June 2010

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In this issue:

A Lesson in Instructional Design

Ad: PT Toolkit


Ergonomic Considerations for the Aging Workforce

Ad: ISPI Handbook

Evidence-Based Training: Moving Beyond Fads and Fiction in Workforce Learning

From the Board

ISPI Announces New Performance Technology Toolkit

Interested in Building a High-Performance Culture?

ISPI Announces New Organizational Members

Tales from the Field

CPT News

Are You Recognized for Your Work?

Career Center

Performance Marketplace

Join ISPI Now!

Newsletter Submission Guidelines

ISPI Board of Directors

ISPI Advocates

Back Issues






The Tom Bombadil Effect—A Lesson in Instructional Design from the Making of
Lord of the Rings

by Donna Bryant

Instructional design, at its core, is all about telling a good, relevant story. The stories instructional designers tell help users do their jobs. We paint and describe a picture for users of what a job task or process looks like and provide the information, tools, and practice users need to be successful.

I see instructional designers approaching our craft of turning a client story into a relevant instructional event as having much in common with how producer and director Peter Jackson approached his craft of turning a great story into the compelling movie masterpiece The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

As I watched companion documentaries on the making of The Lord of the Rings, I saw how Jackson and his production team conducted their extensive research into The Lord of the Rings story. The Jackson team was faced with many decisions as the scripts were constructed, knowing that not every detail and nuance from the story could be captured on film within three 3-hour time frames. I realized how important the decisions the production team made were to the quality and cohesiveness of the final production. Decisions about what to keep and explain of the story and what to leave out contribute directly to how the story moves forward and whether the story makes sense to the audience. Too much detail can cause boredom in the audience, and not enough detail can cause confusion.

I considered that instructional designers make similar decisions as we sift through great amounts of information, detail, and interviews with subject matter experts (SMEs), and also must make decisions about what to cover within a given instruction or job task. We are also mindful of the time frames we are allotted for training and of the balance between too much detail and not enough. The decisions instructional designers make are also critical to the success of the instructional interventions we design and produce.

One very difficult decision the Jackson production team made was the omission of the beloved character Tom Bombadil from the movie. The Jackson production team defended the decision as necessary, despite many passionate protests from fans.

The production argued that there was not enough time in the time allotted for the movie to include the character and all that went with him. This character was amusing and sang funny songs in the original story, but did not contribute to the overall movement forward of the plot. Tom Bombadil, in fact, was a distraction that was out of place with the rest of the action. Moreover, he only had one useful purpose, and that was to give the main characters their special weapons. This problem was solved in the film by giving this action to one of the major characters, thereby removing the need for the Tom Bombadil character altogether.

As I considered the production’s decision about Tom Bombadil, I realized that instructional designers face “Tom Bombadils” all the time. How many times have you talked with an SME or a sponsor who was convinced that a certain process or activity just has to be included in a design because everybody likes it or seems to want it? And when you investigate further, you find that it is a distraction that has nothing to do with the objective, or that its purpose could easily be cared for without a lot of individual time being expended.

The main thing to realize about design Tom Bombadils is that they often will point to extra pieces or processes that need to be cared for in your design. These pieces often stand alone and have taken on more detail and importance than they should because no one has taken the time to think through where they really belong. I call this the “Tom Bombadil Effect.”

I am convinced that finding a home and a purpose for Tom Bombadil processes and pieces is an important factor to excellent instructional design. Additionally, it is important to know what to include in your design and in what quantity to ensure that your instructional “story” is well-received, useful, and memorable to your user audience.

Donna Bryant holds a Master of Science degree from Boise State University in Instructional and Performance Technology. She currently works as a senior instructional designer for a large financial company in the Boise, Idaho, area. She may be reached at jdbryant@cableone.net.

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Too much detail can cause boredom in the audience, and not enough detail can cause confusion.



The Organizational SCAN

by Carol Haig, CPT, and Roger Addison, CPT, EdD

Vince Araujo, CPT, is our guest this month. As the manager of performance delivery at Sprint, Vince, Vincent.Araujo@sprint.com, and his team of performance specialists are responsible for identifying opportunities and providing solutions to improve performance at Sprint’s call centers and for ensuring consistency in product and service rollouts. A long time ISPI member and supporter, Vince is a tireless advocate for the tools of our trade and takes a pragmatic approach to placing improved performance within easy reach. The Organizational SCAN model is Vince’s contribution to the TrendSpotters Open Toolkit (TOT).

