Society of Performance Improvement Newsletter
CPT Standards and the HPT Model: How One Workplace Learning Professional
Introduced Her Leading Automotive Company to the Benefits of HPT
While working as an in-house training developer, instructor, and performance consultant for one of the leading automotive companies, I was asked to provide refresher training courses on current business processes as well as training for several newly engineered business processes.
Management had determined that too many employees failed to conform to the organization’s established processes. In addition, the company was creating two new workgroups, and they required some process reengineering to integrate the existing group’s systems with the new group’s procedures.
This was not the first time that the organization had faced this type of challenge. I wanted to communicate to management that training wasn’t the only solution. Therefore, I decided to introduce the management team to the attributes and benefits of Human Performance Technology (HPT).
HPT has its roots in many disciplines, starting in the early days of programmed instruction when the cure-all to every problem was training. Today, HPT practitioners strive to enhance the performance of individuals and organizations by using a wide array of solutions to solve performance problems. The strength of HPT is this inclusive nature.
To take advantage of HPT’s strengths, we decided to use the Certified Performance Technology (CPT) standards in the development process. Developed by ISPI, CPT standards have four fundamental practices: focus on outcomes, take a systems view, add value, and work in partnership.
Focus on Outcomes
The Focus on Outcomes CPT Standard embodies the idea that it’s important for an organization to focus on accomplishments rather than activities and behaviors. How does that manifest itself in real organizations?
In their book, Performance Improvement Interventions: Enhancing People, Processes, and Organizations Through Performance Technology, Van Tiem, Moseley, and Dessinger (2001) explain that the overall performance of an organization is the result of its goals, structures, and management actions. As defined by Geary Rummler’s Performance Model, all three levels of performance—organization, process, and the individual employee—are important.
To get the organization to meet this standard, I asked the planners and analysts questions related to the three performance levels. Their answers provided insight into the desired outcome for three general performance needs: 1) goals, 2) design, and 3) management at the respective performance levels.
Take a Systems View
In order to clarify how the relationship between systems links to an employee’s failure to conform to existing processes and new business processes, I again used Rummler’s three-level Performance Model. For this standard, however, I used the Rummler model in tandem with Gilbert’s Behavioral Engineering Model (BEM), which uses the following grid to analyze performance:
Where as Rummler considers issues based on levels, Gilbert emphasizes the environmental and individual factors that influence performance. By using both models to review existing employee performance, I was able to better identify any misalignments between or within the organization, environment, and individual performer.
To convince the management team that Human Performance Improvement (HPI) or HPT encompasses more than training alone, I had them participate in the activity, “Where’s My Biggest Performance Block,” which is used in ASTD’s HPI in the Workplace course.
For this exercise, each manager was asked the question, “Improvement in which one of the following six areas would enable you to better do your job?” The six areas included:
They responded by writing a corresponding cell number listed at the end of each answer on a 3M Post-It note, then placed it in the applicable cell on a large grid that ASTD adapted from the BEM grid.
The results were clear: only one out of seven managers chose answer #4 (training), or posted it to the knowledge box. The exercise was a revelation to the group as a whole and opened some minds to the reality that factors other than training can contribute to low performance in an organization. I also used this exercise as an opportunity to stress the dangers of assuming training as a cure-all to performance needs. This activity proved to be a huge milestone in introducing the organization to HPT and identifying HPI processes as valuable tools for them in their quest to improve the organization’s performance.
Although effective, the results from the exercise were not exactly a major breakthrough.
Partner with Clients and Other Specialists
Two subject matter experts (SMEs) were assigned to work with me by the project’s most avid supporter. I met with the SMEs on a weekly basis to identify goals and objectives of the organization from a functional viewpoint.
Next, I identified and interviewed high performers within the organization, and personally contacted all other stakeholders, including members of the management team. After gaining the support of the management team, I was on my way to making in-roads to true HPT acceptance.
Within the organization, there was still some convincing to do, so I implemented the analysis phase.
Systematic needs or opportunity analysis. Once again I looked to the HPT Model to guide me through the business, performance, and cause aspects of analysis. Fortunately, the results of the activity, “Where’s My Biggest Performance Block,” already indicated how we could add value, so I was given the OK to develop a pilot survey for non-management staff that would uncover specific issues. This survey was part of a needs analysis project that was trying to verify whether non-conformance existed, as well as how and why work instructions and roles or responsibilities contributed to poor performance.
Systematic cause analysis. The pilot survey revealed three major performance gaps. First, some 58% of respondents admitted that they deviated from their work instructions and/or roles and responsibilities due to convenience issues or customer requests. In addition, 50% of respondents stated that they could not link their accomplishments to the organizations’ goals and objectives. Finally, 50% of respondents stated that the training they received didn’t help them accomplish their tasks.
The results of the pilot survey were presented to the management team, and they approved the distribution of the survey to another 180 employees, with the caveat that I remove some questions that they thought might violate certain labor laws with our contract workforce. I was elated by the news and believed that I had finally broken through the organization’s resistance to HPT. I thought that I had finally convinced the management team that performance does not occur in a vacuum.
Finally, the time had come to distribute the survey to the masses. As part of a continuous evaluation process, I had the two SMEs verify several aspects of the survey before the pilot was administered, such as
Most importantly, the SMEs also reviewed the work instructions on the departmental website to verify that the criteria had clear and measurable performance standards.
Before distributing the survey, the administrative assistant forwarded the survey to the director, who had concerns that were similar to the management team. Because the director was not convinced that our plans to handle the labor laws were sufficient, she placed the entire project on hold.
