L&D: Flip It Friday

Flip the 70-20-10 Reference Model in L&D

Avoid Poor Practices being established by providing Most 10 Before Most 20 Before Most 70.


Learning from The 20 can be a great strategy.


But learning via The 20 from the wrong sources is not.

Target the 10 Carefully

You can’t afford to provide The 10 on Everything for Everybody – so with your clients, seek out the High Rewards and High Risks areas – and head Poor Practices Off at the Pass!

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T&D: Training Is But One Set of Means To the Ends of Learning

From An Exchange on LinkedIn

I started in the field in 1979 – so I have an old school view. In the 1990s Senge’s 5th Discipline caused many T&D organizations to change their names to L&D – in an attempt to be/become more learner-centric (versus Performance -centric) and to ride that wave with their executives who wanted to become A Learning Organization – so T&D adopted that language. And the result became the means – linguistically.

And yes – I separate training and education … and communications (that are for creating skills, knowledge and communications). I have many posts on my Blog about these distinctions. But the popularity of L&D vs T&D has continued – and the language confusion – which some are beginning to experience and talk/write about.

Training is but one set of means to the ends of Learning. The T&D department is there to support all of the managers who are responsible for the means of Learning via any source (formal to informal) and everything else in the performance context required for the performance of their processes and results.


Training Leading to Learning Is Critical But Not Sufficient to Performance or Performance Improvement

Performance Is Much More Complex Than Learning Via Training, Education and Communications … and Serendipity. 

Training/Learning professionals who want to be Performance Improvement Consultants have so much to learn in order to have impact.


They can a best – IMO – be team players – in Enterprise efforts at true Performance Improvement.

There is a lot to learn and master.

T&D/L&D folks can be team players – and if skilled at Project Planning & Management – lead the effort.

But they’re going to need a bigger boat – so to speak.

Bottom Line

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L&D: A Recommendations Tsunami 

A Tsunami of Ideas

Recommendations for what to include in your L&D Content/ Experiences are voluminous.

A Quick Aside to Start…

BTW – this “Experience” concept is old school to me – as that’s how I was taught to think of it – back in 1979. Focus first on the Performance Requirements – and then on the Participant. Understand where they are coming from/ starting from. Make it – the experience – Performance Authentic/Real.

And if there is wide variance on their starting points – tell them to read for comprehension or skim/skip if they already know it – when what you are doing is Self-Paced or Coached.

But if it is Group-Paced? Design it to take advantage of the “experience/expertise” in the room – so to speak.

Back on My Track…

A Recommendations Avalanche

Jolts are recommended by Thiagi to gain attention. Stories from many, many others to engage emotionally. Action Learning versus Passive Learning because one is better – at least, most of the time.

I both agree – and beg to disagree.

Or … beg for balance.

For – Too Much of a Good Thing … Isn’t a Good Thing.

The Point of Weariness

One exercise after another from the Action Learning crowd – with none of the Reflective debriefing – that Thiagi recommends. Or Jolt after Jolt – and I believe that Thiagi would suggest avoiding an avalanche of Jolts. Or Story after Story.

Back in the early 1980s the BIG PUSH at all of the Conferences was to get rid of all the damn SME War Stories!

Although I always designed them in – anyway – to help the Facilitator establish their credibility on the front end – as well as designed time in for others in the audience with relevant experience to add their War Stories in to the mix – with strict time limits – that were almost always ignored of course.

Or … one period of Reflection at the end of the Chain-Chain-Chain of Activities – if time hasn’t run out. And that’s for Group-Paced Learning/Training. And when didn’t time run out for Reflections or Answers to the Questions Parked on the Parking Lot Wall Chart?

In elearning it’s even more difficult (impossible) to facilitate meaningful Reflections – as you can suggest it – but then how often does it adequately occur? It’s one of those Learner Controlled things that isn’t best left to Learner Control IMO.

Not if what was delivered was important enough to deliver in the first place.

People Are Busy People!

Balance in The Force

As a Participant (learner/Performer) in enough Learning Experiences (Training and/or Education sessions) I have been brought to The Point of Weariness many a time.

Again – Too Much of a Good Thing – Isn’t a Good Thing.

My Recommendation – to add to the avalanche – is to Balance the Forces of Good Jolts and Good Stories and Good Active Learning – with Reflective Debriefings – which I learned about from Thiagi.

Here is Thagi – in costume – I think – speaking about this … this lack of Reflective Debriefings …

Maybe that’s not Thiagi – just someone else who “gets it.”

Action Learning – Jolts – Stories = A Better Learning Experience?


More is not better. Too Much of a Good Thing Isn’t a Goog Thing.

May the Force – Be In Better Balance – For Your Participants.

