In Vogue in the L&D Space – This Vague Notion of Performance

This Vague Notion of Performance

Is this finally getting some headway? This notion of Performance versus Learning, or e-Learning, or Training or even Performance Support done poorly – you know, without analysis of what those performance requirements are – to be supported?

Performance – the ultimate criterion (within our typical control) for our team and individually targeted interventions. THE Target.

If so – if it’s coming – it’s been a long time in coming.

Here – the late Geary A. Rummler lamented about the issue WAY BACK in 1969 – published in 1969:

The late Geary Rummler – We Can’t Get There From Here (1969)

Rummler 1969

I sometimes think that I hear the faint din of Performance in the loud landscape of Learning. Where Learning for the sake of Learning is all too oft the mantra. Not “Learning for the Sake of Performance” – as it should be – IMO.

But then that falls away and the noise of Learning for the sake of Learning, or e-anything as the end-all/be-all for anything, or any number of poor practices built on foo foo, grow louder, amplified by the institutions that shouldn’t.

In my 35 years in the biz – this isn’t the first time I’ve seen the cycle start.

The New/Old Promise

Has the evolution of technologies and tools now finally well-enough “enabled” Performance Support … as in EPSS of the 1980s … as in Electronic Performance Support Systems? Have we finally arrived?

I think so.

However …

As I’ve suggested – as someone in the Instruction/ Training/ Learning/ Development Space – since 1979 – I’ve witnessed the almost-Renaissance of the Performance Focus – several times.

And I liked it.

For, to me, that’s what it’s all about in the Learning Space: Performance.


Somehow – it needs to stick. And rise above the marketplace noise about the next new shiny thing. Very shiny.

And then the hope fades as the marketing machines of THE industry pitch their questionable wares on the unknowing.

A few weeks ago David Kelly (@LnDave) was online addressing the topic – but I cannot easily find that now.

But it was an acknowledgment, his acknowledgement, that too many in the Learning Space (and not just the e-learning space) are not really  focused on Performance.

Only a Notion?

It’s a profession – Learning – where the notion of Performance just ain’t there (my words, not his) in enough force. It’s not on enough people’s radar screens – so to speak. Except for those few talkin’ about Performance Support. But even then …

What’s still missing for me – all too often – is  the ability to judge the effectiveness and efficiency of  others’ “approaches” – how do they do what they tout – to get that focus on Performance.

They talk about the end state. OK. But then – how to get there?

Oh, that’s what they sell. That widget.

And the process that produces the results?

Proprietary – which makes sense having been there with clients hesitant to draw too much attentions to successes prematurely – because they too have probably been there and done that.

So it’s hard to judge, to assess.

Fair enough. They are in business with a model that suggests how up and to the point of sale.

A Big Picture View of Performance


Side 2…


Side two is about the need to udnerstand the process at a macro and a micro level – and the use of a Stakeholder model (unique to each Performance Context) to define requirements (and constraints) – and a map of the various Solutions by the EPPI (Enterprise Process Performance Improvement) framework – to be adapted for each Enterprise using the EPPI models and methods.

A Logic Applied to ISD for the PACT Processes for Instruction/ Training/ Learning/ Knowledge Management

This is my 5o,ooo foot view of the logic, the data logic, of my approaches – for analysis and design/development – of content – from any blend of media/mode the organization wishes to embrace and resource.

PACT Data Logic

So – I’m always interested to see their data logic – from these purveyors of the new tech-enabled MO BETTER THAN IN THE PAST of Performance Support – from their Analysis data through their Design data and then on to Development – as if those last two were in fact two – distinct steps that is. And not just a 1-2 punch of Design/Development limited to deciding which PowerPoint templates to use and then … just doing it.

Without adequate analysis.

Faster, maybe.

But foolish, IMO.


A focus on Performance requires a standard definition. Something to define specifically then in any analysis – as the starting point of Design – then Development then Pilot-Testing and then Revision & Release to the deployment/access systems of the Enterprise.

Mine approach to all of this is framed around the notion of Performance Competence – as defined above.

That guides any L2 and L3 – plus L4/5 – evaluations – as well as determining the potential Rs for the Is in address anything in the first place.

Some of My Questions About Their Notion of Performance

How do they do the analysis to insure authenticity and appropriateness?

How do they then manage the performance addressed, and the performance not addressed yet – or deferred or skipped?

How do they manage shared Performance support versus unique Performance support?

How do they avoid Accidental Redundancy?

How do they address Redundancy By Design and internal integrity of updates across any redundancy by design?

How do they design to reduce life cycle Maintenance Costs?

Or – is everything a one-off?

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4 comments on “In Vogue in the L&D Space – This Vague Notion of Performance

  1. Pingback: ISD: The Current Clarion Call: Performance-Based Instruction | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  2. Pingback: T&D/PI: The Pivot From Learning to Performance | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  3. Pingback: T&D: 50 Years Later We Seem To Still Be Wandering | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  4. Pingback: Most Wanted: The Gap Makers – a.k.a.: The Performance Competence Killers | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

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