T&D: ISD Analysis Beyond the Observable Behaviors Throughout the Effort

Overt & Covert Behaviors

Physical and Cognitive Behaviors are critical to all Performance.

The first we can mostly observe – although the hand is quicker than the eye – as that old saying goes.


The second is tougher – for it cannot be seen. We cannot read people’s minds.

There are strategies and tactics to elicit the unobservable, cognitive thinking that underlies Performance.

CTA – Cognitive Task Analysis – is one such method – although, according to Richard E. Clark, EdD, there are hundreds of approaches to CTA. Go here for several articles of Dick’s on CTA.


While I am not very knowledgeable in CTA – I have been employing methods to get at the thinking that underlies Performance in my approach to ISD – via my PACT Processes.

It involves leveraging the same group of Master Performers in a facilitated Group process and drilling down further and further in each Phase on each set of Outputs & Tasks and Topics – as well as Testing Testing Testing. As in Alpha Testing, Beta Testing and Pilot Testing. Those types of Testing were covered in a prior Blog Post – here.

And in those methods I would suggest that I do Analysis in each and every Phase of my approach – framed as MCD – Modular Curriculum Development/Acquisition – my version of ADDIE since the late 1980s. Just as I do Design in Phases 1-2-3-4-5-6 (which is another Blog Post entirely – which I believe I’ve addressed in the past).


Back in Phase 1 of MCD – I started with “who” is in the Target Audience – and who is not, and who is “kinda.”

In Phase 2 I’m also thinking about/analyzing for – feasible means of deployment – not for learning – but to enable Performance.

Memorization and/or skill development might not be necessary – depending on the Task and the incoming, prior knowledge and skills of the Target Audience. If the Audience is degreed Electrical Engineers we can safely assume that they already know AC/DC electrical theory. So maybe a simple Job Aid/Performance Support – is adequate to the ends of Performance.


After all – it’s not all about Learning – it’s all about Performance and Performance Competence.


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