by Robert F. Mager

Some time ago I was asked to work with a sales manager whose problems, according to his supervisor, were several. “His territory assignments are inefficient. He publicly ridicules new members of the sales team reporting low sales figures. He just doesn’t seem to be able to get it together. Worse, he spends most of his time selling instead of managing.”

After an hour talking to this sales manager about his career and listening to some of his sales success stories, I asked if he knew what the problem was.

“I’m not sure,” he replied. After a long pause, he looked down at his hands. “I was the star salesman here for two years. I won all the awards. Then, they tapped me on the shoulder and told me I was being promoted to manager.”

“How did you feel about that?”

“Great. I could hardly wait to tell my wife and kids. Everybody slapped me on the back and congratulated me. I was in hog heaven.”

“And then?”

“Before long, things began to fall apart. I couldn’t figure out why. I know every product this company makes, I know the customers, and I know how to sell. But it just isn’t working.”

“Did you complete the company training program for sales managers?”

“There isn’t one. Our policy is to promote the most competent person in a department. It’s good for morale.”

This is hardly a rare occurrence and can happen in any corner of the organization. The most competent person is promoted to manager—on the erroneous assumption that those good at selling (or anything else) automatically will be good at managing sales (or any other function). As a result, the competent are promoted to an unfamiliar job—without any training in how to do that new job.

But the consequences don’t stop there. At each rung up the ladder to the stratosphere, the probability mounts that “promotion without training” will lead to greater and greater insecurity. I’ve had managers confide to me—in these words—

“I just don’t know what to do.” They may feel able to say those words to an outside consultant they trust, but where can they go inside the organization with such a confession? Whom can they ask for help? So they play it closer and closer to the chest, pretending to a competence far beyond what they feel. Before long, they begin behaving like someone who’s afraid to admit he’s lost.

Women accuse men of this all the time. “You know we’re lost. Why won’t you stop at that gas station and ask for directions?” That triggers bluster, denial, anger, and autocratic outbursts—for starters.

That’s why managers need training—at every level to which they’re promoted. Without training, or coaching, for their new position, it’s likely they won’t feel confident about what to do.

It’s also why they desperately need to be taught about training. Training is one of their responsibilities, but how can they discharge this responsibility when they haven’t got a clue about what it means?

Dr. Robert F. Mager is an accomplished author and world-renowned expert on training and human performance improvement issues. Arguably the most well known and respected figure in his field, he is credited with revolutionizing the performance improvement industry with his groundbreaking work. Dr. Mager has been awarded the Distinguished Professional Achievement Award and Member for Life from the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI). His book What Every Manager Should Know About Training is a recent addition to the ISPI bookstore.

Without training, or coaching, for their new position, it’s likely managers won’t feel confident about what to do.


For years, employers and clients have been asking
for standards and criteria to help them distinguish practitioners who have proven they can produce results through a systematic process. Under the current situation, anyone can claim that they are professionals in training, performance consulting, and human resource development. At the same time, practitioners have been asking for a credential that would help them assess their ability, better focus their professional development efforts, and recognize their capability. Becoming a Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) is a way to differentiate yourself from others. For more information on the International Society for Performance Improvement’s CPT certification process, visit, or attend a special session being held on Wednesday, April 24 at the 2002 International Performance Improvement Conference & Expo in Dallas, Texas.



by Sheila Scanlon Wilkins

Work teams have been around for awhile. Having to do more work with fewer resources today has made the team structure the panacea for increased productivity.

It’s not always that simple. Since we’ve grown up with the idea of “rugged individualism” and we reward individual contributions in organizations, it’s important to clarify what “team” means in a given organization and what its boundaries are.

I’d like to share a success story with you about a client who decided to retrofit the traditional team structure of the entire organization to self-directed work teams without setting any expectations or giving any direction.

The edict was: you are now self-directed work teams. Each business unit within the organization had a different understanding of what “self-directed” work team meant, so there was a major misunderstanding of how much power and authority each self-directed work team had, and how they should work cross-functionally to serve the customer well. Subsequently, there was general conflict and mistrust.

Our assignment was to deliver a workshop to a specific business unit on self-directed work teams. The workshop itself was fairly straightforward, but the challenge lay in disentangling the damage done by not defining what “self-directed” meant in the organization. In order to implement key elements in the workshop, we needed to get some definition, support, and buy-in from senior management.