Genesis of the Organizational SCAN Model

A few years ago Vince attended one of Don Tosti’s pre-conference workshops at ISPI where he was introduced to Don’s Organizational Scan model. Vince found this to be a valuable tool and with Don’s agreement has worked with the Organizational SCAN model to customize it by adding, for example, some of the Probe questions from Tom Gilbert’s Behavioral Engineering Model.

Description of the Model

The Organizational SCAN is a versatile aid for the performance improvement specialist. At its core, the SCAN is the basic input/output system model complete with dual loops for formative and evaluative feedback. Structured to show the Conditions or the three levels of the organization on the left side, and the Receivers on the right, the Organizational SCAN provides a snapshot of any aspect of performance at whatever level of detail is required.

Figure 1. The Organizational SCAN Model. Click here to download
an interactive Excel file version.

How to Use the Organizational SCAN

Vince has made this model eminently user-friendly by automating it. There are three levels of detail you can access:

  • In the upper left of the SCAN, click to access notes about using the model
  • Within the model, click in any box to drill down to a page of specific questions about the box’s content that you can apply to your client’s organization
  • From the questions page, click on Outcomes Gathered for a worksheet where you can record responses to the questions
  • Also from the question page, click to return to the SCAN model

There are three ways to use the model:

  • If you are new to an organization or you have a new client and you want to learn about their business, the Organizational SCAN is a valuable tool. By exploring the contents of the boxes and answering the questions you can discover how the business operates at the same time that you identify opportunities for improving performance.
  • The SCAN is a performance improvement tool as well. Use it to better understand a client’s request for your services and perhaps expand the project to related opportunities for improving performance.
  • Preparing for the rollout of an initiative, new tool, or process? How ready is the organization? Use the Organizational SCAN to be sure everything is in place. Choose the appropriate level—Organization/Workplace, Process/Work, People/Worker—and work through the plans to be sure no functions have been excluded and that success is assured.

Success Story

Vince shares two success stories directly attributable to the use of the Organizational SCAN. The first involves the start-up of a new organization—a single support group to serve retail outlets, third party vendors, and indirect sales. Use of the SCAN in advance of implementation called out missed connections and unresolved issues that would have spelled disaster if they were not addressed before rollout.

The second success story involves a founding team meeting to create a culture for their new group including mission, vision, and values statements. The team did significant wordsmithing of their ideas and was pleased with the results. Vince relates that while what was written sounded fine, on closer examination it lacked substance. Using the Organizational SCAN to answer the questions at the Organizational level brought clarity and meaning to the new group’s reason for being.

Advice to Users

To become familiar with the Organizational SCAN, Vince suggests that you select just one component of an organization-your department, a division, a client group, open up the model and using just your own knowledge, answer as many questions in each of the boxes as you can. Because the SCAN makes alignment, or its lack, visible at all three levels of the organization, you will soon learn what you know and don’t know. You will also have a blueprint to follow as you expand your information about the area of the business that you chose to investigate—not to mention potential ideas for performance improvement.

Links to the Performance Technology Landscape

The Organizational SCAN model supports these principles of Performance Technology:


Focus on Results—Every question you answer points to a possible result


Take a System view—The model takes a system view (input/output/feedback) and is systemic (integrates three organization levels)


Add Value— Takes a holistic approach to the organization and leaves nothing out


Establish Partnerships— Involves all business groups in addition to the client

Application Exercise

A good way to try out the Organizational SCAN is to follow the Advice to Users above but with a focus on your own team or that of a current client. You may be surprised at how much you do or don’t know.

Direction for Performance Improvement

While current economic conditions are putting strains and limitations on all of us, the focus on doing more with less causes Vince to observe that organizations are finally, of necessity, realizing that doing things right the first time is efficient, cost-effective, morale-enhancing, and just plain smart business. He is excited to observe that in this climate, performance improvement professionals are finally being heard. He points to the first four principles of HPT (see RSVP above) to emphasize that we deliver results and that we cannot afford to make mistakes and run afoul of our customers. As Vince says, “A lot of businesses are practicing HPT without even knowing it.” And we think that is a happy state of affairs.

