What’s the Alternative to a Structured Curriculum – In An Enterprise Learning Context?

Whatever – Whenever – However Learning.

Which, if you have “enough” prior knowledge may be just the ticket.

But what if that’s not the case? What if you don’t know what you don’t know AND need to know?

If you don’t have enough prior knowledge – then that free range grazing on whatever, whenever and however learning on the Internet and with your colleagues may not be a good thing. You wouldn’t be in a position to separate the wheat from the chaff very well – other than by trial-and-error learning.

If you are concerned with EFFECTIVENESS and EFFICIENCY…

Effectiveness in terms of learning what is needed well enough to meet the needs of the job.

Efficiency in spending the smallest amount of time and money in getting there.

There? Where is there?

There is being competent – in the real job performance. Not in taking a knowledge test. Not in knowing stuff – but in ability to do stuff. Stuff required in the job – or to be required in the near term on the job.

Who sets those requirements? Who defines your Performance Competence Requirements?

The Stakeholders set those requirements – for the Processes and the Products produced by those Processes that the Performer/Learner performs within.

And they – the Stakeholders beyond but including the “customers” – set the requirements for the People and materials and everything else needed to make the process effective and efficient. The TQM movement taught us that – and many quality and performance experts before TQM came about (and then faded).

I’ve done 74 CAD – Curriculum Architecture Design – projects (and overseen more) where the Learning/T&D Path is architected – based on Performance Analysis – and Enabling Knowledge/Skills Analysis. And for almost all of the clients wanting this – they were attempting to formalize a very informal learning situation that existed. Yes, most learning is informal. But that’s no reason not to do more. Much more. Blend that way… from nothing to something. Depending how important getting that something in place is.

Those who might quote some statistics about how much people learn from other-than-formal learning today – might then make the argument that as most Enterprise Processes are informal (Level 1 on a scale typical of Process Maturity Models) then even more should be informal.

Huh? This logic completely escapes me.

Many Processes in an Enterprise are not lean, not without significant variation. So…Just because many processes are poor, more should be poor? Just because many systems are poor, more should be poor?

Rummler said: Put a good performer in a bad system, and the system wins every time.

So we should let them stay bad/poor. And take more that way!?!


Just because a lot – and I mean most – training from back in the day – and before that – and up unto today – is not very good – we should follow THAT lead?

I don’t think so. In an effort to “Protect and Improve the Enterprise” we are often called on to take informal situations and improve them. To provide clear effective AND efficient guidance where none exists. To make formal what is informal. Appropriately. But not for everyone.

Not every job in every Enterprise is worthy of this level of Investment – a CAD effort – simply because the Returns are NOT there to warrant the investments. Whether they are at the entry end of the learning path, or or not.

It’s a business decision. There are many business decisions – sometimes hiding – inside every Learning initiative. Not every decision inside a Learning initiative is an Instructional Decision. Separate those.  And collaborate with your Stakeholders in your initiatives to have the right party make the decisions that they are in their domain. Instructional – or – Business.

And be open during your analysis efforts, or whatever you call that set of processes (targeting, gap analysis, assessment, etc.) that you’ll find root causes (plural) that have nothing to do with Learning-Instruction-Knowledge-Skills-Training-Development, at the root of a problem, or the set of roots of the problem/problems, but Learning-Instruction-Knowledge-Skills-Training-Development could still very well be a part of the solution-set.


Several of my new books cover this – how to approach this – in great detail.

Info on ordering the paperback and/or Kindle versions of these 2011 books may be found here.

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One comment on “What’s the Alternative to a Structured Curriculum – In An Enterprise Learning Context?

  1. Pingback: L&D: Quit Blaming ADDIE for Whatever | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

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