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, “Keeping Up,” is guest edited by Karen L. Medsker, PhD. She explores five of PIQ’s most influential articles from the past, all related to instruction and mentoring, and the authors have provided research updates on their topics.

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 PIQ, 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?

Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features From an Instructional Design Perspective
Peggy A. Ertmer and Timothy J. Newby

The way we define learning and what we believe about the way learning occurs has important implications for situations in which we want to facilitate changes in what people know and/or do. Learning theories provide instructional designers with verified instructional strategies and techniques for facilitating learning as well as a foundation for intelligent strategy selection. Yet many designers are operating under the constraints of a limited theoretical background. This paper is an attempt to familiarize designers with three relevant positions on learning (behavioral, cognitive, and constructivist) which provide structured foundations for planning and conducting instructional design activities. Each learning perspective is discussed in terms of its specific interpretation of the learning process and the resulting implications for instructional designers and educational practitioners. The information presented here provides the reader with a comparison of these three different viewpoints and illustrates how these differences might be translated into practical applications in instructional situations.

Precision Teaching and Direct Instruction: Measurably Superior Instructional Technology in Schools
Carl Binder, Cathy L. Watkins

Although educators, policy-makers, business leaders, and the general public have become increasingly concerned about the “basic skills” crisis in American schools, research-based solutions have existed for over two decades in the form of measurably superior teaching methodologies: Precision Teaching and Direct Instruction. In federally validated research, each of these instructional technologies has been shown to produce far greater achievement and self-esteem among students than more traditional teaching practices, with favorable cost-benefit ratios when implemented in schools. These results have been obtained despite adverse socio-economic influences on students so often blamed for failure in the classroom. These methods have not been widely adopted, partly due to political and philosophical resistance to measurably superior instructional technology among educators.

This article provides overviews of Precision Teaching and Direct Instruction, discusses their origins and research backgrounds, cites effectiveness data, and describes how they can complement one another when used together. It provides sufficient references to the literature and pointers to existing programs to enable interested readers to learn more about each of these measurably superior educational solutions.

An Investigation of the Profiles of Satisfying and Dissatisfying Factors in E-Learning
Seung Youn (Yonnie) Chyung and Mark Vachon

Various factors influence e-learners’ feelings of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with their e-learning experience, but from an extensive search with six major academic research databases we did not find any research that demonstrated comprehensive profiles of satisfying and dissatisfying factors in e-learning. We conducted a qualitative study to initiate the effort. We used Thorndike’s law of effect and Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory as the conceptual frameworks for our study. Thorndike’s law of effect applied to human psychology suggests that people would try to avoid annoying stimuli whereas they would try to preserve satisfying stimuli. Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory suggests that different factors influence extreme satisfaction and extreme dissatisfaction on the job. Using the two theories as the conceptual frameworks, we revealed profiles of satisfaction-dissatisfaction factors in e-learning by analyzing extant data of course evaluation obtained from 17 e-learning courses. In this article, we provide recommendations on how other e-learning institutions might utilize the research findings to optimize their e-learning programs and we discuss the potential impact of such interventions on overall institutional outcomes such as learner retention.

The Value of Mentoring
Timothy J. Newby and Ashlyn Heide

Mentoring involves the use of an experienced individual to teach and train someone with less knowledge in a given area. Through individualized attention the mentor/teacher transfers needed information, feedback, and encouragement to the protegé/learner. The success of such a program depends heavily on the investment of effort by the mentor. Although benefits for the protegé are typically easily discerned and have been well documented in the past, the factors affecting motivation for the mentor have been less well defined. Therefore, after a discussion of the basic mentoring process and a summary of the protegé and organizational benefits, the major focus of our paper is directed to the extrinsic and intrinsic rewards attained by those who participate as mentors and to the establishment of guidelines that help to maximize the value for all involved.

Measurable and Continuous Performance Improvement: The Development of a Performance Measurement, Management, and Improvement System
Ingrid Guerra-López PhD. and Alisa Hutchinson

Performance management systems are widely employed in organizations, yet there are high rates of dissatisfaction among users as well as significant criticism of the quality and utility of related academic research. Poor measurement of performance indicators and, consequently, poor alignment to performance management interventions may limit the effectiveness of efforts to strategically assess and manage human performance. Following an overview of pertinent literature in human resource disciplines as well as human performance technology, we draw on relevant theories to develop a Performance Measurement, Management, and Improvement System that aligns performance measurement with strategic, tactical, and operational goals and generates meaningful data to drive performance interventions and decisions. We outline a research agenda with recommendations for research across levels and contexts of human performance as well as within different cultural settings and globally distributed organizations. Finally, we propose that empirical validation employ analytic network processing, a technique for modeling complex processes.

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