I’ve written and talked a lot about Action Mapping as the best way to kick off a learning project, ensuring it’s focused on actions that make a difference, not just ‘delivering content’. Action Mapping was ‘invented’ by Cathy Moore and Cathy has finally written a substantial book about the method – Map It. It’s available now on Kindle and will soon be available on paper.
It’s all written with Cathy’s characteristic dry with and humour and with a running story of a couple of learning developers in content hell. It’s as entertaining as it is informative.
It’s not about ‘e’
Cathy starts by scotching the idea that this is something to do with elearning. It isn’t. It applies equally to any kind of formal training in a work context – anything where someone is paying you to make a difference to their people’s work performance. While that means it’s a training model, not for education, it doesn’t mean that it’s only worthwhile within the 10% formal training of the 70-20-10 model. Action Mapping may well steer you towards job aids, on the job tasks and social learning than blocks of elearning. Equally where instruction and practice are what’s needed, you’ll see that in the process too.
It’s a job not an exam
She doesn’t skim over the fact that most of the time as elearning professionals we’ll be employed to produce the solution the client has already decided on, which may well be an information dump – ‘We just need them to know …’ She devotes a chapter to the axiom that training is not teaching and a job is not school. You’ll come away from this book with persuasive counter arguments to the information dump request.
The generic roleplay and assessment took place in Testland, a dim, formless world of intellectual abstraction up in the clouds of knowledge. Your actual job puts you in a crowded room with people who are all talking at once, where you have to use an infuriatingly slow database at the same time as you talk with customers.
She then takes us through the steps of Action Mapping in great detail. Not just how to carry them out but how to overcome obstacles and objections:
- The goal the organisation is aiming for
- What the target audience do in their job
- What makes it difficult or not well done
- Creative ideas to provide realistic practice
- Adding the minimum information to support the practice activities
Helping you as a designer
There’s a lot more – she talks about a lot of strategies for practice, including scenarios, and Cathy always focuses on helping you with your job as a designer. There are sections on prototyping, different types of training, types of performance support and tips on managing elearning projects. She steers you away from spending money on tools and media towards spending time and thought on creative solutions that will be seen as credible by the people who have to use them.
Get this book!
I’ve often said that Action Mapping is so easy to learn as a set of five stages, but there’s a lot involved in putting it into practice, particularly with clients who’ve made up their minds what they want. Map It is there to help, created by someone who’s been there and seen it through. It’s not cheap but it’ll be your pal for years.
You can buy it here (affiliate link)
Enjoy the book!
If you want to talk through the challenges of Action Mapping and get some practice before you hit the flipcharts, I’d love to help. One of my workshops might be the answer, or contact me and we can put something together specifically for you.
More on Action Mapping on this site
- Action Mapping
- How to note and record an Action Mapping session
Free elearning scenario template
Just follow Designing Predicaments step by step for a believable, engaging learning scenario.