Find all the models and tools featured in TrendSpotters at www.ispi.org/archives/perfXpress.htm#trendToolkit.

You may reach Carol Haig at carolhaig@earthlink.net or at http://home.mindspring.com/~carolhaig; Roger Addison may be reached at rogeraddison@earthlink.net. Roger blogs at http://rachekup.blogspot.com.

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Ergonomic Considerations for Improving the Performance of the Aging Workforce

by James D. Rethaber, MS, OPA-C, ATC, CSCS, CEAS

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected that the demographics of the U.S. workforce will begin to “gray” during the next decade. The BLS has predicted that the percentage of workers ages 65-74 will increase by 83.4% during the years of 2006-2016. The percentage of workers ages 74 and older will increase by 84.3% during this same time period (www.bls.gov/spotlight/2008/older_workers/). Due to this dramatic increase in workers over the age of 65, ergonomic considerations should be made to accommodate this aging workforce. This will help organizations, regardless of industry, to achieve the desired levels of performance necessary for competing in today’s marketplace.

As the human body ages, visual acuity (eyesight), hearing, joint flexibility, and muscular strength and endurance diminish. Also of importance is that reflex and reaction time increase. Ergonomic considerations to combat these changes due to the aging process include:

Visual Acuity (eyesight)

  1. Increase area lighting (task lamps, focused lighting).
  2. Reduce glare; although windows can be nice to have in a work area, the glare created by improperly positioned work areas can increase eye strain and can result in higher error rates and diminished quality.
  3. Increase the font size on communications, i.e., reports, internal memos, and so forth.
  4. Adjust the contrast on computer screens to better enhance the contrast of the text with the background color.


  1. Reduce background noises.
  2. If in a loud environment, utilize protective hearing equipment to help minimize additional hearing loss.
  3. Utilize equipment to magnify audio communications, i.e., headsets to amplify speech.

Joint Flexibility, Muscular Strength and Endurance

  1. Reduce the weight and frequency of items handled.
  2. Increase rest and recovery time between tasks, while also encouraging the worker to stretch.
  3. Utilize mechanical-assist devices to reduce material handling tasks.
  4. If applicable, utilize job rotations to avoid repetitive strain injuries.
  5. Provide training on proper and safe lifting techniques as well as the importance of neutral postures, i.e., proper keyboard and mouse setup.
  6. Place frequently handled and heavier items at waist level.

Reflex and Reaction Time

  1. Eliminate trip hazards in the work environment.
  2. Avoid placing items at floor and overhead levels.
  3. Properly illuminate walking and traveling areas.
  4. Eliminate clutter within the workstation.

By following the recommendations listed above, the performance improvement professionals will help to increase the job performance and job satisfaction of the aging worker. As Gilbert (1978) and Chevalier (2003) noted, the environment provides the biggest barrier to performance improvement. Once the environmental variables have been properly addressed, individual variables can be addressed.


Chevalier, R. (2003, May/June). Updating the behavior engineering model. Performance Improvement, 42(5), 8-14.

Gilbert, T. F. (1978). Human competence: Engineering worthy performance. New York: McGraw-Hill.

James D. Rethaber is the director of ergonomic onsite analysis with FIT for WORK, a San Antonio, Texas-based occupational health and safety consulting firm specializing in decreasing workers’ compensation claims and expenditures through ergonomic and safety training and non-training solutions. James is a PhD candidate in the training and performance improvement specialization at Capella University. He may be reached at jamesrethaber@wellworkforce.com.

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The BLS has predicted that the percentage of workers ages 65-74 will increase by 83.4% during the years of 2006–2016.



ISPI SkillCast Webinar
Evidence-Based Training: Moving Beyond Fads and Fiction in Workforce Learning

by Ruth A. Clark, EdD, Clark Training & Consulting

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 - 1:00 pm EDT | Register Online

Fad or Fact? 1) Learning styles make a difference. 2) Instructor-led training leads to better learning than multimedia lessons. 3) Courses with higher participant ratings also generate better learning.

