4P 2L: Outcomes vs. Outputs

My Occasional “Past-Project Post-Project Lessons-Learned” Blog Post Series

It was my 41st performance-based CAD project, back in 1992, where the “robustness” of automotive designs was the focus and the requirements for both Instruction and Information (mainly Procedures Documentation/SOPs).

CAD projects don’t create any new Instruction/Information. They identify the Performance-Based needs, identify existing content for ReUse “As Is” or “After Modification” and lay out a T&D Path that is as “Rigorous as Required and as Flexible as Feasible” along with a T&D Planning Guide to customize the eventual T&D Path to an individual’s job assignment needs (what and when) and to account for their inclining K/S based on education and/or experience.

My 1992 client was the Ford Design Institute and the project was conducting an Engineering Curriculum Design.

I worked with an Analysis/Design Team composed of a number of Ford engineering upper-level managers, plus deans and professors from several universities where the Ford Motor Company (FoMoCo) sourced many of their new hire Engineers.

We first built the Performance Models and then systematically derived the enabling Knowledge/Skill Matrices data, and then rationalize and detailed-out further, an existing ten-course design that Ford had.

Job #1: I always start such Analysis efforts with Master Performers and Other Subject Matter Experts first by segmenting the Performance into what I call AoPs – Areas of Performance. AoPs are sometimes known as Major Duties, Key Results Areas, and Tom Gilbert’s Accomplishments.

Here is an example – not from this FoMoCo project. This is a generic Sales Rep example.

I found back in the early 1980s that those other terms sometimes had nuanced meanings that would interfere with what I was trying to accomplish, so I created my new term once I became an ISD Consultant in 1982, to speed/accelerate my efforts.

And most AoPs are one or more linear chains, much like ADDIE might be one chain for a T&D/L&D Practitioner, plus another chain for their Delivery of ILT (F2F and/or Virtually) job responsibilities.

Job #2: Detail the Areas of Performance, capturing the results of my Facilitated Group Process using a Performance Model Chart. We’d capture Ideal data (on the left) and then Gap data (on the right).

Here is an example – not from this FoMoCo project. This is again, a generic Sales Rep example.

That Performance data would then lead to/enable “Job #3” – the systematic deriving of the Enabling Knowledge/Skills – that I captured on K/S Matrixes – linking the individual K/S Items back to one or more Areas of Performance.

Here is an example K/S Matrix – again, not from this FoMoCo project. This is again, for a Sales Rep.

The goal – achieved after the CAD effort in an MCD (or any ADDIE-like effort to develop Instructional Content – Learning Experiences and/or Performance Support) is to narrow down the K/S Item “Topic” to the bare minimum needed to enable the performance of tasks to produce an output that met stakeholder requirements – which to me has always been the essence of Performance-Based Instruction/ Training/ Learning – since I was first taught all of this back in 1979.

Robust Engineering

The engineers I was working with – those managers were managers plus engineers – struggled to define the Outputs and Measures in the first AoP. The university deans and professors did as well.

To define the Performance-Based Curriculum for Robust Engineering – which would focus not on Topics – but on specific Tasks and Outputs from the FoMoCo “Design Process” we would want to anchor all of the K/Ss in the eventual, updated curricula, to the Performance that they enabled – to the Output-Task Clusters as I have been calling them for decades.

It was the Outputs that sidetracked us as we started on my Step 2 – complete the Performance Model Charts. Their heads were filled with their notion of Outcomes, such as “Customer Satisfaction” (as you may know/recall: Job #1 is Quality).

We were sidetracked as I attempted to get them back on track with My Process.

I don’t know if I said this to them, as I had with many other Analysis and Design Teams, but, “I own the Process, and You own the Data.”

I had to make up some examples that they could each relate to (never easy) to show them that Outcomes were when the Outputs met the Stakeholder Requirements – and that took deliniating all of the Outputs and then establishing the Measures – reflecting the Stakeholder Requirements. Then we would identify the Macro-Tasks – as Micro-Task Analysis happens in the MCD (ADDIE-like) process.

They had all been taught to think about Outcomes – which is a good thing – just not conducive to my Process, where I needed to know specific Outputs.

Imagine eventual “Application Exercises” for Practice with Feedback – producing “Customer Satisfaction” vs an “Interior Design to specific Measures & Standards.”

Here is another example – not from this Ford project – but from my Sales Rep examples.

The Bottom Line Lesson Learned

I now try to anticipate ASAP whether or not each of my Analysis Teams might be thinking Outcomes vs. Outputs.

And what examples I might use to show them that an initial focus on Outputs that leads to Measures & Standards will frame the Outcomes that they have on their minds.

My Process has to itself be “Robust” to all of the varied people and their varied set of concepts, models, methods, etc., that they bring to my projects.

It’s why I seldom sleep soundly the night before I kick-off an Analysis Team meeting more than when I kick-off any other of the meetings I use when I get to employ my FGP – Facilitated Group Process methods – which were first published by me and my business partners and associates – back in 1984.

What can I anticipate? What will I do about it?

That’s an example of the Cognitive Tasks that I perform before, during, and after my Behavioral Tasks.

From the Resource Tab

Performance-Based Curriculum Architecture Design via a Facilitated Group Process – 6 page PDF– published in Training Magazine in September 1984. –This was the first publication about Curriculum Architecture Design. Plus – the original manuscript (30 pages) – How to Build a Training Structure That Won’t Keep Burning Down.

Models and Matrices – 5 page PDF, published in NSPI’s (ISPI’s) Performance & Instruction Journal, November 1984 – This was the first publication of the Performance and Enabler Analysis methods for ISD using a Facilitated Group Process that I have been using since 1979 and as an ISD consultant starting in 1982.

My Recent Books Address My Process

See all of my 17 (and soon to be 18) books on my Amazon Authors Page:



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