The Sivasailam Thiagarajan Group


Here is a video of – I think –  Sir Alec Guinness – in costume – pretending to be Thiagi – that I captured at ISPI in 2009…

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L&D: Curated Content? It’s a Start.

Yes – There Are Boatloads of Content Already Available 

But is it authentic enough?


Authentic enough and with Practice & Feedback built it to create deeper learning?


You may need to BOOKEND Curated Content with Advanced Organizers – to position and clarify the terminal applications/terminal objectives. Explain any different language/labels used in the Curated Content from what the Performer will use in their job.


On the backend they may need to be reminded of those differences from the Curated Content and their authentic, real world of the Performer’s job. And to help provide Practice & Feedback – enough so that the Performer has enough confidence to actually try the new knowledge and skills back on the job.

Face Validity vs Performance Validity

Curated Content may have Face Validity – and seem like it should “fit” – but not enough  Performance Validity to ensure better transfer.

And also there may be a need for On-the-Job Reinforcement (Spaced Learning) unless the job itself will accomplish that.

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L&D: Two Paths to Performance Improvement When Starting from ISD

I felt bad for the client who came to me at the end of the Project Steering Team’s Gate Review Meeting at the end of the Analysis Phase.

He had to tell me that my big project was to be suspended.

It was a decision I had facilitated when I told the PST that I was going to head down to the cafeteria for a short break while they decided what to do next – after I had walked them through the Analysis data on the Performance Model charts projected to their big screen at the end of the horseshoe arrangement of seating for this project’s client and key stakeholders. I almost never take a break and leave the room in the middle of a PST Gate Review Meeting.

But this time was different.

I knew they needed to stop the ISD effort to quickly spin up several “Tiger Teams” – as they called them in their culture – to address all of the dEs – as I label the Probable Causes for Current State Gaps captured on the right side of the Performance Model charts. The left side captured the Ideal State performance Outputs/Measures and Key Tasks.


The 12 Boxes of Enterprise Process Performance Improvement 


If the Probable Cause isn’t a dK – a deficiency in Knowledge/Skill – it’s sometimes a dI – deficiency of Individual Attributes (a rare but possible cause) – but most likely it’s a dE – deficiency in Environment. One or more of those 6 variables at the bottom of the Fishbone diagram above – and/or the Process.

Yes – including The Process itself (#1) – if you were counting variables in the graphic and only came up with 11. The Process is a special part of the Environment that humans walk into.

Joe Harless taught me – and many others – back in the mid-1980s at NSPI (now ISPI) to always say yes to a client request for ISD (Training) – and to – request/require doing a little Analysis on the front end – to – in my terms: let the analysis data chips fall where they may.

Here is my past post (from 2012) on Joe’s teaching me and others that lesson – here.


I had designed my ISD and PI methods (PACT and EPPI respectively) – beginning in 1982 when I became a consultant and had to lead teams on client work – to be interchangeable – in language and models and methods and tools and techniques) and to more easily enable those who mastered PACT to have an easy jump to EPPI. And to be consistent.

So when my Training Director client approached me in the cafeteria to tell me that the PST’s decision was to suspend the ISD effort (a Curriculum Architecture Design effort) – I jumped up and said, “Great!”

It was the right decision.

The Current State was so Screwed Up (a Technical Term) that doing the Training stuff in parallel would require massive amount of rework to any training – because it was obvious to me that the Processes themselves would need to be redesigned and that would lead to different Tasks and Enabling K/Ss – plus a boatload of new Environmental fixes.

It was a “Long Row to Hoe” – as they say.

There were other projects in my consulting life where the ISD efforts and PI efforts might be done more or less in parallel – as everyone is typically in a hurry – and any REWORK would be minimal.

And there have been other times when the ISD effort needed to lag one Phase (or more) behind the PI effort – as everyone was still in a hurry – but the amount of redesign suggested that it would be better – to avoid REWORK CITY of Instructional Content.

But this time – the whole ISD effort should be “put on hold” – and the entire set of Processes and “Infrastructure” – another name for all of the non-people stuff – the Environmental Assets – should be more or less put in place – before beginning the ISD track.

Life is like that.

Oh. I did get asked to participate when the time for ISD was right for this client. I did the CAD effort and their team did the MCD end (the ADDIE-like efforts post-CAD).

Life is like that.

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L&D: Cycle Time or Touch Time or On Time?

It’s Way Past Time to Clarify Time As a Measure

The Train is due in at 5 pm. Is that clear?


The 5 O’Clock Train a couple of days late – but arriving at 5 pm – is late.

On Time in a sense – but days late none-the-less.

