T&D: The Best Systems Are Never Designed Bottom-Up

Including Instructional Systems

Top-Down Design enables the design team to see the integrated whole before Building and/or Buying Content starts. Including Performance Support/Job Aids/Guidance.

For Instructional Systems – the ISD Team can ensure that the Learning Sequence is appropriate – As Rigorous As Required and As Flexible As Feasible – and includes Spaced Learning when the Job itself won’t reinforce and provide feedback adequately.


Then Bottom-Up Development/Acquisition – Building or Buying – can proceed and build upon and reinforce the content specifics – including wording, phrasing, imagery, etc.

That’s how Curriculum Architecture Design works – as I’ve been doing it since the early 1980s.



CAD – Training Mag – 1984 – 6 page PDF – the first publication about Curriculum Architecture Design via a Facilitated Group Process – published in Training Magazine in September 1984. Original manuscript (30 pages) – How to Build a Training Structure That Won’t Keep Burning Down.

NS CAD 1986-7 – 2 page PDF – from the internal “AT&T Training Information Exchange” newsletter of October 1987 about the 8-day course for Product Managers pilot tested in 1987 – and the Product Management model we had created based on the analysis efforts – that in combination with a Product Life Cycle model we created (no common one existed at the time) guided the content of this 8-day “Basics” course.

CAD – ASTD – 2004 – 5 page PDF – an overview of when to do a Curriculum Architecture Design effort, the outputs of the effort by phase, and the 4 phases of a Curriculum Architecture design effort, published in ASTD’s Links in 2004.

Performance-based ISD – ISPI PX 12-part Series – 2007 – 122 page PDF – an update in 12-parts to my 1999 book: lean-ISD – which covers my ISD methods: The PACT Processes for T&D, Learning and Knowledge Management. Published in ISPI’s PerformanceExpress during the 12 months of 2007.

PowerPoint Shows

CAD Pres NSPI Conf 1985 – 1st National Presentation on Curriculum Architecture Design via a Group Process (1st presentation was at NSPI Chicago in the Fall of 1984) that reference Flexible, Sequenced Curriculum Paths.

An Engineering-Architectural Approach to Modular L&D – 2018 Version of The PACT Processes. 30 slides – mostly self-explanatory – providing an overview of PACT’s CAD – Curriculum Architecture Design, and MCD – Modular Curriculum Development processes.

The CAD Collage 1982-2018 – 100 slides regarding CAD – Curriculum Architecture Design – For Mapping Development Paths – in T&D/L&D – Since 1982.

CAD – ISPI 2004 Fall Conf – Curriculum Architecture Design at the 2004 ISPI Fall Conference

CAD – ISPI Columbus 1999 – Curriculum Architecture Design at ISPI Columbus 1999

CAD – NC ISPI 2000 – Curriculum Architecture Design at ISPI North Carolina Chapter 2000

Free Book PDFs


Click on image to link to the download page.


Note: the cover design for “lean-ISD” was created by the late Geary A. Rummler.

Note: Guy W. Wallace’s book “lean-ISD” – was a recipient of a 2002 Award of Excellence for Instructional Communication from the International Society for Performance Improvement.

lean-ISD is also available as a $15 paperback book – and $7.50 as a Kindle – for more information and/or to order – please go – here.

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L&D: My Micro-Micro Training Series for L&D/T&D Professionals

Micro-Monday’s Quick Tips From My Decades of Practice in Training

MMTS W1- (39)

And there’s even more in my 1999 book: “lean-ISD” – available as a Free PDF and as a Kindle or Paperback: here.

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T&D: 31 Years Ago I Did a Video Tour in Prudhoe Bay

Qualification/Certification System

We – my business partners at SWI – Svenson & Wallace Inc. – and our staff and some subcontractors were working on a Qualification/Certification System back in 1987.

I took the video camera – one of those big ones – it was 1987 – and toured the living quarters where we lived. You can see that it was rather spartan. Wait until you see my room. It was December 16th, 1987.

Video is just over 15 minutes. 

At the 3:15 mark you can see that it’s only 21 below zero, Fahrenheit – outside.

Ray Svenson and I later wrote a book about the methods we used, and the System we set up for this client and 20+ target audiences – after doing this project in 1987, another one for 20+ worker populations on The Alaska Pipeline in 1994, and then for a few other clients, including Siemens Building Technologies and their branch management and key staff positions back in the mid and late 1990s.

It was all about Performance Tests.

Demonstrating the ability “to do” – on-the-job.

No Knowledge Tests or Quizzes or Mickey Mouse stuff like that – which is what two vendors tried before we were brought in. Oil Field workers don’t go for that kind of stuff.

And did I mention it was part of a 5 tier Pay Progression System – where to get paid more you had to pass more open-book Performance Tests – as decided, and maintained by the Master Performers for each of the 20+ target audiences?

We heard from the first client that the system put into place enabled them to get a huge project in China years after we were done – because they could show the government what people would learn to do – performance-wise – as a result of the training Performance Tests that we developed – and that the client’s target audiences maintained.

The Book

Employee performance-based Qualification/Certification Systems is available as a Free PDF and also available as a $15 Paperback book – and $7.50 as a Kindle – for more and to order – please go – here.

Click on the image below to get to the Free PDF. No registration nonsense either.


31 years ago. Wow.

Time sure flies when you’re having fun!

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T&D: Sign Up For a Chance At a Free Patti Shank Book!!!

Such a Deal!!!

Want 2019 to bring you a free copy of one of Patti Shank’s Deeper Learning books?


Here I am with my copy of the 3rd in her book series.

Sign up here: https://www.pattishank.com/giveaway by December 31, 2018, and she’ll randomly select 20 people on January 2, 2019 and send them a free copy.


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T&D: When Improvements Aren’t

Story From the 1980s

At an NSPI (now ISPI) Conference back in the late 1980s I heard a Case Study where the T&D organization was helping the Sales Organization to get all of the Sales People to adhere to the New Sales Process.

They were initially successful – until ultimately they weren’t.


It seems that the New Sales Process created by the Sales Organization, with all of the additional hoops that the Sales People had to now jump through – so to speak – doubled the Sales Cycle.

Resulting in a halving of Sales Revenues.



So the next T&D effort became one to get Sales People to revert back to the Old Sales Process ASAP, until the Sales Organization could figure out what to do next.

Lesson Learned

Take a Systems View when Improving Performance.

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