L&D: ReUse “As Is” or “After Modification” Requires a Modular Approach to Design

Since the Early 1980s I’ve Called It: Plug & Play

One of my goals with my ISD methods – going back to my work at Motorola serving Manufacturing, Materials and Purchasing from the Corporate Tower – was to facilitate ReUse – while ensuring that the content was authentic enough – to be impactful.

I started developing my methods formally in 1983 when I began my book that eventually came out in 1999 as lean-ISD. I started with Curriculum Architecture Design – as we were doing so much work in that space that I needed my business partners, staff and sub-contractors to do their parts in some uniform manner (and THAT was like pulling teeth as they say). I was routinely brought in to run the CAD Design meetings after someone else did the Analysis – so I made that more uniform first.

And I didn’t formalize my approach to the typical ADDIE level of ISD – my MCD – Modular Curriculum Development – until 1991 on a project for Illinois Bell – discussed in prior Blog Posts here (2013) – and here (2017) – and in a 1993 Newsletter here.

The key to MCD was the modular Lesson Map. The 5 Types of modules in that Lesson Map were:

  • Opens
  • INFOs
  • DEMOs
  • APPOs
  • Close

This was/is all about Architecture – as you might know.

And those modules of the Lesson Map – I labeled: Instructional Activities. They too were modularized – see this next graphic


And this is somewhat covered in my 1999 book: lean-ISD.


The Lesson Map format from around 1994 is presented next…


We’ll get to Plug & Play for ReUse in a few graphics. But first…

INFO – Instructional Activities


DEMO – Instructional Activities


APPO – Instructional Activities


Opens & Closes – Instructional Activities


Why Bother?


Plug & Play for ReUse

If you first built Active Listening for one audience – such as this…


And were then asked to build Active Listening for another Audience…


Proven ReUse Benefits

My client at HP (in 1995) commented several times about how she and her colleagues were able to edit content designed and built for one audience for another – and that even her internal clients were able to do that. Greater Speed and Lower Costs.


I had done two CAD projects for this client and then was asked to train the staff member who worked to implement what I had produced – thus getting me out of their process.

So I did and she went on to help her Enterprise in an effort – after we co-did the CAD Design Meeting – that made a lot of news outside the ISD/Training/Learning world. But that’s another story.

I Did the CAD and Darryl Sink Did the Development

And our client at HP – Hewlett-Packard won an award.

PDF: 1995 ROI – HP-Sink Award based on Guys CAD work

Yes – Reuse Has Failed with the RLO

I know that many who attempted reuse previously – using the frame of the RLO – Reusable Learning Object – a chunk of content – a lesson – that was supposed to be easily reused – but had to then be so generic as to be almost totally useless from an instructional standpoint – IMO.

Yeah – avoid that. At the Lesson Level you still need to be able to Plug & Play.

And – It’s Still All About the Analysis

Of Performance – and then the enabling Knowledge/Skills – IMO.

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