by Paul Harmon

Historically, companies have organized themselves in terms of functional departments, such as Manufacturing, Sales, Marketing, Finance, Information Systems, and Human Resources. Since the 1990s, however, there has been a gradual shift toward a new approach that organizes around business processes. Some consultants have begun to speak of companies that have been particularly aggressive in implementing this approach as process-centric companies. The basic idea is that one focuses on the flow of work within the organization, beginning with product design, running through sales and manufacturing and ending with customer service.

With the best intentions, functional approaches to organization tend to result in departments that seek to optimize to meet their own goals: more efficient manufacturing runs, larger sales campaigns, or lower cost procurement. Unfortunately, maximizing the efficiency of a functional unit (or silo) is often accomplished at the expense of the overall process. Thus, manufacturing may find ways to reduce its costs, but at the expense of increased sales costs, or decreased customer satisfaction. Increasingly companies are focusing on processes to assure that the overall goal of delivering quality products to customers remains the major objective.

The shift toward a process orientation usually results in the formation of a number of different process initiatives with a company, each with slightly different goals. Thus, in many cases, an initiative that was designed to integrate the company around processes degenerates into a number of different initiatives, each approaching processes in a slightly different way. One example of this is the competition between those who seek to automate business processes and those who seek to improve the human performer. Obviously, any company with a good overview of its processes knows that it needs a combination to succeed. Some activities can be automated with software applications. Others will always be performed by managers and employees. Many will require a well-structured combination. Too often, however, IT business process initiatives end up focusing only on automation. Similarly, human performance redesign methodologies, like Rummler-Brache and Six Sigma, often put too much emphasis on jobs and not enough on using software where appropriate.

Unfortunately, most managers don’t have a good overview of the resources available for business process change. And they lack a comprehensive methodology.

If a line manager talks with IT analysts, they will probably talk about automating the process. They may talk of buying a packaged application (SAP, PeopleSoft), installing a workflow system, or creating a software application from scratch, with components.

If the manager talks with people from quality control, they will probably be told about Six Sigma programs that use statistical tools to oversee the improvement and ongoing control of processes. If they contact someone from the International Society for Performance Improvement, they will probably learn about human performance technology. And, if they talk with the Supply Chain Council, they will learn about SCOR, a methodology for analyzing and improving the organization of supply chain activities using a variety of best practices.

The reality, of course, is that each of these approaches is one component of a much larger system or process. Smart managers will want to learn about what each approach offers, what it does well, and what its limits are. They will need guidelines for choosing the right mix of approaches, depending on the specific problem. Given the growing concern with business process techniques as a way of organizing and measuring performance and as a way of improving outputs, managers are going to need an integrated approach even more in the near future than they do today.

Individuals involved in improving organizational performance owe it to themselves to learn about the different options available so they are prepared to select the right solution.

Paul Harmon is a long-time member of ISPI. He is the author of Business Process Change (Morgan-Kaufmann, 2002), and executive editor of the Business Process Trends newsletter which is available free. In the 1960s, he worked at Praxis with Tom Gilbert and Geary Rummler. In the 1980s and 1990s, he shifted his main focus to analyzing software technologies for business change. Recently, Paul’s focus is on integrating IT and human performance approaches to business process improvement. He may be reached at



Would you like to advertise in this space? Contact



Unfortunately, most managers don’t have a good overview of the resources available for business process change.


by Carol Haig, CPT and Roger Addison, CPT

We had a lively conversation
this month with Dana Robinson, President of Partners in Change, a consulting firm that helps HR and learning organizations become more performance based and focused. She may be reached at Dana describes performance consulting as a process in which clients and consultants partner to enhance workplace performance in support of business goals.

Top Three Predictions
In the next two to three years, Dana predicts that performance consulting will be embraced by HR functions as a way of doing business strategically. This is because performance consulting enables HR professionals to grow business-based, strategic partnerships with an organization’s leaders. Specifically, performance consultants are in growing demand by HR functions that want to work in a bias-free, systemic, and holistic manner with clients—an approach that is inclusive of, but not limited to, training.

Performance consulting will migrate to line functions as a viable problem-solving approach to business issues. Managers have addressed business issues for years by focusing on work processes, equipment, and technology. Increasingly, managers realize that the human element is a key component to success. While they may not refer to the process as “performance consulting,” managers are utilizing human performance technology (HPT) concepts such as gap and cause analysis. This is historic, marking the first time that HR and line management share a systemic and holistic approach to addressing business issues as they together embrace the essence of HPT.

As you have previously read in this column, the demands of the workplace will continue to call for faster response time regardless of industry, location, or customer base. Increasingly, HPT practitioners will need to modify our approach to quickly produce a reliable outcome. (For more on this topic, click here to read the interview with Judith Hale from the February 2003 issue of PX.)

Why These Predictions
HR functions will embrace performance consulting because of significant changes in how both tactical and transactional work in North American and European organizations is accomplished. Much of this work is being outsourced to in-house electronic systems, shared service centers, and off-shore providers. Even learning development is being done overseas. What remains, when the tactical and transactional work is removed, is the strategic work of HR and training, which means working with organizational leaders to translate business requirements into performance needs—in essence, to “do” performance consulting.

