Task vs. Outcome: Why One Matters More Than the Other

L&D team prioritize outcome over tasksHere is an illustration of why task vs. outcome matters. Imagine you had to pick a surgeon. Would you base that decision on the orderly way she kept her surgical tools? Or on how she always finished her surgeries on time? What about how much her colleagues liked her?

No, those aren’t the most pressing questions you’d have. You would care more about how successful her surgeries were. You’d want to know if the surgery solved the patient’s problem. You’d want to know about her past performance and the results she produced for her patients.

What’s the difference between these two ways of approaching a decision? One way focused on tasks. The other focused on the outcome.

Project Management Skills Should Not Be A Top L&D Focus

Many business units use project managers. In fact, I can’t think of many that don’t.  A focus on Project Management is a focus on tasks.  Should this be the focus for L&D?

Professional project managers need certification in project management. But what other disciplines choose this certification as a top goal?

Do accountants, engineers, or sales pros focus their certifications on project management? No! They focus on their professional skill sets. Accountants certify their accounting skills. Engineers must prove their engineering prowess. Sales professionals must succeed at selling.

So why do learning and development (L&D) pros tout project management skills? Shouldn’t their ability to design learning be the focus?

Focusing L&D certifications on project management degrades our profession. It tells others that all an L&D pro needs to know is how to be a good project manager. It highlights project management as the major skill that L&D professionals need.

A Need for Outcome-Based L&D Certification

Let’s take the focus off of project management. Let’s focus instead on best practices in learning design so we can achieve the goals of learning. Our certifications need to focus on the science behind learning design. After all, it’s through great design that adults can gain skills. Instead of highlighting project management skills, our certifications should be rigorous in the areas of performance consulting. They should highlight the ability to analyze a performance issue. L&D pros need to know how to select and design the right solution to correct a performance problem.

Our L&D pros must understand how to design learning that delivers the intended outcome. We should focus on how to measure our own success, and diagnose and repair issues that impede success. Our certifications should reflect our expertise in learning solutions.

If L&D professionals  hope to prove their value, they need to follow best practices in learning. Certification should ensure learning pros understand performance consulting and learning design as the major competency. Our highest aim should be to create programs that increase the ability of the learners. We may use project management in our process, but it is our learning expertise that gets us to the goal.

Measurable Instructional Design® (MID) Certification

No matter how well we manage projects, learning has value only when it helps a business succeed. If you focus your skill set on managing projects that does not show your true value.

eParamus offers Measurable Instructional Design® (MID) Certification. This method connects program design to outcomes. It teaches how you can provide—and measure—results. You’ll see results in the classroom, on the job, and to the organization.

The MID certification focuses on professional L&D competencies. It prepares you to analyze, design, and test programs. You learn best practices in design to ensure programs are effective, measurable, and repeatable.

Does your L&D team focus on tasks or outcomes? Do you need to master measurable learning design and tie it to business outcomes? Then contact us at eParamus. We’d love to work with you.

Please follow eParamus on LinkedIn and feel free to connect with me, Laura Paramoure, PhD.

Photo copyright: nexusplexus / 123RF Stock Photo


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