You Cannot Practice Producing Outcomes But You Can Practice Producing Outputs

I’ve had quite a few discussions with people on this – Outputs vs Outcomes or Outcomes vs Outputs – over the past few decades – or more. I’ve posted about this recently – here.

And it’s come up again.

Outcomes are the Goal(s) For L&D For Sure

And you get them – good or bad – based on the Stakeholder Requirements and whether your Learners can Perform well enough to meet them. So you’ve got to know what they are so that you can back out the Performance first – and all of the Enablers second.

My focus is initially on understanding and documenting the detail of Performance.

And while I prefer to start with Outputs – which are Inputs downstream in the Process or WorkStream or the WorkFlow – my experience is that people find it easier to think and share information and insights regarding the Tasks that they perform versus the Outputs that they produce.

Not always – just mostly – in my 43 years doing this kind of work.

And, as I’ve had to retort when challenged about my “seemingly myopic focus on Outputs” (which is untrue) as a Performance Analysts and Instructional Architect –

“You Cannot Practice Producing Outcomes, but You Can Practice Producing the Outputs
that Lead to Outcomes Back-on-the-Job.”

Most of my books, since the first in 1994, shared aspects of that kind of thinking – which I refer to as EPPI Thinking.

Note that one book is still with my editor – The L&D Pivot Point.

See all of my books on my Amazon Authors Page:


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