Anchor Your Instructional Design to a Model of Performance

But First

It is all about Performance, Gaps and a focus on addressing the Deficient Enablers of Performance.

Now let me digress…

When I started in the field in 1979, it was referred to by some as “Instructional Technology” (IT). That didn’t last long  as MIS –


Management Information Systems – shifted its brand to Information Technology, and thereby won the battle of corporate acronyms ownership and recognition, forcing the old IT’ers to find a new brand so as to not have to explain that with every new introduction.

Hence our wandering in the wilderness since those days. It’s not the shift from Training to Learning in the brand. That’s another story IMO. The real issue for me is/was that we had/have lost “Technology” as central to the brand.

But wait. Do you think I mean Technology as in computers or machines?

Well, no in a way; and, yes in a way. More no than yes.

No in that by Technology I mean – and want it understood that I mean mostly – “the application of science.”

Not computers and other modern-day machine wizardry.

I mean research-based, field-tested and proven to work, evidence-based-practices EBP, and not voodoo and other whodo.


What I have in my approaches, that I share with you here, is/are a proven set of concepts, models, method, tools and techniques.

You, of course, will or would have had to adapt, and not just adopt all of it/any of it… to fit your circumstances; although I think it more appropriate to describe it as:

Adopt what you can and adapt the rest.

PACT and EPPI Proven

…by me. Many times. By many others working with me and then later on their own.

Proven also for a long time, by me and my business partners – going back to the early 1980s – all started when we needed to codify our methods and tools and data – so that teams of our employees and other subcontractors could come in and work in parallel – instead of in series.

See me and my business partners’  two articles – published in the fall of 1984 – in NSPI’s Journal and in TRAINING Magazine – describing the performance analysis – and then the application of that analysis data in a Curriculum Architecture). Remember, 1984….

Came out second, but should be read first… from November 1984…


Click on it to go to PDF of the article.


Came out first, but should be read second…from September 1984…

1984 Training Magazine September - Curr Arch_Page_2

Click on it to go to PDF of the article.

That’s an application of the Analysis methods – from experience prior to 1984 when the article was published. When both articles were published. Here are the links to each article – available in the Resource Tab under the obvious sub-tab…

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 pages) – 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.

And now regarding Task Analysis – IMO…

Performance Requirements As The Driver of Targets

I originally and have now always thought most Task Analysis (the outputs of that) examples I’ve seen at various client sites (I have had 75 consulting clients since 1982) were both too narrow a set of information – and seemed more like a random sets of tasks and steps (or steps and tasks) and didn’t provide a picture of the holistic nature of the job.

  • Was there a typical sequence of these random tasks in the typical work shift, or work order, or project, or job task set?
  • What were the outputs of all of this Task/Activity?
  • Where is the current Target Audience in terms of performance?
  • What’s critical to learn how to perform right the very first time, and what can be later, learned during the job, formally and informally, both, what?

That’s what my Performance Analysis stuff is all about.

Understanding current actual, ideal performance, and then gaps between top performers and all others. So it was important for me to see the larger context of Task Analysis, and perhaps accomplish THAT within a wider task-set itself, than just looking at and capturing lists of tasks.

Beyond Task Analysis

I look at a task as just one piece of Performance. Then I can derive certain things off of those task lists, such as the answers to “what are the enabling knowledge/skills” required of the performer to do that Task, or that set of Tasks, and/or their whole job’s set of Tasks.

In fact, I look at Performance, in terms of some “blocking/segmentation scheme” and then look for its deliverables/outputs – as their outputs are inputs elsewhere downstream I can use that framework of Stakeholders to ask for the key measures and standards (metrics and goals) for those outputs, and then I can systematically derive the Tasks, the gaps, the enabling knowledge/skills, and any other of the enabler-sets, in my model.

EPPI Fishbone v2012 - 1- The Process

Your model may differ.

That’s OK. To be expected. Variance there too, your context and mine, as well as in our experience-based, knowledge, skills, etc.

We all have to adapt.