This is what we did:

  • Senior management specifically defined what self-directed meant for the organization. They also defined the decision-making boundaries.
  • Functional business units then defined for themselves what self-directed meant for themselves within those boundaries.
  • Functional business units serving the same customer base defined among themselves how they needed to work interdependently so they could meet their customers’ needs and expectations with a sense of urgency and commitment.
  • Each team set some short-term goals and objectives on accountability and individual responsibility to the team and other work teams with whom they worked regularly.
  • Each team defined criteria for a team leader and selected their own team leader.

This is what happened:
We did a follow-up workshop with the same business unit six weeks after the initial workshop to assess and evaluate what progress each team had made.

  • Teams had made some progress. Through discussions with each other they actually grasped they were at different stages of maturity and development.
  • Realizing the differences, they were able to ask the more mature team what they did regularly, so there was clear understanding of daily goals, personal accountability, and a willingness to do whatever it took to meet the customers’ expectations accurately and timely.
  • The less mature team, with coaching from the more mature team, set standards for personal responsibility and accountability to the entire team.

A key point that they learned was:
As teams mature and build confidence in themselves, they gradually assume greater responsibility for their own teamwork. They begin to work cross-functionally with other business units. The team holds itself accountable for reaching mutually targeted performance goals and business results.

Sheila Scanlon Wilkins is principal of The Wilkins Group, a training and consulting firm providing proven tools for more productive workplaces. Sheila has been a member of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) for many years and has presented at several ISPI annual conferences. She may be reached at



The International Society for Performance Improvement
(ISPI) will celebrate 40 years of improving performance at the upcoming International Performance Improvement Conference & Expo, April 21-25 in Dallas, Texas.

REGISTER TODAY and participate in more than 200 educational sessions, including two Presidential Initiative sessions, full-day skill building workshops, special Masters Series sessions, and featured presentations by James Wilding, Edward Lawler, and Elliott Masie.

This year’s conference will also feature an enhanced Job Fair with onsite interviewing, a Got Results? display with more than 30-feet devoted to results data and descriptions of interventions, as well as ISPI signature events like the 99 Seconds and Cracker Barrel. Come and take advantage of unlimited networking opportunities, access to leaders in the field, and valuable take-aways from every session. Don’t miss the premier performance improvement event of 2002. Register Today!


by Roger Chevalier, ISPI Director of HPT Information

Over the past year, the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) has been forming alliances with other professional groups and publishers to reach non-ISPI members with our performance improvement message and to improve the services we provide to our members.

In the past, articles written for Performance Improvement had an audience of 6,000 ISPI members and subscribers. Our partnership with the Society for Human Resource Managers (SHRM) now allows us to make 15 Performance Improvement articles available to 165,000 SHRM members. Similarly, through a partnership with, 20 Performance Improvement articles are available for its 135,000 subscribers.

To keep this expansion growing, we are in final negotiations with ASTD to make some of our Performance Improvement and PerformanceXpress articles available to their 70,000 national, international, and chapter members. ISPI will benefit by having 15 of their best performance improvement articles available for members on our website.

The Society is also reaching new international markets with the translation of Performance Improvement articles into Spanish and Malay. Similarly, we have had three of our books translated into Spanish. A fourth, Fundamentals of Performance Technology, will be published this spring.

Another vehicle for spreading the performance improvement message is through book publishing. This year ISPI has co-published Ethan Sanders and Thiagi’s Performance Improvement Maps with ASTD and Timm Esque’s Making an Impact with CEP Press. We have just co-published Patti Phillips’ book, The Bottomline on ROI, with CEP Press; it is now available through our website bookstore. In addition, ISPI will co-publish another book with ASTD this spring, Telling Ain’t Training by Harold Stolovitch and Erica Keeps.

ISPI has recently entered into a partnership with KnowledgeMax to provide members with access to expanded book selections and a variety of other resources, including:

  • One of the most powerful book-finding systems available anywhere, with over 100,000 searchable tables of contents (not available on the Internet) and more than 300,000 book titles in inventory ready to ship today,
  • Thousands of other learning resources, including e-learning courses, CBT, training videos, and books on tape, and
  • Free online advice from over 800 top business experts, with essays excerpted from their recent books.

