Weekend Reflections

Too Often We Produce Education – When Training Is Really Needed

It Didn’t Start with eLearning

There was a well worn path already in place – headed toward Education level content when Training level content was really needed – that existed long before the advent of eLearning.

I’ve witnessed the results of that path in numerous consulting engagements since becoming a consultant in 1981.

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Most of my work requires assessing any existing T&D for reuse purposes in the Analysis Phase before creating a design in the Design Phase to address whatever the new content (with a Performance Orientation) is to be.

And – an aside – my default “design thinking about Instruction” is this…

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Where what I’ve found is that most of that existing content was mostly centered on Topics – and not Tasks.

Topics – and Communication for Awareness – and Education for Knowledge – can and should lead to Task Training – or more appropriately, Performance Training – unless the Target Audience doesn’t need that due to their “incoming K/Ss” from Education and/or Experience.


But all too often Learning (and T&D) Content falls short. In a quite non-empathetic manner IMO. Empathy for our Learners should require us to help them go that “last mile” beyond awareness and knowledge to Performance Competence.

Not to just know about Zigging and Zagging – but to be able to do it: Zig and/or Zag when the performance context demanded it. Or Zip instead – in special conditions.


Trainingperformance-based Training – is simply harder to do and requires Analysis of Performance and the enabling K/Ss – which means it takes longer to do it – than Education – where we might be able to guess at some reasonable Learning Objectives and then do a content search – where the hard part of the effort will be in winnowing down the bulky  content uncovered into something much slimmer and trimmer.

A series of arbitrary choices IMO.

All based on Topics with Face Validity – where the Topics seem reasonable.

But what is really needed is Performance Validity – and proof of impact.

And Performance Validity starts with understanding Performance.


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