These are the Forewords for my last 3 books, published in 2020 and 2021. Yeah, it’s what kept me sane during our global pandemic. Be safe out there!
All of my books are available through Amazon – and my Authors Page may be viewed here. They are each available as Kindles and Paperbacks – for $20.00 USD and $25.00 USD respectively.
Many thanks to Donald Clark, Mirjam Neelen, Matthew Day, and Billy Wilson for their Forewords – and to all of my Early Reviewers!
2020 Book: Conducting performance-based Instructional Analysis
There are two things that are in danger of extinction in learning, with all the focus on learning in the workflow and learning ‘experiences’. They lie at the ‘top’ and ‘tail’ of a learning programme.
The first, at the top, is the abandonment of analysis before you design a learning intervention. Detailed analysis seems to be out of fashion, but its absence can lead to learning experiences that are simply illusory. Guy has a lifetime of experience, which he brings to bear on the management and process of delivering a learning project. His focus on Stakeholders, for example, is just one of many solid pieces of advice to guide the novice.
But it is at the tail that Guy’s method really shines. His obsession with ‘performance’ is so often swept under the carpet by those who think that learning is just about knowledge. How do we get what we know turned into actual practice and performance? This is what lies behind Guy’s methodology. He is relentless in chaining together a causality that leads to actual competence and performance.
It was refreshing to see someone who has been around long enough to remember Gilbert’s book on Human Competence and Gloria Gery on Performance Support. We are entering an age where AI and smart software can now deliver, push, and pull instruction to support learners when they need it. This puts learning much closer to performance. Transfer is that much easier when you learn at the very moment you put it into practice.
Analysis, process, and performance – ignore them at your peril.
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2021 Book: The 3 Ds of ThoughtFlow Analysis
By Mirjam Neelen
Head of Global Learning Design & Learning Sciences
Co-author of Evidence-Informed Learning Design
“Our clients want us to move fast so we don’t have time to do more analysis.”
“We don’t have access to SMEs.”
“We can’t do needs analysis or test learning solutions with our people as they’re too busy.”
Learning professionals often mutter these types of explanations between their teeth when delivering half-baked, shallow solutions. Sometimes we feel sorry for ourselves. Then we complain about being order takers, about the business not taking us seriously, or not seeing the value we provide.
My hope is that this book will help us all realize that it’s mostly us and not them, that we can definitely take control and improve our practice to deliver more impactful, performance-focused learning solutions.
Guy Wallace – in my humble opinion – is a rare gem in the Learning & Development field. He has shown over and over again that if clients have identified an important performance problem, they are willing to invest the time in solving it.
What makes Guy different? Why do his clients listen to him, and why has he been able to successfully analyze performance problems and deliver holistic solutions for decades? Perhaps he’s taught his dog Bueller some tricks, but he surely isn’t a magician?
I believe it’s simple. Guy Wallace knows his stuff. He knows what he’s doing and why, and he’s able to articulate it clearly to his clients. They trust him because he’s able to demonstrate that his process works. He delivers value. And we’re lucky, as through this book, he empowers all of us to become a bit like him.
Partly, this book repeats the process that Guy describes in detail in his previous book ‘Conducting Performance-Based Instructional Analysis, providing you with the right level of context to understand the role of thoughtflow analysis in his overall design process.
The book helps you reflect on some of the things that we, as learning professionals, could (and should) do better and Guy clearly shows, step by step, how to do it and why to do it that way. The deep dive into the thoughtflow analysis deserves your full attention as it’s a glaring gap in our usual practice.
The first part of the thoughtflow analysis, focusing on the overt behaviors, happens in Guy’s initial analysis phase. After identifying the ‘Areas of Performance’ (these can also be thought of as major duties, key results areas, or accomplishments) in the context of the performance problem, the next step is to determine the key outputs and their key measures (in other words, what are the deliverables, and what does good look like?). Then, for each output, he conducts a task analysis. This is where the first phase of the thoughtflow analysis comes in, where he teases out the overt behaviors. In other words: The behaviors that we can observe, the ‘what do to.’
