T&D: The WOINA Syndrome

The WOINA Syndrome

What’s Old Is New Again.


Some waste so much time, energy and money thinking up new marketing spins for things proven in the past – that work – and don’t work – and the rest waste so much time buying into them and then applying them. Cha Ching.

I’ve Been Around the Block a Few Times

From Valid Practices Boulevard to Fad Alley and back. I started in the T&D business in 1979 and was warned about Poor Practices way back then. And was taught valid, Proven Practices way back then.

And I’ve seen many things and themes be both Continuously Improved and Disingenuously Improved.

Technology advancements are at the root of most of the CI’d stuff.

And Hucksterism advancements are at the root of most of the DI’d stuff.


  • Performance Support. Was called “Guidance” by Rummler and Gilbert in the 1960s. And called “Job Aids” by Harless almost that far back.
  • Learner Experience Design. A bottom-up effort to crank out Elearning module after module with no top-down Curriculum Architecture Design effort (or whatever you’d prefer to call it) creates gapped and overlapped content and a frustrating learner experience. And then there’s the fact that most deliver an awareness and knowledge creation experience and not an authentic set of skills necessary back-on-the-job only makes it worse.
  • 70-20-10 or what I prefer: 10-20-70. But the notion that most learning about one’s job is informal and not formal – is not new nor any revelation. Declaring that as something new is a bit of a Strawman. Easily bayoneted.
  • Agile. Pleeeeeeeease. Just because most applications of ADDIE have been poorly implemented does not mean it as a framework for planning and managing a project can’t be just as agile as Agile – or that an Agile effort can’t be as poorly executed as sooooooooooooooo many ADDIE efforts have been.
  • Stories. Were sooooooooooooooooo popular at one time that there was a movement in the 70s and 80s to reduce/eliminate War Stories by Instructors as they took time away from Practice and Feedback. Use sparingly and with deliberate purpose and do them well – as advanced organizers for abstract performance situations and not “here’s when and how to do an Arc weld.”
  • Performance Consulting from an ID perspective. What ID is going to discern the root causes and solution set of an issue with Thickness Uniformity Standards in a Flat Rolled Aluminum Process?
  • ROI Evaluation. The focus has shifted from it as a comparison tool for “when you can’t afford it all” to “proving value over costs after the fact” – which is only really possible if one started with baseline results from some agreed to metrics of importance before starting (and how often does that happen?).
  • Development Maps. Learning Paths. Were T&D Paths back in the early 1980s.
  • MicroLearning. Was called chunks or Modules from Chunking/Modularization – back in the day. And if I recall correctly was also called Bursts for a short (burst) while. And all content (Instructional and Information) was always supposed to be “as long as necessary and as short as possible” to achieve the Learning Objective(s). And was used for both Initial Learning and Reinforcement Learning – as appropriate/if needed.
  • Games. Are always great if they are authentic to the performance expected back on the job – then they were called Simulations. But if you’re expecting the learner to make several leaps of faith to figure out how they might apply this to back on the job – and you’re not being direct about it – then you’re simply squandering shareholder equity.

Again – technology advances have enabled us to do better at these things. But THEY are not new things.

What Would You Add to the List of WOINA Syndrome?

Add your items to this short list in the comments section, if you will.

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4 comments on “T&D: The WOINA Syndrome

  1. Pingback: “Learning Transformation” : January ’22 edition – Whose Education Is It Anyway?

  2. Pingback: Podcast with Greg Williams – Guy Wallace on What is Old is New Again | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  3. Pingback: Guy on the Learning Experience Leader Podcast | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

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