Recently, several of us were talking about instructional writing when one person offered her opinion that instructional writing was very different from creative writing.
Later I pondered this viewpoint. Did I ever do any creative work? Very early in my career in programmed instruction I wrote and published a high school algebra program. Rather than solving a lot of problems, as in conventional classroom approaches, my students spent most of their time discriminating what was the proper setup or next step for each problem. They actually completed the solution to perhaps one out of every six of the problems presented. The result was faster learning and higher scores on a final exam than those in a conventional classroom. Was that creative?
Shortly thereafter I authored a text in beginning bridge. As part of the analysis, we flowcharted the bidding process as well as the opening plays. We used these charts as job aids for the book. Using self-study exercises, along with the job aids, people were able to quickly sit down and play a decent game of bridge. Was that creative writing?
A few years later, I got a contract to produce a self-instructional course on commercial lending for a large bank. This subject had been traditionally taught using a case study approach. My coauthor, Carter Brown, and I interviewed many successful loan officers and analyzed their decision-making processes. We converted the information into algorithms and heuristics, and then built the self-instructional course around these job aids. The result was to revolutionize the field of commercial lending training. Was this creative?
Then, there was the Introductory Psychology text I wrote with
Kathy Speeth. It was designed on a personalized mastery-learning model. In the early 1970s, more than 100,000 college students earned an A because they used our course to master the subject matter at 90% or better.
Next, I thought of other creative art forms. Surely playwrights are considered creative. Authors like Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, and many others write scripts for plays that last from two to three hours. Their purpose may be to inform, entertain, or just involve an audience in the message or content of their play.
To me, this seems similar to the purpose of a course my colleagues and I had written for British Airways, called Managing People First (MPF). This course was classroom-based, not self-instructional. But unlike the two or three hours of most plays, our “play” started on Sunday afternoon and went to the following Friday evening—five and a half days. It also began at seven o'clock in the morning with some kind of physical activity that most managers reluctantly attended and ended around 10 p.m. after the final group activity. Most playwrights must keep the audience’s interest for a fairly short time, and if the pace of the play slows too much or it goes on for too long, they lose them. My “play” had to last for approximately 52 hours and I could not afford to lose them.
Was it a hit? Well, when we began our leadership program British Airways was losing $200 a minute; after the end of our run, they were making $600 per minute in net profit. Yes, there were a lot of other change events during that time, but British Airways CEO Colin Marshall gave a great deal of credit for the change to MPF. Our participants gave us great reviews and the London Times “hailed” it as American brainwashing. We had a successful four-and-a-half-year run.
Orchestra conductors and movie directors are also typically viewed as creative artists. Are lead instructors in the same class? A learning experience like MPF is not unlike a piece of music. Both a lead instructor and a conductor have a “script” and directions to follow—a written instructional program and a musical score—and both need to interpret the materials and manage the event. As with a concert, a course can have a rhythm and flow: sometimes fast, sometimes slow; there is “heads up” time and “heads down” time; game time and planning time; work alone time and teamwork time.
While a conductor deals with both the musicians of an orchestra and an audience, for a lead instructor, the participants are both audience and musicians. I was fortunate enough to have the experience of participating both in writing the “score” for MPF and serving as lead instructor for the first six sessions. The experience was a joint effort for my co-instructors, the participants, and me; we shared insights, learned and laughed together (and occasionally even cried). It felt pretty creative to me.
I recall a comment made at an early ISPI conference by one of the pioneers in the field, Dr. Charles Slack. He said, “Labeling what we do as just writing workbooks or course packages is like calling Michelangelo’s work on the Sistine Chapel just painting the ceiling.”
Instructional writing may be different from writing fiction—but it is often very creative.
Donald T. Tosti, CPT, PhD, a consistent contributor to PerformanceXpress, is the founding partner of Vanguard Consulting. He has been a recognized expert in performance-based approaches to organizational effectiveness for three decades. Don has received ISPI’s top two honors: Member for Life and the Thomas F. Gilbert Award. He also served as ISPI president in 2004–2005. He has been involved in a wide range of organizational alignment and change programs for companies in the
U.S., Middle East, and Europe. Don has also written numerous books and articles on human performance and its application in today’s business world. He may be reached at Change111@aol.com.
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|“Labeling what we do as just writing workbooks or course packages is like calling Michelangelo’s work on the Sistine Chapel just painting the ceiling.”
An LMS Implementation: Lessons Learned
In the past, only the largest companies implemented a complete learning management system (LMS) for tracking learning activity and managing content. However, the increasing number of systems available, combined with the reduction of the cost of having an LMS, has resulted in medium-sized and smaller businesses implementing learning management systems. Given this trend, I found it necessary to learn more about the process of implementing an LMS. To do this, I worked with Matria Healthcare to find out their lessons learned when recently implementing an LMS.
Lesson #1: Recognize a Real Need for an LMS
Implementing an LMS can look great on your resume, but that is no reason to implement one. You should look for certain warning signs that signal a need for an LMS before you implement. Some of the signs include:
- Do you regularly need to report on learning activity?
- How much time do you spend putting together learning reports?
If you currently do not spend any time or money putting together learning reports, you probably do not need an LMS yet.
- Do you have compliance requirements on learning?
Compliance with the law is an excellent reason to consider an LMS.
- How many learners do you have in the organization?
Too few learners will make the cost per learner of a full LMS implementation prohibitive. Smaller numbers of learners might point you toward a hosted LMS that you can simply “brand.”
- Are your learners widely dispersed or in one location?
If you have a small number of learners in one location, an LMS might be overkill. However, if you have multiple centers or learners that travel, an LMS will be useful for providing one place for the learners to easily access training.
Lesson #2: Selecting the LMS
First, define your main business objectives in buying an LMS. Try to keep the list short—maybe three or four objectives. Next, find several learning management systems that claim to meet these objectives. Finally, select the one that is closest to meeting those objectives “out of the box.” Avoid customization! Customizing an LMS can lead to difficulties as the needs of your company change. Also, customization is expensive in terms of time and money. Therefore, it is always best to find that LMS that is perfect for you as is.