What can you do to avoid this sort of problem in your organization—and still adhere to the CPT Standards and implement the HPT Model?
First, never assume that management has given their total buy-in on a project. As you communicate with your supporters, make sure that they also communicate with their managers to obtain cooperation. Although the project’s champion will act as your point person, they may not be empowered with true decision-making authority.
Also, always pinpoint the decision-maker early in the process. Ask the champion how he or she keeps managers up-to-speed on the intricacies of the project. And, it may be wise to ask if you can be an integral part of that process.
Ultimately, try to receive buy-in from as far up the management ladder as possible throughout the many phases of the project to eliminate surprising roadblocks.
Note: Copyright © December 2004 from ASTD LINKS by Ramona Lawrence. Reprinted with permission of American Society for Training & Development.
Ramona Lawrence has been working for one of the big three automakers for 29 years in various capacities. In the last 10 years, she’s been the training developer and instructor, specializing in performance improvement. She holds a Masters in Human Resource Management from Marygrove College and a Masters in Performance Improvement & Instructional Design from University of Michigan-Dearborn. She also received her certificate in Human Performance Improvement from ASTD.
Would you like to advertise in this space? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Future Watch, Featuring Jeanne Farrington
by Carol Haig, CPT and Roger Addison, CPT, EdD
This month’s TrendSpotter is Jeanne Farrington, CPT, EdD. She leads Farrington & Jensen Consulting, providing strategic training, organization development, and performance consulting services for companies of all sizes. Jeanne is a former Director of the ISPI Board and is a current member of ISPI’s Professional Communities Committee.
When we asked Jeanne to peer into the future of HPT, she shared her expectations for our profession in hopes that we can all help to make them our reality in the next few years.
Jeanne’s first expectation is that HPT will become the premier umbrella under which all performance improvement resides, thus placing a wide range of research-based approaches, tools, and documented successes within easy reach of clients and practitioners. She sees our Society’s star rising as well, making “ISPI the place for performance improvement professionals to go when they want to find the things that work.”
Her second expectation is that HPT will soon be mature enough to have wide appeal for a broad user and client audience because we are within sight of the critical mass needed to mainstream HPT.
What is the Tipping Point for HPT?
The time may well be right for HPT to come into its own as an indispensable aid to organizational leaders worldwide. Leaders in our field and ISPI staff report a noticeable increase in requests for HPT information, support, resources, and speakers from around the world. Imagine HPT:
All practicing performance improvement professionals can join together with ISPI to promote HPT as a compelling, even sexy, suite of principles and practices that, when deployed properly, can add tremendous value to organizations’ results. For example we can:
How Will Organizations Be Different?
When HPT reaches its potential, organizations will be imbued with the performance improvement mindset from top to bottom, as evidenced by:
The Implications for Farrington & Jensen Consulting
As a group of us concluded during the “Clarifying HPT Think Tank” last year, HPT is the integrator and multiplier of performance improvement applications. When HPT travels past the tipping point, it will be easier for practitioners to help organizations improve performance because clients will know what they need and where to go for help. Clients will become true performance improvement advocates who will evangelize the power of HPT to transform performance in their organizations while relying on their consultant partners to guide them to valued results.
Jeanne shares this advice with current and would-be HPTers: Remember that doing HPT well requires effort, commitment, persistence, and continuous learning. We must all strive to embody the hallmarks of a professional:
What can you do today to move HPT into the mainstream where it belongs?
Businesspeople may miss out on opportunities simply because they don’t know how to prepare a proposal to get the work. A formal business case consists of several sections:
The cover letter identifies the target audience and may include business expectations such as the deadline for review, handling the document in terms of proprietary material, or the need for confidentiality. It might also include the names of individuals or groups involved in putting together the document.
The cover letter should also state, in a sentence or two, the problem your proposal addresses. It should be one page, although it may go to a second page for internal business cases if there are many people to acknowledge.
The executive summary is crucial because usually everyone reads it. It should be one or two pages and easily understood, especially by a busy executive.
Key elements to include are business outcomes, how your project will help meet company or business unit goals, total cost, location, and timing. Include a scope statement so the reader understands what is and isn’t addressed (with a short explanation). In addition, limit technical details.
Body of the Proposal or Plan
The body of a major proposal should include:
Keep the following guidelines in mind:
Overview or Introduction
Explain the proposed project—Start by showing that you understand the situation or need by restating the problems and challenges. Then consider the following:
In summary, include a discussion of the project’s deliverables that benefit the company and how they link to the company or business unit goals. Examples: maintain adequate levels of safety, increase shareholder value, become the low cost provider, motivate the employee base, manage relationship with vendors, and improve customer satisfaction.
Recommended and Alternative Solutions
Describe the options you considered. You may also want to provide a payback analysis.
Tips. The best way to present alternatives is to discuss each separately and then contrast and compare the possible solutions. Number the alternatives simply and perhaps include a detailed discussion of them, especially when the decision is close.
How will the anticipated benefits be verified? Be specific. Executives frequently complain that many business cases make vague claims for “greater productivity,” “higher quality,” or “cost savings.” Elaborate on any assertions, whether implicit or explicit.
For example, if you anticipate higher productivity, resulting in less time to perform certain jobs, how will personnel be reallocated? When? If you forecast cost savings, how much will they be? When will the savings be realized?
What is the total amount requested? To reach a total, itemize expenses down to the smallest detail, then summarize with just enough detail to understand current and future expenditures. At the very least, break costs into labor, equipment, and supplies.