For as long as business has existed, line and staff managers have traveled many roads to achieve business goals and found there is no single path to success. Rather, different goals require different routes. Performance consulting will migrate to line functions as a viable problem-solving approach to business issues because it supports a focus on people, concern for the value of human capital, and can maximize the performance of the now smaller staffs of most organizations. And, HPT practitioners are increasingly aware that achieving performance change can only be done with the support and buy-in of managers. HPT practitioners are becoming better at involving managers in a timely and effective manner.

Speed to market, speed of turnaround, speed of response—all will continue to drive global business practices and remain key to success. HPT practitioners will modify our approach to quickly produce a reliable outcome because that is how we can best serve our organizations. It is not so much a lowering of standards; rather it is working in a flexible manner, thinking in terms of options, payoffs, and risks. Ultimately, we must search for faster ways to deliver quality solutions to our clients.

How Organizations Will Be Different
As more tactical and transactional work is outsourced, we will see an increase in independent contractors who will be in competition with each other.

An inevitable result of HR’s incorporation of the performance consulting process will be role confusion and internal conflicts, particularly between HR and training, and also among other functions that serve the same clients. There are two accountabilities, specifically, where this role conflict is likely to occur:

  • Agreeing on who “owns” the relationship with key clients at a strategic level when both HR and training provide services to these individuals
  • Determining who will provide gap and cause analyses for performance issues

Decisions like these will have the positive effect of breaking down organizational silos and eliminating duplication of effort. To be successful, the holders of these key roles will have to be results-driven rather than solution-driven. Dana indicates that in her work at this time, it is most typical for the HR professional to “own” the strategic relationship while the training professional assumes accountability for conducting gap and cause analyses.

Consequently, the HR or learning practitioner’s role will evolve into that of a broker of solutions/interventions. This role will challenge us to increase our expertise and broaden our knowledge of resources so that our clients can be properly supported. In short, we must know our stuff!

Implications for the Work of Partners In Change
Increasingly, Dana finds her firm working with HR managers as key clients, in addition to working with learning groups. Her work focuses on growing the capability of people to use performance consulting skills. However, she also spends time assisting clients in clarifying the roles of HR and learning relative to the performance consulting process and in aligning the departments’ structure and work environment so this skill set can truly be evidenced. Dana’s formula for a successful client relationship is ACT: Access + Credibility + Trust. The presence of these three elements is key to building the strategic relationship necessary to provide successful performance consulting.

If you have any predictions about the future of HPT that you feel would be of interest to the PerformanceXpress readership, please contact Carol Haig, CPT, at or Roger Addison, CPT, at



by Ruth C. Clark

You have probably heard
of 7 plus or minus 2. Since the coining of that phrase by George Miller in 1956, the limits of working memory and their implications for instructional design have evolved into a well-researched theory called Cognitive Load Theory (CLT). In a recent review, John Sweller, the chief architect of CLT, suggests that “limited working memory is one of the defining aspects of human cognitive architecture and, accordingly, all instructional designs should be analyzed from a cognitive load perspective” (Sweller, van Merrienboer, & Paas, 1998, p. 262).

Advances in Cognitive Load Theory
The impact of CLT on instructional design techniques and the high volume of recently published research were major drivers that led to my recently published second edition of Building Expertise. In Chapter 4, Managing Cognitive Load in Instruction, I summarize three types of cognitive load and illustrate 17 research-based instructional strategies designers can use to manage load in their lessons.

Balancing Intrinsic, Extraneous, and Germane Load
Sweller and his colleagues propose three sources of cognitive load: Intrinsic, Extraneous, and Germane. Intrinsic cognitive load is based on the complexity of the content. Instructional designers have little control over intrinsic cognitive load because it derives from the instructional goals and content.

Extraneous cognitive load is a byproduct of how the instructional materials are designed and produced. For example, a technical lecture delivered without any visual support imposes greater cognitive load than a written version of the same lecture that is signaled with headers and subheaders and includes relevant visuals.

In general, designers should minimize extraneous cognitive load when working with content of high intrinsic load for novice learners who are most subject to cognitive overload. However, there are times when the instructional goal requires an instructional method that increases extraneous load. For example, to promote transfer of learning, we know it is better to provide diverse examples rather than similar examples. The extra load imposed by a technique such as diverse examples to support transfer is called germane cognitive load. In brief, the role of instructional design is to balance load for novice learners. If germane load is imposed by one instructional method, other methods that reduce extraneous load can balance total load.

How to Minimize Extraneous Load
Building Expertise describes 17 research-proven methods to manage cognitive load by way of decisions regarding the organization, packaging, and delivery of instructional materials. One technique applicable to multimedia is to maximize limited working memory capacity by using both the auditory and the visual storage areas. You do this by explaining a complex on-screen visual with words presented in audio narration rather than on-screen text. Lessons in which visuals were explained by words presented in audio narration resulted in a mean gain of 80% greater learning than the same lesson with words presented in text (Clark & Mayer, 2002).

Clark, R.C. (2003). Building expertise: Cognitive methods for training and performance improvement, 2nd ed. Silver Spring, MD: International Society for Performance Improvement.

