T&D: Backward Chaining the Design & Development

Back in the 1970s it was called Backward Chaining – develop the performance-based Learning Objectives and then develop the Tests.

And then develop the Content.

Too often IDs/ISDers do it backwards from backwards.


That way the Performance Test could act as a screen for sorting what’s really needed vs what’s nice-to-know – Topic-wise.


Too often Topics included in Instruction are unnecessary on the Learning Journey to How to perform Tasks to produce Outputs that meet Stakeholder Requirements.

Tests = Practice With Feedback = Tests

Of course there are many ways “to test” awareness, knowledge, skills and Performance Competence. The best way is to make sure that what is being quizzed or tested – is authentic – when compared to the Back-On-The-Job Performance Requirements.

Otherwise it’s Bogus. Or – BoguS.

Application Exercises (APPOs) are my favorite form of Practice w/ Feedback and Tests.


And I believe in Ramping Up to the Authentic Complexity where appropriate – Past Post.

First – Focus on the Performance Requirements and Typical Gaps & Causes

Have some EMPATHY for the learners who are in fact, Performers.

Prepare them for their authentic Performance Requirements – AND – for dealing with the barriers to their performance.

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I’ve been using the Performance Model chart as a way to both “capture AND report out” those requirements and barriers – since 1979.

And after being exposed to this – whenever I saw someone’s Task Analysis data – I wondered “why” others weren’t using this format – a derivative of a derivative – of the work of the late Geary A. Rummler, by the way. All covered in my 1999 book: lean-ISD.

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My 2007 Book Addresses Performance Tests and the Administration System to Create Them and Keep Them Evergreen

Written with the late Ray Svenson – my business partner 1982-1997 – based on our consulting work done in 1987 at Prudhoe Bay for 20+ technical populations, and in 1994 on the Alaska Pipeline for 20+ technical populations – and then for Branch staff and Sales personnel, plus some additional Target Audiences in the lower 48, as they say.


For more info about this book – available as a Free PDF and as a Kindle and paperback – please go here.

What’s It All About Alfie?

It’s not Learning.

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It’s about Performance.

Even in a Learning Organization.

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