Visit the ISPI bookstore during our 2002 International Performance Improvement Conference & Expo, April 21-25 in Dallas, Texas, and see what’s new. Pick up a copy of the new Publications Catalog, and make the ISPI website the first place you look for books. Between the ISPI online bookstore and the KnowledgeMax Resource Center, you have access to the books you need, at discounted prices.



by Carol Haig & Roger Addison

In this TrendSpotters interview, we talked with Rob Foshay
of PLATO Learning, Inc. in Bloomington, Minnesota. Rob is the 2002 recipient of the International Society for Performance Improvement’s Member for Life award. He may be reached at Rob has spotted three trends:

Significant Trends
The Tight Economy is affecting all countries. The Information Revolution continues unabated, in spite of the worldwide economic downturn. Globalization also continues, without regard for economics. Developed and developing countries are equally affected, worldwide, in all sectors: manufacturing, services, public, and private.

Impact of These Trends
The Tight Economy has the attention of organizations around the globe and showcases differences in leadership. There are typically two responses:

  • Smart leaders take the long view and accelerate the rate of change in their organizations, while controlling expenses.
  • Not-so-smart leaders have the short-term view, and they merely cut costs.

Unless they have smart leaders, stressed-out organizations revert to their “basics,” usually by becoming conservative and cutting off the air supply to innovation. Rob suggests this is the wrong response because it ignores the environmental factors that caused the stress to begin with.

Globalization is having a profound impact on education worldwide. It appears that all developed and developing countries, not just the United States, view their educational systems as dysfunctional, and for the same reason: They are all run on an agricultural calendar, using an industrial model, in the Information Age.

In developed countries, the challenge is to dismantle the educational infrastructure created in the 20th century and erect a new one for the 21st. And in developing countries, the challenge is to build the infrastructure to bring 19th century education into the 21st century, without stopping in the 20th.

Developing countries have a potential edge in the Information Revolution because they are not encumbered with the inertia of 20th century innovations. For example, Asia leap-frogged the 20th century landline telephone installation and went right to cellular. And, as one Middle Eastern client of PLATO Learning put it, “We missed the Industrial Age. We don’t want to miss the Information Age.”

HPT Provides the Best Tools for the Times
Human Performance Technology (HPT) provides the best tools for change management. The HPT approach allows leaders to use a total systems approach to focus their organizations’ attention where needed for the long-term. A well-executed change management strategy based on HPT principles has a high probability of success.

Influence of These Trends on e-Learning
In the private sector, e-learning suppliers struggle to sell to companies where the Training department is the entry point. These departments have been cut back and outsourced, or eliminated completely. However, in companies where business is transacted with the Line there are more opportunities.

In the education sector, technology is a huge engine for change. It remains to be seen whether or not technology can deliver on promises made and if schools can reform using technology. If the schools can’t accomplish the changes, there will be a confidence crisis in their ability to meet the needs of the new economy. Should this occur, we’ll see an increase in alternative service providers in education during the next five years, such as supplemental education services, home schooling, and virtual schools.

The broadening of alternative means of providing education and training services is already underway in the private sector and the military and has begun to impact higher education through distance learning.

Rob sums it up: “Change management is the central issue, and HPT is the best engine for change management.”

If you have any suggestions of trends driving performance in today’s business environment that you feel would be of interest to the PerformanceXpress readership, please contact Carol Haig at or Roger Addison at




by Pierre Mourier

The events of 9/11 and increasing tensions
in the Middle East combined with the fact that the United States recently faced a recession created what can only be termed as managerial havoc.

Which companies and organizations will be the ones still standing when the turbulence dies down? And more importantly, why will they still be standing?

To answer these and other questions, managers must take a critical look at themselves first. There has, in my opinion, never been a more fertile time in which to be a manager, but what does it take? And how do you do it?

The following are 10 tips for managers who wish to be on the frontline of organizational performance during these uncertain times.

  1. Identify your key players and circle the wagons
    Make sure you know who the most important people in your organization are and keep them close to you. Seek their advice, reward them generously, and find out what you can do to make them happy.

  2. Get closer to your customers and know your competition
    With this team, make sure you know how your customers have been affected by or can be expected to be affected by the turbulence that has been created.

  3. Reconfirm the organization’s strategy
    With the team, confirm or revise the company’s current strategy. Should the strategy change as a result of what is going on in the environment that has created uncertainty? Should the strategy change as a result of what is going on with customers or competitors?