Clark, R.C. & Mayer, R.E. (2002). e-Learning and the science of instruction. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.

Sweller, J., van Merrienboer, J.J.G., & Paas, F.G.W.C. (1998). Cognitive architecture and instructional design. Educational Psychology Review, 10(3), 251-296.

Ruth Colvin Clark is the principal of Clark Training & Consulting specializing in design and evaluation of training for classroom and computer delivery. She is the author of two ISPI publications, the recently released second edition of Building Expertise (2003) and Developing Technical Training, Second Edition (1999). Ruth may be reached at



Would you like to advertise in this space? Contact



Lessons in which visuals were explained by words presented in audio narration resulted in a mean gain of 80% greater learning than the same lesson with words presented in text.

by Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan

Questions in web-based training are mostly of the closed variety that have a single correct answer. In contrast, questions in the real world are mostly of the open variety that can be answered in many different acceptable ways. If you want valid assessment of your web-based training outcomes and if you want your training to reflect the real-world workplace demands, you need to use more authentic open-ended questions.

While waiting for brilliant artificial-intelligence programs that will evaluate responses to essay questions, we have been working on a cheap strategy for incorporating open-ended questions into web-based courses.

This is what you see when you take an online course that uses the OQ (Open Question) format:

  1. You are presented an open-ended question (examples: Write a haiku about a parking lot or Describe (and justify) the first step you would take to bring about world peace) along with a text box with a blinking cursor. You type your answer in the text box, editing and revising it until you are happy with the results. Then, you click “Send.”

  2. The program displays a thank-you note, and asks you if you would like some help in self-evaluating your response. You click “Yes.”

  3. You go to another page that contains a menu with three items:

    • Scoring Key. If you click this, you will see a checklist of quality criteria for your answer. You can use this checklist to objectively self-evaluate your response.
    • Expert Answer. If you click this, you are shown the response from a subject-matter expert. You can compare your response with the expert’s response and figure out what you missed.
    • Peer Answers. If you click this, you are given a list of responses from other people just like you who answered the same open-ended question. You can compare your response with those of the others.

Keep in mind that none of this feedback is as personalized or impressive as authoritative comments from an instructor or a facilitator. In this approach to open-ended questions, you have to process your own answer. This is a difficult task, but when you perform it, you receive new insights and perspectives about the response you provided.

Two Invitations
To help you experience the OQ format, I have created a couple of open-ended questions that encourage you to actively participate.

One of the contexts in which open questions are particularly useful is when you want participants to provide a mindful answer and learn from reviewing other answers. To read and respond to an open question of this type, please click here.

Another context in which open questions are particularly useful is when you want to encourage lateral thinking (instead of logical thinking) and creative responses. To read and respond to an open question of this type, click here.


by Barbara Gough, CPT, ISPI Director/Treasurer

As a professional Society, the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) sets standards for excellence, creates models for practitioners of technology, provides reinforcement to exemplary performers, and helps define the Society’s values in the field of performance improvement. To support these initiatives, ISPI established the Award of Excellence program to recognize the people, products, innovations, and organizations that represent excellence in the field of human performance technology (HPT).

Awards of Excellence are given in the following categories:

  • Outstanding Human Performance Intervention: A comprehensive award category for interventions other than those listed below.
  • Outstanding Performance Aid: Reduces dependence on memory by storing information, processes, or perspectives which influence/guide job behavior. 
  • Outstanding Instructional Communication: Recognizes an outstanding communication that enables individuals or organizations to achieve excellence in HPT.
  • Outstanding Instructional Product or Intervention: Recognizes outstanding results derived from instructional products and interventions developed through systematic approaches to human performance problems, needs, or opportunities.
  • Outstanding New Systematic Application: Recognizes a process, method, or technique new to the field of HPT.
  • Outstanding Research/Student Research: Recognizes outstanding graduate student research in HPT or related fields.
  • Chapters of Merit: Celebrates the accomplishments of local ISPI chapters. The awards emphasize accomplishments rather than competition of the chapters.

Each submission for Awards of Excellence must demonstrate compliance with established performance standards and must exemplify the use of best practices in the field. All Society members are eligible to participate in the Awards of Excellence program regardless of their work setting or membership status. Awards are presented to recipients and will be showcased at the 2004 Annual International Performance Improvement Conference & Exposition in Tampa, Florida. To view past award recipients, click here.

As an ISPI member you have several opportunities to participate in the Awards of Excellence program. First, you can serve as a reviewer and help to evaluate each submission against a set of criteria. Your expertise can also be applied to improving the criteria and process for evaluation. To volunteer, contact

Second, you can submit your work for evaluation. There are many benefits that come with receiving an Award of Excellence. There is no stronger validation of your work as a professional than recognition of excellence by your peers. It also validates your competency in HPT with your internal or external customers. If you are a consultant, you can market your award to your customers. You can apply to receive the Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) designation during the grandparenting phase of certification. The growing number of CPTs indicates that there are numerous individuals achieving extraordinary results and improving the workplace.

