Pointers for creating successful performance-based learning.

 It’s 2013: we experience the benefits of having instantaneous information available at our fingertips on a daily basis.  An Internet connection opens up possibilities to learn anything, from how to unclog a kitchen drain to hacking your smartphone.

Even the information needed to do most jobs is now readily and freely available to almost anyone.  And yet there remains a great demand for training that does not just present information, but efficiently and effectively helps us perform the jobs we want to do: performance-based learning.

It’s not easy to create genuine performance-based learning. That’s why the demand is so great—it’s hard to come by!  Moreover, when the project and the team is large, we need management tools that ensure all team members share common language and common instructional goals, and don’t fall back into old habits like didactic dumps, PowerPoint-style presentation, and passive learning.

Our C.O.M.P.A.S.S. acronym is designed to do just this:  remind us how to create performance-based learning, and do so in a quick, memorable way that can unite a distributed development team across a large project.


Inspired by useful tools like Bloom’s Taxonomy and the S.M.A.R.T. guidelines for learning objectives, C.O.M.P.A.S.S. is a mnemonic for design principles apply to both eLearning and traditional modalities.  These design principles have emerged from our experience as scholars of adult learning theory and practicing designer-developers of on-the-job training.


C.O.M.P.A.S.S. aims at getting all stakeholders (clients, subject-matter experts, designers, developers, and even learners) pulling in the same direction to create engaging learning activities that are concise, outcome-oriented, metrics-driven, precise, appealing, significant, and—as communication needs and capabilities grow—social.

Managing eLearning is written by the Blog team at Web Courseworks which includes Jon Aleckson and Meri Tunison.  Ideas and concepts are originated and final copy reviewed by Jon Aleckson.