  4. Be tactical—think small
    One of the most important questions you can ask is whether the change effort under consideration can be broken down into tactical components or into phases each with a beginning and an end. The goal should be to avoid committing large sums of money to change efforts so as to minimize risk.

  5. Build alliances
    During uncertain times it is more important than ever to maintain strong alliances across the organization and potentially with other organizations such as suppliers and vendors and perhaps even selected customer groups.

  6. Communicate
    While the importance of systematic and regular communications cannot be underemphasized during normal times, the issue is only heightened here.

  7. Become obsessed with productivity
    Uncertain times are when productivity must take center stage, if the organization is to survive in the long run. This is when managers in the organization must be adept at understanding the output for each dollar spent.

  8. Re-evaluate performance management systems and metrics
    Revise existing measurement and performance management systems, so that they are able to provide managers with the necessary tools to manage the business. Make sure you have the necessary information at your fingertips.

  9. Translate organizational goals into frontline action
    Translate revised strategies into frontline action plans, the achievement of which can be measured. Goals to be effective must be translated so that people buy in to the goals while providing enough stretch to act as motivators.

  10. Follow up relentlessly
    The last tactic for managers during times of uncertainty might be called, “constant vigilance.” Systems that report monthly information simply are not good enough, hourly or daily is more appropriate. Managers should consider creating “war rooms” where key information is provided as it occurs so action can be taken quickly.

What constitutes prudent management during times of uncertainty does not differ from times of normalcy. What does differ however, is the degree to which these principles and tactics are applied.

Pierre Mourier is the Founder and President of Stractics Group, Inc. a consulting firm dedicated to help clients achieve measurable improvements in performance, including customer satisfaction, quality, service, and financial results. Mourier is widely regarded as an authority on organizational change and process optimization. He has presented to audiences across the United States, Europe, Asia, and Africa and has managed consulting engagements concerning complex organizational change in all corners of the world. His recent book Conquering Organizational Change (CEP Press, 2001), co-authored with Martin Smith, PhD, was awarded the 2002 ISPI Award of Excellence for Outstanding Instructional Communication. Pierre may be reached at

What constitutes prudent management during times of uncertainty does not differ from times of normalcy. What does differ however, is the degree to which these principles and tactics are applied.


by Jim Hill, ISPI 2002-2003 President

During the International Society for Performance Improvement’s (ISPI) presidential election a little more than a year ago, I proposed we do two things as a Society: increase our international focus and our contact with executive-level decision-makers in our organizations. As we enter into a new presidential year, I’m asking for your help to make these goals reality.

There’s little question that we have a strong talent pool within our Society. Since January, I’ve visited with members in Seattle, Los Angeles, Orange County, and Delhi, India. The education and professional experiences among those members is second to none yet, in many cases, we share a common challenge—increasing our executive influence.

While there is no easy solution, much of our success at the executive level will come from having confidence in our abilities and our knowledge set, and possessing the ability to develop a compelling and concise message. Confidence comes with experience. Developing a compelling call for support is a complex proposition. It requires some past results (either our own or those of others in our field), a respected sponsor, and our ability to tug at the heartstrings of our senior leaders.

Once you have those elements, be quick. A prolonged explanation of your value will create eyeball glaze. As Lynn Kearny has taught me, we each need an audio logo—a way of conveying in a single sentence the fact that we can effectively help solve critical business issues. What response are we looking for? “Tell me more!” Once you hear that, you’re halfway home. Getting the rest of the way requires that you know your company’s business (e.g., do you know your company’s revenues from last year?).

On the international front, there is much the Society can do. Boundaries between nations and states continue getting blurred by commerce. Two examples are the EU shifting to a single currency and corporations struggling with how to best serve customers who are increasingly likely to have offices in multiple countries. These changes create other challenges with everything from multiple price lists to the need for methods of ensuring sales people get paid fairly for work they close or influence across borders.

I’m asking that all of us take on one of these issues this year. Whether it’s localizing a training course (often a “damned if you do/damned if you don’t” situation) or solving a product distribution problem, pick one and make it a winner. Then, be sure your boss knows about it. Finally, a year from now when you look back on your success, take one more action—tell others via the ISPI Awards of Excellence program. This is an outstanding method of calling attention to the superb efforts of your teams. And, if you’re really thinking, you’ll get your boss a plaque!