Lesson #3: Selling the LMS to the Executives
There is one good way to sell a new, large-scale, high-cost software to management: metrics! You have to determine:
- What activities will be replaced by the LMS?
- How much do those activities currently cost the business?
- How much money will the new LMS cost?
- How much will be saved once the LMS is implemented?
Ashley Gillis explained that she was able to turn the dollar figure on how much the LMS would cost into a dollar amount per employee. She then pitched, “Would you buy a cup of coffee for each employee once per month? That is all the LMS will cost you.”
Lesson #4: Start the Implementation from the Top
Although LMS is a term we performance improvement professionals toss around with as much ease as DVD and TiVo, your average corporate executive will not recognize it unless they have been in an organization with an LMS that was well publicized. For this reason, Todd VanLeuven (coauthor of this article) suggests that before any LMS implementation work begins, you must first educate and market the concept of an LMS to senior management. The common messages should be focused around:
- What is an LMS?
- What is the value of an LMS to the corporation and its employees?
- How can it be used for compliance purposes?
- What reports will be available?
- What is the estimated return on investment?
To deliver this message, Todd suggests you do not use a simple email. He suggests you use a complete communications plan. Since Matria is a dispersed organization with over 30
locations, his plan included:
- Face-to-face or online meetings with all executives and managers in each location
- Written communication with uses, value, and implementation dates
- Messaging from the top-level executives to pass down to middle management
Lesson #5: Name your LMS
I know, I know, it sounds a little off the wall, but Todd has four very good arguments for naming the LMS:
- Naming your LMS lets you call it something besides The LMS. It also makes the system more personal for learners and learning staff alike.
- Naming it can allow you to include themes, logos, or other marketing tools.
- It gives the learners a common term to use when talking about training.
- It is further branding for your department.
Matria used an acronym to name their LMS—METRO (Matria Education: Training, Resources & Opportunities). The acronym has allowed them to utilize the train motif in branding other training-related initiatives such as Matria’s learning and development department’s intranet page known as Learning Central and the Welcome Aboard on-boarding program for new managers.
Lesson #6: IT: Get IT Involved Early
There were a number of technical hurdles to jump over throughout the implementation:
- Setting up the nightly data feed from the HRIS to the LMS
- Determining how to get temporary workers into the LMS
- Overcoming pop-up blockers; the LMS can be added to the company’s White List
IT needed to involve a resource for a significant amount of time on the implementation. Having IT involved from the early stages of the selection and implementation assured that they would be able to support the process.
Lesson #7: Gauge the Technological Sophistication of Your Learners First
Will the learners embrace navigating an LMS to find their learning or will there be a large learning curve? If they are not technologically sophisticated, a well-planned training and change-management plan must be in place.
Lesson #8: Take the Rollout to the Learners Seriously
At Matria, the rollout at the learner level was well planned out and executed. First, a representative from learning and development would go to each location and meet with the managers in the center. They would explain what the LMS is, why it was being implemented, and what was expected of the managers.
Next, the representative from learning and development taught the local trainer how to conduct a one-hour hands-on class on logging in, searching for a course, and what types of content was available.
The help desk was trained on the types of calls they would be receiving on the LMS such as pop-up blockers.
When the managers and trainer in the center were ready, the rollout began. It included marketing through newsletters, formal email invitations to come to training, and finally training classes. By building up to the final training class, Matria was able to build excitement about the new LMS.
Lesson #9: Make a Critical Course Available with the Rollout
Each business will have a different type of course that is critical. Maybe it will be the features and benefits of the new product being launched next month. Maybe it will be a course on how the new performance management system will affect the employees. For Matria, compliance courses are one of many critical courses.
Matria timed the release of three corporate compliance courses that all employees were required to take with the rollout of the LMS. By doing this, they ensured that as soon as employees left the LMS training, they had courses to take immediately.
Whether you have required training for all employees or not, you should definitely have some course available with your rollout that all employees will want to take.
Matria Healthcare now has an LMS to track the critical training necessary for compliance purposes and continuing education. Their next step? Building a larger content base.
Leigh Anne McIntyre is an independent instructional design consultant with over 16 years of experience in the Atlanta training world. She may be reached at email@example.com. Todd VanLeuven has held a variety of positions over the past 13 years in education, training delivery, instructional design, and training management.
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TrendSpotters: Evidence-Based Evaluation Chain
Rich Pearlstein, PhD, firstname.lastname@example.org, joins us this month to share his interest in measuring organizational performance, determining ways to improve it, and putting those improvements in place. A long-term active ISPI member, Rich is currently writing a chapter for the upcoming Measurement and Evaluation series. As director of organizational effectiveness for the Center for Systems Management, an ISPI Advocate, Rich has discovered a happy congruence between CSM’s three areas of expertise—project management, systems engineering, and performance improvement—and ISPI’s human performance technology (HPT) approach. He contributes his Evidence-Based Evaluation Chain to the TrendSpotters Open Toolkit.
Genesis of this Model
As we know, in most organizations, there are a number of change initiatives in play at any one time, and it is frequently a challenge to determine if a particular solution in that mix is responsible for the outcomes produced. Rich was interested in providing data to help clients see a clear path of events from solution implementation to outcomes.
The Evidence-Based Evaluation Chain adds on to a Kirkpatrick-type of evaluation approach specifically for performance improvement initiatives. It is a model that helps to answer stakeholder questions by analyzing a chain of evidence beginning with Level 1 performance and concluding with Level 4. Rich acknowledges that we can continue the progression to Level 5 (where Jack Phillips looks at return on investment) or Level 6 (where Roger Kaufman looks at the societal level).
The Evidence-Based Evaluation Chain model is a form of research that uses field-based experimental design. It requires the identification of an initiative’s key stakeholders as well as the information they need to make critical decisions about their work.
Figure 1. Evidence-Based Evaluation Chain
© 2008 Richard Pearlstein. Used by permission.
The evaluator establishes a hypothesis for each of the four levels derived from the performance improvement solution to be implemented. The model presents a question for each level that points to its hypothesis. Readily available data, such as current performance levels, can then be used to test the hypotheses.