Are you wasting resources on training myths? Come to this session for a preview of Ruth Clark’s new book, Evidence Based Training. During the session, Ruth will reveal the research behind three prevalent training myths and review brain-based proven training strategies to replace them. Specifically, we will look at the psychology and evidence regarding learning styles; the best use of visuals and audio to promote learning; when to use and when to lose animations; which delivery media teach best; and the what, when, why, and for whom of three instructional architectures: Show and Tell, Stair Step, and Immersive.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the session you will be able to:

  • Apply research on learning styles and the best use of visuals and audio in workforce learning environments
  • Identify the features and trade-offs of three instructional architectures: Show and Tell, Stair Step, and Immersive


As witnessed by US Air 1549 (the Miracle in the Hudson) and the tragic Continental Air 3407 crash, training makes a difference. Over $130 billion a year are invested in workforce learning environments designed to improve organizational operational goals. As professionals, we can no longer afford to design, develop, or deliver learning environments based on fads or community wisdom alone. We must factor valid evidence of what works into our instructional decisions. From this session you will evaluate the evidence behind three common training myths to focus limited resources on instructional modes, methods, and architectures proven to work.

About the Presenter

Ruth Clark is the author of seven books and many articles on applying research evidence to the design, development, and delivery of workforce learning. She is a recipient of the Thomas Gilbert Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement from ISPI and was a Training Legend Speaker at the 2007 ASTD ICE event. For over 20 years Ruth has worked as an independent consultant offering workshops, keynotes, and consulting on design and development of workforce learning environments for classroom, asynchronous e-learning, and the virtual classroom. Ruth is a past president of ISPI and a frequent speaker at ASTD, e-Learning Guild, and ISPI conferences.

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From the Board
Leadership and ISPI

by Judith Hale, CPT, PhD, ISPI 2010–11 President-elect

What does leadership mean in the association world and to ISPI? Leadership is poorly understood and underutilized in the association world. For some associations, being elected to the board is a perk for being a hard-working volunteer. In other associations the real leadership work is done by full-time paid professional staff and the elected leaders are figurehead positions. According to Deb Page, president of Willing Learner, about the impact of leadership in school systems:

Leadership accounts for 25% of student achievement (Waters, Marzano, & McNulty, 2003); leadership is second only to teacher quality in impacting school improvement (Leithwood, et al., 2004); leadership is the single greatest predictor of AYP status at the middle school more than school size and teacher retention (Hirsch, Governor Easley’s Teacher Working Conditions Initiative, Executive Summary, 2002); and leadership is a powerful predictor of whether or not schools have high school achievement (Hirsch, 2002).


I wonder if anyone has done a study on the impact of association leadership in terms of the mission, public relations, government relations, fiscal viability, member retention, and the like.

Based on my experience with the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) when I was asked to be part of a team to develop guidelines for doing strategic planning, I learned that for the most part there are two types of associations—the very large and the very small. The very large have full-time professional staff that are responsible for research and development, professional development, government relations, marketing, and member relations. The very small ones rely heavily on members volunteering. Which brings me back to the question, what should leadership look like for ISPI.

At ISPI, the Board has to do work, not just think up work to be done. This means we are expected to individually and collectively produce results. For example, the Board under Miki Lane’s guidance has set goals for the Society and our committees. However, setting goals is the easy part, as goals without a plan are like New Year’s resolutions, a glorified wish list. The real work is in agreeing on a strategy, a plan that includes action steps with a hard look at the required resources to carry out those steps. It is also about setting interim measures so we know if the action steps are leading to the desired results. The strategy we are working on includes adding new services with the hope they will attract and retain members and generate revenue to fund new programs. A part of the plan I am responsible for is in the pilot phase and I hope to tell you more about it once I know it is working. Another part has to do with our industry teams, maturing them to the point they operate as self-sustaining special interest groups. Some of the teams are moving in the right direction, but others are struggling with whom they are and what they hope to accomplish.

So as the year progresses, let me know what your expectations are of me as a member of the leadership team. I will do my best to live up to your expectations.

You may reach Judy at haleassoci@aol.com.

