L&D – Swing for the Fences, or Lay Down a Bunt?

Tom Gram asked a couple of great questions on LinkedIn the other day – here.

I’m doing a session for the Institute for Performance and Learning (IPL) soon on using Design Thinking process to address the innovation challenge in Learning. I Need your help. What do you think is the most important innovation challenge for the Learning and Development function? What needs does L&D need to meet to remain relevant to their organizations?

My Response

Innovation in L&D, IMO, needs to continue to focus ultimately on improving their Better-Faster-Cheaper metrics for both “Protecting and Improving the Enterprise” in both the eyes/minds of their stakeholders and in the data.

Better in the impact to the clients’ current metrics, not L&D statistics. Faster and Cheaper using the client’s situational need to determine what is appropriate.

This can best be accomplished via our own Processes … and our Process enablers – the people and non-people resources used within our Processes. Either our Processes are simultaneously “as rigorous as required and as flexible as feasible” without degrading the impact of our end products’ in the aforementioned metrics, or they are not.

Sometimes those Processes need to be able to swing for the fences and score a home run, and sometimes they just need to be able to lay down a good bunt and advance the runner. Whatever is appropriate given the client and stakeholders needs and constraints.

And the analysis – a seemingly lost factor all too often – needs to help the client see what other variables are key to their Performance goals – so that Learning isn’t expected to fix a non-Awareness/Knowledge/Skills deficit if that’s not one of the root causes.

Those appropriate Processes’ goals and adjustments require that our initial client and stakeholder engagement efforts quickly tease out what is necessary and what is not given the situation – and then quickly Plan appropriately – before any ADDIE/SAT/SAM effort begins.

Focus on the Performance Requirements.

But unfortunately, that’s not always simple. And is always situational.

Expanding My Response

Improving the client’s Better-Faster-Cheaper metrics for both “Protecting and Improving the Enterprise” … in both the eyes/minds of their stakeholders … and in the hard data.

And by Better I mean in the impact to the clients current metrics … formal and/or informal. Not using L&D statistics and data.

Ruler 2

BTW – Faster and Cheaper metrics and targets are best determined using both the client’s situational needs and constraints to determine what is most appropriate.

And client’s have stakeholders – who also have requirements and constraints. Your L&D Processes had better take them into account as well.

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This can best be accomplished via our own Processes … and our Process enablers – the people and non-people resources used within our Processes. Either our Processes are simultaneously “as rigorous as required and as flexible as feasible” without degrading the impact of our end products’ in the aforementioned metrics, or they are not.

Sometimes those Processes need to be able to swing for the fences and score a home run, and sometimes they just need to be able to lay down a good bunt and advance the runner.

Whatever is appropriate given the clients’ and stakeholders’ needs and constraints.

And the analysis – a seemingly lost factor all too often – needs to help the client see what other variables are key to their Performance goals – so that Learning isn’t expected to fix a non-Awareness/Knowledge/Skills deficit if that’s not one of the key root causes.

MY ISD Processes look beyond the awareness/ knowledge/ skill requirements.

And puts the customer at all key decision points so they can make the Business Decisions inherent in all worthy improvement efforts.

Here is my Big Picture … note that the Process (of the client’s Learners/Performers) is where I first look and seek to understand. Then at the two sets of enablers.

Slide1

Analysis of Performance and Enablers

That requires a rigorous yet flexible process for Analysis – or whatever is the appropriate term for such efforts in your world.

Or you end up just taking orders and directions on how to fill those orders. Which is not very Value Add IMO.

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My Analysis methods were spelled out in 1984 and again in 2006 – besides the dozens and dozens of Blog Posts on this site.

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.

Modeling Mastery Performance and Systematically Deriving the Enablers for Performance Improvement – by Guy W. Wallace, CPT – Chapter 11 of the Handbook of Human Performance Technology – 3rd Edition – 2006.  This methodology was first published in this 1984 article in ISPI’s (then NSPI’s) PIJ in November 1984.

Handbook of HPT 2006

As Rigorous As Required and As Flexible As Feasible

Your ISD/L&D/ADDIE/SAT/SAM/Etc./Etc. Processes need to be designed from the get-go for impact and flexibility. And all the other processes within the sub-systems of your function. Something like this:

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That will require targeted rigor and targeted flexibility … in those possible subsystems’ key processes – with templates and defaults where it could go either way.

Not just: whatever, whenever, however.

Unless it just truly doesn’t matter. And then – why bother at all?

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Those appropriate Processes’ goals and adjustments require that our initial client and stakeholder engagement efforts quickly tease out … in a consensus manner … what is necessary and what is not given the situation – and then quickly Plan appropriately – before any executing your version of ADDIE/SAT/SAM/Etc.

Focus on the Performance Requirements. And Enable Them.

But unfortunately, that’s not always simple. And is always situational.

And As Always – Avoid the Foo Foo

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For more on the Foo Foo to avoid, IMO, check out these in my Resource section…

Some of the various types of Foo Foo found too often in Instructional Design and Performance Improvement, includes:

Buzz Thoughts...a2

 

Of course – your views on what is and what is not Foo Foo may differ.

Bottom Line: Use what works – as measured by your Client’s and Stakeholders’ metrics.

Not yours.

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