This year, why not consider submitting your work for an Award of Excellence. For more information and the application for submission, click here, or visit


During the
Performance-Based Instructional Systems Design Conference, September 17-20, 2003, at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel in Chicago, IL, the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) is please to showcase three outstanding performance improvement professionals. This year’s Masters Series speakers include: Dr. Carl Binder, CPT, Don Kirkey, and Dr. Judith Hale, CPT.

Dr. Carl Binder, CPT, began his career as a graduate student with B.F. Skinner at Harvard and has been conducting research and consulting in Global 2000 and fast growth companies, schools, and public-sector organizations for 30 years. Currently Senior Partner in Binder Riha Associates, he was developer of the FluencyBuildingTM performance technology, a pioneer in performance-based knowledge management, and a long-time advocate of practical performance measurement and data-based decision-making. Carl consults and leads seminars on performance improvement strategy, measurement, fluency-based coaching and instruction, knowledge management, and knowledge architecture. A perennial contributor to ISPI, he is a six-time Encore presenter, a two-time Masters Series speaker, and author of several dozen professional publications. His monthly “Measurement Counts!” column in this publication provides practical performance measurement ideas and advice for HPT practitioners. Carl’s topic will be: Everybody Needs Fluency, Thursday, September 18, 1:30-2:30 pm.

Fluency is the very definition of mastery: doing or saying the right thing without hesitation, smoothly and confidently. Because we have been trapped in a “percent correct world” for most of our lives, we don’t pay close attention to the time dimension of behavior. But only fluent behavior is ultimately useful, readily transferable to professional or personal activities, and likely to be maintained. Once we understand that fluency is the desired outcome of any fully successful learning, we see that many of our educational and performance improvement methods actually block fluent performance rather than building it.

Don Kirkey, MA, has worked for almost 20 years in international and global companies leading teams in field service, customer relations, and employee and customer training and development. He has managed the training function in three countries and has led international teams that created and deployed performance-based certification programs in more than 40 countries. He is a regular speaker on performance-based certification. Don is currently responsible for performance consulting, performance solution project and program management, and performance-based certification for Operations personnel globally in Johnson Controls, Inc., Controls Group. Don’s topic will be: Performance Consulting on the Inside, Friday, September 19, 8:30-9:30 am.

Success as an internal performance consultant in the corporate world requires unique behaviors and attributes. An internal consultant faces a different set of challenges from an external consultant. These include helping the client develop a performance orientation. The accomplished internal consultant balances the reactive with the strategic. This requires identifying when to provide a focused solution to an immediate problem and when to work toward a “whole-job” integrated solution. Balancing the two calls for patience, a painstakingly nurtured relationship, and a passion for your client’s business success.

Dr. Judith Hale, CPT, is the author of The Performance Consultant’s Fieldbook, Performance-Based Certification, and Performance-Based Evaluation. She has been a consultant to management in the public and private sectors for more than 25 years. Judy specializes in needs assessments, certification programs, evaluation protocols, and the implementation of major interventions. She is as past president of ISPI. Judy earned a BA from Ohio State University, a MA from Miami University, and a PhD in Instructional Design from Purdue University. Judy’s topic will be: A Sensible Approach to Evaluation, Friday, September 19, 2:45-3:45 pm.

This session describes an approach to measurement that considers both the feasibility and the worth of the solution and the evaluation results. The approach can be applied to evaluating technical and non-technical training and delivery systems. The approach helps you gain the client’s cooperation and understanding about what is required for performance, how much a solution can affect, and what the results of an evaluation effort will show.

Conference CD-ROM
If you cannot make this event in person, you can still obtain the information that will be presented. Reserve your copy of the conference CD-ROM that contains audio and handouts of select sessions. This valuable tool will be at your fingertips when you need to reference a session you attended or perhaps missed, as well as share with your colleagues.

ISPI Membership
Join ISPI today and register for ISPI’s 2003 Performance-Based Instructional Systems Design Conference at the member rate. Take advantage of all that ISPI membership has to offer!

This conference is limited to 250 attendees, so make your plans now. Click here to register, or visit, for more information.


by Todd Packer

Performance technologists can explode
with new ideas. Through our “I-Spy” column, we hope to ignite the fuses of our readership through relevant, interesting, and useful websites for performance technologists. Each month, we take readers to off-the-beaten-path sites that help them find similar thinkers, resources, work, new ideas, and sometimes just plain old fun.

Quick recap: Every month, three sites, one theme. While far from comprehensive, hopefully these sites will spark readers to look further and expand views about human performance technology (HPT). Please keep in mind that any listing is for informational purposes only and does not indicate an endorsement either by the International Society for Performance Improvement or me.

These are the general categories I use for the sites featured:

  1. E-Klatch: Links to professional associations, research, and resources that can help refine and expand our views of HPT through connections with other professionals and current trends
  2. HPT@work: Links to job listings, career development, volunteer opportunities, and other resources for applying your individual skills
  3. I-Candy: Links to sites that are thought provoking, enjoyable, and refreshing to help manage the stresses and identify new ideas for HPT

The theme for this month’s column is Independence. In July, the United States celebrates Independence Day. How can ISPIers celebrate independence in our work? Independent thinking creates opportunities for constructive organizational change. So, with a spirit of independence, we launch our journey into the e-world with a digital bang. Bring extra perchlorate.

