The Knowledge/Skills Needed To Develop a Performance-Based Learning Path

You Need to Know the Enabling Knowledge/Skills

Besides your own K/Ss – and more on that later – you need to know the K/S requirements of Your Target Audience.

And you really need to know both “what they are” – and – “what and how they enable.” For example, one might need to know quite Formally both spreadsheet software use – and company policies on budgeting – to produce the annual budget request for your department as a manager. Plus understand Informally what the culture expects and accepts regarding budget requests and rationale, etc., etc.

Either you feel it is more effective and efficient to guide people in new jobs – and you apply that to the most critical jobs first – and then use some of what you produced for the critical target audiences to “everyone else” – due to your Learning Architecture (IM View: content configuration rules/guidelines) – unless you are talking about Learning Architecture in regards to the configuration of Processes and people in getting the department’s jobs done.

I prefer the guidance of a Path for everyone – but of two types – those for PUSH Target Audiences and those for PULL Target Audiences. PUSH are critical from a Risk and/or Reward viewpoint. PULL are mush less so.

You directly address the PUSH audiences with “authentic training” and measure the results – but with PULL you simply enable them to access whatever you’ve got. The only real structure for PULL is on the front end ONBOARDING – but the structure continues for PUSH audiences past ONBOARDING and well into ONGOING development.

Paths – Roadmaps – Blueprints

I produce Paths and Planning Guides like the examples in this Slide Deck PDF – 2014 Webinar ISPI Bay Area.

These are the 17 Categories I use to systematically derive these K/S enablers:

K-S Categories

You can roll them up into a lesser number – but that just means that someone will have to divide them into more specifics later. And if you were using a consensus-building process with an Analysis Team of Master Performers and other SMEs in your approach to analysis – later in design you will not have the shared understanding on the Design Team.

This list evolved from Tom Gilbert’s Knowledge Map column titles – see Human Competence by Thomas F. Gilbert (1978) – beginning in 1982 when I codified the list of categories for a project to address the needs of both geologists and geophysicists working at Exxon in the USA Exploration group.

This Matrix example shows you what they – the enabling K/Ss – enable. See the “Links to AoPs” in the example Matrix below.

TMC KS Matrix Example

Imaging 20 or so pages of enabling K/Ss. Now you can assess what you’ve got.

Do you even cover these “Topics” – and more importantly – do you cover them in the context of the “Tasks” of the Learners?

Topics and Tasks

What are the Tasks that are either currently enabled Formally – or are left to Informal means?

I use this to Frame the Tasks:


These are the Macro-Tasks – or what I call Areas of Performance which is similar to Major Duties, Key Results Areas or whatever else you’d like to call ’em.

And here is how I frame the Tasks within a view of the Outputs to be produced – because Tasks are only good enough or not based on their impact to the deliverables of Tasks – Outputs – that lead to some outcome downstream.

TMC SM Perf Model Chart

Of course the Process that produces those Outputs – sets of Tasks – have more immediate Outcomes too.

Here is another example of what one might use to systematically derive the enabling K/Ss.

ABC Sales PM Chart Example

I’ve been doing these since before 1982, but in 1982 I began using a codified approach that has evolved to be the PACT Process for Curriculum Architecture Design – CAD – that designs the T&D Path and Planning Guide.

Here are the definitions of the 17 Categories for the K/Ss – from my 1999 book: lean-ISD…

Knowledge/Skill Category Definition of the
Knowledge/Skill Category
Knowledge/Skill Item

1  –  Company Policies/ Procedures/ Practices/ Guidelines

Any rules the company expects employees to follow when performing their jobs. These are the TMC Company’s documents on what they want done or not done. They are internally imposed. Typically, these keep the organization in line with government regulations. Not following them will lead to sanctions for the employee, which may include loss of job.

  • Purchasing policies
  • Code of conduct
  • Progressive discipline
  • Holiday scheduling and compensation

Knowledge/Skill Categories, Definitions, and Examples

Knowledge/Skill Category Definition of the
Knowledge/Skill Category
Knowledge/Skill Item

2  –  Laws, Regulations, Codes, Agreements, and Contracts

Laws or regulations from the government that basically govern the way you do your job. Any federal, state, or local laws or codes that drive our need to be compliant. Anything externally imposed that has the “power of the law” and would equate to jail time or fines if broken.

  • EEO regulations
  • OSHA regulations
  • EPA regulations
  • Union agreements
  • Supplier/vendor contracts

3  –  Industry Standards

Industrywide agreements that allow the TMC Company to be competitive. These are not imposed by regulatory agencies or policies and do not have the power of the law, but the power of the industry.

  • QS 9001
  • ANSI
  • Dairy Association
  • PAL Video Format

4  –  Internal Organizations and Resources

Internal departments, support groups, or other staff that help you accomplish work and/or are conduits to external entities.

  • Print Shop
  • HR
  • Engineering
  • Purchasing

5  –  External Organizations and Resources

Outside agencies, companies, and professional or external sources you can use.

