performance-based ISD at 3 Levels

I’ve been doing ISD since 1979. I prefer the phrase ISD – Instructional Systems Design over ID – Instructional Design as ISD connotes and addresses “a system of instruction” versus a chunk of instruction – in my view anyway.

The Name Game

And the acronyms ISD and ID can alternatively stand for Instructional Systems Designer and Instructional Designer.

And of course, you may or may not know this – that ID and ISD used to stand for Instructional Development/Developer and Instructional Systems Development/Developer back in the late 1970s and early 1980s – when the acronym and term “IT – Instructional Technologist” got bumped when MIS- Management Information Systems took IT – Information Technology.

But I digress. Kinda.

ISD at 3 Levels

My framework/model:

As I said/wrote, I’ve been doing ISD at the ADDIE level – what I later called MCD – Modular Curriculum Development – since 1979 – and I started doing CAD – Curriculum Architecture Design in 1981 when I was an employee at MTEC – Motorola’s Training & Education Center.

At MTEC our leader, Bill Wiggenhorn, brought in leading ISD consultants of the day, including Geary A. Rummler, Neil Rackham, and Ray Svenson (to name but 3 of the 6 or so I met and learned from during my 18 months at MTEC). Bill had a series of 1-day workshop put on by these gurus to help develop his new staff of 13 Training Project Supervisors and their managers in “performance-based” approaches to Instruction/ Training.

Ray Svenson came in to talk to us during the summer of 1981 after I’d been on the job about 3 months, to share with us his approach to “Strategic Planning for T&D” – something he was doing with Bill for our new T&E function at Motorola.

Curriculum Architecture

Part of what he shared was a concept he called “Curriculum Architecture” – which was to be done for various High Priority Target Audiences that were involved in the most critical business operations – for the current and/or future state – and needed to be attended to – as part of the Strategic Plan of MTEC following the lead of the Strategic Plans of the various Motorola Business Sectors that rolled-up into Motorola’s Strategic Plan – that then led to Operations Planning and Budgeting to put the pieces into place in a logical and organized manner.

Ray told us that the concept of a “Curriculum Architecture” came from the Bell Center for Technical Education (BSCTE) – where he had worked – doing Strategic Planning for that T&D organization – before going out on his own. Ray was a former Bell Labs engineer, who had gone on to become a Bell Labs manager, then a manager at AT&T in the Strategic Planning function at AT&T headquarters.

The target audience leaders at BSCTE from the IT function had asked for an “architecture of curricula” for their people, where they could plug-n-play (my words) different sets of content – much like software code don’t you know – into various sets of courses – to speed development of their people and reduce their cycle times and costs to develop said “sharable content.”

That idea intrigued me, and I created a “Curriculum Architecture” for one of my new assignments – what nowadays would be called OnBoarding – for new manufacturing supervisors across 5 Business Sectors and 30 manufacturing sites across North America.

Bill Wiggenhorn had asked me to check out the DACUM (Design a Curriculum) stuff from The Ohio State University – but I found that it was only addressing Analysis (in 1981) and didn’t address Design at all – and that the Analysis methods (focused on Major Duties, Tasks and Skill) were less rigorous and less detailed than what I had already learned at Wickes Lumber.

I developed a design of a “T&D Path” of modular content – almost all of it Self-Paced – with shared and unique content – for my diverse audience – after I had done an Analysis of the Performance Requirements and the Knowledge/Skill Requirements – as I had been taught to do back at Wickes Lumber 1979-1981 before joining Motorola when my wife got transferred from Saginaw MI to the Chicagoland suburbs.

This being 1981 my “Path” was a set of 10 or so Flip Chart pages taped together with 6 Swimlanes (something I learned from Rummler’s one-day workshop 1 week before my official start date at MTEC).

The top Swimlane was shared content – and the other 5 were unique to each Business Sector. They included your typical Orientation Knowledge modules, plus what I later came to call, Immediate Survival Skills modules.

And everything that could be Self-Paced was. Bill had come back from visits with his clients at the 5 Business Sectors and many of the 30 manufacturing sites, and other Motorola sites, and told his staff that the number one issue for the leaders – his clients – was the accessibility to T&D. It was classroom stuff, scheduled and usually “not timely” to their needs.

