Leveraging Experts in performance-based Learning Experience Design

I started facilitating experts in design of Instruction back in 1979. Today I call the whole thing a Facilitated Group Process.

Instructional Systems Design, or Instructional Design, or Learning Experience Design needs to be authentic and teach people how to perform. It’s not all about Learning for the sake of Learning. It’s all about Learning to Perform Back-on-the-Job.

It’s all about Learning “How To” Perform.

In 1999 I wrote about my experience 20 years earlier – here – in a 5 page PDF – for my then quarterly newsletter – here – on page 2.

Born Out of Frustration

I was on the 7th version of a video script when, in the famous words of Popeye, I reach THAT point – “that’s all I can stands ’cause I can’t stands no more.”

It was when I noticed that I was changing wording back to what had been in and then taken out of earlier scripts. I was caught in a never ending cycle.

The Facilitated Group Process

I had borrowed the idea from T-Groups, something I had read about back in college just before entering the T&D field in 1979.

I created a team. Something my friend Dawn Snyder calls a panel. Now I call it either a team or a group. Usually a Team. Such as an Analysis Team. A Design Team. A Development Team.

I like to use people on those teams that Tom Gilbert called Exemplars.

But my internal clients at Motorola, leaders in the manufacturing world told me in 1981 that that was a $3 college word and they didn’t like it. So I suggested Master Performers, and that how I refer to them to this day. Although there have been a few clients that didn’t like that language so I have used Top Performers or Star Performers, because that’s what they already used for the notion.

Go with the flow.

I now use Other Subject Matter Experts instead of the traditional SME – Subject Matter Experts. And I’d happily do my Analysis and Design without any OSMEs because I’m more interested in working with people who can do the job/task at hand (in scope) at a level of mastery, than I am in someone who knows the subject matter.

And to interface with the decision makers in projects I work with a team that I call the Project Steering Team. The client and other key stakeholders.

I’ve covered my use of teams in articles and videos and blog posts going back into the 1980s.

The first two articles, one in September 1984 in Training Magazine, and the next in November 1984 for NSPI’s (now ISPI’s) Performance & Instruction Journal, both written in 1983 when the submit-to-publish cycle ran 11-13 months.

CAD – Training Mag – 1984 – 6 page PDF – the first publication about Curriculum Architecture Design via a Facilitated Group Process – published in Training Magazine in September 1984. Original manuscript (30 pages) – How to Build a Training Structure That Won’t Keep Burning Down.

Models and Matrices- NSPI PIJ -1984 – 5 page PDF – the first publication of the performance and enabler analysis methods for ISD using a Facilitated Group Process, from NSPI’s (ISPI’s) Performance & Instruction Journal, November 1984.

We, my co-authors and I, had submitted them both back in the summer of 1983, in the reverse order hoping that the NSPI article would come out first, on using a Team approach to Analysis, and the Training Magazine would come out after that, with a focus on using Teams in the Design of a Curriculum Architecture.

In 1986 I published an article in the NSPI Chicago chapter’s newsletter on Project Planning & Management where I referred to working with the client group, as a group.

Proj Mgmt – CNSPI -1986 – 9 page PDF – originally published in the Chicago Chapter of NSPI (ISPI) Newsletter in December 1986 – on my Project Management Techniques for Project Definition, Project Planning and Project Communications.

If I recall correctly, the editor changed my Master Performer language to SME as they figured that everyone would understand SME better than Master Performer. Such was the focus, back-in-the-Day, on subject matter versus performance, that I have witnessed in other ISD practitioners since 1979.

I was lucky. I was taught almost since day 1, on using Job Performers as our source for analysis and development. In my first job in ISD there were 10 of us in the T&D department (Training Services) at Wickes Lumber in Saginaw Michigan. One was Geary Rummler’s brother-in-law, who had worked with Geary to identify two other staff members to recruit, that I worked with when I arrived a few months later. They had come from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (in Detroit) where they had worked with Geary’s brother.

I was told that our analysis methods were a derivative of a derivative of a Geary Rummler methodology.

I shared that with Geary when I got a chance to work with him in 1981-1982 when I was at Motorola.

Guy and Geary in 1982 in Phoenix

Geary never corrected me when I showed him what Analysis data I produced, and how I went about doing it with a team – although he called my FGP – Facilitated Group Process a Group Grope – someone once confided in me. He preferred to do his Analysis and Design solo. At least back in those days.

I’ve written about my methods many times and produced many videos in a series back in 2011 I called The School of PACT.

I recently put together a series of guides (Paths) for those wanting to take advantage of my FREE RESOURCES to learn about my ISD methods, including articles, books, audio podcasts, and videos – here.

My hope would be to see more people in the biz embrace a more performance-based approach to Instructional Development – of Job Aids, Communication, Education and Training.

My new book, Conducting performance-based Instructional Analysis, which should be out in early November 2020, addresses that as well.

Stay tuned!


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