L&D: Performance Competence Development Paths Organized For Jobs, Teams or Processes

Performance Competence Development Path Defined

A Path is an assemblage of job/task appropriate Content downselected from the Enterprise Content Inventory – along with placeholders for Content needed that does not exist – but represents knowledge/skills that are needed on-the-job none-the-less.

Sometimes the Path is really a Menu or a series of mini-menus.

All paths are accompanied by a Planning Guide to help facilitate the downselect from the Path/Menu to an actual Plan for an individual whose job assignment might differ from peers with the same job title, and whose background education and experience created a unique need compared to others.

One size (most often) does not fit all.

The effort to produce such Paths/Menus was named Curriculum Architecture Design (CAD) back in 1982.

From my 1985 Presentation at NSPI:

NSPI 1985 Presentation- CAD -GWW_Page_02 (2)

If nothing exists I labeled the placeholder Unstructured OJT – later termed Informal Learning.

If the Unstructured OJT was later prioritized and resourced by management later – that US-OJT might move up the levels of Deployment Mode formality (and cost).

This next graphic shows this:

pactinstructiondeploymentmodesandexamples (2)

Performance Competence Defined

What’s it all about Alfie?


Path/Menu Examples

Performance Competence Development Path for a Job Title

The following Path was done in a project producing 2 Paths – one for Supervisors and one for their bosses, the Zone Manager.

If someone came in to this job from elsewhere – their planning would actually start with the Supervisor Path and then move to this – as the Zone Manager Path assumed the Performance Competence that the Supervisor’s Path helped develop.



This next Path was one (of 8 produced in the same CAD effort) where everyone in the Target Audience would progress through the series of Training/Learning sessions in lock-step.

The client’s situational need called for a Path and not a flexible Menu.

CAD Path Call Center Sales

The “Traffic Light” symbol was were students might wash out. The “W” symbol was were management could pull students out of training to deal with call overloads and would be routed only certain types of calls (that they were now Competent to do).

If a Call Center had too many people out sick during a period of high volume calls – that would trigger that kind of need.

Performance Competence Development Path for a Job Family

This effort was undertaken after the AT&T (the old Ma Bell) monopoly was ended and they would no longer “own” their customers and plan (centrally) the features and technologies evolution previously determined by Bell Labs.

This Path (Menu) was for the job family in Product Management and was an update (in 1989-1990) after the original effort done in 1986.

CAD Path Prod Mgrs

Performance Competence Development Path for a Process

This effort was undertaken after a Six Sigma effort was conducted to standardize the existing processes – country by country … or worse – where the future state still had tremendous flexibility country by country as to “who would do what” depending on local job titles and staffing levels.

CAD Path Global Clinical Trials

The CAD Process

I’ve done 75 of these CAD projects myself (since 1982) and my business partners and staff and clients-trained-by-me have done hundreds (if not thousands by now) more.

I first trained my client’s staff and contractors back in 1983. – the same time I began training my own staff.

I needed a predictable process, more easily replicated by others, that I could trust – and price (as a consultant) fixed fee. Not every CAD effort I did – or that my staff did – was fixed fee. Only about 80%. Which was easy once I had tracking data about the actual touch time of me and my staff after a dozen efforts using the standard – but flexible – process represented in this next graphic.

Note: I only tracked my staff’s time per Phase – and not each task within these 4 Phases.


Note the “touch time ranges” for each CAD project Role type – of the Client’s people.

An entire effort might be done within a month – if all the people resources could be scheduled aggressively.

Most of my efforts over the past 3 decades took 2-3 months.

Architecture Before Build/Buy

A CAD effort does not produce any new content.

It determines the Performance-based/Competency-based needs and determines what existing Content fits “As Is” or “After Modification” … and what then are the gaps from the ideal set of Content.

Again – gaps might be left as UnStructured OJT forever – now known as Informal Learning.

And of course, Informal Learning happens anyway, all of the time – augmenting the Formal Learning – as it has forever.

It’s important IMO to remember that all Learning starts as Informal until someone decides to and then resources the effort to Formalize it.

Prioritization of gaps to formalize what is now informal in the Curriculum Architecture Design process – and therefor the one or more Paths produced in each CAD effort – is done in Phase 4 of CAD – and then addressed in subsequent MCD efforts – my version of ADDIE or SAM or SAT.


Why Bother?

For the R for the I.

It’s a business decision. Not an ISD decision.


I literally have hundreds of free Resources on this on my web site – in Blog Posts and in the Resource Tab – to help people climb this particular Learning Curve – with or without my involvement.

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