Be realistic and specific when constructing the cost summary. Leave no service or goods unaccounted for—your budget may become part of the contract.
Break down the major project sections into milestones and estimate how long each will take to complete. Prepare a realistic schedule. Know where your schedule can slip and where you have no flexibility. The schedule may also help with other resource needs. Be sure to include:
Allow some time for unforeseen delays and problems. However, be careful of “over padding” the schedule.
Risks and Assumptions
List significant events that could influence this project. For each event, discuss consequences, give a dollar impact, and propose a contingency plan. Items to consider:
Appendix or Attachments (based on need)
To keep the proposal easy to read, group supporting material in a separate section. Typical information found in an appendix includes:
Since, 1976, Jane Ranshaw has been president of Jane Ranshaw & Associates, Inc. Her company offers in-house workshops and consulting services in business writing (including proposals and business cases), listening, and consulting skills. She teaches consulting skills to graduate students at DePaul University. Jane received her MBA from The University of Chicago, and her BS in Business from Indiana University. She may be reached at email@example.com.
Would you like to advertise in this space? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
in Performance Technology
Neils Bohr once said that the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. This is an intriguing paradoxical statement.
I can think of many paradoxes in the field of human performance technology (HPT). I believe that the main task of HPT practitioners and philosophers is to identify these paradoxes and to reconcile them.
As a graduate student in the early days of NSPI, I tried to conclusively prove the superiority of Skinnerian linear programs over Crowderian branching programs. Those days, I could not (and did not want to) handle paradoxes. To me, everything was a question of either X or Y. I was right. Now I believe that everything is always both X and Y. I am right.
Most basic principles of performance technology have paradoxical counterparts. For example, we believe in the importance of measurable results. We are right. There are others who believe that really important results are those that are not measurable. They are right.
We believe in rewarding desirable behaviors. We are right. Alfie Kohn states (in Punished by Rewards) that rewards are punishing. He is right. Deci and Ryan (in their meta-analytical review published in Psychological Bulletin) postulate that rewards that are directly linked to specific performance outcomes work against intrinsic motivation. They are right.
We believe that more choices result in greater satisfaction. We are right. Social theorist Barry Schwartz argues (in The Paradox of Choice) more choices lead to increased paralysis, anxiety, and stress. He is right.
We believe that systematic and comprehensive analysis is important in making useful decisions. We are right. Malcolm Gladwell (in Blink) presents impressive evidence to suggest that rapid and intuitive decisions are more useful. He is right.
I am not arguing for a balance between the extremes in a paradox. Such balance only results in mediocrity. I am suggesting a blending of the extremes. For example, in my oxymoronic state of mind, I want to be serious about my playfulness and playful in my seriousness.
In newsletters, one guideline is that writers should write and readers should read. I have been trying out the paradoxical opposite. For effective communication, I think readers should write and writers should read. I have been inviting you to participate in several online OQ (Open Question) exercises. This approach helps us communicate more effectively and learn more from each other.
I have set up an OQ exercise for this month. It requires you to think of basic performance technology principles and their paradoxical counterparts. Please contribute your favorite pairs of apparently contradictory principles by clicking here and visiting this month’s OQ page.
What is Human Performance Technology?
One of the major goals of the Society that the Board must address is providing information on and promoting the principles and applications of human performance technology (HPT). Not infrequently over the past years the question “Just how do we define HPT, and what is its scope” has come up.
Past president Guy Wallace created a presidential task force to address these issues. One major output was the creation of ISPI’s seven Professional Communities (ProComms). Another was a tentative definition of human performance: Human performance is the valued result produced by people working within a system.
And, therefore, human performance technology consists of those principles and applications concerned with improving the impact of any and all factors that affect those results.
The idea of the seven ProComms was in part to identify and group those factors into areas of interest and application.
Let’s look at this definition of human performance, and what it implies:
Of course, there was not complete agreement on these definitions. But a number of us felt it was the best working definition of human performance we have ever achieved.
What do you think?
10 Reasons to Attend ISPI’s Annual Conference in Vancouver
10. Canada is a gateway to adventure: After your six days of unparalleled performance education, Vancouver offers quick and easy access to world-class ski resorts like Whistler and the Canadian Rockies, as well as Victoria and Vancouver Islands and Alaska.
9. Passports and visas are not required for travel from the United States to Canada: Although travel with a valid passport is encouraged, U.S. citizens may travel to Canada with proof of U.S. citizenship such as a certified copy of your birth certificate issued by the city, county, or state in the United States where you were born, and a current, valid driver’s license. (For tips on travel to Canada, click here, or for information on obtaining a U.S. Passport, click here.)
8. Our closing banquet speaker, Harold Stolovitch, will humorously embark on a lifetime of performance pursuits that remind us of Pink Panther escapades: You’ll be amused and enlightened as we travel through a series of Alice-in-Wonderland adventures, questing for performance in all the wrong places...desperately seeking to discover that prized performance treasure trove.
7. Have we mentioned what a great value this conference is? Vancouver offers a world-class experience and excellent value for your money.
6. You will be able to Explore Canada’s West Coast “Super Natural B.C.” in only 180 minutes: The experience begins the moment you enter a surreal world through fresh evergreen trees surrounded by the aroma of a British Columbia rainforest. Wander into Okanagan Wine Country, visit Little Italy for delectable pasta, and grab a bite of sushi in Pan Asian Square. Sample seafood and listen to crashing waves as you watch a beautiful sunset off the shores of Vancouver Island. Whatever path you follow, plan to enjoy food, drink, camaraderie, and an energetic, electric ambiance that will enrapture you for hours at this new mid-conference social event.