Dimensions of Time

Cycle Time – End to end how long does it take? That is one dimension of time as a measure – as a standard. And that’s either with normal, typical distractions – or not. What’s the reality? What is authentic?

Should we expect Guy to get those 12 Tasks done in 3 hours – even though the Performance Context has distractions galore – that are also part of his responsibility-set? Or should our standard be 4 hours?

And … standard for which Context – on the job – or in training?

Touch Time – If you took out all of the distractions that were appropriately attended to, how much time is it OK to spend On Task or Tasks? Is it the 3 hours of Touch Time within a 4 hour band of Cycle Time?

If I’m Training Guy – so he can Learn How To Perform (No Kidding) – I would want the final Application Exercises to test whether of not he can do it within the 3 hours unencumbered with the authentic distractions AND whether or not he can do it within 4 hours with distractions. With and Without.

On Time – And sometimes the standard is to be On Time. At 5 O’Clock. On Fridays (Eastern). Deadline date and time. A.K.A.: Drop Dead date and time.

And sometimes no one really cares about the Touch Time or Cycle Time – whatever that takes – because perhaps there is so much variation in the authentic Performance Context (read: real world) that we expect the Performer, Guy, to figure this out for this time, and every time, just how long it’s going to take (Touch Time) and how much time he should give himself this time (Cycle Time) and every time – so that he isn’t late – and he is On Time.

But there are exceptions – as always.

Hurry Up and Wait

As a former member of the military in my youth, I experienced the phenomenom of the Hurry Up and Wait syndrome. Hundreds if not thousands of times in my 3 year cycle (term of duty). Boot Camp, on the ship, then at school, then back on the ship, etc.

It frustrated many of my fellow shipmates and schoolmates and participants in that Team Building and Bonding exercise called Boot Camp.

Given all the downtime one experiences – during the Wait portion of “Hurry Up and Wait” – one either learned how to catch some zzz’s anywhere at any time – or one contemplated the broader philosophical questions of the day. Such as, WTH!?!

It came to me during one particular moment of tired inspiration in the moments of Wait – after much perspiration due to the Hurry Up segment – that the military had figured this out due to the Consequence System. The Consequences to them. So they engineered Consequences for everyone else.

You had 3 choices:

  1. Be Early
  2. Be On Time
  3. Be Late

There is – BTW – only one choice that’s acceptable.

Be Late – in the Navy it might be miss ship’s movement where you run to the pier but the gangway has been pulled and mooring lines undone and the ship as embarked without you – and you are in a world of doo doo – to say it nicely. Or you can be late to Mustering on the Deck for Roll Call. Etc. None of it is good.

All of it is remedied by severe consequences to help one learn to avoid those consequences in the future. Consequences such as Captain’s Mast (they used to tie one to the mast and apply the whip back in the day) where they might toss you into the Brig for a week or two and deduct a large portion of your pay for a few pay cycles.  Stuff like that. And no, they don’t Keel Haul sailors any more. But they used to. Ah. Consequences.

Be On Time – Being On Time is the point, right? Well, yes. But that’s not really acceptable either.

You see, from a Risk Management point of view – being On Time is just a hair’s breadth away from Being Late – so close in fact that the two could be thought of as synonymous. And Being Late, well, we’ve already covered that. That just ain’t No Good.

Murphy – as in Murphy’s Law – exists in the military BIG TIME – and battles have been lost – and probably the whole damn wars – because someone was late to the party that one time. Or just a hair’s breadth away from being On Time.

Be Early – Being Early is the only acceptable situation in the military most of the time. There are exceptions. Coming in for the landing on the aircraft carriers’ pitching deck in the dark of night – too early – ain’t no good at all either. So – it depends. It’s situational.

But otherwise – being early – and being way early – is much preferred to being just a little bit early. Just a little bit early is too damn close to being On Time.

Get it?

Back to Training for Learning

When it’s time for you set standards for Performance Competence – the ability to Perform Tasks to Produce Outputs to Stakeholder RequirementsNo Kidding – it might be different standards for time that you need to consider, such as “Cycle/Touch/Deadline.”


And then different standards for the time standards in the Training to Learn Context than the Back on the Job Context time standards.

They are related – but may differ. The ones Back on the Job are established by the Stakeholders. The ones in Training are established by the Designer – or if you use an approach like mine, those are established/decided by Master Performers who understand the nuances of the Performance Context that an Observer, Interviewer, and Reviewer of Documents/etc, will never have.

That’s just one of the reasons why I use a Facilitated Group Process in both my Analysis and Design efforts if at all possible.

The other reason is to save Cycle Time. Another is to reduce my Touch Time. And another is to hit a short Deadline.

Check the clock. Do you know where your Stakeholders are?

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