Performance-based Curriculum Architecture Design

Focused on Performance

The Key Ideas Behind a Curriculum Architecture Design and Curriculum Design

  • Effective and Efficient – Learning to Improve Performing – via Paths of Events/Experiences

Effective, because it is performance-based, addressing performing tasks to produce outputs to stakeholder requirements. Efficient because there are many potentially share-able pieces of content across an enterprise, and there are many unique pieces of content. Efficient also in a greater return will result from that focus of performance and better leveraging the performance impact back on the job – all other pieces of the puzzle being adequately in place as well, again.

The pieces of the puzzle – in the EPPI methodology/tool/technique set…

EPPI Fishbone v2012 - 1- The Process

But there are many processes in any enterprise. Some shared but most unique.

Everyone does financial accounting, but many may vary in how they apply what they know about financial accounting. Sometimes that is OK, other times not. How you report to the tax authorities, for instance, may need to be EXACTLY THE SAME each and every time. Six Sigma.  How you track petty cash expenses, another. Say 1.5 Sigma. Of how well the landing gear on a jumbo jet holds up. Perhaps 12 Sigma.

As Always – It Depends


It’s situational.


Moving on.

Curriculum Architecture / Learning Architecture

If you believe that an “architecture” of shared and unique content – and information and tools and facilities – can facilitate a more common language and culture – and improve performance if properly targeted (all things not being equal) – and “if” all the other pieces of that puzzle are adequately in place of course – there would be a significant return on those investments.

You would have created an architectural framework for organizing your stuff, your blend of content and your blends of tools and techniques to share as appropriate or to address uniquely – as R for the I needs dictate. Using a blend of media and modes.


Learning affects a small portion of all of the variables of performance. But an important variable.

That’s Curriculum Architecture Design. It produces a path or menu of learning… introductions, overviews, facts, data resources and how to access and use them. When you think of a Learning Path – think of a path of shared and unique OnBoarding and Ongoing  Learning Experiences. One of many, but with shared content

It’s not everything that is needed in ALIGNMENT of Resources to achieve enterprise goals and returns, yada, yada. Curriculum Architecture Design is the backbone for configuring the shelves for your inventory of content addressing the awareness, knowledge and skill pieces – through learning, training, knowledge management, performance support,etc., etc., – and then concerns itself with the deployment of those, and/or the making of them otherwise accessible.

Since 1982 I have been doing the analysis and design of what today is often called Learning Paths. I finished my 75th such project back in January 2013. My co-workers and I published an article in Training Magazine back in September 1984 about our architectural approach:

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. The title was a Training Magazine editors choice. to tie in with the cover art, no doubt.

Today – Is Different?

Yes and no. Not a lot has changed in the performance orientation of my CAD – Curriculum Architecture Design methods for analysis and design over the past 3 decades – but the deployment/access aspect – which has been broadened tremendously by technology and smartphones/tablets/eyeglass frames, etc., etc.

But the design phase is very different.


In both the CAD and MCD methodology/process-set, Design is different…

… and in MCD in the Development phase, that’s very different as well, and how we can pilot test is also different – due to technology (Thank you NASA) in my MCD adaptation of ADDIE.

You create a Path in CAD and then develop/acquire in MCD.

In MCD you might be adopting and adapting existing content as needed. Trying to share “as is” whenever appropriate. Tweaking content for another use is expensive too, and needs to be done as targeted. Not just because you can.

Learning/Training can be better deployed/accessed and then reinforced through many different means – which of course you only do when that is targeted on the enterprise’s most critical performance and processes.

Push-Pull and The 5 Tier Content Inventory Framework

There is more to the Architecture that the 5 Tier Inventory Framework for organizing content, and performance support stuff too. That’s been covered in prior posts, including this one – here.

Content creation, or rather good content creation, may be somewhat expensive for an enterprise, so it better be targeted and both effective – and efficient.

Redundancy should be “by design” and not “inadvertent.”

And any redundancy, which is at additional cost, should be all about and measured in how it: improves performance.

Because it is all about performance.

If leveraging some targeted set of Process performance wasn’t going to lead to acceptable ROI, financial or not, then don’t blame L&D for level 4 or 5 results. That’s on management – even if they have empowered without some oversight/command/control/empowerment mechanism in place – it’s still on them.

Hold the Learner’s management and L&D for failures at level 3. L&D for level 2. And be careful in any reactions based on level 1 results, as they are often mis-self-reported, depending on what data you are gathering, and how you are gathering them.

Ruler 2

It’s all about Performance.

Even for a Learning Organization.

Focus on the Performance Requirements – and Enable Them.


For more info on these and other books, please go – here.

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