Let’s have a great year together.



Ford dealership service departments have provided consumers with a variety of maintenance and repair services for years. From oil changes to transmissions, Ford dealership service departments run a gamut of services. However, since automotive dealerships are essentially franchise operations, the world-class automotive manufacturer sometimes has challenges ensuring that dealership personnel interact with their customers effectively on a consistent basis.

Some Ford dealerships have used independent firms that specialize in coaching and consulting on ways to improve customer interactions in dealership service departments. Ford recognized the successes of one such firm—AtCon Consulting of Birmingham, Alabama. AtCon already had a history of successes offering in-dealership consulting on customer interactions in automotive service environments.

The challenge was to extract what AtCon was doing effectively and integrate that into a more complete performance improvement program that could be offered to all dealers. That’s when members of the Ford Customer Service Division and Ford Retailer Education and Training contracted with Carlson Marketing Group—a world leader in Relationship Marketing that helps global Fortune 1000 clients improve their sales and profits by designing marketing strategies that build better relationships with the audiences its clients depend on for their success: employees, channel partners, and consumers.

Ford and Carlson Marketing Group went to work designing a full-fledged performance initiative utilizing best practices from AtCon. The resulting program combines training, evaluation, coaching, counseling, and incentives. The program had three specific goals:

  • Gain relative improvement in maintenance and light repair labor sales.
  • Gain relative improvement in point-of-sale and post-diagnostic selling skills.
  • Positively influence specific consumer-handling skills.

After six months of collaboration, design, and development, the entire team created a template for a complete performance strategy—complete with instructor and participant guides, evaluation checklists, metric-based reports, and incentive plans for dealerships. The program was piloted and since its implementation, it has met virtually all measures of success.

The resulting program, when applied in individual dealerships, allows AtCon consultants to provide customized and prescriptive performance improvement plans in a consistent manner. The basic approach consists of the following sequence:

  • A dealership consultant who has been trained in the approach establishes an appointment for a visit with a dealership service department.
  • The consultant initially spends approximately three days in the dealership. During part of this time, the consultant gathers information about dealership service operations through interviews, observations, and data collection.
  • The consultant provides standardized training to Service Advisors on a process for consumer interface management. Additional training is provided on an effective approach for calling customers with information about courtesy vehicle inspections.
  • The consultant develops prescriptive action plans for Service Advisors and the Service Manager.
  • Consultants conduct follow-up visits after the initial three-day visit in 90- and 180-day intervals. After using monthly metric reports and other tools to evaluate the performance of dealership personnel over time, the consultants provide additional coaching.
  • Dealers who successfully implement program elements and reach predefined goals are offered cash incentives. In addition, many dealerships offer their Service Advisors cash incentives that are tied to individual measures of success.

Since its implementation, both Ford and its participating dealers have seen noticeable improvements in key measures such as customer satisfaction and incremental sales of maintenance services and light repairs. The program has demonstrated the effectiveness of a more holistic approach that incorporates multiple drivers of performance. Carlson Marketing Group understands that in today’s increasingly complex marketplace, one thing is clear: relationships always drive business results. If you are interested in additional information, please contact Curt Lalonde at

To further enhance the value of the award and to ensure greater exposure of the program throughout the Society’s membership and the profession, the International Society for Performance Improvement has asked the 2002 Awards of Excellence recipients to contribute an article to PerformanceXpress highlighting their projects.


by Carl Binder

“The dangers of percent! What the heck does that mean?” This is the typical reaction to a title used more than once by Dr. Ogden Lindsley (1999) in discussions of measurement and evaluation.

Consider the following scenario. A business unit’s productivity increases by 20% with implementation of a new coaching method. Then productivity declines by 20% after rollout of a flawed software program. What is the net result of these two changes?

Would you answer by saying that productivity returned to the same level as prior to introduction of the coaching program? Many well-educated people would agree without a second thought. However, they’d be dead wrong. In fact, the net effect of the two changes is 4% lower productivity. This example illustrates one danger of using percentage as the primary quantifier of results. As what some would call a “dimensionless quantity,” it is not comprised of standard units. It therefore can easily lead us astray.