5. Your HPT colleagues from around the world will be in attendance: Network with colleagues from more than 20 countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Israel, Japan, and Australia.
4. Enjoy the most spectacular setting: Nestled between majestic mountains and sparkling ocean, Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and offers an unforgettable meeting experience.
3. Attend the CPT Forum: The Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) Forum, introduced at last year’s Annual Conference, returns to Vancouver. For more information on this specialized program for CPTs, click here.
2. Capitalize on affordable airfares and stay in great hotels: Roundtrip airfares from major U.S. cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle) range from $250-$500 over the dates of conference. For additional savings, United and Continental Airlines are offering special rates for conference attendees. Click here for additional information. Conde Nast Magazine selected the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel as the #1 hotel in Canada. The Pan Pacific Vancouver and Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Hotel have also earned prestigious awards.
And the number one reason to attend ISPI’s premier HPT event of the year: The 43rd Annual International Performance Improvement Conference—Process, Practice, & Productivity—spans six days, starting with award-winning, three-day Human Performance Technology Institutes, a premier lineup of pre-conference workshops, more than 200 concurrent sessions, and a keynote presentation by Chip Bell, senior partner with Performance Research Associates, Inc.
If you miss this conference, you will regret not attending a truly international performance opportunity! Register today!
for Fall Conference Proposal Submissions Fast Approaching
The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) is hosting two conferences in the fall. From September 19-24, 2005, in Las Vegas, Nevada, ISPI will present a conference focused on Instructional Systems and the Management of Organizational Performance. If you are interested in presenting at either event, please visit the ISPI website for full details: www.ispi.org. The deadline to submit an RFP is Friday, April 1, 2005.
Tidbits from Behavior Science
What Is a Concept?
The word concept comes up a lot in our professional discourse, as well as in ordinary daily life. People talk about “getting the concept of...” or “having a concept of…” when describing efforts to teach, learn, or understand what some might think of as ideas. Dictionary.com lists synonyms for concept that include: abstraction, apprehension, approach, and big idea. This is one of those cases in which our vernacular use of a word isn’t quite as precise as the technical definition that would help us in education, training, or performance improvement. For decades, behavior science has had an elegant and precise way of defining the concept (or term) concept—one that is worth remembering and using in our day-to-day professional work.
I’ve always appreciated the definition provided by Robert Horn, creator of the Information Mapping method, and the 2004 recipient of ISPI’s Thomas F. Gilbert Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement. This is, in part, because Horn’s background includes both research in behavioral psychology applied in programmed instruction during its early days at Columbia University and work from cognitive psychology. Horn (1995) defined a concept as “a class or group of items that share a unique combination of critical attributes not shared by other groups, and can be referred to by the same generic name or symbol.”
Horn’s definition reflects the analysis provided by early behavioral research in which humans and animals learned concepts based on the presentation and reinforcement of responding to examples, and non-reinforcement (extinction) of responding to non-examples of those concepts (e.g., Herrnstein and Loveland, 1964).
Discrimination and Generalization
The processes demonstrated in basic laboratory research that account for development of concepts are stimulus discrimination and stimulus generalization.
Discrimination is the ability to distinguish between things, and it develops when a (typically verbal) response to a particular thing (or stimulus) produces positive consequences or feedback (reinforcement) while the same response to other things does not result in positive consequences (extinction). A child learns to discriminate between the family dog and cat, for example, when her parents reinforce calling each animal by its correct name and do not reinforce using the incorrect names.
Generalization is responding to a number of different things in the same way, as in “generalizing across examples.” So, for example, a child learns to say “cat” in the presence of many different colors and sizes of cats, and to say “dog” in the presence of many different types of dogs.
Forming a concept occurs when we discriminate between instances and non-instances of the concept (cats and non-cats) and generalize across instances of the concept (e.g., all dogs). We form concepts based on critical attributes of the things included and excluded by each concept, and we often learn best through the experience of responding to many examples and non-examples and receiving feedback as to the correctness of our responses. In the field of performance improvement, for example, we learn the concept “accomplishment” based on a definition that describes its critical attributes (e.g., an accomplishment is a noun that names the product of behavior), and then perhaps by checking off examples of accomplishments from a list that includes descriptions of both accomplishments and behaviors and perhaps other non-instances of accomplishments.
Instructional designers and teachers of all kinds should recognize that simply giving definitions is often not sufficient for teaching important concepts because it does not guarantee that learners will be able to sort examples from non-examples, i.e., correctly “apply” the concepts. Often we have to supply the critical attributes that the learner should look for in deciding whether a given instance should be called by the concept name, and then present well-sequenced, easy, and hard-to-discriminate examples and non-examples. The result of good concept learning is that the trainee never makes a mistake when using a given word or phrase (“concept”) to label a specific example. The trainee discriminates perfectly between examples and non-examples, and generalizes perfectly across examples.
This technical understanding of the term concept is an important product of behavior science that was later adopted by cognitive psychologists and educators. It is most relevant to the presentation and teaching of terminology and classifications in the workplace and in everyday life.
Herrnstein, R.J., & Loveland, D.H. (1964, October). Complex visual concept in the pigeon. Science, 549-551.
Horn, R.E. (1995). Participant’s manual for developing procedures, policies, and documentation. Waltham, MA: Information Mapping, Inc.
Engelmann, S., & Carnine, D. (1991). Theory of instruction. Eugene, OR: ADI Press.
Markle, S.M. (1969). Good frames and bad: A grammar of frame writing, 2nd edition. New York.