Rich sees the chain as critical because Kirkpatrick’s four levels must be used in sequence—we cannot decide to do a Level 3 evaluation without having done a Level 2 evaluation, nor can we use the Evidence-Based Evaluation Chain in the same way. If we skip a level, we break the chain, leaving a partial evaluation. Without a total evaluation, we cannot establish that our solution resulted in the desired outcome. The chain lets us trace backward from outcomes to the performance improvement solution itself.
The Evidence-Based Evaluation Chain works like this:
- Level 1, Participant Reactions, tests the hypothesis that people will willingly participate in the initiative; the reality is that they are probably required to do so.
- Level 2, Participant Learning, tests the hypothesis that participants exhibit required behaviors at key points post-implementation: after training, after feedback, after the new compensation system is in place, and so forth.
- Level 3, Application of Learning on the Job, tests the hypothesis that participants use the required behaviors appropriately on the job.
- Level 4, Impact on Organizational Outcomes, tests the hypothesis that using the behaviors makes a difference in work processes and outcomes.
Rich reminds us that the information we collect at Levels 1 and 2 helps improve design and delivery because participant reaction brings problems to the surface and our measurements show whether or not the solution worked. The information from Levels 3 and 4 helps get organizational support because on-the-job application results link to management attention and reinforcement, and outcome data make the case for the solution’s value.
Rich recently used the Evidence-Based Evaluation Chain to help a large organization improve a major training program. At project inception, issues of concern included:
- Lack of reliable information on behavioral change
- Behavioral change varied by group, sometimes because managers did not want the new behaviors to be used
- Quality of the instructors presenting the program
When the Evidence-Based Evaluation Chain was used to evaluate the training program valuable results included:
- The program curriculum remains successful and should be maintained.
- Test cut scores are not working properly and should be recalibrated.
- End-of-course tests for some courses should be revised; there is already a pool of test items that have been tested for that purpose.
- Participants pass some courses at too low a rate; those courses need attention.
Recommendations included the following:
- Because some instructors do better than others, the program should provide data to help instructors continually improve.
- Proceed with plans to collect data (a) on actual use of course learning on the job, and (b) to help drive effective course revision.
Advice to Users of the Evidence-Based Evaluation Chain
This model works best when key stakeholders want to use data to make decisions. The model mines often-overlooked information that can provide a rational basis for decisions. It is also possible that the data the Evidence-Based Evaluation Chain can provide may be perceived as threatening rather than supportive. If all the decisions have already been made, this model is not appropriate.
Links to the Performance Technology Landscape
The Evidence Based Evaluation Chain supports these principles of performance technology:
||Focus on Results: Results are research-based
||Take a System view: Looks at HPT solutions as a system, and considers stakeholders’ needs, key systemic factors, and how they relate to each other
||Add Value: Stakeholders can base important decisions on careful data analysis
||Establish Partnerships: Stakeholders must supply data to be analyzed and questions to be answered, and performance improvement practitioners must create trust and be respectful of confidential information
For your next project, be sure to design your evaluation by figuring out what answers you need and then developing the questions to get those answers. Link your evaluation from top to bottom so your stakeholders can clearly determine cause and effect for the project’s outcomes. Please access Rich’s presentation on the Evidence-Based Evaluation Chain for more details about using the model.
TrendSpotters Open Toolkit
Visit the TOT to view a valuable array of tools and models that you can download for your use. In addition, you may browse all the past TrendSpotters interviews published since March 2002.
contact Carol Haig at email@example.com or at http://home.mindspring.com/~carolhaig; and you
may contact Roger Addison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Learn More about ISPI’s Newest Advocate: Administaff
Administaff, Inc. (NYSE: ASF) is the nation's leading professional employer organization, serving as a full-service human resources (HR) department for thousands of small and medium-sized businesses throughout the United States. Administaff delivers its personnel management services by entering into a co-employment relationship with a client company and the client company’s existing employees, including the business owner. Under this arrangement, Administaff assumes or shares many of the responsibilities of being an employer. Administaff’s wide range of HR services includes employment administration, government compliance, employee benefits management, performance management, recruiting and selection, employer liability management, and training and development.
In 2003, Administaff formed a corporate performance improvement group to transition from curriculum-based learning to strategic performance improvement aligned with key business objectives. Within this structure, performance consultants are aligned with internal business units or business projects and processes to analyze performance gaps and contributing causes, make recommendations, and guide implementation plans for results-based solutions. In addition, the group includes functions to support performance support systems, analysis and design, and other performance services. As a whole, the group has contributed to improvements in quality, productivity, and customer satisfaction as well as savings in time and operating costs across the organization.
For example, the group received a time management training request from the safety services department because many of the safety consultants were meeting less than three performance metrics each month and none were reaching all five measures. After analyzing the situation, it became very evident that time management was not the issue; these were highly qualified and professional safety consultants who knew how to manage their time. The main barrier to achieving peak performance was the process being used that required consultants to sift through multiple data sources to identify service requests and manually prioritize them, which averaged four to six hours for each consultant at the beginning of each week.
The performance consultant designed and developed an automated solution using Microsoft’s SharePoint platform that serves as a single location for requests to be entered by an administrative team. Each request is now prioritized and safety consultants can log on or download their updated list to begin scheduling visits with clients. Eliminating the four to six hours of decision-making time equated to almost $500,000 in wages, and the new process increased safety consultant morale and productivity. Within six months of release, more than 80 percent of the consultants were meeting three or more of their performance goals.
Keys to the group’s success include creating alignment to help ensure the right decision makers and stakeholders are identified early in the process; remaining focused on results; building relationships and coauthoring solutions with clients; considering relevancy and context; and, of course, sound change management practices. Not surprisingly, these practices align directly with the foundations of the International Society for Performance Improvement.
The networking, books, conferences, workshops, and other resources available through ISPI have been an integral part of this group’s growth and development as performance improvement practitioners.
For more information about Administaff, visit www.administaff.com.
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From the Board
A View from the Board: With an Eye to the Future
The International Society for Performance Improvement has been a very successful association since its inception in 1962, but like many organizations it has had its ups and downs. We all know the key to continued organizational success is a steadfast commitment to objectively assess and adapt to the changing environment. The ISPI Board of Directors has been focused on exactly that type of assessment over the past several years, and I applaud those Boards for directly tackling hard issues. Our challenge this coming year will be to maintain that same clarity of purpose and momentum as we continue to evaluate and implement new programs and processes to best serve our evolving membership.
A large number of projects have been launched over the past several years that will improve ISPI’s products and services. Recent ISPI Boards have streamlined our strategic goals and objectives; diversified our product lines; and, most recently, established specific, quantifiable goals for growth and expansion over the next 3 or more years. Our Boards have increasingly focused on the data that define the business of our Society and on the products that we deliver to our members. We have embraced “Where Knowledge Becomes Know-How” as our core theme, and standardized our approach to hosting the one and only “The Performance Improvement Conference.”
We have surveyed our members to clarify their needs and expectations. Many of our readers have participated in those surveys and appreciative inquiry efforts. The findings have been remarkably consistent. First and foremost, they have validated that our most important asset is ISPI’s reputation as the professional home for serious professionals interested in job and career. We are renowned for a culture of sharing, for networking, and for collegiality. We have a large and growing base of intellectual capital, and we are fortunate to have the continued engagement of our “founding fathers and mothers.” The 10 Standards of Performance Technology have been lauded as a recognized standard, and the CPT certification has become our brand workhorse.
|Strengths & Opportunities
||Highly Motivated Members
However, while it is comforting to reflect on our strengths, we must also examine the threats to our success. Some disturbing trends have emerged, including the fact that while the Society’s overall subscribership remains quite healthy, the average span of ISPI membership is between three to five years. Our membership is aging, our student and non-North American membership levels are below what we would like, and we have a sizeable churn in membership each year. We have also not invested sufficiently in technology upgrades.
Fortunately, recent Boards have recognized these challenges and focused on strengthening the linkage between the strategic goals and the business activities. The CPT program is robust and growing; our work with the Advocates, in-house Institutes, and ProSeries continues to grow. Last year, we established the Volunteer Committee to help us integrate new member volunteers into important Society projects, and we have invested in a new website, social networking tools, and a very successful “webinars,” or podcasts, series to reach new audiences. Finally, we have chartered the Chapter Realignment and International Task Forces to help us realign products and services to two very important constituencies of the Society.
The years ahead will be very important as we continue to build on our initiatives. I have found my time on the ISPI Board to be very rewarding, and I am very pleased that we have yet another strong, collegial Board this next year to “carry the banner.” While the Board (Darlene Van Tiem, Mary Norris Thomas, Timm Esque, Steven Kelly, David Hartt, Paul Cook, Jeanne Farrington, and I) will dedicate ourselves to continuing these transformational efforts, the overall effort needs to remain a Society-wide imperative. There will be plenty of opportunities for everyone to participate!
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ISPI Unveils Our New Career Center
The International Society for Performance Improvement’s new Career Center will revolutionize how you search for jobs and source candidates! Our new job board, powered by career services leader JobTarget, makes it easier than ever for ISPI members to enhance their careers and stay connected within the performance improvement community.
ISPI’s employment marketplace distinguishes itself from generalist job boards in a number of ways:
- A highly targeted focus on employment opportunities in a certain sector, location, or demographic
- Anonymous resume posting and job application—enabling job candidates to stay connected to the employment market while maintaining full control over their confidential information
- An advanced job alert system that notifies candidates of new opportunities matching their own pre-selected criteria
- Access to industry-specific jobs—and top-quality candidates—often not seen on Monster, CareerBuilder, or HotJobs
“Niche job boards, like the one we’ve designed for ISPI, are an ideal way to recruit top candidates,” says JobTarget CEO Andrew Banever. “Our customized career centers also attract new members—both individuals and businesses—to associations such as ISPI. That helps drive participation in conferences, professional development workshops, award programs, and other exclusive benefits.”
Below you will find the most recent job postings added to ISPI’s Career Center:
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
Global Oncology Monitoring Training Specialist
Job Location: Florham Park, New Jersey
Job Type: Permanent, Full-Time
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Technician/Learning and Development Specialists
Job Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Job Type: Permanent, Full-Time
Job Location: Fountain Valley, California
Job Type: Permanent, Full-Time
Briggs & Stratton Corporation
Job Location: Wauwatosa, Milwaukee
Job Type: Permanent, Full-Time
Holcim (US) Inc.
Manager, Professional Development
Job Location: Waltham, Massachusetts
Job Type: Contract, Full-Time
Access the ISPI Career Center to begin your search TODAY! Once there, you can immediately post your resume or a job opening. For additional information, please contact Francis George at ISPI at 301.587.8570, ext. 110.
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Performance Technology Makeovers
A Scanner Jockey’s Story
Graduate students in Allison Rossett’s Performance Technology class at San Diego State University were tasked with creating short papers called PT Makeovers. ISPI has been publishing these papers in PerformanceXpress over the past two years. We are happy to bring you the latest by Daniel Novak.
The Way Things Were
In the fall of 2005, the Visual Resource Center (VRC) of a large public university contracted me to help a professor move their architectural history class from 35mm slides to PowerPoint. At this time, the VRC contained better than 600,000 35mm slides in various states of repair and disrepair. If the VRC did not own an image of a particular artifact, a professor could ask to have a photographer shoot a slide from a book or magazine. Professors and TAs from several departments (art history, art studio, classics, film and media studies, and so forth) continued to build this collection, and drew from the collection to build their classes.
The VRC’s director, Jay, felt anxious about the upcoming migration from slides to digital files. According to Jay, the University’s administration was putting pressure on the Department of Art History to move away from what they considered a dead technology (35mm slides). They believed that a digital slide library and a more accessible PowerPoint-based teaching style would help the students perform better in class, and they were prepared to fund efforts to make the switch.
The administration decided to provide the funds to Dr. Walker, a young and enthusiastic researcher and teacher. Dr. Walker’s particular expertise lay in Cubist painting, and the Department of Art History had just approved his new class on the subject. Dr. Walker then hired me to scan his slides, papers, and books into .jpg files to provide the grist for his PowerPoint-based lectures. He spoke excitedly about his freedom from slides: no more carting around heavy boxes of carousels; no more burnt-out bulbs; and no more wasted hours selecting, sorting, and returning the slides. Equally excited about the prospect of PowerPoint-based classes (and about Cubism), I signed up for Dr. Walker’s class in the winter of 2006.
During his first PowerPoint lecture, Dr. Walker blasted us with images. Five or six paintings appeared on a single slide, each so small that no one could read them. Magazine covers collided with photographs, images transitioned in and out, and templates clashed with content for student attention. Midway through the course, I realized that excitement had blinded us all to the reality: no one had taught Dr. Walker how to use PowerPoint to teach art history.
What They Should Have Done
The administration should have provided more than mere money to Dr. Walker. They needed to create a solution system that addressed the rollout of this new teaching technique from multiple angles.
First, What Do Students Want?
PowerPoint works wonders in a number of fields, but art history students are trained and tested in a particular kind of environment. They are used to the visual and auditory stimuli found in a slide-based classroom, and feel uncomfortable when they are presented with too much visual information. Traditionally, time constraints and the fixities of the two-projector format have reduced the chances of overloading students with visual information. However, as Tufte (2006) notes, PowerPoint can cause confusion and a lack of retention when a presenter overloads the viewer with too much visual information.
So, do art history students need PowerPoint at all? The administration did not perform an analysis to find out. Rather, they assumed that students would not argue with a switch to PowerPoint. The opportunity to access slide presentations online, or to download them in advance, would probably tempt most students to accept the change. But I believe that the administration missed an important corollary to the students’ assent: students will only want PowerPoint if it makes their learning easier and more efficient.
The administration should have performed a more thorough needs assessment targeted toward art history majors and minors. Surveys and interviews would have helped the administration better understand PowerPoint’s potential to improve the students’ learning experience while moving away from the expensive 35mm slide format.
Second, Teach the Teacher
In issuing the funds for the migration to PowerPoint, the administration had not realized that Dr. Walker had been taught almost exclusively through slides. His professors had been taught with slides, and (in all probability) their professors had been taught with slides. Slides, as the administration failed to see, were not a passive medium. They are high resolution, are versatile, and actively shape an instructor’s ability to teach a class. At any given moment in a slide-based art history class, only two images appear to students: “the one on the left” and “the one on the right.” PowerPoint has no such limitations, and can bombard students with more visual information than they can consume in a limited time frame.
For example, an observant student can study two paintings side-by-side in two minutes and understand the lecturer’s argument. However, a student cannot study six or seven paintings in such a short span, especially when the pixel-area of the six paintings adds up to only 1024x768. Slides, by contrast, have a much greater pixel area than a digital projector can present (Tufte, 2006).
In essence, the administration had paid me several hundred dollars simply to man a scanner for a hundred hours. The administration did not require that Dr. Walker undergo training in the use of PowerPoint, and they did not implement an evaluation system to judge his efforts.
At this time, the Center for Faculty Development (an on-campus organization that dealt with precisely these issues) had no knowledge of the administration’s project. Optimally, the administration would have tied the PowerPoint migration funds to the CFD’s training program so that Dr. Walker could receive coaching, see examples, learn about best practices, and read literature about how best to use PowerPoint in the classroom. The CFD could have helped Dr. Walker simplify his presentations and focus more on his audience and less on his content.
Dr. Walker was also an experienced researcher and theorist. He was highly self-motivated, and valued the switch to PowerPoint. If the CFD or the administration had provided him with resources and examples (such as Edward Tufte’s work on communicating via visuals), Dr. Walker would have worked diligently on improving his lectures. However, the administration failed to inform Dr. Walker about these resources, let alone make them a requirement.
Third, What Did the Students Think?
The administration also failed to create appropriate avenues for student feedback about the switch to PowerPoint. Though students could comment about the class on the instructor evaluation forms, no specific question regarding the use of PowerPoint existed.
The administration could have used a simple survey tool to ask art history students how they felt about the use of PowerPoint in their class. Conducting a Level 1 evaluation as described in Kirkpatrick’s model (Winfrey, 1999) targeted at the students’ reactions to the lectures would have revealed a number of problems that Dr. Walker could address in future versions of the class. It would also have allowed students to voice their criticisms so that the administration could have made future adjustments to their funding and training programs. Finally, an evaluation would have given students the feeling that the administration cared about their opinions.
The administration should have performed a needs assessment to determine how students would like to see PowerPoint used in class. This would have helped the administration better understand their customers. The administration should also have trained Dr. Walker to use PowerPoint effectively to reduce student confusion and increase student retention. Finally, the administration should have documented and analyzed the efforts, successes, and failures of Dr. Walker using student evaluations. Had the administration incorporated these three activities into their solution system, their transition from slide-based presentations to PowerPoint would have gone more smoothly.
Tufte, E.R. (2006). The cognitive style of PowerPoint: Pitching out corrupts within. New York: Graphics Press.
Winfrey, E.C. (1999). Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluation. In B. Hoffman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Technology. Retrieved December 12, 2007, from http://coe.sdsu.edu/eet/articles/k4levels/start.htm.
Daniel Novak is a graduate student in Educational Technology at San Diego State University. This paper was completed as partial fulfillment for a fall 2007 course in performance technology taught by Allison Rossett. Daniel may be reached at email@example.com.
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Denver Here We Come: Principles & Practices of Performance Improvement
Have you considered attending one of ISPI’s HPT Institutes? Before you answer, consider the following questions:
- Are you unsatisfied with the solutions training provides?
- Have you thoroughly analyzed the performance problem before developing your training programs?
- How do you align human resources, quality, and training departments with business?
- What skills and tools do you need to stay competitive in this economy?
If you are struggling to answer, you must attend ISPI’s Principles and Practices of Performance Improvement Institute, a three-day educational program that will teach you the human performance technology (HPT) process and the application of performance consulting skills and tools to analyze a workplace performance problem, present solutions, and evaluate your results. From July 22–24, ISPI and our talented faculty will be in Denver, Colorado.
Attending this educational program will help optimize your organization’s investment in human capital. From day one, the knowledge gained is immediately applicable in the workplace and is designed to produce the highest return on investment for participating organizations.
Join us July 22–24, 2008, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Denver, Colorado. For more information, visit www.ispi.org, or call us at 301.587.8570. Group registration discounts are available. Principles & Practices is also available onsite at your organization.
Embassy Suite Hotel
4444 North Havana Street
Denver, CO 80239
A special group rate of $143.00, plus tax for a king suite is available to ISPI guests until July 7, 2008. You must call the hotel directly to make your reservation. Group Code: ISPI.
Earn Graduate and Re-certification Credit!
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ISPI Selects Distinguished Dissertation Awards
After review of a range of applications, three individuals were selected by our Research Committee’s review team as recipients of ISPI’s Distinguished Dissertation Awards.
- Timothy R. Brock, PhD of Lockheed Martin, received the 3rd place award for his study Training NASA Astronauts for Deep Space Exploration Missions: A Research Study to Develop and Validate a Competency-Based Training Framework and was awarded a $200 honorarium.
- Kimfong (Jason) Lei, PhD of JetBlue received the 2nd place award for his study Development and Validation of a Cross-Disciplinary Team Learning Model and was awarded a $300 honorarium.
- Frank Nguyen, PhD of San Diego State University received the 1st place award for his study The Effects of an Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS) and Training as Performance Interventions and was awarded a $500 honorarium.
The recipients completed their doctorates in education within the past three years at Capella University (Minneapolis, Minnesota), Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana) and Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ), respectively.
In this highly competitive process, all applicants completed an application for the award consisting of the following materials:
- A 2-page (maximum) cover letter introducing the applicant’s research topic and describing its alignment with (a) one or more of the Principles of Human Performance Technology (aka, ISPI’s ten HPT Standards), and (b) the utility of the study to HPT scholars and practitioners
- A 350-word (maximum) abstract describing the applicant’s background, purpose, research questions, importance, instrumentation, methods, findings and conclusions
- The applicant’s curriculum vitae
- An emailed letter of recommendation from the applicant’s faculty advisor addressing your study’s rationale (why your topic merited investigation) and value (the applied and theoretical benefits of the study)
Congratulations to our 2008 recipients!
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Psychology of HPT: Mindset Management
We are a unique breed of practitioners. As performance consultants and technologists, we are among the few who base our decisions and recommendations for performance improvement on research results and hard data. While other practitioners in other arenas sometimes guess, wish, and hope their interventions will work, we support our work with data and facts.
Except for one area. We have not paid enough attention to the psychology of performance improvement. We have the systems, the resources, and the techniques to effect performance improvement and large-scale change, but we have not delved deep enough into the mind of the performer. It is time we started to do so.
Success in any endeavor depends upon the person’s ability to manage his or her mental states. People who want to increase their own performance or the performance of others must be aware of the mindset these people bring to the job or task. The same principles hold true if you are an athletic coach, manager, senior executive, or teacher. You must be aware of the mindset and the frame of mind of the person you are trying to motivate and influence. This includes yourself.
Mindset management is an approach that provides the tools for performance consultants to identify and enhance the skills of any performer they are involved with. By focusing on five mental principles, consultants, managers, coaches, and teachers will gain a better understanding of how they and their people perform and what they must do to help everyone improve those performances. Additionally, by being in the proper frame of mind, people can achieve peak performance more often and more easily.
To get in the right FRAME of mind so you can manage your mind more effectively, you must learn about and understand the following principles:
||Focus: how and where you focus your attention determines your performance outcomes. We tend to focus our attention along two dimensions: broad and narrow, and internal and external. Each task requires a specific focus of attention and we must determine the appropriate one for every given task.
||Relaxation: the ability to relax helps you perform and thrive under pressure as well as adapt and bounce back from stressful situations. Relaxation clears the mind and prepares you for faster reaction times, better decision making, and fewer mistakes during a performance. Practice relaxation through deep breathing and visualization.
||Attitudes: optimism beats pessimism every time; plus, a positive mental attitude has additional health and performance benefits in the workplace. Give yourself a “checkup from the neck up” and determine if you are mostly positive, negative, or neutral in your attitudes toward your most important performances. There are volumes of research that link optimism and a positive mental attitude to higher performance and better health.
||Motivation: what motivates a person and how he or she responds to that motivation determines performance effectiveness and how often peak performance is achieved. Figure out if you or the person you are working with is motivated by achievement, affiliation, power, recognition, a desire to approach tasks, or a desire to avoid possible displeasure. Then, develop your performance situations accordingly.
||Emotions: how you feel affects what you do and how well you do it, so recognition of emotional states in yourself and in others is critical to high performance. Additionally, emotional intelligence has been shown to correlate well with success as a leader, consultant, and performer in interpersonal situations.
There are three other factors we must add to this mix of mindset management. They are rest, recovery, and resilience. Performers in every field must get enough rest so their minds and bodies can rebuild on a daily basis. Recovery is the time between performances (or brief rest periods during a performance) where the person has the opportunity to reduce stress, bring the psychological and physiological indicators back to baseline, and prepare for the next performance. Resiliency is a critical skill for every performer. It is the ability to either adapt to stressful situations or to bounce back from a difficult situation and achieve a high level of performance the next time. Cultivate the skill of resiliency and the mental attitude that you are resilient and you will find yourself and those you consult with achieving higher levels of performance more often.
It is the responsibility of the performance consultant to manage his or her own mindset as well as work with clients to help them manage theirs. Everyone must learn how to identify their FRAME of mind, decide on how to best use their mental abilities in various situations, and manage their FRAMEs of mind so they can thrive under pressure and achieve peak performance on demand.
Richard Gerson, CPT, PhD, is president of Gerson Goodson Inc., a performance consulting firm located in Clearwater, Florida. He is the author of 22 books, with six books on marketing, sales, and customer service, along with several other books on performance management and performance consulting. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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SkillCast: Learning Without Leaving Your Desk
Are you finding it a challenge to keep up, professionally? Got a stack of books and articles you keep meaning to get to? Let ISPI provide that vital professional boost with our new SkillCast series. Designed to enhance the skills and knowledge of the performance improvement professional, each month ISPI will feature the latest thinking from the experts you rely on for your continued professional development. In just an hour a month, you’ll come away with new ideas, perspectives, and tools that you can put to work immediately. Put your focus on your own results, for a change, and join us online!
2008 Schedule of Events
- April 16, The Supervisors Role in Performance Improvement with Miki Lane, CPT
- May 14, Overcoming Workplace Complexity and Performance Uncertainty with Brian Desautels, CPT
- June 11, Building Expertise through Problem-Based Learning with Ruth Clark, EdD
- July 9, Giving Away Power with Jim Hill, CPT, EdD
- August 13, Measuring Mentoring Results with Margo Murray, CPT
- September 10, Connecting with Tomorrow’s Workforce with Diane Gayeski, PhD
- October 8, Seeing Organizations Through Business Glasses: Understanding Them the Way Your Clients Do with Kenneth H. Silber, CPT, PhD
- December 10, Increasing Interactivity in Webcasts with Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan, CPT, PhD
For more information, or to register, visit www.ispi.org/webcasts.
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CPT News from Around the World
Please join ISPI in congratulating our newest Certified Performance Technologists:
- SiatMoy Chong
- John Simonson
ISPI’s 2008 Practice and Job Analysis
It was in 2000 that ISPI first developed the Standards of Performance Technology on which the CPT certification is based. Now, ISPI wants to know if those standards still reflect best practice. To find that answer, we conducted a two-part study in February and March. Part one asked managers and practitioners to carefully review the current standards in terms of how often they or their staff do the tasks under each performance and how critical those tasks are to doing effective work. Part two was a survey sent to over 4,000 people asking them what they do and how much time they spend doing it. Putting the online survey together was a collaborative effort. The team, led by Andrea Moore, CPT, Proofpoint, included Diana Suhr, PhD, University of Northern Colorado, our psychometrician; Sally Zepeda, PhD, Professor at University of Georgia School of Education; Charlotte Chase, CPT, PhD Northcentral University and our ISO/ANSI standards coordinator; Dick Cole, CPT, PhD, Florida Power & Light; Ken Silber, CPT, PhD, Northern Illinois University; Jim Hill, CPT, EdD, Proofpoint; Rob Foshay, CPT, PhD, Texas Instruments; Dale Brethower, CPT, PhD, Western Michigan University. Graduate students at Indiana University under the guidance of Jim Pershing, CPT, PhD, helped refine the survey and launch it on Survey Monkey. Next, month’s issue of PerformanceXpress will contain the highlights of the study.
Special Work by CPTs
In February, we reported on the type of work CPTs are doing for which they can earn points toward their recertification. This month, we are featuring two professionals who exemplify the CPT dedication to public service.
Bonnie Grabenhofer, CPT, MS
Gay Bruhn, CPT, EdD
Bonnie is the president of a statewide women’s rights organization. During her tenure, she has used all the tools in her CPT kit to identify objectives and measure the performance of this volunteer organization. Standing up for what she believes in is nothing new for Bonnie. She has been an activist since the early 1980s, working on elections as well as creating legislation and lobbying for it. Through her organization participation, she has helped support defendants in some of the largest sexual harassment lawsuits in history. When the desired performance is a “right vote,” Bonnie uses her CPT skills to create the messages and actions to successfully inform and change the attitudes and behavior of community groups and legislators. While Bonnie transfers many of her skills to her organizational work, she has learned much from the community organizations she has worked with. In particular she has learned the importance of looking at an issue or problem from many different perspectives. Her community and political experience makes it natural for Bonnie to use multiple diversity lenses to identify, develop, implement, and measure inclusive solutions and materials with her clients.
Gay Bruhn is a feminist and has been a women’s rights activist and leader for over 30 years. Her research on women’s voice informs her practice, particularly in making sure women’s voices, knowledge, and ways of knowing are considered in the development of both performance and learning solutions. Like Bonnie, Gay has been president and served on the national board of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and is currently on the board of the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO). Gay often uses her CPT skills when working on boards, in coalition groups, and with members to identify strategies, tools, and training to further women’s rights. Gay identified the need and developed the process for NOW’s Vision Conference including the input activities, writing, and presentation of a vision for NOW. Using customer interviews and analysis, Gay created a process, job aid, and training to increase state lobbying effectiveness and participation.
As members, and later presidents of Illinois NOW, Bonnie and Gay have been involved in changing public policy and lobbying lawmakers to support women's rights. You can often see them on television standing with candidates at the national and state level as they address the media. Doing press, Gay says, is like any other CPT presentation or solution starting with audience analysis, then objectives, and so on until you have a succinct statement with one or two sound bites.
Bonnie Grabenhofer and Gay Bruhn, CPT, EdD are principals in a consulting firm called Partners In Learning, Inc. This firm designs and develops learning and performance systems that improve individual and organizational performance. They have been working with clients to identify and close performance gaps by designing and developing a variety of management, technical, and professional training programs and other performance support interventions for over 20 years. To learn more about Bonnie and Gay and their work, you may contact them at email@example.com and GBruhn@sbcglobal.net.
If you have a story to tell that you think others would value, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Achieving Business Results Through Performance Improvement: Connecting People, Processes, and the Organization
ISPI is bringing our Fall Conference to Albuquerque, New Mexico, September 24–27, 2008. As you know, organizations exist to deliver value to stakeholders, and value is tied to productivity driven by efficient business processes and practices that contribute to overall results. Register today for our upcoming educational program and learn more about Achieving Business Results through Performance Improvement.
Walking on the Wild (Practical) Side: Connecting HPT Tools to Results!
Rodger Stotz, CPT, VP, Managing Consultant, Maritz Inc.
Learning the basics of HPT is foundational and important. However, it is their application and the organizational results achieved that are critical for each of us in the performance improvement profession. This presentation will walk you through a journey of discovery on applying HPT tools and models to real-life situations and their impact on organizational performance. So grab your backpack, and let's see where this trail takes us!
The Fall Conference is limited to 150 attendees who are typically seasoned performance professionals looking for skill-building sessions that highlight the transfer of knowledge to results. Attendees work in an assortment of industry sectors and job functions:
- Entrepreneurs and business leaders
- Managers, directors, and VPs
- Business and strategy consultants
- Chief learning and Chief people officers
- VPs and directors of human resources
- VPs and directors of organizational development
- Performance consultants and solutions providers
- Human factors and Six Sigma practitioners
Visit our website for a complete schedule of the educational sessions and workshops being offered: www.ispi.org/fall2008.
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Dubai World’s Business Excellence Center Signs MoU with Long-time ISPI Supporter Vector Europe Business Consultants
In January, the Business Excellence Center (BEC), the internal consulting arm of Dubai World, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Vector Europe Business Consultants Ltd. (Vector) for collaboration in areas of mutual strategic interests and for outsourcing consulting services to support the efforts of the Dubai World entities to continually improve its services while reducing cost.
The BEC assists group companies in their business excellence journey. It uses a Group Continuous Improvement Framework, founded on the concept of human performance technology and the EFQM Model for Business Excellence, but enhanced to better serve the interests of all their stakeholders. In addition, the BEC addresses the strategic imperatives of the newly formed Dubai World holding company. Vector was founded in 1986 and is widely recognized for its skills in assisting organizations to implement their strategies through their people. Vector has unique expertise in the successful implementation of complex mergers and acquisitions worldwide. The MoU was signed by Alan Stevens of Vector.
Speaking on the occasion, Anand Nicodemus, manager of the BEC, said, “Today, business improvement needs to be accelerated, must engage employees, be suitable for our culture, and help our staff learn. We are addressing this in this partnership and intend to achieve this through using the Vector philosophy modified to the requirements of Dubai World.” The modified approach is called the Cost Optimization Program (COP), but will retain all the key elements of the Vector philosophy. “The COP will produce measurable benefits within days and help to entrench a culture of continual improvement within a timeline no longer than 90 days,” he added.
Abdul Qader Obaid Ali, director, Group Internal Audit and Business Excellence, Dubai World, said:
The MoU falls within our plans to adopt the best global and local expertise in the field. It will help us in strengthening the consultancy services we provide the business units of Dubai World, especially in view of the holding company’s global expansion and diversification.
I believe that our rapid expansion globally and diversification [have] made it necessary to enhance our capabilities rapidly, seek diversified expertise, and align our services to the vision and mission of our business units.
Speaking on the occasion Alan Stevens, managing director of Vector, stressed the need for total alignment of the business objectives, processes, and culture in the skeletal structure of the organization. By doing this, customers and stakeholders will see that the organization is truly committed to the customer and to quality. He explained how this approach will significantly improve results by engaging staff from the top to the bottom of the organizations, reducing variation and strain within the processes.
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Improving SOPs to Meet the Demand from the Short-Attention-Span Generation
In a world in which SOPs are already often considered tedious and cumbersome, with the too low compliance rate that follows, chances are this problem will only become more pressing as a new generation with a shorter attention span starts moving into professional life.
Consider this: By some estimates, 8 out of 10 teenagers in high school now use study guides on a regular basis, with the websites that provide them receiving an average of 4.5 million unique visitors per month. Why is this important? It is important because it signals a major shift in how these students will face decisions of real consequence in their professional lives.
The next generation of SOP users will not accept anything that is not delivered on-demand and in a format that can be quickly comprehended on-the-spot—which means a change both in how SOPs are composed and how they are delivered.
To get an idea of what this future will look like, it might be useful to have a look at places like Europe and
where the mobile phone is already in much greater use as a utility tool for information. As an example, in
, special barcodes on billboards now allow mobile users to point, click (take a picture), and read in-depth information about the advertised product on the spot. The same technique is also in use for nutritional information about fast food. It is not a stretch to see how this technology could be used to bring up the right SOP by simply tagging the work area, or the piece of equipment, for which an SOP is needed.
However, simply providing existing SOPs on a handheld will not be enough. The expectation will be that, just as study guides such as Cliffs Notes and Spark Notes are more efficient than the related textbooks, SOPs delivered on the spot also must be in a format that makes it easer to understand and follow specific procedures at the time of need.
The latter aspect of this new equation requires knowledge about how to speed up comprehension and retention at the time of need, without annoying the employee who is required to use the SOP. Luckily for those of us who work with these issues, the cognitive sciences have already established techniques that do exactly what we need them to do, so long as they are embedded into systems that accommodate both the need for on-the-spot delivery and the techniques themselves.
The one thing not likely to work in the future is attempting to force a generation now used to getting what they want, at the exact moment they want it, to use cumbersome and tedious SOPs. This generation will simply demand better, or walk out the door if they do not get what they want and expect.
Maria Gonzalez has extensive experience in controlled environments. Her quality management expertise and science background, as a UC Berkeley graduate in molecular and cell biology, ensure a quality approach to her work at EduCel, where she is the VP of content development. EduCel—short for “education at greater celerity” (celerity is a noun that means swiftness or rapid motion or action)—is a leader and pioneer in technology that accelerates learning and supports performance at the time of need. Maria may be reached at email@example.com.
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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
Online Performance Improvement Bookstore. ISPI and John Wiley & Sons have partnered to offer professionals in the field the best selection of performance improvement resources. ISPI members save 15% on all book purchases (professional and personal)!
Seminars, and Workshops
Online Anytime: The Course Developer Workshop Online 24/7. Darryl L. Sink & Associates, Inc. Register online at www.dsink.com, or call Jane at 800.650.7465.
CATALYST: THINK IMPROVEMENT. A Bagel-Barrel event at ISPI San Francisco, this interactive exercise uses domino-like tiles with embossed organizational effectiveness concepts to identify individual-team, communication, and thinking strengths and weaknesses. Catalyst positively impacts employee communication training, interviews, orientations, and team building: www.responsivemgt.com/catalyst.html.
Newsletters, and Journals
Performance Improvement journal is available to subscribers in print and online through John
Wiley & Sons, Inc. Click here to order your subscription today.
is a peer-reviewed journal created to stimulate professional
discussion in the field and to advance the discipline of HPT
through literature reviews, experimental studies with a scholarly
base, and case studies.
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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, 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:
- 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 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.
free to forward ISPIs PerformanceXpress newsletter to your
colleagues or anyone you think may benefit from the information. If you
are reading someone elses PerformanceXpress, send your complete
contact information to email@example.com,
and you will be added to the PerformanceXpress emailing list.
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.
you have any questions or comments, please contact April Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1400 Spring Street, Suite 260
Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA
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