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ISPI Announces New Performance Technology Toolkit!

You’ve been asking for tools and resources to help you save time and do your job easier and faster. With you in mind, ISPI is announcing the release of our Performance Technology Toolkit to do just that.

What is the Toolkit?

The Performance Technology Toolkit is a collection of 23 reusable tools in an electronic PDF format. The tools are organized into six portfolios:

  1. Project Management
  2. Analysis
  3. Design
  4. Development and Implementation
  5. Evaluation
  6. Presentation Guidelines

Why add these to your portfolio of tools?

  • They save you time because they automatically:
    • Calculate time and money
    • Provide a document trail when doing project debriefings
    • Communicate expectations
  • They make planning easier since each includes the essential steps
  • They provide guidance to new staff as they take on assignments
  • They help you avoid overlooking steps or points for consideration
  • They provide a systematic approach for recurring tasks

How do you use the tools?

  • Each tool has fields you populate with your data
  • Some tools automatically calculate time and cost
  • Share them with colleagues to better confirm agreement on roles and responsibilities
  • Use them during team debriefings to communicate actions and results

To find out more about the tools available, click here for the Performance Technology Flyer and Order Form.

What does the Toolkit cost?

ISPI Member


$79 (1-5 copies/users)

$129 (1-5 copies/users)

$69 (6-25 copies/users)

$119 (6-25 copies/users)

$59 (26-50 copies/users)

$109 (26-50 copies/users)

For quantities over 50, please call 301.587.8570.

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Interested in Building a High-Performance Culture?

announces the call for proposals for our 2010 conference in Gothenburg, Sweden. Join ISPI Europe/EMEA in Gothenburg, Sweden, September 30–October 2, 2010.

The theme for this exciting learning/sharing event is Building a high-performance culture based on engagement, inclusion, and accountability. Keep up to date with the latest information on the conference and download the Call for Proposals at our blog, http://ispi-europe.blogspot.com/. Join us in Gothenburg—even if you do not plan to submit a proposal to present. Only you can contribute your unique perspective! (Note: This conference will be limited to 100 total participants.)

At ISPI Europe/EMEA, we believe that a conference is more than its programs and presenters. Our conference participants are every bit as much a part of the total learning experience as our fabulous presenters. Our conferences are noted for their active-interactive format. Everyone who attends becomes part these exciting learning and sharing events.

We invite you to become part of a select group, this year in Gothenburg. We have always sought participants who really understand the value of sharing their great experiences, questions, and unique insights. Plan to learn, share, and grow with a diverse group of professionals.

The small conference format had high value because of the great quality of presenters and participants alike, and enhanced by the commitment of the organizers.”

Unique value comes from a combination of factors—great keynotes, skilled experienced presenters, insightful participants, and a truly innovative format as follows:

  • A simulation will run throughout the conference. It will be based on a real-life situation, not an invented case. Working as part of a team, you will have the chance to formulate recommendations, which will be presented by each team at the end of the conference. The simulation is one important way we ensure that all presenters and participants become integral to what is invariably an exceptional learning and sharing opportunity.
  • We are also planning a Smorgasbord event, which will be an opportunity to sample a wide array of topics in small groups hosted by an experienced facilitator.
  • Finally, we look for session proposals that offer valuable topics, presented in a way that encourages and supports participation by attendees.

Participant Feedback

Below is some feedback received from participants in our 2009 conference in Galway, Ireland, beginning with a quote from one of our two keynotes, who is a senior executive with a technology company and was new to ISPI EMEA in 2009.

“With regards to the ISPI Europe conference, I would like to say that it is the conference where I met some of the most amazing people I have ever met in the industry. It is as if the ISPI combines the best in terms of rigor and seriousness of academia with the realism of real-world experience. On top of that everyone was prepared to share their experience with everyone else. It has been a remarkable learning experience and I walk away having connected to some amazing people.”

