The content of training is commonly derived from one of two approaches:

The subject-matter approach, which seeks to answer the question: What do we want the audience to know?

The behavioral approach, which is based on the question: What do we want the audience to do as a result of the training?

These approaches have the following problems:

  • A large amount of time is spent in analysis.
  • The instructional design process is sketchy on how to use the analysis to design training. Training developers often treat the analysis as a hoop to jump through before getting down to writing knowledge-based courses.
  • Subject matter experts (SMEs) report behaviors they rarely perform on the job and omit behaviors that are fundamental to the job or, in their opinion, too complex to analyze.

Accomplishment-based curriculum design (ABCD), however, focuses on the question: What will the person produce or accomplish on the job? or: What are the valuable job outputs the person needs to produce?

Job Aids

Traditional training is basically about loading information into a person’s memory. In these approaches, retention is the central issue. To address retention, most trainers focus on motivation, repetition, and the audio-visual presentation techniques.

A job aid is a resource of relevant information other than memory used when actually performing work. Depending on your corporate culture and technology landscape, technologies such as social media, SharePoint sites, etc. can also be leveraged in this context.

The ABCD approach emphasizes the use of job aids and other forms of performance support whenever possible as an alternative to or as a central feature of instruction.

Why job aids?

  • Job aids don’t forget information.
  • Job aids provide information on the job just in time.
  • Job aids are 3-4 times quicker to develop than instructor-led training.

A key part of my accomplishments-based approach is to determine if and how job aids can be used. This decision is critical to cost effectively enabling performance on the job.