T&D: Whittle Your Topics Down to Tasks

As the Late Joe Harless Taught Many…

Don’t ask your clients, “What do you want them to know?”

Because they will tell you.

And don’t ask an SME or Exemplar or Master Performer, “What do they need to know?”

Because they too will tell you.


Instead, Brother Joe suggested, ask, “What do you want them to be able to do?”


And after listening to that answer, my advice, is to look for or probe further for the Worthy Output(s) as a Result of those Tasks.

And don’t walk away without a clear picture/definition of the Outputs and their Key Measures, the associated Tasks to produce said Output, and the minimum knowledge/skill items necessary to Perform under typical and atypical situations.

Have clarity and consensus with the client and SMEs/Master Performers about both “the typical gaps in Outputs produced and Tasks performed” – and -“What are the barriers and how to avoid them – and what to do if unavoidable?”


I like to Test My Understanding by saying, “Would an authentic Application Exercise of “such and such” prove that they learned it?” Where “such and such” is a summarization of “the Tasks producing the Outputs” that I heard. Would that make good, authentic Practice?


Seeing as how I believe that Practice and the Test are the very same thing. Where the Test is the very last Practice.

Until they get back on the job, that is.

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