Additional comments from participants:

  • “I brought my whole team and was a bit concerned when I learned that the conference would have relatively small numbers. However, the reality was that we all got a great deal of value from the experience. The quality was exceptional.”
  • “It was a different kind of conference and a great learning experience. The highly interactive format, with the simulation as the centerpiece, was unique and really worked.”
  • “What we will take away will add value to our work back home.”
  • “The simulation was the best learning experience.”
  • “The networking opportunity was great.”
  • “It gave me a feeling of being part of something.”
  • “The conference brought together a great group of excellent professionals.”
  • “The daily Yoga was great and greatly enhancing to the conference experience!!”
  • “We got to see the charming town of Galway.”
  • “Memory sticks given to all participants with all available presentation files, was a very convenient (and green) way to take the conference home.”

Remember: Our active-interactive format requires that we limit the total number of participants to no more than 100. ISPI Europe/EMEA hopes that that number will include YOU!

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ISPI Announces New Organizational Members

Management Systems International (MSI)

With over 100 global projects under management, MSI is an international development firm providing specialized short- and long-term technical assistance. MSI’s expertise includes implementing a range of analytical and field projects in practice areas of democracy and governance, economic growth, stabilization and recovery, and organizational capacity building. Guiding MSI’s work in achieving tangible results are our core competencies incorporating managing policy change, knowledge management, monitoring and evaluation, and strategic communications. Our clients include USAID, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Labor, the World Bank, UNDP, and the MacArthur Foundation. MSI recently became part of Coffey International, a leading development consultancy. For additional information about our newest organizational member, please visit www.msiworldwide.com.

Merck & Co., Inc.

We are inspired by the difference we can make in the lives of people around the world through the innovative medicines, vaccines, and consumer health and animal products we discover and produce. Our products cover a broad range of areas, including heart and respiratory health, infectious diseases, sun care, and women’s health. We focus our research on conditions that affect millions of people around the world—diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer—while building strengths in new areas like biologics. At today’s Merck, we are applying our global reach and strength in scientific research to do more of what we are passionate about: working to ensure a healthier future for all—one person at a time. For additional information about our newest organizational member, please visit www.merck.com.

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Tales From the Field
HPT as Intermediary: Toward Competency as an IT-Management Liaison

by Lori Johnecheck

Tales from the Field, a monthly column, consists of reports of evidence-based performance improvement practice and advice, presented by graduate students, alumni, and faculty of Boise State University’s Instructional and Performance Technology department.

HPT as a Liaison for IT

Management has legitimate reason to become more involved in technology decisions and to manage information technology (IT) like any other business function. What stops them? Perhaps some of the same barriers that impede human performance technology (HPT) professionals from dealing with technology as it would any other performer: intimidation, incompetence, and beliefs.

Yet, to effectively address system-wide performance, HPT professionals must begin to assess and view technology as they would any other “performer.” Consider the knowledge era reality that workers are frequently enabled by or dependent upon technology to perform their essential job functions. Further, performance improvement interventions often depend on applied technology solutions.

If due diligence is not motivation enough, then perhaps financial opportunity is. IT continues to have significantly larger budgets than other departments often in spite of a lack of documented business results (Ramias, 2009). That said, even IT departments are under pressure to prove their business value and could benefit from a liaison who understands people, processes, and technologies.

Leveraging Value

Ironically, leverage is found within the very dysfunction that causes the communication breakdown in the first place. In most cases, both managers and IT professionals are aware of functional deficits in understanding. HPT professionals have the potential to remedy both communication “gaps” and the misalignment of technology ventures with strategy.

From a communications standpoint, managers do not always fully appreciate the limitations of creating or integrating a proposed technology solution. On the flip side, IT professionals often struggle with how best to communicate technological intricacies in “plain” language. They may also be so involved with daily details that they lack a clear understanding of how to guide managers in making IT decisions that align with organizational strategy.

Through modeling communication that emphasizes understanding above criticism, the HPT liaison can help facilitate improved future dialogue between managers and IT professionals. Additional value may be added by lowering operational costs by advising managers on the IT practices suggested by Weill and Ross (2009):

  • Optimize business processes first before spending money on business solutions involving technology
  • Develop clear IT performance metrics and a transparent decision-making process for which IT projects get funded

As process and evaluation specialists, these are areas in which HPT professionals can offer expertise and further recommendations.


The journey toward being an effective IT-management intermediary begins, like most, with personal reflection. Once limiting beliefs are challenged, developing a high-level IT understanding can commence. Speaking the language of IT will then facilitate monitoring relevant current and emerging technology trends.