Dr. Carl Binder is Senior Partner at Binder Riha Associates, a consulting firm that teaches clients to apply the FluencyBuilding™ training and coaching methodology, the Six Boxes™ Performance Management model, and practical performance measurement for evaluation and decision making. His easy-to-remember email address is CarlBinder@aol.com, and you may read other articles by him at www.Binder-Riha.com/publications.htm.
Announces Election Results!
The votes have been tallied, and the following candidates have been elected to serve as members of ISPIs 2005-2007 Board of Directors.
Clare Elizabeth Carey, CPT, EdD
Bob Bodine, CPT, PhD
Capt. Matt Peters, CPT
The following Board members will remain for the 2005-06 term: Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan, CPT, PhD (President), Mariano Bernárdez, CPT, PhD, Andrea Moore, CPT, Marilyn Spatz, CPT, and Richard D. Battaglia, CAE (ex officio).
A special thanks to departing Board members: Donald T. Tosti, CPT, PhD (President), Barbara H. Gough, CPT, and James A. Pershing, CPT, PhD, for their hard work and dedication to ISPI.
Opinion…What Are the Major “Opportunities” with
Many. Varied. Significant for some. Opportunities, as in “problems to address.”
Too often we, in our consulting practice, continue to see the following problem or opportunities. These issues greatly impact the “life-cycle costs” for Instructional Systems Design (ISD) products, those T&D or learning products or knowledge products, which we will refer to as T&D, as in “training and development.” The issues are:
Blanketing Versus Targeting ISD Efforts
Too often the focus is on providing T&D opportunities for everyone. By not getting aligned with the enterprise leadership and working on specific, critical strategic and operational needs, sharing with the customer and leadership stakeholders, and forcing the tough decisions regarding priorities and resource allocations, ISD efforts and resources are wasted on low-value projects, with little chance for significant ROI for the shareholders.
Performance is often understood in the most generic terms, perhaps driven by a generic competency model, which is true enough on the surface, but won’t get most people to superior performance levels. Generic models cause ISDers to create generic products, with little chance at real impact back on the job. Communications skills, presentation skills, or problem-solving skills apply very differently for shop floor workers, their bosses, the sales force, the process engineers, the ISDers, and the company lawyers and accountants. One-size-fits-all products don’t have a prayer of impact compared to targeted content (with perhaps some shareable components or objects). The costs of lost opportunity of impacting on-the-job performance, because the content and design did not focus ultimately on someone’s real job performance requirements, can be significant.
Reuse of Content
Too often instructional content is not designed to increase sharing where appropriate, and for non-sharing when unique content is needed. Even in multiple targeted communications skills training products for varied audiences, there are common content pieces or chunks or objects. The costs for not improving reuse capability due to how T&D gets designed, and to do so without “watering” the content down to some vanilla extract that again doesn’t impact performance, are also significant and can result in significant additional costs to the enterprise. Imagine if your car didn’t share any components with the cars built by your manufacturer; you wouldn’t be able to afford it because their cost to produce it would be significantly higher. Remember the “platform” design approach that helped save Chrysler in the 1980s?
The costs for developing content are artificially too high due to a lack of available, or reluctance to use, standard but flexible ISD process, content configuration rules, tools, and templates, and to employ a rationale content reuse strategy and approach. The end result of not doing that is inadvertent but unavoidable redundant content development efforts that will cause higher “first costs” than necessary and will lead to higher “life-cycle costs,” some of which are explained in the following four issues.
The costs for storing and retrieving content are too high due to lack of a rational, logical “Dewey decimal system” for products and their subassemblies, much like the bar coding SKU (stock keeping unit) schemes in place everywhere in our daily, personal lives. If content exists within your current, total product line, can anyone find it quickly for reuse or maintenance?
The costs are too high for communications and marketing, registration, scheduling (for those T&D products needing to be scheduled), or ordering (for those T&D products that need to be ordered) because the product line of T&D for any target audience is overlapped, gapped, and a mess in general, and it is hard to present as a unified system of instruction.
The costs to deploy T&D are often too high given the probable returns; and recently when the cheaper, total “e” learning strategy failed to produce results (for the buyers), we now find ourselves back to a more blended approach, which still too often focuses on low-hanging fruit content that won’t move performance levels higher at an adequate ROI.
The decentralized ISD systems and processes that typically exist, including the lack of design rules and tools, and the lack of a rationale inventory scheme, will drive up the costs for keeping content up-to-date. But if the content isn’t really improving performance anyway, maybe it’s better left hidden with the hope that any subsequent effort may get luckier; just don’t share that with the shareholders.
These issues greatly impact the “life-cycle costs” for ISD products: T&D or learning products or knowledge products. While there are “a bevy” of IT tools in the marketplace today to address some of these ISD issues (such as LMS, CMS, and LCMS) they are too often “open data warehouses” for data that you can configure any way you want to. Again, this permits wide variation to exist, and can ultimately destroy projected ROI.
“Having it your way,” for each ISDer with his or her unique approach to ISD, keeps the barn door open and the horses running free. The engineering community addressed this decades ago and “closed the barn door” with CAD/CAM systems (computer aided design/computer aided manufacturing). Additionally, standard parts inventories, design rules, and other tools and templates helped them speed design and ensure greater quality of those designs.
Life-cycle costs include “first costs.” T&D first costs include those costs incurred for developing T&D. And we mean “all costs” associated with T&D development. All costs are the incremental costs incurred for “having done something” and take away from the profit on the bottom line. Build it and they will come, but at a cost.