BTW – did you note that this EPPI Fishbone diagram is simply a variation on the Ishikawa Diagram, with maybe a little Gilbert and Rummler and Brethower flavoring?


A mash up.

Performance Beyond the Performer

Performers and their Performance do not exist in a vacuum.

It is important to understand their whole context in deciding how to improve performance and what is needed.


Maybe if someone would only fix the dang Process, and like, put one in place, so that there would be 1.

When now there may be a new one every day. No rhyme no reason. Different Day Different Process. Maybe fixing THAT would be sufficient.

Or maybe the Data/Information needs to be better, more timely, etc. and then that will lead to Knowledge/Skills gaps, which could be addressed with just Performance Support, or both Instruction via an online Quick Video and that Performance Support App on your BYOD device.

The fix might need some things first, other things later, and then perhaps ongoing maintenance as it were.

PC at the Worker Work and Workplace levels

Performance Beyond the Process

Any one Process, regardless if it is one of the BIG VALUE CHAIN Processes, a supporting CORE SUPPLY CHAIN Process, or SUPPORTING SUPPLY CHAIN Process, or a GENERAL SUPPORT Process, exists to serve its downstream Customers and their Stakeholders.

This is important.

It’s beyond Customers at your stage in the total value stream process, it must include all Stakeholders at every stage for you to be successful, by design versus by luck.


Stakeholder Hierachy Example 1

That graphic above is of course only one of many views of a hierarchy of Stakeholders.

Yours will vary. Of course.


Create Your Own View.

Performance Beyond the Enterprise

This is where Social Responsibility comes in to performance improvement.

But it – the improvements using those kinds of metrics – often competes with the demands and expectations of the Enterprise Owners.


Not always, but often enough.

Guess who will win that tie?

Yes, probably the Owners.

But then…

If it’s a really an open, flat, whatever the right buzz word here that you see appropriate, marketplace, with all of this Big Data, etc., and the availability of that data understanding will then drive certain behaviors – and extinguish others. Theirs too, the owners.

Because in today’s computer/machine world – the whole world is watching. And reacting more quickly all of the time. To data.

And it – the new data at our fingertips – will provide a need for a new response, and the needs and consequences will shape behaviors – which will drive new and changed Performance Requirements. Continuous change….

So what is your baseline of Performance Requirements, the expectations, now?

Can it create and capture of view of Performance that enables everyone to see and talk about it, as in can they see “exactly what the training exercise might be” and “look like” and produce as a result of all of the exercise work, What would the exercise read-out be focused on?

And – what back-on-the-job reinforcement requirements might need to be provided, and how, etc., etc.?

Here’s a snapshot, one page out of many, all names changed to protect someone, of a Performance Model for 3 jobs, roles, in a process that intersected with other enterprise processes…

ABC Sales PM Chart Example

Oh, and what is this worth? To close the gaps or the rewards for doing so?

Nickels and dimes? Or millions and millions?

What’s the value of the gap, dollar-wise and/or strategic-wise, and/or feel-good-wise (SR)….

I’ve always found that walking my clients, in formal, structured Project Steering Team meetings, through this level view of some of their most critical jobs and/or process, are always an engaging experience. For them. It’s their world, captured.

Not with  anything they didn’t already kind-of know. Except for individuals. They only saw their slice and a little of the others.

These produce collective views of current and/or future state “human performance requirements” and current state gaps – the baseline, baby.

But here – the the Performance Model – is a detailed definition of the human side of their, the Project Steering Team of customers and other stakeholders, is the picture painted, of the process performance requirements – and a gap analysis.

Leading to targeted performance improvement efforts – in PACT (Instruction) and/or in EPPI (Performance Improvement) – my versions of those types of approaches.


Getting the Performance Model data from the right people on the right processes – just any will do is true of either, and then designing improvements with the right people with the right data, making improvements in the right upstream enabling systems for some targeted improvement in designated metrics, and could/will help the organization prioritize and address all worthy improvement efforts.

And that’s what it’s all about.

For me.

And probably you too if you’ve read this far.

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