Develop High-Level IT Understanding

Developing realistic proficiency begins with recognizing the goal: to speak a high-level IT language to facilitate tactical and strategic business discussions.

Understanding the following technology components and their integrated relationships will provide sufficient conversational context (Cox, 1999):

  • Networking technologies
  • Platform technologies
  • Software infrastructure
  • Information management systems
  • Enabling technologies
  • Middleware technologies
  • Application servers
  • Systems management technologies
  • Open information technology infrastructure

Keep Current on IT Trends

Like foreign language study, the preferred method for sustained comprehension is immersive. HPT professionals can “immerse” themselves in IT culture through networking relationships, IT mentors, and attending relevant professional conferences.

Though we need not become experts, it is helpful to monitor the pulse of technology trends. The advent of blogging permits convenient access to leading thought experts. Blog content feeds worth subscribing to include:

In today’s digital economy, IT professionals support just-in-time information and lower operational costs through automation and rapid innovation. As the performance experts across people, process, and technology, HPT professionals are natural choices for the IT-management liaison role.


Cox, J. (1999). Executive’s guide to information technology: Shrinking the IT gap. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Ramias, A. (2009, April). Crossroads: How HPT and IT can improve organizational performance. Presented at the 47th ISPI Conference, Orlando, FL.

Weill, P., & Ross, J. (2009). IT savvy: What top executives must know to go from pain to gain. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.

Lori Johnecheck will graduate in December 2010 from Boise State’s Instructional and Performance Technology graduate program. Her professional interests include performance-driven instructional design, organizational development, and harnessing the potential of technology as a performance enabler. Lori works as a project manager and instructional designer for General Physics Corporation (GP), a global leader in performance improvement. She may be reached at ljohnecheck@gpworldwide.com.

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CPT News from Around the World

A CPT You Should Know

I want to introduce you to Dawn Snyder, CPT, PhD, program chair, Franklin University. I met Dawn over 10 years ago through her volunteer work with ISPI. To give you a taste of her contributions to ISPI, she has served at a track chair, conference chair, nominations chair, and was the Midwest and Great Lakes regional coordinator. On the local chapter level, she has been a chapter president, programs chair, and newsletter editor. Dawn started her own company, Dawn Snyder Associates, Inc., where she was the CEO and managing principal in 1983. Her firm was a virtual organization specializing in performance consulting, designing learning strategies, developing learning solutions, and evaluating and measuring the impact of courses and curricula. Her client list includes the major hardware and software firms, banking, pharmaceuticals, and social service agencies.

So what brought Dawn back to academia? Perhaps there is a clue in her personal educational background. Dawn earned her PhD in Instructional Systems Technology in 1989 from Indiana University at Bloomington. Her academic interests were in Language Education and her dissertation was titled The Effect of Conditions of Practice on the Transfer of Summarizing Skills for Undergraduate Students. As program chair, Dawn is responsible for developing a Master of Science Degree in Instructional Design & Performance Technology.

You may reach Dawn at syndera@franklin.edu if you want to find out more about her work.

Do you have a story to tell? Contact Judy at Judy@ispi.org.

CPT Clinic Sponsors

The International Society for Performance Improvement and Certified Performance Technologist thanks the following sponsors of ISPI’s CPT Clinic during THE Performance Improvement Conference 2010.

Organizational/Corporate Sponsors

Becky Lucas, CPT
, A division of Training Partners Plus

Chuck O’Keefe, CPT

Pat Rasile, CPT
Church Pension Group, Learning & Instructional Designer, Client Engagement

James Parry, CPT

Lynn Kearny, CPT

Roger Addison, CPT, PhD

Judith Hale, CPT, PhD
Ibstpi Fellow

SiatMoy Chong, PhD, CPT
847-542-5482 smchong@kivalearning.com

Darryl L. Sink & Associates, Inc.

Gold Star Individual Sponsors

  • Clare Carey, CPT, EdD
  • Joe Durzo, CPT
  • Janis Goodheim, CPT, PMP, SPHR
  • Jane Sink
  • Dawn Synder, CPT, PhD

Chapter Sponsors

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Are You Recognized for Your Work?
Submit It to ISPI!