  • ISPI
  • ASTD
  • IEEE
  • J.D. Powers
  • AMA
  • Accountants

6  –  Marketplace Knowledge

Industrywide views regarding

  • Knowledge of customers: types of customers, specific companies, customer types, the economic buyer or user of your product.
  • Knowledge of competitors: who are your competitors regarding a particular platform or product line.
    • Knowledge of competitive products: what are your competitive products.
  • Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota – company and competitive products
  • Pioneer, Sony, Panasonic, Zenith – company and competitive products

Knowledge/Skill Categories, Definitions, and Examples

Knowledge/Skill Category Definition of the
Knowledge/Skill Category
Knowledge/Skill Item

7  –  Product/Service Knowledge

The products the TMC Company produces or the services the TMC Company provides. The company products or services that you need to know about to do your job. The depth you need will depend on the type of job you have.

  • Widget X
  • Consulting on Y

8  –  Process Knowledge

Formal or informal processes that cut across two or more organizations within the TMC Company. (Note: the TMC Company needs to define). If there is a policy or procedure covering this, then it need not be rewritten in this category.

  • New product development
  • Sales forecasting
  • Product distribution

9  –  Records, Reports, Documents, and Forms

Any documents that you need to read, interpret, and/or complete.

  • TMC T&D time reports
  • MHDS
  • Expense reports

10 –  Materials and Supplies

The materials and supplies consumed in the performance of work.

  • Color print cartridges
  • Fuses
  • Resistors
  • Lubricants
  • Flip chart
  • Easels and paper

11 –  Tools/ Equipment/ Machinery

Any tool or piece of equipment that you need to use. What classification of equipment might be needed.

  • Machinery: fixed and large
  • Equipment: movable and medium-sized
    • Tools: flexible and small
  • Forklift
  • Overhead crane
  • Company vehicle
  • Road grader
  • Floor jack
  • Power drill
  • Hand drill
  • Micrometer
  • Oscilloscope

12 –  Computer Systems/ Software/ Hardware

Any type of computer, peripheral, or particular software.

  • The TMC T&D Employee Participation Records database
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Laser printer
  • Scanner

Knowledge/Skill Categories, Definitions, and Examples, continued

Knowledge/Skill Category Definition of the
Knowledge/Skill Category
Knowledge/Skill Item

13 –  Personal/ Interpersonal

Personal development knowledge or skills applicable to individual contributors.

  • Interviewing skills
  • Proactive facilitation skills
  • Time management
  • Project management
  • Creativity
  • Verbal communications
  • Written communications
  • Presentations
  • Negotiations

14 –  Management/ Supervisory

Knowledge or skills that are truly unique to a supervisor or manager that usually have legal implications.

  • Employee counseling
  • Progressive discipline
  • Termination
  • Hiring

15 –  Business Knowledge and Skills

Industry trends that equate to a business challenge. Any business challenges that become business strategies or business initiatives driven by business strategies.

  • ROI
  • EVA
  • Current TMC business strategies

16 –  Professional/ Technical

Any knowledge particular to the profession being analyzed.

  • Adult learning theory
  • Financial analysis theories
  • Electrical engineering symbols

17 –  Functional Specific

Any information that is specific to the functional area being studied.

  • The TMC Sales Division T&D philosophies
  • Materials organization mission

Those are the K/S needed to systematically derive the K/Ss of your Target Audience.

What about your K/S – the ones you need to use this approach?

I’ve got you covered…

 The Book – Lean-ISD

lean-ISD (1999)

Click on image to link to the download page.

1st Note: the cover design for “lean-ISD” was created by the late Geary A. Rummler.

2nd Note: Guy W. Wallace’s book ”lean-ISD” – was a recipient of a 2002 Award of Excellence for Instructional Communication from the International Society for Performance Improvement.

lean-ISD is also available as a $30 paperback book – for more info and/or to order – please go – here.

More Recently

In 2011 I reconfigured my books on ISD and Performance Improvement into this 6 Pack:


Click on image for more info.

But Wait! There’s More!

Free Audio Podcasts

Click on image.

Free Video Podcasts

Over 55 FREE videos – 3 to 15 minutes in length – created in 2012 – on all aspects of The PACT Processes for T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management…

Click on image below to go to EPPIC’s YouTube page.

Even though it “all begins with Project Planning & Kick-Off” IMO – the following are my Analysis videos from the PACT Video Shorts Series…

8 Free PACT Video Shorts in the Analysis series – B1 – B8

B1-Target Audience Data

B2- Areas of Performance

B3- Performance Analysis

B4- Knowledge/ Skill Categories

B5- Knowledge/Skill Matrices

B6- Existing Training Assessments (ETA)

B7- Other Enabler Analysis

B8- Analysis of Management

But Wait! There’s Even More Than That!!!

The C series then covers the use of the Analysis Data in the Design of a Curriculum Architecture Design Learning/Performance Development Path.

See an overview of the entire series – here.

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