It’s quite trendy nowadays to stop there, flowing from the idea that performance matters more than learning. Tom Gilbert used to call this ‘The Cult of Behavior’ as if the observable behaviors are the means to an end. They’re not. In particular, when we’re dealing with complex tasks at work (tasks that require us to constantly analyze the situation as we’re dealing with different variables depending on the context and hence, we constantly need to ask ourselves questions and make considerations in order to make the best decision for that particular situation), different circumstances might require different behaviors.
This is why this book is so important. It clearly makes the distinction between the analysis to determine ‘ideal performance’ and the analysis we need to do to ensure that we design interventions that help people achieve that ideal performance.
To help people learn how to perform critical tasks to achieve ideal performance, we also need to figure out what the likely performance gaps and their probable causes (e.g., a process issue, an environmental issue, a knowledge & skill issue, etcetera) are for the target audience, as well as the enabling knowledge and skills for each output-task for each (critical) role.
Guy does and explains this well. He first anchors the design work using the overt behavioral tasks (the ‘what to do’), and then he works with master performers to derive the covert cognitive tasks (the thinking that guides the doing), determining the critical discriminations, determinations, and decisions for each task.
As Guy explains: Discriminations in the Performance Context lead to Determinations on how to carry on in either a standard manner or to switch to a non-standard approach, which then leads to Decisions as to which non-standard approach to use.
I’m convinced that Guy’s book will not only trigger you to think about your practice differently. It will also provide you with a step-by-step guide that you will go back to over and over again when working with clients.
Much of what Guy describes in this new book reminds me of experiences I’ve had with my own clients. Initially, they grumble that I’m asking too many questions, taking up too much of their time. They ask if I can please just take their content and run with it. But when they start to see there’s a gap between the identified performance problem and the content they originally thought would ‘fix it,’ they start to understand that more work needs to be done. Even better, when they start explaining what they do, the steps to perform the tasks, what good looks like, the rationale behind what they’re doing, and so forth, they become very enthusiastic and are usually volunteering more time. They also become very creative, contributing fantastic ideas for effective, efficient, and enjoyable learning solutions. Why? Because they see the value and they see how they can play a part in delivering value to their people and the business.
Believe me, using this book, you can, too.
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2021 Book: performance-based Lesson Mapping
Matthew C. Day
Senior Prevention and Management of Aggression Practitioner at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
The views and opinions shared in this foreword are entirely my own. They do not represent my current employer or the academic institute where I am enrolled. That is not to say that either may not agree with the discussion and formulation of ideas presented.
I met Guy Wallace at the Learning and Development Conference 2020, where I was sponsored by Health Education England to attend as part of a cohort who were tasked with engaging, understanding, and reporting back insights and innovations presented for application within the health service. During this conference, Wallace provided an accessible introduction to performance-based instructional design and as part of achieving my objectives, I relentlessly engaged in the live events and asynchronous sessions, to immerse myself among the learning and development community. During this transparent endeavour, I was welcomed generously by speakers and participants alike, and I had the opportunity to speak one-to-one with Wallace during the conference to better understand his methods, underlying theory, and values. Since the conference, I have continued to read Wallace’s work, remained in contact, and proudly consider him a mentor.
In this foreword, I will explore three interconnected topics that have emerged from my experiences adopting and adapting Wallace’s methods. The first is the connection with evidence-informed learning. The second is the ethical considerations of performance-based instructional design. The third is the relationship between a stakeholder-driven structured approach, such as the ‘modular curriculum development’ described in this book, as a mechanism to enable values-based leadership to steer an integrated systems approach for organisational learning.
In my practice within health and social care, whether to apply a performance-based approach to workforce instructional design is not only an issue of business acumen, but the decision also carries substantial moral and ethical implications. Such a decision demonstrates the values of those involved in the development process and organisation’s conceptual identity and brand as interpreted by its constituting workforce. To elaborate this point, we will start with Wallace’s definition of ‘performance competence’, “the ability to perform tasks to produce outcomes to stakeholder requirements” (2020, p.26), to navigate a discussion that links learning experience design to some of the fundamental principles, duties, and regulatory requirements that underpin health and social care in the UK.