And the life-cycle costs include the costs for administering, deploying, and maintaining T&D; these too can be significant. And if your up-front ISD processes allowed you to inadvertently build redundant content, then the life-cycle costs multiply even faster and deplete the bottom line greater. Remember, a dollar not spent falls directly to the bottom line.
Address these ISD opportunities for the sake of the shareholders, for the ROI!
Note: Reprinted from EPPIC’s Winter 2004-5 Pursuing Performance quarterly newsletter with permission.
Guy W. Wallace, CPT has been a member of ISPI since 1979, has served on numerous NSPI/ISPI Committees and Task Forces, the Board of Directors, and as President-elect and President. He has served over 35 Fortune 500 firms in more than 200 projects since 1982 with performance-based ISD solutions where the knowledge and skills were in deficit. He may be reached at email@example.com.
ISPI Recognizes Excellence in the Field of HPT
The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) Awards of Excellence program is designed to showcase the people, products, innovations, and organizations that represent excellence in the field of instructional and human performance technology. The recipients below will be recognized during the Closing Banquet at ISPI’s 43rd Annual Performance Improvement Conference on Friday, April 15.
Human Performance Intervention
This award recognizes outstanding human performance interventions.
In a recent call center technology initiative, a division of WellPoint, Inc. in Georgia, developed and aligned human objectives to support the technology and business objectives during the planning and implementation of the project. This alignment enabled Georgia Operations to achieve all three sets of objectives and realize the productivity gains projected. The process of defining and aligning the human objectives resulted in an integrated change management strategy that included specific and targeted performance interventions that fit the culture and needs of the impacted population. Execution of this strategy was a cross-functional effort involving operations and information technology leaders as well as human resources and organization development staff.
Computacenter is Europe’s leading independent provider of IT infrastructure services. At the heart of the operation is the warehouse—Supply Chain Services (SCS). Increasingly focused on cost reduction and service improvement, Computacenter enlisted the services of Vector Europe to rapidly and sustainably improve the performance of SCS. Key achievements were:
Vector achieved skill transfer to the Computacenter management team to maintain and further develop the improvement of the department.
Dell’s storage area network (SAN) training, Implementing Dell Enterprise Storage Solutions (IDESS) and Implementing Data Protection on Dell Storage (IDPDS), exemplifies Dell’s commitment to relevant, easily accessible customer education with tangible benefits. The courseware’s revolutionary use of a simulated SAN environment allows Dell to reach an ever-wider audience of enterprise customers.
More important, Dell’s SAN training has had a measurable impact on performance. A 2004 Dell study, reported that customers who completed the courses made 43% fewer support calls than customers who had not attended the workshops.
In 2003, the Navy’s Human Performance Center (HPC) was established as a direct result of the Executive Review of Navy Training (ERNT) and Task Force EXCEL. Those efforts determined that managing human performance was not a function the Navy was currently performing. Thus, HPC was born, with headquarters in Virginia Beach, Va., and 29 detachments throughout the United States. One of the first efforts undertaken by HPC detachments were performance improvement projects within their own centers. HPC’s submission is based on two specific projects from HPC’s Center for Explosive Ordnance Disposal & Diving (CENEODDIVE) Human Performance Detachment—the Individual Account (IA) project and the Drop on Request (DOR) project.
The goals of ACDP include empowering associates to be self-directed learners, increasing associate satisfaction, reducing first-year turnover, and clarifying job expectations. This performance solution was implemented by a cross-functional project team that included the client organization. It provided associates with detailed task listings, performance criteria, competencies, and unlimited access to learning and development opportunities. Fifteen months after implementation, empowered associates totaled 34% that exceeded goal, and associate satisfaction improved by at least 20%. Associate and supervisor testimonials also indicated improvement in associate perceptions around career growth in the company as well as examples of how associates applied newly learned skills.
This award recognizes the reduction of dependence on memory by storing information, processes, or perspectives that influence or guide job behavior.
The Coast Guard’s 13th District Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety (CFVS) staff developed a job performance aid programmed onto a Palm Pilot to decrease Coast Guard boarding officer errors in applying CFVS regulations at sea. There are myriad safety regulations with a highly variable degree of applicability based on a particular commercial fishing vessel’s characteristics and operating parameters. The relative infrequency coupled with the complexity of the task in determining the appropriate safety regulations created a serious performance consistency challenge for boarding officers. The Coast Guard converted existing paper job aids for vessel inspection into an electronic PDA job aid that filters the myriad regulations based on a vessel’s operating parameters and location. Evaluation data indicates improper application of regulations has been substantially reduced, and training time dropped from 6,800 man-hours to 850 man-hours per year.
ET&D collaborates with custom content providers in the development of performance-based learning solutions that are innovative, cost effective, and of the highest quality. The development specifications describe key expectations and an integrated instructional systems design model. Internal and external members of project teams utilize the specifications to support the analysis, design, development, and implementation of each solution. Included with each request for proposal, the specifications provide a benchmark for evaluation of project deliverables. This performance aid reduces dependence on memory and leads to well designed, best-in-class learning solutions that are defect-free, delivered on time, and within budget.
Outstanding Instructional Product or Intervention
This award recognizes outstanding results derived from instructional products and interventions developed through systematic approaches to human performance problems, needs, or opportunities.