The Internet has become a repository for independent expression. But how can you balance independence with accessibility? The members of The International Digital Enterprise Alliance (IDEAlliance), a not-for-profit membership organization, are working on this issue. Their mission is “to advance user-driven, cross-industry solutions for all publishing and content-related processes by developing standards, fostering business alliances, and identifying best practices.” Through this website, you can connect to diverse working groups and networks (including the Independent Consultants Cooperative), check out job listings, and learn about various standards for digital communications.

If a quest for independent leadership excites you, learn more at the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Clearinghouse on Entrepreneurship Education. Entering “performance improvement” into their database search resulted in 753 hits. The site also includes links to relevant resources and publications of CELCEE. Of particular note to PTs with an independent streak would be the brief article on Starting a Consulting Business: Information and Resources by Jennifer Paek. “CELCEE acquires information related to entrepreneurship education from diverse sources, including journal articles, websites, syllabi, conferences, pamphlets, curriculum guides, government publications, videos, books, computer software, and more.”

“ A firework is an icon of synergism, in which the end result is greater than the individual effects.” Sounds like a great metaphor for successful HPT. To learn more about fireworks (a traditional accompaniment of Independence Day and other celebrations around the world) visit PBS NOVA, “the companion website to ‘Fireworks!,’ scheduled to be rebroadcast on Tuesday, July 1, 2003.” Learn about the structure of fireworks, identify 18 varieties of firework explosions, and meet pyrotechnicians at work. Make some noise, too: “A firework’s breaks may also contain sound charges, which result in the cracking bangs and thunderous booms that thrill audiences. To make these loud explosions, which are usually accompanied by a bright white flash, firework manufacturers use mixtures of perchlorate, a different kind of explosive than black powder.”

Until next time, keep exploding with innovation. See you in the August issue of PerformanceXpress!

When he is not Internet trawling for ISPI, Todd Packer can be found improving business, non-profit, and individual performance through research, training, and innovation coaching as Principal Consultant of Todd Packer and Associates based in Cleveland, Ohio. He may be reached at



by Carl Binder

Why do we measure performance, and how does that affect how we measure? Recent discussions have reminded me of a framework that I have used for more than 30 years to clarify for myself and others the answers to these questions (Binder, 2001). I’d like to share it with you.

Validation is when we measure the effects of a program or intervention to demonstrate that it works. This is what I sometimes sarcastically call recipe testing, not because I think it is wrong to seek validation but because as a practitioner, I don’t find this reason particularly compelling. Many of our academic journals, business publications, and commercial advertisements are filled with validation data.

Seeking validation often affects how we collect and analyze data. Research models such as statistical group designs, for example, often make their way from academe into organizations in pursuit of validation. Validation studies often summarize and analyze data after the fact, and therefore have little likelihood of influencing management of the intervention while it is being implemented. Validation data are in some sense dead.

Simply because an intervention worked in one case, we should not assume that it will work in a new situation. How many times has a vendor sold products or services based on a study, where customers later discover that their results don’t match the study? Validation data are great for establishing the potential of a given approach or for raising a provider’s credibility. But in organizations where we need to produce results here and now, validation data alone simply will not do. As performance improvement professionals, we can’t rely on past studies to support current decisions. We must continue to measure what we are doing now if we hope to consistently produce results.

The second type of measurement is driven by the need for accountability. Organizations need to be sure we are spending their money, delivering services to their employees, and managing processes for which we are responsible. While accountability brings measurement closer to individuals and current implementations, it often produces data used mostly for filling files.

Just the other day I spoke with an internal training consultant at a large telecommunications firm who explained how reaction surveys and pre/post-test training data are used at her company. In short, they are not. The data are collected in spreadsheets, seldom summarized or analyzed in forms that could influence decisions, and for the most part, simply archived to prove that something is happening. This is all too common in the world of training and performance improvement. Given that the design and implementation of measurement can be costly, it is a terrible waste to collect but not use data. In such cases, we should either stop measuring or take steps to use these data to inform important decisions.

In my view, the primary purpose of measurement in our field is to support decisions: about how things are going, whether we need to change, and what works best for improving individual and group learning and performance in a particular situation. We need data to decide how to manage current interventions and how to design and implement future ones. The forms of measurement (i.e., counting behaviors, accomplishments, and business results over time) and analysis (graphic analysis using standard charting methods) that I have emphasized in this column are all aimed at supporting decisions at various levels in organizations—from individual performer to executive management.

When we collect and use data to make decisions in an ongoing performance system, we can usually cover our accountability requirements and, over time, validate particular approaches or interventions. That is, decision-making measurement usually addresses the other two purposes as well.

Does Your Measurement Support Decisions?
Look at your own measurement processes and decide what types of decisions they can support. Are you measuring simply for validation or accountability, or are you collecting data in ways that support ongoing decisions about learning and performance? Asking this question, regularly and seriously, will enable you to improve how you measure, and in some cases might lead you to abandon costly but ultimately useless measurement programs and procedures. Please email me with any comments or questions you may have about this framework.

Binder, C. (2001). Measurement: A few important ideas. Performance Improvement, 40(3), 20-28.

Dr. Carl Binder is a Senior Partner at Binder Riha Associates, a consulting firm that helps clients improve processes, performance, and behavior to deliver measurable results. He may be reached at You can read other articles by him at



Are you measuring simply for validation or accountability, or are you collecting data in ways that support ongoing decisions about learning and performance?

by Mary C. Janak

This is part two of the article,
Not Enough Time for Training, which was published in the June issue of PerformanceXpress. This article is based on my previous experience as an internal corporate trainer; I’m now an external consultant specializing in employee performance improvement.

“My job is my career development,” said several employees in a high-tech workplace when asked if they would be interested in attending training for their professional development. When asked to clarify their statement, many said, that between the long hours they put in to meet deadlines, and their desire to have some measure of balance in their personal lives, they had no extra time for training.

In my June article, I recommended that trainers do a reality check on their own thinking to make sure they are not themselves contributing to the corporate belief that there’s not enough time for training. In this article, I will provide examples of initial successes gained through using new training approaches that better integrate training with the business needs of first-line managers and employees.

Facing facts such as consistent no-shows for classes in my previous job as a senior internal trainer with a national corporation, I realized that many first-line managers and employees valued immediate, short-term production over training. It was easy for me to see that we trainers would have to change our approach to the way we delivered training, if we wanted to succeed in serving our customers.

Also, I noticed our first-line customers used two main criteria to assess the effectiveness of the training they did attend. One was word-of-mouth—what participants told fellow employees about the training after they were back on their jobs. The other was actual performance—could people perform a new task or demonstrate a new behavior on the job? And, how long was it before they consistently performed at a higher skill level?

The path to success lay not in fighting these two criteria and the value on production over training, but instead, in figuring out a creative way to meet it. (April, what is "it"? this sentence doesn't make sense--ak) I initiated and piloted several new training strategies with input and support from a key client and my team. These strategies included:

  • Developing shorter, more versatile training called Just-In-Time (JIT) training; and re-organizing two- and three-day, back-to-back classes into one session a week
  • Designing training based first on performance objectives, instead of learning objectives. (I used the objectives listed in the employee performance appraisal, and at times, the department’s goals and objectives.)
  • Defining visible behaviors that demonstrated intangible competencies such as customer service, leadership, and taking initiative
  • Teaching the tool first (use), and concept and process only if needed and time permitted
  • Incorporating On-the-Job and Problem-Based Learning strategies into instructor-led classroom design; and electronic media when appropriate

These pilot activities were conducted alongside regular classroom training for about a year. Toward the end of the year, we started seeing signs of success in terms of reduced training hours, consistently high average class ratings for shorter training modules, and an increasing number of customer requests for the new JIT training. The time for several classes was reduced from one full day to four hours; and some four-hour classes were reduced to two hours.

Also, we received consistently high Level 1 average ratings for JIT training and the several-day classes conducted over one or more weeks. This indicated to that shorter trainings were just as successful as longer classes. In some cases, the one- and two-hour modules were even more successful in terms of the benefits participants told us they received.

Clearly, these new strategies are just a beginning. As both external and internal trainers, we stand at the doorway into a “brave new world” of opportunity to re-invent our profession to provide even greater, and more meaningful, support to the clients we serve.

Mary Janak, MBA and MA, Instructional Learning Technologies, is an external consultant with more than 20 years experience in corporate training and employee communications. She has worked with a wide range of managers and employees in the telecommunications, financial services, energy, and defense industries, focusing on smart, practical actions and advice that can be carried out immediately. Mary may be reached at


by Guy W. Wallace, CPT, ISPI President

Your Board of Directors met
for the second time on June 13-15 at the ISPI headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. After a short “coffee” with the staff to informally introduce each to all, the Board got down to business.

This is the first “full” meeting of 2003. After a round of personal and professional updates (part of our bonding and team development process), we heard updates on ISPI committees and task forces, as well as staff activities and other happenings around the globe related to ISPI and our chapters. This was followed by an update from our financial auditor. Then, the focus shifted to the ISPI Strategic and Operational Plan.

Dr. Richard Clark graciously accepted my invitation (with prior Board approval) to prepare a process and to facilitate us through that process. In my three previous experiences, I observed the difficulty of the president attempting to both facilitate AND participate in the process. And, I wanted to participate.

While it probably feels a bit redundant to those Board members who had done this the year before, it is important that this process go slowly enough and with enough dialogue between the new Board members with the old, that shared meaning is created regarding our long-term strategies and objectives for the next year. We reviewed the prior version, tweaked a few things here and there, and in the end, seemed very happy with draft #1.

It is only draft #1 of an intended 5-or-so drafts. Three additional versions will result from Board work between this past meeting and the next meeting in mid-July. Draft #4 will be used in the third Board meeting as we look at our committees, task forces, and staff assignments and charters for potential updates to better align us all. Many of the charters will remain the same, but I expect some to be embellished and clarified. I also expect a new task force or two to be chartered as a result of the updated plan.

Dick Clark did a masterful job (no one envied his role), and we all appreciated his donation of his time and talent to spend Father’s Day weekend with us. The Board has encouraged me to again use a facilitator at our next meeting in San Francisco. I think it a good idea and will be looking for similar help in upcoming meetings, as long as it doesn’t cost ISPI any additional money.

This year is again, unfortunately, an “austere year.” Or, maybe that is not so unfortunate. While I have had to defer several personal agenda items for the Society, I am OK with it. And I have given my pledge to not find anything new to spend any of our precious resources on (except for certification). This is giving the Board an opportunity to slow down, take a step back, and plan and prepare for the future.

We spent 13 of our total 19 hours on the Strategic and Operational Plan in this meeting. In our next meeting, I hope to spend close to that same ratio continuing the effort and focusing on the means of achieving our strategic intent via alignment and assignment/chartering of the ISPI people resources in our staff and our committees/task forces.

It is an iterative process. And, we will continue polishing the Strategic & Operational Plan in the fourth meeting where we focus on budgets. Until the next update…Cheers!



by Bob Bodine, 2004 Conference Chair

The theme of the
2004 Annual International Performance Improvement Conference & Exposition in Tampa, Florida is “Partnering for Performance.” Partnering starts with networking, and networking has been a key feature of ISPI conferences for some time. The 2004 Annual Conference will have several opportunities for networking. Paul Cook, 2003 Chairperson of the Chapter Partnership Committee and member of the 2004 Conference Steering Committee, is planning a networking session that will have you connecting with old friends, meeting new colleagues, and exchanging business cards and email addresses from the start of the opening session to the closing banquet.

Paul calls the opening session, “networking at the speed of business.” This fun and fast-paced opening session will give you the opportunity to meet and network with fellow professionals in your industry, your professional specialty, and folks in worlds new to you. With a conference this big, it is easy to troop from presentation to presentation and barely meet anyone. This program will help you break through and connect with others so you can share conference notes, business insights, contacts, questions, answers, and lunch. This quick-moving program will help you network with dozens of people so you can form professional connections and perhaps, the beginning of lifelong friendships. Shyness is not an option, pack your business cards, and come prepared to meet and greet.

For more information, or to register for the 2004 Annual Conference, click here.



by Karl M. Kapp, EdD and Maria Plano

Since the days of “green screen” computer training, the age-old question of “How long does it take to develop on-line learning?” has plagued vendors and clients alike. The reason is that there are many variables impacting the development time. Here are some guidelines to help separate e-learning development efforts into high, moderate, and low categories. The first task is to determine the amount of instructional design (ID) effort.

Low/No ID Effort

  • Instructional objectives have been written
  • A course outline has been created—chunking and sequencing of content is complete
  • Text is written as it should appear on the screen
  • Instructional interactions and tests have been designed and written

Moderate ID Effort

  • A course exists
  • Course goals and objectives have been identified
  • Instructional strategies for instructor-led training have been developed, but need to be modified for application in an e-learning environment
  • Documentation describing what an instructor would say when covering each topic can be provided
  • Documentation is largely up-to-date, but needs to be tweaked

High ID Effort

  • No course or content exists in any form
  • Course goals and objectives, as well as evaluation and instructional strategies must be developed
  • Course content must be captured via interviews with subject-matter experts

The next task is to determine the amount of multimedia/web development (M/WD) effort required.

Low M/WD Effort

  • Finished course will include pages of text and a navigation framework with little interactivity (fewer than 8 interactions per hour/40 pages of courseware)
  • Interactions that are included are simple, such as rollovers, multiple choice questions, and pop-up boxes, and are based on a set of templates that will not be modified
  • Feedback for questions is simple, including the answer and a text explanation
  • Navigation through the courseware is linear
  • No media, such as animation, audio, or video is included
  • Stock graphics can be used and custom graphics are not needed

Moderate M/WD Effort

  • Finished course will include pages of text and a navigation framework with a moderate level of interactivity (interactions every 3-4 pages)
  • Interactions that will be included per hour/40 pages of courseware are:
    • 10 basic interactions such as rollovers, pop ups, and multiple choice questions that are developed from templates that will not be modified
      2-3 complex, custom interactions such as matching, drag/drop, simulations and games
  • Navigation may be linear or exploratory
    • Audio and animation are used at key points throughout the course, including narrated screens and a static character for introductions and summaries
    • A few custom graphics are required

High M/WD Effort

  • Finished course will include pages of text and a navigation framework with a high level of interactivity (interactions every 1-2 pages)
  • Interactions that will be included per hour/40 pages of courseware are:
    • 15 basic interactions such as rollovers, pop ups, and multiple choice questions that can be developed from templates, but may be modified as necessary
    • 3-4 complex, custom interactions such as simulations and games
  • Navigation may be linear or exploratory, including branching
  • Audio, video, and animation will be used frequently throughout the course—potentially with narrated screens and video or a 3D character for introductions, summaries, and explanations of complex concepts
  • Custom graphics will be developed

Once you have determined the instructional design and multimedia effort, you can begin to determine the development times by plotting the position for the development effort on the matrix below.

Web/Media Development Level




ISD Development Level













Of course, actual development times will vary depending on team experience and nature of the material, but this matrix provides a starting point for developing your own in-house development matrix.

Karl M. Kapp, EdD is author of Winning E-Learning Proposals: The Art of Development and Delivery (J. Ross Publishing, 2003) and Integrated Learning for ERP Success (St. Lucie Press). Karl is the assistant director of Bloomsburg University’s Institute for Interactive Technologies. He is an associate professor at Bloomsburg and may be reached at

Maria Plano is manager of E-Learning Solutions at RWD Technologies and a contributor to Winning E-Learning Proposals: The Art of Development and Delivery (J. Ross Publishing, 2003). Her areas of focus include e-learning consulting and project management, as well as the analysis and design of engaging, interactive web-based courseware.


  Karl Kapp will address Stop Guessing: Using a Systematic Approach for Estimating e-Learning Development Times at ISPI’s Performance-Based ISD Conference, September 18, 2003.

Write and submit a one-page story
by August 15, 2003, and you can be published in an upcoming ISPI collection of human performance technology (HPT) success stories. This short, performance improvement book will give readers examples of successful applications of HPT, as well as the inspiration needed to apply HPT in the organizations they serve. The end result will be a book that provides a catalog of success stories from the field of HPT. Click here to learn more!




The ASTD Dissertation Award
is given each year to foster and disseminate research in the practice of workplace learning and performance. This year’s award will be presented to the person who has submitted the best doctoral dissertation for which a degree was granted between September 21, 2002-September 20, 2003. The topic must focus on some issue of relevance to the practice of workplace learning and performance. Illustrative areas of concentration include: training and development, performance improvement/analysis, career development, organization development/learning, work design, and human resource planning.

All research methodologies will be considered on an equal basis including, for example, field, laboratory, quantitative, and qualitative investigations. The candidate must be recommended and sponsored by his or her committee chair. All materials submitted must be in English and in Word format by email. Submission requirements correspond to the full manuscript requirements of the Academy of Human Resource Development’s (AHRD) Dissertation of the Year procedures that require applicants to follow the full manuscript conference proposal submission guidelines.

The award winner will receive a $500 cash prize, a commemorative plaque presented at the awards ceremony during the 2004 ASTD International Conference and Exposition, and a designated place on the conference program to present the research (with conference registration fee paid).

Submissions must be sent via email by September 22, 2003 to: Dr. John J. Sherlock, Assistant Professor of Human Resources, Western Carolina University, at For further information and submission guidelines, please contact Dr. Sherlock.


Performance Marketplace is a convenient way  to exchange information of interest to the performance improvement community. Take a few moments each month to scan the listings for important new events, publications, services, and employment opportunities. To post information for our readers, contact ISPI Director of Marketing, Keith Pew at or 301.587.8570.

Books and Reports
High Impact Learning by Robert O. Brinkerhoff and Anne M. Apking provides the conceptual framework for the HILS®
approach and is complete with integrated tools and methods that training practitioners can use to help their organizations achieve increased business results from learning investments.

ISD Revisited is a select collection of 56 articles from ISPI’s Performance Improvement journal focused ISD as practiced in the 21st Century. This compendium, with an introduction by Allison Rossett, provides a fresh perspective on ISD, presenting current thinking and best practices.

Conferences, Seminars, and Workshops
Darryl L. Sink & Associates, Inc. is offering the following workshops: Designing Instruction for Web-Based Training, Dallas, September 22-24; Instructional Developer Workshop, Chicago, September 15-17; Criterion-Referenced Testing Workshop, Dallas, October 27-28. Visit for details and to register!

Thiagi’s Interactive Strategies Workshop Package. A collection of five books (including Thiagi’s latest Design Your Own Games and Activities and Facilitator’s Toolkit) plus ZINGO software program. Pay $219 and save $111. Visit and click on “Our Products.”


Consulting Services
So you want to be a CPT? If you have the experience, but don’t have the time, ProofPoint Systems has your solution. You provide the information, and ProofPoint does the rest. Not sure what’s involved? Call 650.559.9029, or email: to get started.
(April, shouldn't this also link to their website?--ak)

Job and Career Resources
ISPI Online CareerSite is your source for performance improvement employment. Search listings and manage your resume and job applications online.

Magazines, Newsletters, and Journals
Chief Learning Officer Magazine Let CLO deliver the experts to you through Chief Learning Officer magazine,
, and the Chief Learning Officer Executive Briefings electronic newsletter. Subscriptions are free to qualified professionals residing in the United States.

Resource Directories
ISPI Online Buyers Guide offers resources for your performance improvement, training, instructional design and organizational development initiatives.

Training Services
The Power to Get Results. Martin Training Associates provides workshops, services, and products that focus on developing hard and soft skills in project management. Our methodology is universally applicable to any project and project team type. Visit for details.



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



Go to printer-friendly version of this issue.

Feel free to forward ISPI’s PerformanceXpress newsletter to your colleagues or anyone you think may benefit from the information. If you are reading someone else’s PerformanceXpress, send your complete contact information to, and you will be added to the PerformanceXpress emailing list.

PerformanceXpress is an ISPI member benefit designed to build community, stimulate discussion, and keep you informed of the Society’s activities and events. This newsletter is published monthly and will be emailed to you at the beginning of each month.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact April Davis, ISPI’s Senior Director of Publications, at

1400 Spring Street, Suite 260
Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA
Phone: 1.301.587.8570
Fax: 1.301.587.8573