Learning/Instructional Architecture at the Event Level and Below at the Applications Exercise Level

Today is an anniversary for me – on November 1st, 1982 I left Motorola to join a small Consulting firm where I eventually became a partner and helped grow that firm. It is at that firm that I got very involved in Curriculum Architecture at the Learning Path level – above that and below that. This post addresses the architectural aspects below the Course (Event) level, which is below the Path level, which is below the Enterprise Content Architectural level.

This is about APPOs, as in INFOs, DEMOs leading to APPOs – application exercise. Authentic, performance-based applications (or why bother?).

In this post I share an example of the architectural (or engineering) design of a Training/Learning Simulation Exercise – from a real client effort that I’ve changed a little bit. TMC is one of my “Case Companies” that I use to provide examples, and non-examples as necessary, of Instructional Systems Design applications at the course/event level, below that as this post does at a component level, and at a higher level of a T&D/Learning Path level, and even at the higher level of the entire architecture of content – both Instructional and Informational content.

In this example our focus is on the 3 pieces of a “Forum” – which could have been labeled Event, Course, Workshop, Module, etc., etc. Think of it a the components of a “learning intervention/solution” that needs to occur: before, during and after the MAIN EVENT.

In this case the MAIN EVENT was/is a multi-day gathering for top executives – who in the real-world example that this came from were being brought together from across the globe for the first time in the 100+ years of the Enterprise. Something previously had “not gone well” and all of the executives coming together were going to take a “haircut” in their bonuses for the next several years. So they had skin in the game. This effort was intended to help insure that THAT didn’t happen again.

Here is the “Map” shared and tweaked and approved for that effort (changed of course).

The “Map” continues – as sometimes things cannot be put on the proverbial 1-pager for executives – although there was one of those too. But I/we knew that that 1-pager would lead to some probing questions – and these next slides were prepared to be prepared for that possibility. And of course, there were those probing questions/challenges posed, and I/we responded with these visuals.

Note that if we had not been asked we would have simply “skipped/blown by” these slides in the deck. Knowing that in doing that – that that might have triggered the probes. And it did.

The “bottom line” goal for my client was to get to the Simulation Exercises – three of them – that happened to reflect the issues from the immediate past. Those were of course going to be highly sensitive – as some of the players in those simulations were involved in the real-world “incidents” that caused the stuff that caused the need for the bonus haircuts. It was going to be a tricky balance between being real and hitting too close to home.

Tricky indeed.

The Simulation Exercise design follows…with three defined roles for the executive players…all part of a standard architectural “template” that I have been using since the early 1980s – that gets tweaked for each project application.

Here are the three cases (Simulations) that were going to be addressed…

Here is a Map for each of the three Simulations…

Here is an overview of the Simulations Exercise materials (which I tag as Datapaks – all inclusive sets of materials – as I dislike a bunch of loose pages that can get mixed up, lost, etc. Never good to “allow” that to happen. Especially with top executives.

The architecture of the Dakapak is next…


Why use this type of APPLICATION Exercise – after providing the upfront INFORMATION, and DEMONSTRATIONS?

Because it gets as close to real stuff as possible – without using real stuff. Real work is the best, most authentic application one can use – but it’s often simply not practical – and/or desirable.

OK – here is the slide that triggered the probing questions about the Simulation Exercise.

Here is the architectural/engineering staff at the Job level – all of the formal and informal, blended learning targeted for a particular job title, in a Learning Path, or Development Path or Roadmap, Blueprint, Learning Continuum…

Curriculum Architecture – as a term – may be a little old school. But where you’ve got articles and presentations that go back into the early 1980s you’ve got to consider the balance and consequences for trying to stay “up-to-date” with the language – and disconnecting content for the readers. I chose to keep it continuous – and not mix it up – as architecture can be complex and difficult enough without changing the language/labels on those trying to learn “how to do this” themselves.

Here is a Training Magazine article about Curriculum Architecture from September 1984 – and a Conference presentation on Curriculum Architecture from April 1985.

And here is a link to my new books (from the summer of 2011) on all of this architectural/engineering stuff: here.

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