Concern-Task-Resource model – Action Mapping but not Action Mapping

scytheNick Shackleton-Jones introduces his model as an alternative to learning objectives, that is, to starting a learning project with learning objectives.

In the same spirit as Action Mapping, this means we don’t start from the assumption that it’s a learning problem for which we’re going to create a learning solution.

In this model there are three questions to ask in sequence:

  1. What are your audience’s concerns?
    These may be things they care about, or things you (or your sponsor) want them to care about. Whether it’s one or the other will have a big bearing on how you approach the project.
  2. What tasks relate to these concerns?
    This is very like stage 2 of Action Mapping – what tasks do people do in the workplace? We know they don’t ‘identify’ or ‘list’ or ‘select from a multiple choice’, so what do they do?
  3. What resources could help with these?
    In other words what will make life easier? There’s no assumption it’s training, in fact it leans more towards the creation of performance support than anything else. But any training you think relevant is likely to be situation based as with Action Mapping – case studies and expert advice for information-giving, and scenarios and assignments for practice.

This approach and Action Mapping are kindred spirits. The main difference is that Action Mapping starts from an assumption that someone – the sponsor – thinks there’s a training issue and that training will help in some way. The Action Mapper is encouraged to challenge this, but from a position of identifying the causes of problems, targetting knowledge-and-skill problems with training and addressing other problems – systemic or motivational, by other means. We’re encouraged to involve a representative of the ‘audience’, but the sponsor-L&D person relationship is assumed.

Nick’s approach doesn’t include this relationship. We’re encouraged to go straight to the audience with focus groups and surveys to find out their concerns and their daily tasks. We then rough out or prototype solutions and take them back to the audience for approval.

It’s probably more apt for internal L&D teams who may be able to reach the target audience more easily than an independent instructional designer, who will be dependent on a sponsor acting as gatekeeper.

You’ll find more of Nick Shackleton-Jones’s thinking at




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