I would assert that evidence-informed learning works harmoniously with performance-based instructional design. That is deploying learning interventions that hold a scientific proof of concept often captured within the body of interdisciplinary literature referred to as the learning sciences (Hoadley, 2007, p.139-156; Neelan and Kirschner, 2020, p.11-27). By using rigorous methods of review to identify and combine the highest quality of scientific evidence with learning experience design expertise while integrating input from learners and other stakeholders, development teams can maximise their ability to successfully design learning experiences that are more likely to achieve desired outcomes by leveraging methods that are established to be the most effective based on the evidence available.
The combination of both evidence-informed learning with performance-based instructional design parallels fundamental principles and values established within the health service and offers a means of actualising these. By deploying Wallace’s methods, I interpret that to achieve the objective of performance competence through evidence-informed learning means holding those accountable for training strategies and, more broadly, an organisation’s learning systems to account. It entails placing those accessing care, their families and/or other carers, and those delivering care at the heart of both design and evaluation. Key questions for designers using this approach would likely include what are the experiences of those receiving care? What distinguishes an outstanding experience of care? What and how are the tasks performed that lead to such experiences? etc. I have found deployment of this combined-approach continually assures that my actions remain aligned with the principles and values of my local organisation alongside The NHS constitution for England (Department of Health & Social Care, 2021), mitigating the foreseeable attraction towards localism and the risk of underutilising research evidence (Kneale, et al., 2017). This alignment, generates an ethical standpoint to the decision-making of instructional designs and supports me in clarifying and preserving my own integrity and intentions, protecting me from personal moral injury.
Furthermore, with principles and duties aligned, this approach provides healthcare service providers with a pragmatic means to better fulfil key regulatory requirements such as ensuring that sufficient numbers of fit and proper persons, people “of good character, [who] have the qualifications, competence, skills and experience which are necessary for the work to be performed by them, and be able […] of properly performing tasks which are intrinsic to the work for which they are employed” (The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014) are recruited, retained, and, by all reasonable means, enabled to maintain their expertise and participate in the essential continued development necessary within the health professions.
Such an approach also epitomises and operationalises The Seven Principles of Public Life that apply to all public officeholders. This includes those elected or appointed to public office or working in the Civil Service, local government, the police, courts and probation services, non-departmental public bodies, health, education, social and care services. Such officeholders are both servants of the public and stewards of public resources (Committee on Standards in Public Life, 1995) and, to adapt a key message from Wallace, good stewards do not squander equity on instructional design that risks a zero or negative return on investment; such a return in public sector healthcare comes at the cost of trusted taxpayer’s money and impacts public health.
The seven principles are Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty, and Leadership. Using a framework such as Wallace’s modular curriculum development, that engages key stakeholders throughout the process, in combination with the application of evidence-informed learning methods creates workforce learning that places the business need (or, in my context, public health, patient experience, and the effective allocation of public funds), at the heart of design; it mitigates the risk of dedicated educational teams falling into siloed practice, chasing their own process indicators in an attempt to prove their own value. Rather, instructional design can retain integrity and objectivity, producing a lean delivery that respects their workforce’s time, and integrates with a continuous improvement philosophy. Stakeholders actively participate to ensure accountability for decisions are clearly defined, and, at each phase of development, rationales are clear and accessible to audit. The process establishes ownership with all involved with an inherent radical transparency that is maintained through a series of structured, honest interactions. For me, the ability to actualise values in all activities to achieve objectives in this manner is credible values-based leadership that attains both authenticity and rigor; I consider these the ingredients of inclusive and compassionate improvement campaigns.
Despite this, it should be noted that instructional design rarely (if ever) holds the answer to quality or performance improvement alone, projects should be carefully reviewed for the full range of evidence (Grimshaw, et al. 2003). However, when an instructional component is required, by identifying what awareness, knowledge, and skills are required for the different members of a team to achieve performance competence and then deploying a lean provision of targeted training, job aids, or propagating frameworks for coaching and continued professional development that is functioning with reconciliation both shapes and is shaped by the experiences and expertise within an organisation. Wallace’s facilitated group process is an excellent example of a technique that can nurture such social climates and grow agile designs from authentic clinical practice and lived-experiences that provide and maintain the necessary exchange of sociocultural knowledge required for further improvement. By starting with the end in mind and retaining a clear values-based alignment, instructional design can support the development of integrated cyclical systems of collaboration that offer the context and social climate for a learning organisation. Evidence-informed learning interventions can then be carefully applied to optimise the effort for a commitment to quality of care.
