T&D: Demonstrating Empathy in ISD

In Enterprise Learning

It’s all about Performance – and Performance Competence. Not Learning. Not entertainment to better engage. Not the latest SHINY WHATEVER.

Performance. The ability to Perform.

How to Demonstratively Show Empathy?

Here are my suggestions…


Form follows Function – and – Enabling K/Ss follow Performance Competence requirements…


If the Learning Objectives don’t SCREAM an authentic Performance Competence orientation – well – they should…


Show them the Map of the Instructional Flow…


My Lesson Map format that I created in 1990/1991 – is used to capture and report out the design of the Instruction in the Design Phase of my PACT Processes methods – and is also used in the Development Phase and built into the instructional materials (appropriate to the format affordances/constraints of the mode and media) to provide the Advanced Organizer during Delivery/Deployment – to convey that WE GET WHAT YOU GOTTA LEARN TO DO.

It helps say – Let’s Go – with that Flow. As: This will get you there! To Performance Competence.

Including the Reflection Required.

Reflection includes thinking about HOW TO IMPLEMENT back-on-the job – planning for it.

Depending on what was learned that may be either “easy peasy” – or “damn difficult” (a technical term).


And REFLECTION and PLANNING HOW TO IMPLEMENT – may need to be continued into the back-on-the-job period.

Anticipate that and support/enable that.

Now – THAT’S Empathy.

And that Reflection can be part of the Spaced Learning for Reinforcement strategy and tactics and content – as needed.


Don’t include Reinforcements to combat the Forgetting Curve – if it’s not really needed – as that simply demonstrates THAT YOU ISDers DIDN’T/DON’T GET IT.


All It Requires Is Better ISD Analysis 

From my perspective – too many ruined us in the past with their Poor Practices in conducting ISD Analysis – that didn’t quickly get to the Performance Competence Requirements and then to the Enabling Knowledge/Skills.

So clients cringe at best or forbid at worst – conducting Instructional Analysis for new hires – and/or to solve Performance Problems – as their experience is that there wasn’t any returns for those investments – so they take the wheel and drive Learning Solutions that address it from a Topic Orientation vs a Task Orientation because that’s what they recall from their school days (daze?).

As my internal client at Motorola said in 1981, in a room full of his peers, after I explained the Analysis I wanted to conduct, “Guy, we hate it when you guys come back 90 days later to tell us what we told you on day 1.” Which pretty much sums up a fair assessment of the typical ISD Practice back then – which hasn’t gotten better, IMO.

So much better we would be as a Practice, if people focused on the Performance Competence requirements. And then the Topics that enabled them.


I’ve got so many resources that address this – that I’ll just name the books that do this – but there are audio podcasts and videos and articles and presentations and Blog Posts – see the Resource Tab to begin your journey. Most of the Resources are free. A few are books for a fee.


And – there’s always my consulting services.

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