And worse – sometimes those classes cancelled when enough seats weren’t filled – and they had taken to signing up people who had no business in those classes just to make sure that “the damn class” (a technical term) didn’t get cancelled on them and then pushing out even further the development that was important to their people.

So I embraced the “Self-Paced Mode” – way back then and I have stuck with it ever since, telling my clients in the 76 CAD projects I have done since leaving Motorola in late October 1982, that unless they stopped me I was going to specify everything to be in a “Self-Paced Mode” unless it really, really, really had to be in a Group-Pace Mode – usually for Practice and Feedback purposes.

And that if it needed to be in a “Group-Paced Mode” that I’d consider a “Coached Mode” – in-between SP and GP – to make it more flexible for their people’s access and participation than the Group-Paced Mode.

Note: NO ONE HAS EVER STOPPED ME FROM DOING EXACTLY THAT in the 76 CAD projects I’ve done as a consultant.

Later I went to work for Ray’s small consulting firm. When I joined there were 3 people in the firm. Months after I joined he told me that no one had ever taken the concept of a “Curriculum Architecture” and produced one. I was the first.

That’s why he had asked me the summer of 1982 before I left Motorola to take the Analysis data he had and produce a “Curriculum Architecture” for his Exxon Exploration USA clients. I did. They loved it. And I later joined Ray where I took over the ISD Practice and did CADs for many clients.

Book ‘Em Danno

In 1983 I started writing a book on “Curriculum Architecture” – but didn’t finish until 1999. Rummler didn’t like the cover so he redesigned it for me, unasked.

I had warned him in mid-1999 that I had attributed my approach to Performance Analysis (one of the 4 types of Analysis I always do) to him, and if he didn’t like that I’d take it out. He invited me to Tucson and I spent 2 days with him. He wrote me a nice quote and redid the cover.

Lean – ISD as a Free PDF. It is also available as a Kindle and Paperback.

Rummler’s Quote:

Miki Lane’s Quote:

In 2007 I had made that “lean-ISD” book available as a free 410 page PDF to nudge me to update it and re-modularize the book (into what became my 6-Pack later in 2011).

In 2007 I also did a series of 12 articles for ISPI’s e-newsletter “PX” – that also updated the “lean-ISD” book – that is available as one PDF:

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.

In 2006 I wrote chapter 11 in the HPT Handbook – going into a fair amount of detail on my Analysis methods for both ISD and PI – Performance Improvement.

Modeling Mastery Performance and Systematically Deriving the Enablers for Performance Improvement – by Guy W. Wallace, CPT – Chapter 11 of the Handbook of Human Performance Technology – 3rd Edition – 2006. This methodology was first published in this 1984 article in ISPI’s (then NSPI’s) PIJ in November 1984.

CAD – Architecting or Engineer the System of Instruction (Job Aids and Training)

MCD – Building/Buying the Instructional Content

With or without a prior CAD effort.

Level 3 – IAD – Instructional Activity Development/Acquisition

IAD efforts follow the same 6 Phases, or an abbreviated version, where two or several Phases may be done in combination (collapsed).

The outputs of Instructional Activity Development include the following types of instructional activities, depending, of course, upon the project:

  • Instructional Content at the awareness, knowledge, or skill levels
  • Knowledge Tests
  • Performance Tests
  • Simulation Exercises
  • Performance/Job Aids
  • Electronic (EPSS) or Paper Desk Procedures

Some Articles from 1984

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.

Models and Matrices- NSPI PIJ -1984 – 5 page PDF – the first publication of the performance and enabler analysis methods for ISD using a Facilitated Group Process, from NSPI’s (ISPI’s) Performance & Instruction Journal, November 1984.

My 1985 NSPI Presentation

CAD – NSPI – 1985 – 21 page PDF – this is the first national presentation on the Curriculum Architecture Design methodology which Guy Wallace delivered at the NSPI Conference on April 24, 1985 (the 1st presentation of this was done for the Chicago Chapter of NSPI the previous fall).

55+ Videos on my ISD Methods – Via The School of PACT

For Free: School of PACT Video Short Series – 55+ “video shorts” on my PACT Processes for T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management. From 2011.

Paying It Forward

In 1999 when visiting Rummler I asked how I could ever repay him for all that he had done for me.

He told me I couldn’t. That I would have to do what he had to do to pay back his mentors – and that was to pay it forward.

So that’s what I’ve been trying to do – based on his example – and the examples of so many from NSPI/ISPI.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.