By Ingrid Guerra-López, ISPI Director

In last month’s issue, Steven J. Kelly, ISPI International Director, discussed the critical role of diagnosis before selecting interventions, as well as monitoring the hypothesized effects of selected interventions after diagnosis. Essentially, the ongoing use of evidence is critical to tangible and measurable performance improvement… without it, we are just guessing (and maybe even making things worse).

What is acceptable evidence is not always clear. While some practitioners might claim that acceptable evidence comes from the “field” (perhaps through foundational human performance technology [HPT] processes such as assessment and analysis, or monitoring and evaluation), some researchers might claim that it comes from highly controlled environments, or through the application of a specific set of research methods and approaches. What is clear is that both serious practitioners and researchers use evidence to measurably resolve performance problems (Norris-Thomas, 2006).

ISPI’s Research Committee strives to support the use of evidence (from its various sources) in improving performance by continuing to be active in promoting and engaging in research that supports and furthers the mission of ISPI and help it distinguish itself from other professional organizations. One such exciting effort involves collaboration between the Research Committee and other exceptional ISPI members and contributors in our Research to Practice day at the Annual Conference. Under the leadership of Harold Stolovitch, the 2011 Research to Practice day was a great success. Ryan Watkins and Hillary Leigh have joined Harold in planning the 2012 Research to Practice day, promising to keep the great success of the event going. The major theme of the Research to Practice day will be “myth-defying”–examining current beliefs about what works in learning and performance and questioning these beliefs by using what research evidence actually supports. The aim is to help workplace learning and performance professionals align their practices and decision making with evidence-based principles, and not those that are the current rage or those that have lingered based on lore. Look for more details about this exciting 2012 conference event.

I would also invite you to share your research ideas and interests with the Research Committee. Your ideas might relate to research questions the committee should pursue or fund through its competitive grants or through its invited speakers. I would also encourage you to share your ideas and expectations about how the Research Committee can become an important resource for you, your professional practice, and your clients. Send your suggestions to the Research Committee chair, James Marken, at JMarken@odu.edu.