How a Master Thinks: Performance Before Presentation

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Darryl L. Sink and Associates, Inc. (DSA) helps organizations design and develop learning and performance solutions that get results. DSA works cooperatively with organizations to:

  • accomplish internal custom projects
  • train and educate their internal staff in Instructional Systems Development.

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Darryl’s tips are now conveniently organized not only by published date, but by these topics:

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This is the first in a series I will be adding to our tips newsletter that highlights how a master thinks when faced with everyday challenges they encounter in learning and performance improvement projects. Each will contain a practical tip you can put to use.

This idea came from Paul Swan, Ph.D. a lead instructional designer for DSA. Paul thinks of performance as the keystone to results oriented instructional design. In a recent technician-training project DSA was asked to revise an existing course to make it more performance based.  After reviewing existing program materials it was determined that more than 85% of the time was spent presenting rather than practicing key tasks necessary to perform the job of technician. Maybe you have faced a similar situation, no matter what the content.

Here is how Paul turned things around...

Paul started by identifying the business drivers for the training and facilitating a task analysis with the content experts; these activities clarified the general course goals and desired results. From the course goals the learning objectives were formulated. As the objectives were formulated a description of how each key objective would be measured was developed.

Now the big idea...

Taking advantage of a contextual parameter; class length had been predetermined at 4.5 days, Paul made a matrix on a white board (see below) showing the 4.5 days and facilitated a session with the content experts to determine what performance based activities would occur through the 4.5 days and how long each would take.

The secret was that this approached helped the content experts see that the presentation/demonstration parts of the training would need to be short and to the point providing enough time for the performance based authentic activities (i.e. like what they would be doing on the job).

In summary here is the design/development sequence...

  1. Business Needs
  2.  Course Goals
  3.  Objectives
  4.  Measurement of objective
  5.  Performance Based Authentic Activities
  6.  Presentations/Demonstrations - Last thing to develop rather than the first thing to be developed in the previous version.

Hope you'll give this sequence a try in the near future to create performance base training rather than presentation based training. If you do, please let me know how the process worked for you.

See you next time,