T&D: Do You Know Your ISD Target Audiences?

Who Are the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary?

And are you and the Client and all Key Stakeholders clear about this?


I start with clarity about Who Is In The Box, who is borderline and who is outside “the box.” (We say “in the box” instead of “being in our sights” because…)

And then we work to understand and get agreement on “what can be safely assumed about the Primary Target Audiences’ incoming awareness, knowledge and skills from prior educations and/or experiences?” Because that’s where our focus will be – and we ignore (by design) the other two audiences.

When we can’t assume that they all have those A/K/Ss, or we know some do and some don’t – that feeds decisions downstream in Design for modularizing (chunking) Content to enable Skimming or Skipping – or Testing Out … just to make sure.

The Primary Target Audience(s)

Note: there may be more than one job title or role in the Primary Target Audience(s).

Whose “on-the-job performance” are we trying to affect?


The Secondary Target Audience(s)

I attempt to clarify who is in “this box” so we can establish that while we may inadvertently address some of their needs, we will not focus on their needs. We will not focus on them at all – after these Target Audience types are established and agreed to.

Sometime these “targets” are moved into the Primary Target Audience by the client and stakeholders; sometimes not.


The Tertiary Target Audience(s)

I have been burned – and I have learned – to discuss and tease-out those Target Audiences who might be confused by others as to being performers we intend to address – but are not. This discussion with the Client and Stakeholders often cause “ah-ha” moments. And more discussion as to who should be in the box – or is borderline.

Of course, like the Secondary Target Audiences – anything created might inadvertently address some of their needs.


All of these discussions with the Client and Key Stakeholders – that I form into a Project Steering Team – help get everyone – including the ISD staff assigned – on the same page, so to speak.

Capturing & Reporting Out Target Audience Data

I use a format to both guide data collection and read out – which gets tweaked as needed/if needed for each ISD Project.


4 Types of Analysis in The PACT Processes for T&D

Target Audience Analysis

Again, I start with clarity about Who Is In The Box, who is borderline and who is outside “the box.”

Our focus is then only on the Primary Target Audience(s).


Performance Analysis

(From lean-ISD): Performance impact is our goal. Once the target audience data is collected, it’s necessary to understand exactly why audience members are on the payroll―what is their expected performance? How are the incumbent jobholders doing? For example:

• Are there gaps between actual performance and ideal performance?
• Do jobholders have areas where they struggle to meet the demands of the job?
• Which are the business-critical aspects of job performance that must be addressed?
• Where should extra emphasis be placed on any future performance tasks that are tougher to do?

The Performance Models format I have been using and tweaking since 1979 helps to capture and report out the performance expectations in terms of outputs produced, measures for those outputs, tasks performed, and who performs the tasks.


Enabling K/S Analysis

One we know who and what & how they produce (what Tom Gilbert called) Worthy Outputs – we can systematically derive the Enabling Knowledge and Skills.

Those lists of K/Ss become key elements in what might be called a BOM – Bill of Materials – a “parts list” if you will, of all of the potential content.


Existing Content Analysis

Which is an “assessment” of any Information and/or Instruction (T&D) for ReUse “as is” or “after modification” in order to salvage prior investments in Content.


If You’d Like More

Check out my 1999 book: lean-ISD – which I made available as a FREE 410 page PDF back in 2007 to push me to update that, and several other books into a 6 Pack.

lean-ISD is also available as a Kindle and as a paperback.


lean-ISD Book Early Reviewer Quotes from 1999…

Geary A. Rummler from the Performance Design Lab says, “If you want to ground your fantasy of a ‘corporate university’ with the reality of a sound ‘engineering’ approach to instructional systems that will provide results, you should learn about the PACT Processes.

If you are the leader of, or a serious participant in, the design and implementation of a large-scale corporate curriculum, then this book is for you. This system could be the difference between achieving bottom-line results with your training or being just another ‘little red school house.’ ”

Miki Lane, senior partner at MVM The Communications Group says, “lean-ISD takes all of the theory, books, courses, and pseudo job aids that are currently on the market about Instructional Systems Design and blows them out of the water. Previous ‘systems’ approach books showed a lot of big boxes and diagrams, which were supposed to help the reader become proficient in the design process.

Here is a book that actually includes all of the information that fell through the cracks of other ISD training materials and shows you the way to actually get from one step to another. Guy adds all of the caveats and tips he has learned in more than 20 years of ISD practice and sprinkles them as job aids and stories throughout the book.

However, the most critical part of the book for me was that Guy included the project and people management elements of ISD in the book. Too often, ISD models and materials forget that we are working with real people in getting the work done.

This book helps explain and illustrate best practices in ensuring success in ISD projects.”

Focus on the Performance Requirements

And enable them.


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