As we all know, experiential learning makes a lasting impression. With the blossoming of the computer industry came the ability to provide experiential learning in a safe simulated environment. The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc., along with its partner, Novations Group, Inc., developed and implemented a modular, web-based, interactive cashier training application delivered via the LMS, or CD-ROM if necessary. The application interfaces with the PC and the same keyboard that cashiers use in the store when checking out customers. New-hire cashiers learn their performance tasks faster and in a safe environment, which decreases the amount of on-floor training time needed and reduces errors before performing solo. The modular structure of the application allows for refresher training on any given topic, at any time, by any cashier.
The award-winning instructional intervention titled “Centralized Dispatching" training was targeted at improving the financial success of Imperial Oil and its 100 Esso-branded associates. The two-phase program addressed business process and performance gaps created when Imperial Oil changed the Canadian bulk fuel distribution business model. Phase 1 introduced processes to the associates (owners) through a two-day workshop. Phase 2 was a two-day workshop for the dispatchers (performers) delivered 90 days after the associate training. The 90-day period allowed time to implement process changes prior to training the dispatchers. The workshops introduced business process, role descriptions, dispatching practices, and change management through high-energy interactive activities, role plays, case studies, and simulations.
The award-winning CD-ROM titled “Creating the Best Customer Experience” is a dynamic, interactive training tool designed for Imperial Oil’s 636 retailers and their 5,360 attendants. It was created in order to sustain and further develop the capabilities related to the revised Service Model, previously launched in facilitated sessions across Canada. This training tool provides attendants and retailers alike with the opportunity to learn how to consistently generate exceptional customer experiences for every customer, every time, everywhere. It contains six distinct training modules for attendants, one specific to the retailer. In addition, it contains an array of interactive elements: quizzes, pop-up agents, hands-on practice, video, audio, and print-out job aids.
U.S. Coast Guard storekeepers’ responsibilities include procurement, shipping, receiving, accounting for goods and property, and basic financial accounting. The entry-level training (known as SK “A” School) represents an accomplishment-based redesign from a nine-week lecture-based course to a seven-week performance-based and highly interactive learning experience. The training provides practical hands-on experience simulating as much of the storekeeper’s world of work as possible. With the help of Titan ISD professionals the new SK “A” School was designed, developed, and implemented in nine months. This new program saved the USCG over 270 person-weeks that had formerly been devoted to training, while vastly improving the quality and efficiency of new storekeepers in the field.
Implementation of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Information Systems entry-level technical training (known as IT “A” School) was a strategic change in the way the Coast Guard approaches training. The 27-week curriculum uses a performance-based high-simulation approach to training delivery. The new curriculum minimizes lecture and focuses on building performance confidence and competence through hands-on exercises. The exercises use equipment that mirrors an entry-level technician’s environment. Incorporating the use of computers, telephony hardware, fiber optic equipment, networking gear, computer-based training applications, video and game-based training, the Coast Guard is producing the best technicians in its history.
Changing technology led the U.S. Coast Guard to create a new occupational specialty called operations specialist (OS). They are responsible for the tactical planning and communications for CG missions. Four Coast Guard active duty and three ISD professionals from PerotSystems Government Services Inc. used accomplishment-based instructional design methods to develop a curriculum to train entry-level operations specialists to perform in the highly technical environment. The resulting curriculum (known as OS “A” School) is a performance-based technical training program conducted in a simulated environment using real-world equipment. The impact of the OS “A” School training is that the Coast Guard now has entry-level personnel able to execute tactics, procedures, and doctrine in a highly technical environment.
Outstanding Instructional Communication
This award recognizes an outstanding communication that enables individuals or organizations to achieve excellence in human performance technology.
Evaluating Training Programs—8 Online Modules is an online workshop, now available on CD-ROM, providing performance technologists the necessary knowledge and skills to evaluate training programs and corporate interventions. The eight modules, which use examples, exercises, tests, audios, and slideshows to illustrate how to use basic statistics, prove validity and reliability issues, develop sophisticated reactionnaires, create reliable attitudinal instruments, write content valid multiple-choice exams, measure inter- and intra-rater reliability to evaluate on-the-job behavior, calculate return-on-investment, incorporate simultaneous pre- and post-self-efficacy instruments into end-of-course assessments, and predict behavior transfer from lower level evaluation data.
This book provides guidelines and standards for producing standalone web-based training (WBT). In specific, you will learn how to:
The wildly popular book, Telling Ain’t Training, has an equally whimsical, entertaining, and solidly written companion, Training Ain’t Performance, that takes on the subject of human performance. From its first chapter to its conclusion, readers are gently guided toward an understanding of human performance improvement and how to use it for real organizational value. Readers are not only introduced to key performance concepts including why training is often not the only answer, but also how to realistically transition from a “training order taker to a performance consultant.” Training Ain’t Performance also contains a “cornucopia” of performance interventions along with help on the day-to-day work of a performance consultant plus demonstrating ROI for performance interventions.
The authors decided to write this book to provide the field of instructional design with a practical, yet theoretically based, handbook on the development of instructional materials based on cognitive psychology. They felt such a book was needed for the experienced practitioner and graduate student to provide:
Chapters of Merit
Chapter awards celebrate the accomplishments of local ISPI Chapters. The awards emphasize accomplishments rather than competition of the Chapters.
Chapter of Excellence
The award is given to chapters that fulfill rigorous standards of excellence.
The award is given to chapters that spread and share the performance improvement message to others in academic and non-academic settings.
The above vision and objectives were used as the foundation for the development and implementation of the 2004 Winter Workshop. The ongoing focus on the chapter’s vision causes the board and committee members to continually question whether our programs, newsletters, and other events are in alignment and are meeting the professional needs of our members and the HP professional community.
