A search on Google for “blended training solutions” yields almost 600 results. A search for “blended performance solutions” yields nine results. Which is the hotter topic?

The debate among training experts these days is decidedly within the world of blended training. Blended training solutions use an effective mix of training approaches (e.g., instructor-led training, web-based training) to provide the most effective training solution.

As trainers—and you can count yourself in this company if you help develop employee skills—we are missing the point. We need to look beyond blended training solutions to blended performance solutions if we are to truly impact performance in a sustained and significant way.

A blended performance solution includes a broader spectrum of performance enhancing interventions. In fact, a blended training solution might be one component of the overall performance solution.

Blended performance solutions means choosing the most effective solutions to address the five elements impacting performance:

  • Clear expectations and feedback: Sometimes the reason people aren’t performing as desired is because they don’t know what they are supposed to do—expectations were never clearly set. Sometimes they may have performed as they were supposed to but aren’t any longer because they were never given feedback.
  • Resources, tools, and information: These are the things people need to have in order to perform. Sometimes it’s a faster computer or a job aid. Sometimes it’s information, or easier access to that information.
  • Work flow design: Sometimes performance isn’t as it could be simply because the way the work is carried out could be improved. For example, reducing the number of hands involved sometimes improves performance.
  • Recognition and motivation: We all work for different reasons but most of us like to be recognized for doing the work well. We become motivated to work harder. Sometimes the simplest solution to increased performance is a pat on the back.
  • Skills and knowledge: Sometimes, performance can only be improved by increasing the capability of the people performing the job. Training—including instructor-led, web-based, computer-based, and self-paced—can all be effective in increasing the skills and knowledge of employees.

A potential client—a call center manager for an insurance company—recently was looking for blended training. In meeting with him, it was evident that 1) his e-learning vendor had made promises about e-learning that just weren’t real, and 2) his people weren’t performing as well as he would like. His answer—blended training.

In our initial meeting, John explained how the training and development plan developed with the e-learning provider, while doing a lot to reduce costs associated with training—specifically time and travel—productivity hadn’t changed much.

I asked John what non-training issues might be causing poor performance, such as unclear expectations/metrics, lack of tools or information, poor work flow design, or even lack of recognition/motivation. He wasn’t willing to entertain potential solutions outside of blended training.

As standard practice in a case like this, I recommended a two-phase approach to his solution. Phase Two would include developing the blended training he was looking for; Phase One would include a business-based needs analysis to confirm the reasons for poor performance. At the end of Phase One, we would submit a recommendations document with appropriate suggestions and next steps.

After a series of interviews with the manager and several exemplary employees, and a half-day of observation, it became clear that the biggest obstacle to performance wasn’t training at all—even blended training! On any given day, almost 25% of the staff was absent, late, or had to leave early. And the reason they weren’t fired was because this group had been created from volunteers from other parts of the company in response to the company’s need for additional telemarketers. In an effort to create more sales, the company had shuffled resources to create this focused group responsible for inbound calls and, recently, outbound follow-up calls.

In order to “be fair” to the new group, management was more flexible in enforcing the simple metric of being present than they might have normally been.

Our recommendations document included blended training since it appeared that selling skills were increasingly important and not at the level that they would need to be for success—but only as a longer-range solution. For the immediate future, we suggested that management set clear expectations regarding timeliness and then follow up appropriately with some type of recognition—monetary or non-monetary—for those who meet or exceed expectations, and corrective action for those who don’t.

When questioned about our recommendations (“Why would a training vendor not recommend training?”), we explained that blended training in the immediate future would not have helped; in fact, it may have made matters worse by giving an additional excuse for being off the phone. If we created a blended training solution and it didn’t address the performance problem—and we were sure that it wouldn’t—our training may be blamed.

The saying, “To a hammer, every problem looks like a nail,” applies. To every training vendor, every performance problem looks in need of a training solution, especially a blended training solution.

We found 600 of these blended training hammers in a single swoop on the Internet. With all the hype these days on blended training solutions, it is no wonder that performance continues to fall short of expectations. Want real change? Try a blended performance solution!

Terence R. Traut is the president and COO of Entelechy, Inc., a company that helps organizations unlock the potential of their people through performance consulting and customized training programs in the areas of sales, management, customer service, and training. He may be reached at ttraut@unlockit.com.

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The saying, “To a hammer, every problem looks like a nail,” applies. To every training vendor, every performance problem looks in need of a training solution, especially a blended training solution.




Ann Parkman is president of CEP, Inc., a firm that helps clients worldwide improve performance to meet business goals and is the sole provider of Robert F. Mager’s workshops and publications. Ann is also a past president of ISPI and may be reached at aparkman@CEPworldwide.com. She talked with us this month about her predictions for the next two to three years.

Top Three Predictions
Ann sees performance improvement professionals working more closely with operational executives in organizations than we do at present. Line managers are increasingly interested in improving performance because they now recognize that their employees make or break the achievement of business goals. This is a refreshing departure from the common thinking that technology makes the difference between success and failure.

For some time, HPT practitioners have known the value of demonstrating return on investment (ROI) for every project, but few of us have bothered. Now, there is evidence of client demand for ROI information for performance improvement work. While we will never be asked for performance measures in terms of Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels, our clients will want to know the business results we achieved. This is not nearly as intimidating as we may think. After all, ROI is based on data that our clients are already collecting. If there is a real business need to improve performance, we can measure it.

As we move into the future, job and workforce changes will impact HPTers and our organizations in several ways. For one, as we’ve read previously in this column, some of the simplest jobs are routinely outsourced or automated, leaving only the most complex positions in place and raising the required skill level for the existing workforce. (For more information, click here to read the interview with Dana Robinson in July PX.) Added to this is the imminent departure of the baby boomers with their considerable expertise and years of experience. Their retirement will create a severe talent gap in the general labor pool. It will likely fall to performance improvement professionals to either skill up inexperienced workers or propose other interventions to close this gap—a formidable challenge and, at the same time, an exciting opportunity.

Why These Predictions
Already, organizations are showing interest in increased partnering between line and staff functions. This shift has occurred in the last few years and has become a necessity as senior managers realize that most tasks that can be automated have been, and new employees still need skills to perform. (For more information, click here to read the interview with Paul Harmon in August PX.) A question for many organizations is: where will skilled new workers come from? As required entry-level skills rise higher (remember all that outsourcing and automation?), hiring managers face skill deficits in entry-level candidates that must be addressed. And, at the executive level, the broad business view is focused on the talent gap that retiring baby boomers will create.

The terrorist acts of September 11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, SARS, Enron, and other scandals have caused executives to be more conservative in running their organizations. They are concerned about the internal workings of their firms and want guarantees that whatever they invest in will show value. While the purse strings may be more difficult to loosen in this environment, the opportunities for performance improvement initiatives are extraordinary, as long as we can demonstrate ROI for our work.

How Organizations Will Be Different
With closer links to internal business partners, performance improvement has moved closer to having a seat at the table. In some organizations, like ISPI Patron member Saudi Arabian Oil Company, performance practitioners are assigned to business units so that common tools and approaches can be efficiently deployed. This creates true cross-functional teams where real partnerships are forged between the business and performance improvement.

As for ROI, we will move beyond activity to measuring results from a business perspective. When we launch a project, we will truly “start with the end in mind” and build in our measurements as we design our approach.

Implications for CEP
At CEP, Ann and her staff are making a concerted effort to work more closely with their clients’ business side rather than focusing solely on the training group. CEP’s consultants are doing more with ROI, measurement, and evaluation. Rather than asking if the client would like to include these, CEP is making them standard elements in their work processes.

So What Should We Do?
The gap in the talent pipeline that Ann predicts is a very real issue for the future of the organizations we serve. We’d like to know what you, our readers, are experiencing as your clients/organizations grapple with this challenge, and what suggestions you have made or considered.

Share your thoughts by emailing us at the addresses below, and we will publish your ideas in a future TrendSpotters.

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 carolhaig@earthlink.net or Roger Addison, CPT, at roger@ispi.org.

 


  
  




As outsourcing becomes more popular, one of the most important sets of tasks the performance consultant carries out is the selection of learning and performance vendors. The tasks include identifying potential resources, verifying capabilities and track records, maintaining an expanding database of resources, matching resources to specific project requirements, and in some cases, actually contracting for services.

Because interventions can differ markedly, the nature of the resources the performance consultant outsources will also differ in many ways. Nevertheless, some general criteria apply for selecting external resources regardless of specialty or type. The following table provides a list of these criteria with explanations and suggestions for verifying how well a resource meets each of these.

Criteria

Verification Suggestions

Expertise: The resource must possess qualifications and demonstrate knowledge/skill to perform. These may include technical, content, or process competencies sufficiently advanced to allow the resource to perform with minimal support.

  • Review qualifications (e.g., certifications, degrees) for credibility.
  • Verify past performance via references.
  • Verify work samples.
  • Conduct performance-based interviews using interviewers with relevant backgrounds.

Track record: The resource should be able to provide references and examples of previous work. Length of time performing the required work and evidence of success with similar projects are important elements of this criterion.

  • Verify references and previous clients for process and outcome success.
  • Review work samples.
  • Verify professional organizations and informal network for work experience.
  • Verify any awards or recognitions received for accomplishments.

Resources: Particularly for large projects, the persons or groups selected must be able to supply sufficient human and material resources to complete the job within the specified time frame.

  • Verify size of operation.
  • Verify quantity and quality of human and nonhuman resources to determine if these are sufficient for the job.
  • Verify availability of resources.

Knowledge/Experience working with the industry: Previous experience with, or sound knowledge of, the industry makes it easier for the resource to come up to speed on the project. Although not always essential, this type of experience can also decrease length of the learning curve.

  • Verify past performance to identify work experiences with industry.
  • Interview to determine knowledge of industry.
  • Verify industry references for quality of work.

Cost: Similar resources may vary considerably in cost. However, higher-priced resources may be worth additional expense due to capability, experience, and less rework. Cost, all other things being equal, is a factor to consider.

  • Benchmark costs with other organizations or professional groups. Select and compare cost estimates.
  • Discuss costs with desirable vendors and verify flexibility.
  • Compare cost to quality of output.

Credibility: Clients must have confidence in the resources they engage for their projects. In addition to qualifications and experience, resources that project competence and present information clearly are usually viewed as more credible.

  • Interview to determine how well the resource projects credibility.
  • Performance test in role-play situations that are confrontational and demanding.
  • Verify with previous clients degree of perceived credibility.

Table 1. Criteria for Selecting Learning and Performance Resources.

While cost is often a major factor in the selection of learning and performance vendors, it should not be the sole basis on which decisions are made. If you receive a proposal that is considerably more costly than others, it is worthwhile to determine why. Is the solution being offered more expansive than the others? Do technology requirements drive the price up? While one cannot infer that a higher price will necessarily yield a higher quality product/service, it is also true that a price that is dramatically different than others may be a result of misunderstanding the need, inaccurate assumptions, or varying project conditions. Finally, when reviewing costs, place greater emphasis on value than on price.

In addition to the general criteria listed in the table above, consider other selection criteria specific to a project, such as quality of the proposal, feasibility of proposal time lines, or responsiveness to your organization’s needs.

Key to the selection of appropriate learning and performance resources is the quality of the client-generated Request for Proposal (RFP). The more information you can share with prospective vendors with respect to the project background, target audience, project goals, constraints, budget, deadlines, etc., the more specific the vendor can be in responding to your needs. Generally, high-quality RFPs result in high-quality proposals. Providing ample time to do a credible job in proposal development also usually results in a better quality of proposals you receive. Being accessible to clarify points and provide details perhaps overlooked in the RFP can make the difference in obtaining proposals that are meaningful and allow you to make the wisest decisions.

Harold D. Stolovitch and Erica J. Keeps share a common passion—developing people. Together they have devoted a combined total of more than 70 years to make workplace learning and performance both enjoyable and effective. Their research and consulting activities have involved them in numerous projects with major corporations worldwide. Harold and Erica are the principals of HSA Learning & Performance Solutions LLC, an international consulting firm that specializes in the application of instructional technology and human performance technology to business, industry, government, and the military. They are co-editors of the Handbook of Human Performance Technology and co-authors of the Engineering Effective Learning Toolkit (2003). Harold and Erica may be reached at info@hsa-lps.com.

 

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While cost is often a major factor in the selection of learning and performance vendors, it should not be the sole basis on which decisions are made.




During a recent chapter event
in Atlanta, one of the participants wanted to know if there was an HPT Hall of Fame. I said, “No.” The participant asked, “Why not?” I thought for a moment and came up with a brilliant response: “I don’t know!”

So, let’s pretend for a moment that you have been asked to nominate a candidate for the HPT Hall of Fame. Click here to go this month’s Open Question (OQ) page and record your nominee for the HPT Hall of Fame along with a brief explanation of your reasons for nominating this individual. You may submit more than one nomination. And remember, this is a make-believe exercise and is not officially sanctioned by ISPI.

Your Mom Results
In our previous OQ, we asked you to write a letter to your mother explaining your job as a performance consultant. We received a total of 29 entries. Our panel of judges had great difficulty coming up with a consensus winner. So, we recommend that you click here and check out the original set of entries and decide for yourself. Here are the results from the reluctant panel:


Best Entry
Submitted by Chris Saeger

Remember how you taught me to tie my shoe? How much time it saved the family in getting out the door in the morning because you could do other things. Well that’s pretty much what I do now. When an organization has something they want to be able to do that involves people doing new things or doing the same things better (like get out the door faster), I help them think through different approaches.

First, we set a goal—get out the door faster, maybe in setting a time limit, say 15 minutes faster than the hour it takes us now. Then we look at what people are doing. If I am too young to learn to tie my shoe, there is no sense in trying to teach me. They must be able to do it first. Then we check to see if people have been told to tie their shoes, and that they get “stickers” and other rewards for doing it. And maybe demerits for when they don’t tie them. We also look at alternatives. Could we give them shoes with Velcro straps or loafers instead? Finally we look at the skill of tying shoes and how best to teach someone.

We work out a way to get people excited about tying shoes, like “see how all the big kids can do it,” demonstrate how to do it, and then give opportunities to practice. We might also have lace-up books to practice on after the session. AND lots of stickers for getting it right.

Then I help the organization to pick out alternatives. Something like:

  • Ready: Do they have the physical ability to do it? This is where the waiting comes in for kids.
  • Willing: Are they rewarded for doing it? Could it be easier to do? This is where the sticker and loafers come in.
  • Able: Do they have the skill to do the task? This is where the teaching comes in.

We pick out some ways to help, and then watch to see if it made a difference. (Getting ready time is reduced, kids are happier because they can tie their shoes like the big kids, grown-ups are less stressed.) So there you have it, Mom, aren’t you glad you asked?


Almost Tied for First Place
Submitted by Paul Trapp

Mom, Human Performance Technology is very much like what you do to Dad. Your goal has always been to make him into a better husband, better father, and basically a better man. You clarify your expectations and goals when you give him your honey-do list every Saturday. When something’s not done right, you find a way to let him know—like when you dump the laundry on his lap when he’s watching football. You sometimes use carrots—you know what I mean, Mom—and sometimes sticks. And you practically invented the idea of continual improvement—how long has it been, 30 years, and you’re still working on him! And oh, yes, you’ve made it clear to Dad and all of us over the years that you love him, and all your efforts are for his own good. That’s what I do in a nutshell—make sure there’s clear goals and expectations, clear communications, plenty of feedback, lots of carrots and sticks, plenty of opportunity to learn, all wrapped in love and caring.


Special Award for Brevity (Tie)

Submitted by Darin

I am just trying to save the world, one company at a time.

Submitted by Paul W. Venderley

In a nutshell, I help people discover a way to excel at their jobs.


Special Award for Taking the Poetic License
Submitted by Kelly Krimmel

In this ever changing world,
When into the workplace I’m hurled,
Getting humans to perform better,
Is the mission I define by the letter.
HPT, human performance technology,
Can certainly a challenge be,
But there exists a process model,
I use to approach problems at full-throttle.
To start, I define the goal I seek,
Consider that performance peak,
Then, analyze where we currently stand,
The gap between, is what I must understand.
Once the gap is clearly defined,
Finding the cause next comes to mind,
Is it a lack of tools? incentives? information?
A cause analysis can provide substantiation.
With a cause duly revealed,
An intervention I’ll be prepared to wield,
Next, implementation requires thought,
Is the solution new workflow? resources? taught?
Finally, I evaluate,
Did performance improve, and was it great?
This last step the model cycle ends,
With the performance problem in amends.
I, as the practitioner of HPT,
Can make improvement, certifiably,
And with this rhyming model ally,
I also further the goal of my society, ISPI!


 
  




Did you know that ISPI members can now share information on bulletin boards located in the Communities Forums section of the Society website? Questions and comments have already been posted on forums about membership, certification, HPT, international issues, and research. In addition, a forum has been created for the 2004 Annual Conference in Tampa. ISPI members with vast experience attending and presenting at ISPI’s conferences have volunteered to review this forum and respond to your questions. Have you wondered what an HPT Institute will do for you? Are you thinking about attending a pre-conference workshop but can’t decide which one suits your specific needs? These are just two of the questions you could post to those members most knowledgeable about ISPI’s largest educational opportunity in 2004.

What Is My ISPI?
My ISPI is the newest component of ISPI’s Internet resources. This website addition has been created to provide a safe and secure place for processing personal information, membership renewals, and credit card transactions, as well as moving purchases through the registration and orders procedures more efficiently. Information contained within this part of ISPI’s website is protected by a 128 bit SSL Certificate issued by VeriSign, which is currently the highest level of encryption security offered commercially. My ISPI is actually a sub-section of www.ispi.org, and can be distinguished from the public sections by its website address: http://performance.ispi.org. When you see this website address, you will know you are on My ISPI.

You can find My ISPI from the Society’s homepage. Links on the homepage that will take you to these new features include: My ISPI, Bookstore, Conferences Plus, and the Member Directory. You can click here to visit the My ISPI homepage to learn more about its features, which includes login information if you have not yet visited.

 


  




The window to apply for the Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) designation under the Grandparenting provision will close October 31, 2003. If you have six or more years of experience designing, developing, and implementing performance improvement solutions, you may be eligible to be Grandparented.

What is a CPT?
The certification, Certified Performance Technologist, was developed by ISPI and is endorsed by ASTD. The certification recognizes people who have proven through their work they are proficient in the 10 Standards of Performance Technology. The first four Standards are principle based. You have to show that in your work you:

  1. Focus on results
  2. Take a systemic view
  3. Add value
  4. Partner or collaborate with clients, colleagues, and other specialists

To satisfy the remaining six Standards, you have to show that you follow a systematic process that includes:

  1. Conducting needs assessment
  2. Doing a cause analysis
  3. Designing the solution
  4. Developing some or all of the components of the solution
  5. Implementing the solution
  6. Evaluating the impact of the solution

Why certification?
Employers and clients have been asking for standards and criteria to help them identify professionals with proven experience in training, development, and performance improvement. At the same time, members of ISPI and ASTD have been asking for a designation that will distinguish them in the marketplace. It was in response to these concerns that ISPI commissioned the development of the certification.

What does it mean to be Grandparented?
Up until October 31 of this year, more experienced performance improvement professionals have an opportunity to apply under the Grandparent provision. The requirements are:

  • You must have at least six years of experience designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating solutions that improve human performance.
  • You must describe your work and specifically address how you have satisfied each of the 10 Standards of Performance Technology at least once. The work must have been done within the last 10 years.
  • A client/supervisor must attest to the accuracy of your description of what you did, that you are the one who performed the work, and that you met each of the Standards.
  • You must sign the Code of Ethics.
  • You must commit to the re-certification requirements.
  • You do not have to be a member of ISPI or an affiliated organization. Nor do you have to complete the institutes or an academic program.

What are the benefits of applying under the Grandparenting provision?
You have to submit less documentation, and you pay a reduced fee.

What do you get once you are certified?
Once you achieve the certification, you will have a credential that distinguishes you in the marketplace.

How do you begin the process?

  • Download and study the Standards.
  • Identify the projects you want to use to demonstrate that you have satisfied the Standards.
  • Identify the client/supervisor who can attest to your work.
  • Prepare your documentation and get the attestation.
  • Sign the Code of Ethics.
  • Submit your application with the fee to ISPI.  

How do you learn more?
For more details about Grandparenting, the regular process, and re-certification, visit www.certifiedpt.org.

Judith Hale, PhD, a Certified Performance Technologist, is a long-time member and past president of ISPI. She is the author of Performance-Based Evaluation, Performance-Based Certification, and Performance Consultant’s Fieldbook. Her new book Performance-Based Management: What Every Manager Should Do to Get Results will be out this month. Judith has been a consultant to management for more than 27 years. She specializes in assessment and performance analysis. Judith was awarded a BA from Ohio State University, a MA from Miami University, and a PhD from Purdue University. She may be reached at Haleassoci@aol.com.

 


  


Are you interested in attending ISPI’s
42nd Annual International Performance Improvement Conference & Exposition, April 18-23 in Tampa, Florida, but are unable to afford the conference registration fee? If you are willing to attend pre-assigned sessions or workshops, are open to monitoring sessions you may not have selected on your own, and are able to distribute and collect evaluation forms and assist ISPI presenters, send your name, complete mailing address, phone, fax, and email address to ellen@ispi.org.

ISPI will significantly reduce the conference registration fee for all conference volunteers. Volunteers will be responsible for their own travel, hotel, and other costs associated with attending the conference. Volunteers are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Full-time students are strongly encouraged to apply and will be given priority status. ISPI will contact you regarding your assignment this month.

 

Who receives an ISPI Award of Excellence?

Cingular, Capital One, CEP Press, University of Toyota, Walgreens…and members like you!

Submit your ideas, innovations, programs, or training tools by the October 24, 2003 deadline, and you could be on your way to earning the recognition you deserve. For more information or to download the submission packet, click here or contact Ellen Kaplan, ISPI Senior Director of Meetings at 619.224.4900.

 

 




This month, we’re doing something different.
We will take a break from our regular categories to share some “@corns” found amidst the leaves of the Internet that we at I-Spy find of use and interest. 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.

Earth is here [Australia] so kind, that just tickle her with a hoe
and she laughs with a harvest.
Douglas William Jerrold (1803-1857)

The theme for this month’s column is Harvest. Autumn has arrived and in the northern hemisphere animals prepare for winter by gathering berries and nuts. Performance technologists can also use this time to gather “cyberries” and “nets” that can be of use in the future. This month we will share some websites that can help boost performance through quick, small treasures of information that change even more frequently than the weather. Here are a few frequently asked questions:

What time is it?
In the world: http://www.what-time-is-it.com/. This is the net’s most complete database of world time.

In the US: http://www.time.gov/. This public service is cooperatively provided by the two time agencies of United States: a Department of Commerce agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and its military counterpart, the US Naval Observatory. Readings from the clocks of these agencies contribute to world time, called Coordinated Universal Time. The time maintained by both agencies should never differ by more than 0.000 0001 seconds from UTC.

Can you spare any change?
In the world: This full version of Universal Currency Converter®, the world’s most popular currency tool, allows you to perform interactive foreign exchange rate calculations on the Internet, using live, up-to-the-minute currency rates.

Of course, I still like the “I-Candy” I find, so here’s one for us cyber-squirrels:

The Earth Science Picture of the Day (EPOD) highlights the diverse processes and phenomena which shape planet and our lives. The EPOD is supported by a grant from the NASA Goddard Directors Discretionary Fund in collaboration with the Universities Space Research Association Earth System Science Education program. Avid readers may note that this project evolved out of the Astronomy Picture of the Day website referenced in the November 2002 I-Spy column.

And, lastly, in October 2002, we had First Frost already!

Until next time, enjoy the change of seasons as you reap the rewards of what you have saved in time, money, and our planet’s resources through informed use of the Internet. See you in the November 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 tp@toddpacker.com.

 


  



In April of this year,
the International Society for Performance Improvement released Instructional Systems Design Revisited, a collection of articles focusing on instructional design from Performance Improvement journal from January 1998 through August 2002.

The publication of this collection is timely. Many practitioners have raised questions in the literature about the utility of the instructional design process both for meeting today’s time demands and for creating multimedia products. This book offers answers to these questions in the section on new instructional systems design (ISD) containing notable articles by Tennyson, Clark, Sink, Wallace, Merrill, and Sugrue. You will encounter new models of instructional design; faster, better, and easier adaptations of the ADDIE process; a deeper look at the steps within the process; and new perspectives that make ISD current, vibrant, and ready to use.

Other articles in this collection reflect issues that have our current attention, such as new media. No less than 14 articles touch on technology and range from demystifying the hype to specific guidance for creating good computer-based instruction. Barritt even ventures into the new land of learning objects and describes how they, too, affect instructional design (ID).

You will also find a great number of articles on analysis. This emphasis is a tribute to our systematic methodology. This section starts with an article that provides a review of needs assessment literature with recommendations as to when to use a particular model. But note that none of the articles are solely about assessing training needs. All focus on the broader picture of performance analysis and measuring the performance gap. Of course, the performance analysis may uncover a skill or knowledge deficiency that will lead to a training solution.

Fast forward to the section on training design. In this section, you will find valuable prescriptions that advocate and incorporate a cognitive approach. Silber and van Merriënboer focus on ID methodologies that train problemsolving. Clark’s article on the four architectures of instruction integrates cognitive research and practice along with prescriptions on their use.

You will also find numerous articles on evaluation and return on investment. This large number probably reflects a push to incorporate measurement of results—one way or another—as a routine part of our practice. Binder and Sweeney provide a good primer on measurement. Stolovitch and Maurice give us a model and case study for calculating the return on investment for training interventions.

It is instructive to see what has been written about and what hasn’t in the last few years. What’s to come in the journals ahead? There will undoubtedly be more articles on the subject of new media. Each medium—whether it’s asynchronous classroom, synchronous classroom, web self-paced learning—makes different assumptions about the audience. Each needs to be designed with these assumptions in mind, requiring different levels of interaction, “foolproofedness,” and support. It would be helpful to see more articles on these themes as technology races forward.

What about design in general? What makes good training? How do we continue to motivate, engage, make authentic, allow success in, inoculate against obstacles, extend, and transfer training? These issues are still at the heart of what we do and are always timely.

And then there’s research. The link between theory, research, and practice has always set us apart from other fields. Performance Improvement should be the major conduit where we publicize and transform research into best practices.

I believe you will find this collection of articles useful. It is an up-to-date view of our field that affirms our roots, stretches our thinking, and provides guidance for our work. To purchase your copy today, click here.

 


  



This is the 19th issue of Measurement Counts! I’ve been writing about why and how to measure in simple practical terms for the better part of two years. I’ve been suggesting that we: 1) must put more attention into identifying countable behavior, accomplishments, or business results that represent important outcomes; 2) actually gather those counts over time; 3) use these measures to decide how things are going; and 4) share/communicate graphed results with our colleagues to enable mutual, continuous improvement. What could be simpler than that? We actually make it a lot more complicated than it needs to be.

If You’re Presenting at a Conference
By the time you receive this, the September deadline for proposal submissions to ISPI’s 42nd Annual International Performance Improvement Conference & Exposition, April 18-23 in Tampa, Florida will have passed. Still, there is a lot of time between now and the conference, and one special audience for this column are those planning to present sessions and workshops in Tampa. I challenge you to present some data! Another audience is anyone who plans to submit proposals to any of the other performance improvement conferences such as ASTD, TRAINING, etc.

I challenge you to present some measures when you make claims and formulate your presentations. Even if you don’t have any data yet, between now and April you can capture some measures. Whatever you’re doing—be it program design, development, implementation, or simply ongoing performance systems work—you ought to be interested in its effectiveness and value. So identify some things to count, count them regularly, and decide how it’s going.

If You’re Putting Together an Article
For those who like to write their communications to colleagues in the form of publications, see if you can include more (or some) measures of behavior, accomplishments, or business results in the next article, chapter, or book you publish. If we can’t support our methods and claims with simple data, why should anyone read our writings?

As practitioners of human performance technology and members of ISPI, we claim to produce valuable results for our clients. Let’s prove it! And more importantly, let’s show how we use data in an ongoing way to navigate to optimize results, make decisions, and alter our approach to produce the best possible outcomes. Imagine if more of us could demonstrate such effectiveness and continuous improvement to one another, and to our clients! That should be one of our most important goals as professionals.

Check out GOT RESULTS?
If you need examples, check out the new and improved GOT RESULTS? section of ISPI’s website (if you didn’t do so last month when I urged you to). If you’ve looked at those examples, consider how you could capture and use some measures of your own that would wind up in a GOT RESULTS? case. There’s got to be a way.

Send Me Your Problems
There are lots of different things to write about in this column. But it’s been going long enough now that we need more reader input. I challenge you to email me with measurement problems, ideas, suggestions, and examples. I promise to be responsive, blunt, and occasionally humorous with my comments. It would be great to have a big range of examples and questions to choose from in the months ahead. Your input would help make the column more relevant to you.

Next month I’ll use examples that readers submit. And if you haven’t been reading this column from the beginning you can catch up by clicking on the back issues link toward the bottom of the scrollable navigation bar to the left.

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 CarlBinder@aol.com. For additional articles, visit http://www.binder-riha.com/publications.htm.

 


 

So identify some things to count, count them regularly, and decide how it’s going.



In 1962, ISPI was born from the unmeasured passions of six researchers in San Antonio, Texas. Over the years, the ISPI’s research focus has differentiated it from other associations and enabled it to engender the most valuable information and the most talented people in the performance improvement field. Investing in good research pays off, and the Society recognizes this truism every year with its research grant program.

The Research Committee this year had an incredibly difficult task. More proposals were submitted than ever before and the quality of the proposals rose significantly. Using a sophisticated rating system that measured the research quality and practical value of each proposal—and reviewing each proposal without access to the author’s name or credentials to ensure fairness—the research committee recommended four proposals for acceptance to the Board. With the Board’s strong concurrence, the winners are:

  • Heather M. McGee and Alyce M. Dickinson, Western Michigan University
    Title: The effects of individual and group monetary incentives on high performance
  • Seung-Youn (Yonnie) Chyung, Boise State University
    Title: An investigation of motivation-hygiene profiles in e-learning
  • Cynthia A. Conn, University of Northern Colorado and Northern Arizona University
    Title: A study investigating how human performance technology competencies are integrated into educational technology master’s degree programs
  • David H. Beck, Georgia State University
    Title: A comparison of workplace and classroom instructional design skill priorities

The winners have 14 months to complete their research but are encouraged to finish the bulk of their work by next spring so that they can report on their results at the Annual Conference’s Research Exchange Session, one of the most anticipated sessions, reprising last year’s very popular and provocative event.

In addition, the Research Committee would like to thank its anonymous reviewers and acknowledge the hard work of its members.

 

 




ISPI Past President Dr. Roger Kaufman, CPT was awarded The United States Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award in recognition of his retirement and many contributions to the Coast Guard during his 28 years at Florida State University, that included 20 years guiding and mentoring Coast Guard graduate students in the Performance Technology advanced education program. The award was made at the Coast Guard’s Third Annual Human Performance Technology Workshop held from September 3-5, 2003 in Williamsburg, VA.

We at ISPI would also like to add our congratulations to Roger as he retires from Florida State University and look forward to the many contributions he will continue to make to the field of human performance technology. ISPI and the Coast Guard have enjoyed a long and productive relationship in which both organizations and their members have benefited. Roger’s contributions are just another example of the impact he has had in his career.



  




ISPI has partnered with the American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC) to bring the Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) designation to their 450 corporate members and to bring their PowerMARQ™ gap analysis metrics to ISPI members. Through PowerMARQ, ISPI members will soon have access to more sophisticated ways to measure present levels of performance and be able to compare those levels to industry averages. PowerMARQ allows users to input their organization’s data into the database and assess their performance against other organizations using more than 200 process metrics. The comparison allows organizations to easily identify performance improvement opportunities. To view the press release announcing the alliance, click here.

  



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 keithp@ispi.org 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, Chicago, October 13-15; Instructional Developer Workshop, Dallas, October 20-22; Criterion-Referenced Testing Workshop, Dallas, October 27-28 and Chicago, November 10-11. Visit www.dsink.com for details and to register!

Register today for Thiagi’s online course “How To Design An Effective Training Game In 10 Minutes” $25. Great content, exciting activities, online games, and personal feedback. The next online session is October 15-31. For more details, visit www.thiagi.com.

 

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: info@proofpoint.net to get started.

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, www.CLOmedia.com
, 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
www.Martintraining.net 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 april@ispi.org. 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 april@ispi.org.

 

 

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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 april@ispi.org.

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