To summarize the math, if productivity were at 100 units per hour prior to the coaching program, increasing by 20% would yield 120 units per hour. Since 20% of 120 units equals 24, a 20% reduction from the new level would be 120 - 24 = 96 units, or 4% lower than the original productivity. Ask a few of your friends and see how many fall into this trap.

Consider another example. Can you demonstrate the performance measured as 90% correct on a maintenance technician test? Of course you can’t. The percent correct score omits a critical part of the performance—the time required to do it. Moreover, we don’t know how many items there were on the test. Was it 10, 50, or 100? Lacking both dimensions of the performance—the count of items and the time to perform—we cannot tell whether the technician responded at a pace that would be acceptable on the job. Did most responses come within a few seconds of reading the question, or did the prospective technician respond at a hesitant, sluggish pace that would not support effective or efficient performance (e.g., 30 or more seconds of thinking or guessing time per item)?

This same lack of standard units in percentage calculations is why we would never see an annual management report listing only percentages without the original numbers (e.g., revenues or costs in dollars, units sold, etc.) As any business person familiar with the development of companies— from start-up to major corporation—can confirm, there’s a big difference between a $10 million company growing by 30% per year and a $10 billion company growing by the same rate. We might call 30% in the smaller company an acceptable but moderate rate of growth, but 30% in the giant firm an astronomical but ultimately unsustainable rate. In the absence of the actual dollar values, percent measures would be virtually useless, and could be quite misleading.

The point of raising these few examples is that when we decide to measure the results of our interventions on behavior, job outputs, or business results, we should start with measures of countable, standard units and not stray very far from those measures. If we report and rely primarily on percentage scores, rather than on the measures themselves, we’re as likely as not to introduce misunderstandings and misguided decisions without even knowing it.

Comments? Questions? Additional examples of the dangers of percent?

Lindsley, O.R. (1999). From training evaluation to performance tracking. In H.D. Stolovitch and E.J. Keeps (eds.). Handbook of Human Performance Technology, second edition. San Francisco: International Society for Performance Improvement & Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 210-236.

Dr. Carl Binder is a Senior Partner at Binder Riha Associates, a consulting firm that helps clients improve processes, performance, and behavior to deliver valuable results. His easy-to-remember e-mail address is and his company’s website is


by Curtis J. Bonk

During the past few years, it seems that every technology-related newsletter, magazine, conference, and institute has expressed at least some an interest in e-learning. Despite the high interest, countless questions surround this new training delivery mechanism. Are course completion rates, as well as costs, higher or lower than in conventional classroom training? What types of tools and instructional techniques are most prominent on the web? And what evaluation methods are valued and increasingly common here? In effect, just why are different firms and organizations interested in placing their training programs on the web and how are they allocating resources to support it?

In an attempt to answer some of these questions, I have just completed a fairly comprehensive report, Online Training in an Online World, co-sponsored by and Jones Knowledge, Inc. This free, 143-page document (as well as a briefer summary report) details the e-learning attitudes and preferences of 201 trainers, training managers, and other human resource personnel.

The report has many goals, including:

  • assessing the e-learning resources and tools that trainers currently use as well as desire,
  • documenting the pedagogical practices and motivational techniques supported by e-learning,
  • revealing the support structures for online learners, trainers, and course designers, and
  • pointing to future trends and directions in e-learning.

Importantly, the report addresses emerging topics such as online learning communities, reusable learning objects, and freelance instruction. In addition, there are findings and recommendations concerning e-learning tool development, organizational support, content development and outsourcing, and evaluation and assessment.

Across the findings, it is apparent that the web is flourishing as a training delivery mechanism. As one might expect, the most common forms of online training are computer applications, technical skills, and job-related skills. In stride with recent reports on e-learning, respondent organizations tended to rely on blended approaches wherein web-based training supplemented and, hopefully, enhanced face-to-face instruction.

Despite the explosion of interest, the survey respondents noted significant organizational and cultural barriers to e-learning, including perceptions of high cost and extensive instructor preparation time. In addition, there were technological problems related to bandwidth, firewalls, and limited technical support. Respondents also alluded to a need for more innovative e-learning tools that provide interactive feedback, multiple forms of collaboration, and enhanced learner evaluation and assessment. In terms of the latter, some firms are experimenting with alternative forms of evaluation that extend beyond the first two or three levels of the Kirkpatrick framework (i.e., reaction, learner achievement, and job performance). Nevertheless, when it comes to formal e-learning assessment, you might not be as far behind as you think.

