The Continuing, Confounding, Conflation of Enterprise & Educational Learning Contexts

Please make it stop.

The longer I am in this profession, ISD, ID, Instruction, T&D, L&D and now LXD – the more I realize how damn lucky I was to be started-off with a Performance Orientation, ala, Rummler, Gilbert, Mager, and Harless. And many others. May those 4 Rest in Peace.

But those are my first BIG FOUR – starting on Day 1, back in August of 1979 – although some of the writings of Joe Harless were given to me a day or two after Day 1. And there were many others that followed as I became involved in NSPI (which is now ISPI) in Detroit in September 1979, and then at their national conference in Dallas in April 1980.

And while there were folks from the Educational world interested in Performance-Based approaches to Instructional Systems Development – as ISD was once known before switching to Instructional Systems Design – they were mostly (but not always) looking for insights and practices to share with their ISD students who might go into Enterprise Learning.

My View

In an Educational Learning Context – general education – the teachers/professors don’t know the job their students will take – so they can take their Educational Content only so far – from awareness to knowledge to skills – and then apply those in some “Performance Context” that may or may not resemble the future Job Tasks & Outputs of their student’s real-world requirements in a future job.

They try, but given the tremendous variation in Processes and Practices, in Outputs and Tasks, and in Stakeholders with their Requirements – they can’t (with some exceptions) get that authentic.

But in an Enterprise Learning Context – we can get very specific about Processes and Practices, Outputs and Tasks, and Stakeholders with their Requirements – if we chose to.

But too many in an Enterprise Learning Context chose not to.

And that’s a shame – and missed opportunity.

And for those coming out (escaping) an Educational Learning Context for an Enterprise Learning Context – please be aware of that key difference – and learn how to conduct what I call a Performance-Based Instructional Analysis effort, quickly, and effectively and efficiently.

There have been dozens of good approaches to Performance-Based Instructional Analysis – that I’ve seen since 1979.

Pick one and start there. Then look at the others and adopt what you can and adapt the rest.

Don’t try to fit a round peg into a square hole.

The Informal to Formal Learning Continuum

And all this talk about Informal Learning?

Doesn’t all Learning start as Informal Learning – and remain that way until somebody decides to undertake an effort to upgrade it?

To upgrade it to Communications for creating awareness, or to Education for creating general knowledge and skills, or to Training for creating Performance Competence = the Ability to Perform Tasks to Produce Outputs to Stakeholder Requirements.


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