Performance Improvement Quarterly is a peer-reviewed journal created to stimulate professional discussion in the field and to advance the discipline of human performance technology (HPT) through publishing scholarly works. Our current issue, A Kaleidoscope of Knowledge, edited by Richard B. Pearlstein, PhD, expands our knowledge and demonstrates how this expansion is like looking through a kaleidoscope. It emphasizes human performance technologies and evaluation. This knowledge is expanded in “The Role of Demographics as a Predictors of Successful Performance of Sales Professionals in Business-to-Business Sales Organizations,” “A Case Study of ROI in Organizational Performance of Working at Home,” “Transfer Over Time,” and much more.
PIQ emphasizes original work from the following communities of research and practice including but not limited to: process improvement, organizational design and alignment, analysis, evaluation, measurement, performance management, instructional systems, and management of organizational performance.
We invite you, as a reader of Performance Improvement Quarterly, to lend your thoughts and leave comments about the issue in the comment box below. Let ISPI and your fellow readers know what you thought about the issue. Were there any thought-provoking articles you want to share with others? Is there something you would like to see elaborated on further? What tools and ideas did you take away that helped improve your performance?
Welcome to A Kaleidoscope of Knowledge
Edited by Richard B. Pearlstein, PhD
Welcome to another issue of PIQ. This issue demonstrates how expanding our knowledge is like looking through a kaleidoscope of knowledge: Depending on how we twist and turn our point of view, the resulting images are myriad and rarely the same.
I like empirical evidence. In other words, I want evidence that is based on experience or experiment. But there are many types of empirical approaches, and they are as varied as a kaleidoscope’s colors and shapes.
Quantitative methods based on inferential statistics examine averages, variance, and correlations. Although statistical experimental methods show us much in general about phenomena and their interrelationships, they are less useful at exploring phenomena in their individual details. Qualitative methods examine individual cases in more depth.
The Instructional Effects of Knowledge-Based Community of Practice Learning Environment on Student Achievement and Knowledge Convergence
Darryl C. Draper, PhD
The increased accessibility of technology and Internet connections has enabled organizations to provide their workforces with the opportunity to engage in distributed education. “Harnessing this innovation calls for organizational and technological infrastructures that support the interplay of knowledge and knowing” (Cook & Brown, 1999, p. 381). This article explores the evidence of knowledge convergence in online knowledge-based communities of practice (CoPs). Learning outcomes assessed declarative knowledge, convergence, and knowledge application. A comparison group (self-paced design) was used to draw conclusions about the differential effects of knowledge-building strategies on these learning outcomes. The results show there was a difference in pretest and posttest scores and positive evidence of knowledge convergence. The findings pointed to higher posttest scores and higher level of convergence in the online CoP strategy.
A Case Study of ROI in Organizational Performance of Working at Home
Jack Phillips, PhD, Patti Phillips, PhD, and Rachel Robinson
With the growing suburban population, many employees in metro areas are facing long commutes to and from the workplace. According to the 2011 Texas Transportation Institute’s Urban Mobility Report, the average commuter experiences 34 hours of delay per year and spends an extra $713 on fuel (see http://tti.tamu.edu/documents/mobility-report-2011.pdf). This not only causes stress for the employee but also has a serious impact on the organization and the environment.
Transfer Over Time: Stories About Transfer Years After Training
Stephen L. Yelon, PhD, J. Kevin Ford, PhD, and Simon Golden
The purpose of this qualitative study is to form a grounded theory of the process of long-term transfer. Eight physicians were interviewed to discover if, years later, they had used what they were taught in a faculty development training program. We found that these autonomous professionals continued to apply the teaching ideas they learned. Each, in a personal way, chose to use varied ideas in different ways in several contexts. They applied ideas using intellectual skills such as planning and analyzing. They continued their applications because they perceived supportive work conditions and positive consequences. In sum, over the long term, physicians acquired knowledge and mental skill, chose to use them, and attempted application. They reflected on outcomes, decided to reuse or revise, and tried again. Thus, the process of long-term transfer was learning to use and learning from use. We examine implications for research and training.
The Role of Demographics as Predictors of Successful Performance of Sales Professionals in Business-to-Business Sales Organizations
Michael G. Frino, PhD and Katie P. Desiderio, PhD
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact demographic variables of gender and sales experience have on the performance of business-to-business (B2B) sales professionals. If a deeper understanding can be established of how gender and sales experience variables relate to B2B sales performance, human resource development (HRD) and human performance improvement (HPI) professionals can use these indicators during the hiring and selection process. This article reports findings of the study and offers implications to the field of HRD and HPI.
How Instructional Designers Solve Workplace Problems
Kathleen S. Fortney, EdD and Lisa C. Yamagata-Lynch, PhD
This naturalistic inquiry investigated how instructional designers engage in complex and ambiguous problem solving across organizational boundaries in two corporations. Participants represented a range of instructional design experience, from novices to experts. Research methods included a participant background survey, observations of problem-solving activities, in-depth interviews, and analysis and evaluation of project documents and other tools. The findings revealed differences between experts and novices with regards to tolerance of ambiguity, expectations about their own roles in finding solutions for their clients, adaptability, and attention to appropriate details, and management of workplace stress. The contrast between instructional design processes taught in universities and actual workplace practice was noted by both expert and novice participants. Experienced participants demonstrated adaptability in processes and communications to efficiently arrive at viable solutions for their clients. Expectation setting and relationship building emerged as techniques for creating environments supportive of instructional designers’ problem-solving activities.
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