Chapter Hall of Fame
The ISPI Awards of Excellence program is designed to showcase people, products, innovations, and organizations that represent excellence in the field of instructional and human performance technology.
Can It Predict Preparedness for Success?
Among the many articles found in Performance Improvement Quarterly (Vol. 17, No. 4) highlighting the latest research to guide human performance technology and performance improvement practice are the findings of a research study on the development of an E-learner Readiness Self-Assessment. With grant support from the ISPI Research Committee, the researchers describe their efforts to validate the items of a self-assessment questionnaire that, it is hoped, can be used in the future to evaluate how prepared learners are for success in the online classroom. An abstract of the article follows.
Today, e-learning is a common delivery media for education and training within many organizations. Yet, while both the supply and demand for e-learning opportunities have risen in recent years, many professionals are beginning to question whether e-learners are prepared to be successful in an online learning environment (e.g., Guglielmino & Guglielmino, 2003; Watkins & Corry, 2005). After all, a learner’s demonstrated success in a conventional education and training classroom may not be an adequate predictor of success in an e-learning classroom.
One way of gauging a potential online learner’s readiness is through self-assessment. As a first step in defining an instrument that measures an e-learner’s readiness. With the cooperation of volunteer participants from the U.S. Coast Guard, this study looked into the validity and internal consistency of items within a self-assessment of e-learning readiness that is under development, and provided data for the continuing development and revision of the instrument. Having demonstrated evidence of internal consistency and construct validity, the self-assessment now provides a tool for continuing research into the prediction of e-learning performance.
If you would like to download a PDF of the full article, click here. For additional articles that support the practice of research-based performance improvement, continue to look to PIQ as your resource for the latest research.
ISPI Job Bank
The ISPI Job Bank offers a cost-effective method for employee recruitment where employers pay a small fee to post jobs and job seekers submit their resumes at no cost.
It is designed to help employers solve their staffing needs and assist employees seeking new opportunities. Employers will be provided with a secure job posting tool that allows them to post, edit, and delete jobs as well as screen candidates against specific qualifications; and career seekers will be able to investigate new career opportunities and receive electronic follow-up when a new posting fits their criteria.
For employers, the applicant tracking software enables candidates applying for jobs to automatically be sorted into “A-lists” and “B-lists” depending on their qualifications and the position description. Employers can also search the resume database specifically focused on performance improvement candidates.
Both employers and career seekers have complete control over the confidentiality of their information and are able to undertake customized job searches. Click here to visit the Job Bank today!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 301.587.8570.
Annual Conference Sponsors
Understanding your business processes is key to improved business performance. GEM’s Process Power™ solutions include training in process modeling, process assessment, and gap analysis, leading directly to enhanced employee process knowledge. Our GEMWorX FlowModeler® process tool supports your business improvement goals. Visit GEM, or call 215-706-4190.
With Mimeo.com at your fingertips, you're one step ahead! Print and proof finished, bound documents from your desktop, with next morning delivery for orders placed by 10pm ET. Secure digital libraries for quick re-orders. Exceptional quality. Reliable turnaround. Flexible specifications. Try Mimeo.com free: www.mimeo.com or 800.Go.Mimeo.
Positive relationships are a prerequisite to efficient teams. The Strength Deployment Inventory® is a memorable relationship-building tool that integrates seamlessly into performance improvement programs. The SDI® recognizes the motivation behind behavior—revealing why individuals act the way they do. Mention ISPI for a free SDI. www.personalstrengths.com or 800-624-SDIS.
Books and Reports
Playful Performance Consulting According to Thiagi. Thiagi doesn’t have what it takes to be a serious performance consultant. But, he has created techniques and templates to make you a playful performance technologist. For free stuff (and expensive stuff) on interactive strategies for improving performance, visit www.thiagi.com.
Conferences, Seminars, and
Announcing the 2005 Learning and Performance Strategies Conference “Faster, Cheaper, BETTER”, June 28-30: www.learningandperformance.com. Upcoming workshops by Darryl L. Sink & Associates, Inc.: Instructional Developer Workshop, March 29-31, Chicago; Criterion Referenced Testing Workshop, April 26-27, Chicago; and Designing Instruction for Web-Based Training, April 18-20, Chicago. Visit www.dsink.com.
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
The International Journal of Coaching in Organizations (IJCO) is a professional journal, published quarterly to provide reflection and critical analysis of coaching in organizations. The journal offers research and experiential learning from experienced practitioners representing various coaching schools and methodologies.
Performance Improvement Quarterly, co-published by ISPI and FSU, is a peer-reviewed journal created to stimulate professional discussion in the field and to advance the discipline of Human Performance Technology through literature reviews, experimental studies with a scholarly base, and case studies. Subscribe today!
ISPI Membership: Join or Renew Today!
Are you working to improve workplace
performance? Then, ISPI membership is your key to professional development
through education, certification, networking, and professional affinity programs.
If you are already a member, we thank you for your support. If you have been considering membership or are about to renew, there is no better time to join ISPI. To apply for membership or renew, visit www.ispi.org, or simply click here.
Newsletter Submission Guidelines
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:
In addition to the article, please include a short bio (2-3 lines) and a contact email address. All submissions should be sent to email@example.com. Each article will be reviewed by one of ISPIs on-staff HPT experts, and the author will be contacted if it is accepted for publication. If you have any further questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
PerformanceXpress is an ISPI member benefit designed to build community, stimulate discussion, and keep you informed of the Societys 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, ISPIs Senior Director of Publications, at email@example.com.
1400 Spring Street, Suite 260
Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA