Performance Development Paths

Performance Paths Versus Learning Paths

The former represents the terminal goal – Performance Competence – and the latter is but one of many formal means to the ends of meeting or exceeding the goal of Performance Competence.

The earlier one is a Performance Development Path – and typically the more risk and rewards at stake, the more formal the means are to achieve the goals in the Development of Performance capability, and Competence. The later – the Learning Path – is the same or less then (=<)  the Performance Development Path. Paths can include informal, less formal, and formal means to the ends.

As always, it depends.

It depends on the needs for the position or the next likely “next” positions.

Planning for the development of the individual depends on many factors.  Laying out a path, a suggested sequence of learning to perform, is something I’ve been doing since 1979. I’ve been doing Curriculum Architecture Design (now known as Learning Architectures) consulting services since 1982.

Performance – Not Learning – Paths

Since 1982 we called this “Path thing” by many names, including,

  • Curriculum Blueprint
  • Curriculum Paths
  • Instructional Paths
  • Training Paths
  • Training & Development Paths
  • Development Paths
  • Development Road Maps
  • Learning Paths

Regardless of that name – it was typically preceded by the phrase: performance-based. Sometimes the efforts were known as a Training Initiative – but often was given another name, such as one client’s name Time to Performance – a kind of cycle time reduction effort common in manufacturing and some service industries. Reducing cycle times elsewhere yields excellent ROI payoffs – and so it might for certain Target Audiences – the ones with the most critical Jobs in the most critical Processes.

Not everyone.

When you “design for the whole thing” thing – as you do in what I’ve been calling Curriculum Architecture Design since 1982 – you can plan for spaced repetition when the on-the-job demand doesn’t provide for it already, or needs to be supplemented. I learned that in the late 1970s. And practiced that in all of my CAD Designs (one or more Learning Paths in each of 74 projects).

Our terminal objectives was always to train to the Performance Competence Requirements – meaning we had to have an acceptable model for what that was, before beginning to do much of anything. Certainly before Design. And Design before Development.

And then Implement – Pilot-Test – and Evaluate L1-2-3-4 as desired/needed.

And then make the Content accessible for on-going Deployments and Access. When it is ready.

Of course much Content doesn’t need to go through that level of rigor – if it’s not really of much consequence.

But then you’ve got to wonder – why is this even being addressed?

What’s it’s expected Returns for the Investments?

That ROI thing.

But Wait! It Needs More!

And – it needs – an effort to develop a Planning mechanism to help managers of the Target Audience be very or a little involved in the development of a meaningful Performance Development Plan – and Path – using the right Resources in the right sequence and timing – to meet the needs of the job.

And then it might need a marketing/communications campaign – and any education/ training that is deemed necessary.

Development Might Need To Be Quite Deliberate

And not laissezfaire Learning. Not Informal Learning.

Not if the positive and/or negative consequences of that Performance are understood.

It might really require the Learning to Perform to be both effective and efficient and accelerate the Learner to being a Performer – who will continue learning on the job – and will require Spaced Learning – planned repetitions – of targeted content – and applications with feedback depending on the Performance and then Learning Objectives.

The Learning Objective in to be Performance Competent

A flexible (or rigorous) Path provides the Big Picture – it’s a Marketing Poster.

It should augmented by an Individual Performance Development Planning Guide – for the Learner and their management to use to down-select and sequence and schedule the formal and informal, modular Development Events that they will then participate in, to account for their incoming knowledge/skills and experiences and support their future task assignments to meet the needs of the business.

Planning Training – Learning – Development – is one thing. Completing it another.

And yet another is Reflection and Repetition – By Design.

Not every job needs this level of attention.

But some do.

A few Resources follow.


My 1999 book.

Available as a free 410 page PDF – here.

Available as a $40 Paperback Book – here.

The PACT 6 Pack

In 2011 I updated several old books, columns, articles and Blog Posts.

Available as Paperback Books and Kindle e-Books – please go here.

Begin with the End in Mind – Performance Competence 

But if you were interested in only Performance Tests – and not the Content – then this book would be of Interest to you.

Qualification – or – Certification – if it’s about Demonstrated Performance Competence – then that other label doesn’t matter.

Published in 2008.

Available as a free 200 page PDF – here.

Available as a $25 Paperback Book – here.

Articles From 1984

CAD – Training Mag – 1984 – 6 page PDF – the first publication about Curriculum Architecture Design via a Group Process – published in Training Magazine in September 1984.

Original manuscript (30 page PDF) – How to Build a Training Structure That Won’t Keep Burning Down.

Models and Matrices- NSPI PIJ -1984 – 5 page PDF – the first publication of the performance and enabler analysis methods for ISD, from NSPI’s (ISPI’s) Performance & Instruction Journal, November 1984.

Contact Me for More information!

Ask me about Staff Development sessions for your ISD/L&D Staff.

# # #

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.