An Immersive Learning Design – Driven By Analysis Of Authentic Performance – From Back In The Day

Back in the day – back in 1987 – I developed a 10 day course, shortened post-Pilot to 8 days, that was a very intense-immersive learning experience. It was a survival skills course of sorts.

And then I co-delivered that 31 times including 5 times in The Netherlands. It was so intense that it once inspired poetry from a participant. It was a Basics Course for Product Planners and Product Managers. Total target audience of 1100 – overseeing the investments of hundreds of millions of dollars annually. A huge lever – as seen by some smart management.

This course was a wrap up to the Learning Path/ T&D Path’s Phase 1 – the Orientation/ OnBoarding Phase – which included all of the basic survival skills needed by all in the target audience – regardless of which of the 5 business units they came from, nor the nature of their products, nor its place in the life cycle.

It was the wrap up to a very flexible front end of the curriculum architecture – needed to accommodate the very different job needs – despite the job titles being all the same no two jobs in the 1100 target audience were the same – and then there was the variances of the incoming knowledge and skills – from people off the street, out of college, out of some other job in the company, and others who were from other parts of the industry’s supplier chain.

In this 8-day intense, immersive, no-computers in the room, we had a simulation exercise – 5 rounds of 5 products going though 5 life-cycle phases – and a game board with Breaks Cards. Breaks to add variances for each team of each product from class to class. Conduct a meeting based on your data, collect data from others, update the plan and then present the plan for critique – by me and the other facilitator (of the learning experience).

This was all based on a Curriculum Architecture Design effort conducted in the summer and fall of 1986 – followed by an ADDIE-like effort in the spring, summer and fall of 1987. The course was Pilot-Tested in October of 1987. We had 20 attendees plus a handful of observers. The Pilot-Test was a big success – except for one attendee who couldn’t see that her job – a tiny slice of the whole due to her products investment size, price and scale compared to almost all others (out of the 500,000 products they were “managing”). She left before we were done. That too made my client happy. More about why later.

The 1251 module – the 8-day course – is the last blue box in the column on the left-side – the 1000 Series. The prior modules were all short. Many on the new CBT system in place. Some were pamphlets that were 3-hole punched. There was one video – 11 minutes – which is the first blue box at the top on the left below. A link to that comes later.  The 57 modules preceding this 8-day event addressed those variances – with a blend of strategies and tactics – including Interview Guides for defining your job with your Boss and Product Team and Peers. And then doing the training plan (in Module 1054).

A Learner (Participant) wrote Nick Bridges and I (the facilitators) a poem at the end of one of the 8-day sessions after that 10-day pilot-test. Lucky her.

The sentiment expressed by the poem’s author was shared by many in the course. It was indeed an intense 8-days. It was drill-and-practiced, and then some more, and more, more and finally the last more. 5 times.

Years into this I discovered why my client came to our evening dinner/ celebratory party on the last night – before the last day – and to the last day’s read outs of the teams’ final Product Plans – in the Decline & Discontinuous Phase of their life cycle – and he almost always brought a couple of executives along for both.

They all got a chance to see these new folks – even if it was during their post-dinner awards acceptance speeches for the goofy awards we had cooked up – so that everyone could be recognized (lampooned if we knew they’d like that more) – and then again when they shared what they thought they had personally learned with each other – and the guest executives. They were doing some talent scouting in that evening and next day’s final Product Planning read outs. Those read outs were to be of plans that did not put the rosiest of spins on the data and projections. That was not the game.

The game was to be able to take the data presented by the case materials – and factor in the Breaks (good and/or bad) – and then plan accordingly. The guest executives often didn’t like the bad news from bad news’ sources. Our attendees sometimes fought back with the data that they had – and resisted the temptation to agree with these bosses of bosses of bosses. Those that had the guts to “talk back” and correct these guests – often scored huge points with these guests. Career making points. And of course, some may have doomed their careers. I don’t really know.

Talk about authentic!

I saw as it a way to help my client keep the 8-day format intact – an immersive learning experience don’t you know – that produced real capabilities back on the job – by showcasing the testimonials from the attendees that last evening and day. He saw it as a way to see who was smart, presented well, and didn’t cave. He told me this after we’d been doing the program for years. I ended up delivering this 31 times between 1987 and 1994.

Here is a 10 minute video of me back in 1989 presenting Lesson 1 of that 8-day course – introducing it to the attendees: here.

The Analysis Report from 1986 was 131 pages – these next graphics are the first 8 pages – of the Areas of Performance – AoPs – that all other analysis data links back to, including outputs, measures and tasks, the gap analysis, and all enabling knowledge/skills, etc. And one Performance Model chart.

Here is the model – in the analysis report – that is explained in both videos – one referenced earlier and one referenced at the end of this post.

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

Page 7

Page 8

And then all the rest of the analysis data details – about the Performance and the Enabling Knowledge/Skills. And an assessment of existing T&D content for reuse potential in this Curriculum design.

All the way to page 131. I’ll spare you that. It was a very complex job, in a complex organization, in a complex industry – with high stakes.

Here is an 11 minute video – introducing the new-to-the-job Product Planner/Manager to their development tools – their Curriculum Architecture and their Supervisor’s T&D Planning Guide – to create an individualized training plan – see that … here.

This was pretty unique at the time – and still pretty unique. How many individual jobs get this treatment?

How many should? That is the real question – to a good steward – of shareholder equity.


6 comments on “An Immersive Learning Design – Driven By Analysis Of Authentic Performance – From Back In The Day

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