viability of the CAD

Figure 21.5 Phase 4 of MCD and IAD

In Phase 4 of Modular Curriculum Development and Instructional Activity Development, Development/Acquisition, analysis continues, gathering

  • More details for the outputs, measures, tasks, and roles/responsibilities
  • Information about existing T&D and other source materials

Figure 21.6 Phase 5 of MCD

In Phase 5 of Modular Curriculum Development, Pilot Test, analysis activities include a reality check and summative evaluation regarding the data presented in the T&D.


The PACT Analysis Process is used in Phase 2 of each of three other PACT Processes. While there are many approaches to T&D needs analysis, the PACT Phase 2 analysis methods have a long-established track record of success. They are lean and can be completed better, faster, and cheaper than other methods. They have been in use since 1979 and have almost always led to project success. When they haven’t, it has usually been due to an unstable process in development or the wrong people being involved (and that was typically caused by not establishing a Project Steering Team to handpick the Analysis Team members).

The remaining chapters in this section explain more about each of the four PACT analysis methods. For information about how the analysis work products are used, see the sections of this book on Curriculum Architecture Design, Modular Curriculum Development, and Instructional Activity Development.

*** *** *** ***

Get your free copy of lean-ISD here – and join the new LinkedIn Group “lean-ISD” here and join any of the 4 new subgroups:

1- Analysis

2- CAD Design

3- MCD Design

4- Project Planning & Management

The intent is to create some formal/informal Communities of PACT Practice – and see what helps others climb the learning curve of PACT formally, and of their PACT Adoption/Adaptation efforts informally. I hear from the Practitioner Community at ISPI conferences and in emails (on occasion) with glowing thanks and short success stories. On behalf of those who taught and inspired me – thank you. Now –

Pay it forward and help others adopt and adapt PACT.

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