Aiding Informal Learning : An Alaskan Example from 1994

Updated 11/21/2014.

Alaska 1994

I came across this job aid in 1994 on break from our project to create a couple thousand Performance Tests for a Qualification/Certification system for 20-some technician groups on the Alyeska Pipeline. I use to have a poster like the one in the photo on the wall of my offices – but that was a long time ago.


We did 2 large projects in Alaska at SWI – Svenson & Wallace Inc. – the first in 1987 and the second in 1994 – at Prudhoe Bay, and then on the pipeline itself.

Each developed over 2000 Performance Tests for approximately 20 job audiences – all tied to a Pay Progression Program – so it had everybody’s attention. So getting them to the collaboration table was easy – so to speak.  But getting over their distrust (we were the third attempt in 1987) of those impacted and those administrating the final “system” was tricky.

But – using our standard Group Process and adapting our CAD – Curriculum Architecture Design methods and tools – we were so successful in 1987 – that our client’s neighbors – running the pipeline from Prudhoe Bay at the top of the North Slope in the Arctic Circle – to Valdez just east of Anchorage if you don’t count the landscape in the way – they wanted one too. And so in 1994 we took that effort on.

Alaska Map

The modified CAD approach was used to scope out all of the Performance Tests – driven by Performance Models and Enabler Matrices – that led to an MCD-like (ADDIE-like) approach to quick development of the 2000+ Performance Tests in collaboration with designated Master Performers.


The client thought that after the modified approach – they would “apply” the tests – and then use the failure data to determine where to invest in a modular curriculum (20 Paths worth of content to develop – much of it sharable).

But since the tests led to pay increases – it had everyone’s attention – being tied to their wallets.

Everyone did what was necessary to master the Performance – much of it quite complex – and most passed the tests using only Informal, Learner-centered, Performance-driven (as the Tests were shared – and open book) learning. No formal training. Only their experience, and their network of co-workers, and the manufactures’ documents.

So – no follow-on CAD work for Guy. Which is OK, because the point has never been Instruction/ Training/ Learning/ Knowledge Management. It’s always been about the Performance.



Here below is a book that my partner, Ray Svenson, and I later wrote about the approach and systems/ processes structure we used – besides just creating the Performance Tests. See the nine sub-systems in the cover below.

Available as a free PDF or as a paperback for $20.

Performance-based Employee Qualification/ Certification Systems (2007) – as a Paperback

Paperback $20

Note: this 2007 book is also available as a FREE 226 page PDF – here.

But – what’s the cost of your printing and binding? 

The Arctic Circle in the Winter

Video of Prudhoe Bay facilities in 1987…

# # #

2 comments on “Aiding Informal Learning : An Alaskan Example from 1994

  1. Pingback: Performance Tests in Alaska in 1987 and 1994 – The Pursuing Performance Annex

  2. Pingback: L&D: Prudhoe Bay in 1987 | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

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.