Recognising the role of learning and development as an integral aspect of an organisation’s strategic leadership, valuing, propagating, and ethically actualising the principles and values of stakeholders and associated professional communities of practice are all elements of this context for learning organisations where workforce development and education is valued for its impact as part of a continuous process. Instructional design becomes a bridge between research and development, human resources, business intelligence, and transformation or improvement departments with direct care delivery. Its purpose is to translate and broker the needs of stakeholders into shared understandings and goals as much as it is the production of learning interventions.
From my perspective, as an early career research student working full time within an education and development department in a national healthcare Trust. Performance-based Lesson Mapping and Instruction Development using Facilitated Group Process provides an accessible framework that is adaptable and compatible with action and participatory research. Its structure allows for a diverse augmentation with further qualitative and quantitative research methods. It provides a springboard for coproducing models of change, aligning well with contemporary structural typologies of mix methods design such as Creswell and Plano Clark’s ‘exploratory sequential design’ or ‘convergent design’ (2018), progressive focussing (Symon and Cassell, 2012) or approaches to qualitative coding. The structures and techniques within this book have helped me to elaborate my intentions, methods, and values while prompting a constant consideration of the values and needs held by those around me.
My hope is that this foreword primes the reader to consider the principles and values that they and their organisations hold and, I would humbly recommend, that while they read the book, consideration and reflection is given throughout on: the duties and responsibilities of their position or relationship with an organisation and to those that constitute it; the needs and valuable expertise and lived-experiences held by those that will be affected by their instructional designs; the critical importance of sound evidence-informed decision-making and design; and the connection between the alignment, translation, and operationalising of such values to identify and drive performance outcomes and their economic acquisition through evidence-informed means. If such values-based leadership resonates with the reader, I would encourage them to dive deep into Wallace’s ‘Performance-based accelerated customer/stakeholder-driven training and development’ (PACT) methodology and accept his invitation into a community of learning and development professionals passionate about identifying, innovating, and sharing effective learning experience design.
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Greater Toronto Area, Canada
Hello, and welcome to Guy’s book! It’s a great read, even if you approach it casually. But… I gotta tell you, if you do that, you’ll be missing out on most of the value you could get from it. I didn’t realize this until my second reading.
First, though, I must say that I felt honoured when Guy asked me to write this Foreword. I was a bit puzzled—I mean, who am I? I’m nobody compared to him. But I think I’ve figured it out.
Guy wanted me to write this Foreword because he knew that I needed to read this book. He may tell you something different if you ask him, but he’s just being polite.
Here’s the thing: I’ve never met Guy in person, but I can tell you three undeniable facts about him.
1. Guy cares about real-world results.
2. Guy wants those results to be predictable and dependable.
3. Guy is willing to do what it takes to satisfy those wants, all the time, every time.
Anyway, here’s what I recommend you do as you read this book: THINK about what you’re reading. Ask “why does this step exist,” “why would Guy recommend that,” and “what is the story behind this.” You see, this book isn’t just a description of Guy’s process. It’s a compendium of hard-won lessons—from decades of experience in dozens of locations/situations, working with some of the great gurus of the past. And it’s all distilled down to a unified set of processes, tools, and guidelines.
But this isn’t only Guy’s story. It’s yours too. So, as you’re wondering why Guy has a list of 17 different types of something or uses the word “performance” so much, ALSO ask yourself: what situations have I seen (or will I see) where this piece of wisdom might help me achieve predictable and dependable results.
An astute reader may have noticed that I’ve now said “predictable and dependable” twice. There’s a reason for that: those two words are at the heart of Guy’s preferred definition for the word “quality”.
Good quality means a predictable degree of uniformity and dependability with a quality standard suited to the customer.
— W. Edwards Deming, Quality Guru
As you continue into this book, you’ll become very aware of Guy’s commitments to quality and customer needs. You’ll also realize that this definition exists at the very core of Guy’s process.
Another famous Deming saying is, “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.” Well, Guy knows what he’s doing, and he’s described his process.
The next step is yours.
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Thanks again to Donald, Mirjam, Matthew, and Billy!!!
See all of Guy’s books on his Amazon Authors Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B08JQC4C4V