There also appeared to be a need to train instructors and instructional designers in web-based instructional approaches and opportunities. As this new learning format gains in reliability, acceptability, and interactivity, support structures are necessary for those building and refining their online courses, those administering and delivering them, and those taking them. In fact, innovative portals might provide expert guidance on purchasing decisions and vendor selection, content development, and the implementation of e-learning systems. And when high-quality courses are developed, leased, or purchased, they need to be promoted by the organization.

In the end, successful online training requires comprehensive support programs; if one aspect is nonfunctional (e.g., lack of employee access to e-learning), the new system will not succeed. Support might be live as well as online and intrinsic as well as extrinsic. This report will hopefully help sort out the choices and resolve some of the complexity.

For those interested in the state of e-learning in higher education settings, in May 2001, a similar report was released, “Online Teaching in an Online World,” based on a survey of 222 college instructors who were early adopters of the web (see

Dr. Curtis J. Bonk, a former CPA and corporate controller, is now an associate professor in the Departments of Counseling and Educational Psychology as well as Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University. During the past few years, he has received the Burton Gorman teaching award as well as the Wilbert Hites Mentoring Award, been named a Senior Consortium Research Fellow with the Army Research Institute, and been a visiting scholar in Finland, Canada, and Australia. Curt is President and Founder of and may be reached at


by Elizabeth Davidov, ISPI Director of Membership

As the Membership Director for the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), I get asked that question in many different ways. To answer it, I would ask you to think about how you have benefited from your affiliation with ISPI. Sure, you get a subscription to Performance Improvement and PerformanceXpress with your membership, but have you ever used a tidbit of information, job aid, or tool you found in an article to improve a project or save time and money? Have you ever attended an ISPI conference or local chapter meeting and taken away an idea or a new piece of information that improved your company’s bottom line? Have you ever met an expert in the field at an ISPI event that has mentored or helped you with a particular HPT problem? Have you ever found a job or an employee through the ISPI Job Bank or Job Fair? If you answered yes to even one of these questions or thought of another way you have benefited from your membership, you have probably saved yourself and/or your company more than you paid in membership dues.

ISPI is rich with member resources. Don’t let them go unharvested! You can reap these professional benefits by meeting your peers, reading articles, and participating in ISPI and chapter functions. Benefit even more by contributing to the Society. Have you ever wanted to share your performance improvement ideas with your peers? I can’t think of a better way than by writing an article for one of our publications, publishing a book through ISPI, or presenting at one of our conferences.

Members who actively participate on the local, national, and international level help to shape ISPI. Your membership is what you make of it whether you just joined or have been a member for years. Develop a plan for your membership; know what you want from ISPI, and what you want us to do for you. Take the time to get something out of it, but more importantly, know what you are looking for. Ask yourself “What can I do to make my membership experience better?” If you don’t know where to start, please contact us via e-mail at or by telephone at 301.587.8570 and let us know that you want to participate. Your colleagues in the Society will appreciate your contributions.

ISPI would like to thank all of the members who actively participate and who understand that by working together now we can ensure that the Society will stay strong and will continue to give you the opportunity to grow professionally.




The International Society for Performance Improvement
(ISPI) is pleased to announce the schedule for the 2002 Research Grant Program. Proposals are due June 3, 2002, and awards will be announced September 3, 2002. ISPI is interested in awarding grants for research related to performance technology. Such research may include, but is not limited to, investigations that contribute to the understanding, discovery, application, and/or validation of performance technology principles, theoretical underpinnings, and/or practices. ISPI anticipates multiple awards, ranging from $2,000 to $9,000. Further information about the Research Grant Program and the format for submitting a research proposal is available at




ISPI is looking for Human Performance Technology (HPT) articles (approximately 500 words and not previously published) for PerformanceXpress that bridge the gap from research to practice (please, no product or service promotion is permitted). Below are a few examples of the article formats that can be used:

  • Short “I wish I had thought of that” Articles
  • Practical Application Articles
  • The Application of HPT
  • Success Stories

In addition to the article, please include a short bio (2-3 lines) and a contact email address. All submissions should be sent to Each article will be reviewed by one of ISPI’s on-staff HPT experts, and the author will be contacted if it is accepted for publication. If you have any further questions, please contact



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