Expected & Suspected Requests for Instruction

This is an expanded response to a comment left on one of my LinkedIn posts this morning…where it was suggested that a Product Management Best Practice was to hypothesize a solution prior to Analysis – which I might do but never seriously.

I would do that to humor the client AND to see how they were thinking about their “want/need.” And to discuss what “means” they have in place – should our “ends” include Instruction – so I’d have a clue about how Instruction might be deployed and/or made accessible – should Instruction be part of any Solution-set.

I would do series but quick Analysis and let those chips fall where they may…

I have never begun a project committed to formal training as the solution – even if that was the request – but I would intend to bring my client on the journey to uncover the needs together and then meet the needs for a Memorized Performance Response or a Referenced Performance Response per the Performance Context requirements.

My Analysis methods would help with Problem (or Opportunity) driven Requests uncover the Performance Gaps and their Probable Causes – using this framework…

Any Instructional Solution (Job Aids and/or Training) hypothesizing would happen in Design, and not prior to Analysis where one would determine what Outputs and Tasks were required back-on-the-job and would be a decision of the Design Team composed of Target Audience Master Performers, Other Subject Matter Experts, Managers, and Novice Performers – and would be “informed” by the Analysis data – not Product Managers’ or anyone’s hypothesizing.

And hypothesizing would be approached more as an Engineering Exercise than an Artist Colony Exercise – in my processes.

I’ve worked with many Product Management functions – going back to the mid-1980s, and Form Follows Function – so first determining the Functional (Performance) Requirements of the Learners – who are Performers – has always been a Best Practice I’ve employed. That happens in Analysis (Discovery).

Then the Design Team and I would map out a “Curriculum Architecture Design – CAD” and one or more T&D Paths (L&D Paths) – and create a Individual Training Plan format and process – consistent usually with what my client already has in place.

Or we create Instruction – Job Aids and/or Training – or leave it to Informal and Social Learning.

CAD efforts often precede MCD efforts so that the Instructional Response isn’t a One-Off and is more of a strategic piece of the puzzle in an Instructional Systems Response.

My Product Management clients at AT&T put together a 12 minute video in 1987 to orient the target audience and their managers to this CAD – and that happens to be the first modular-Event on this T&D Path (in the 1000 Series)…

The last module in the 1000 Series was this… and everything in between was mostly what today would be called Micro Learning – but dealing with Whole Tasks and Whole Topics – leading up to an intense 8-day experience.

It’s ALL ABOUT the Process

If your Instructional Analysis Process/Methods don’t uncover the probable root cause(s) for Problem or Opportunity driven Requests you might miss that “no L&D is needed but The Process needs to be re-engineered” to address the real need.

I first published on this in 1984.

My General Motors University (GMU) clients put together this 12 minute video in 1998 to explain my ISD processes – adapted to please GMU that they were sufficiently GM-ized before being used – as an advance organizer for their internal clients… before they experienced the MC/MI Processes (CAD/MCD)…

The people in this video were primarily the internal GM client and the GMU ISDers involved in one of my many GMU projects – where GMU won a coveted GM Chairman’s Quality Award (in 1998).

The effort was a demo project I was doing for GMU in 1997 – where I led the analysis and design (at 2 levels) efforts for what became an 18-month T&D Path where the new supervisor-to-be would spend one week in class and then one week on-the-job applying what they had learned in class, plus doing THE REAL WORK AT HAND.

I literally finished the first of a series of design meetings at the modular course level (ADDIE-like) after the performance analysis and Curriculum Architecture design level – and the developers (sitting in the back of the room observing and taking the copious notes required because in a meeting such as this – not everything said makes it to the flip chart) rushed out of the room to lead their teams and get ahead of that first class that was starting in weeks.

I and others designers and teams of developers sat in and then rushed into rapid development and pilot-testing – for “modular” class #1 of the 32 weeks/classes that I designed for them leveraging their Metal Fabrication managers and supervisors. That was in the summer of 1997.

My last CAD effort I’ve 76 as an ISD consultant since 1982 – was completed back in 2019 – and was for Sales Reps – as my client’s client was Re-engineering their Sales Process – for 27 different Sales Forces – who had been brought together after a bunch of mergers. The goal was to get everyone on the same page and aligned to the new Sales Process and tools. And salvage as much of their existing Instructional Content as possible, As Is, or After Modification – and to prioritize and price those post-CAD efforts.

References & Resources

I’ve written many articles, presentations, posts and book (17) about my approaches to Performance Improvement and ISD – Instructional Systems Design – since the 1980s. You can search for them on my site.

Here are my last 3 books…

You can find all 17 of my books on my Amazon Author’s Page – here.

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