You do excellent work every day with great results. Submit your accomplishments and research to one of ISPI’s prestigious journals and get the recognition you deserve, and share your findings and ideas with your peers.

Performance Improvement (PI) journal publishes articles about all types of interventions and all phases of the Human Performance Technology (HPT) process, as well as hands-on HPT experiences, including:

  • Models
  • Interventions
  • “How-to” guides
  • Ready-to-use job aids
  • Research articles

PI also publishes updates on trends, reviews, and field viewpoints. The common theme of articles is performance improvement practice or technique that is supported by research or germane theory.

To submit an article, download and read the Author Guidelines, then email your article as an attachment to the editor, Holly Burkett, at pijeditor@ispi.org. PI is a benefit of ISPI membership, but if you are not a member you can still subscribe. If you are interested in joining ISPI, please click here.

Performance Improvement Quarterly (PIQ) is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes original research, theory, and literature reviews relevant to improving the performance of individuals, groups, and organizations. As a scholarly forum for the HPT field, the journal seeks to integrate and expand the methods, processes, and findings across multiple disciplines as they relate to solving problems and realizing opportunities in human performance. HPT work focuses on valued, measured results; considers the larger system context of people’s performance; and provides valid and reliable measures of effectiveness. The journal values both methodological rigor and variety, and publishes scholarship related to:

  • Process improvement
  • Organizational design and alignment
  • Analysis, evaluation, and measurement
  • Performance management
  • Instructional systems
  • Management of organizational performance

To submit an article, download and read the Author Guidelines, then email your article as an attachment to the ISPI Publications Office at pubs@ispi.org. A subscription to PIQ costs only $45 for ISPI members, so be sure to take advantage of this valuable resource. If you are not a member, but interested in joining ISPI, please click here.

As you know from reading this online newsletter every month, PerformanceXpress (PX) publishes exciting feature articles highlighting current developments and ideas in the field of performance improvement, as well as regular columns written by dedicated professionals spotting trends, Tales from the Field, and CPT News from Around the World. And, that is just the beginning. What contributions and ideas do you have to add to PX? “I wish I had thought of that” articles, practical application articles, articles about the application of HPT, or success stories? Read the Newsletter Submission Guidelines and send us your work to px@ispi.org.

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ISPI Career Center

The International Society for Performance Improvement’s
Career Center will revolutionize how you search for jobs and source candidates! Our 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. Below you will find the most recent job postings added to ISPI’s Career Center:

Resource Associates Corporation
Job Type: Contract
Job Locations: Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington

Expanding firm needs independent consultants to be part of our team! We provide the finest tools available today to work with strategic planning, people development, and process improvement. There are also opportunities for life coaching and working with youth. Very high income potential and return. Extensive training and unlimited support. Consultative sales experience helpful. Nationwide entrepreneurial opportunities available.

Director of Organizational Effectiveness
Federal Aviation Administration
Job Type: Full Time
Job Location: District of Columbia

The ideal candidate will work with the Air Traffic Organization’s (ATO) Executive Council to improve the organizational effectiveness and align organization culture with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). You will provide leadership and direction during the development of statistical tools, models, methods, and techniques. You will manage technical studies, background papers, surveys, and reports that reflect the research methodologies applied to the program performance across the ATO. You will conduct research studies and make adjustments in methods and procedures as appropriate to the ATO. You will serve as the ATO representative on multidisciplinary teams of FAA executives and agency managers.

Instructional Systems Design Specialist
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Job Type: Full Time
Job Location: Arlington, VA 22226

The Instructional Systems Design (ISD) Specialist positions are located in the Corporate University, College of Corporate Business, and College of Corporate Operations of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in Arlington, Virginia. The ISD specialists will analyze tasks, analyze job and target audience requirements, design training strategies, and develop instructional and performance support products and materials to close gaps between current and desired performance.

Learning and Organizational Development Manager
Kaiser Permanente
Job Type: Full Time
Job Location: Portland, OR 97200

In this role, you will assess the region’s performance and organizational needs. You will also be responsible for leading the design of appropriate training and organizational programs and responses, organizing and aligning the department’s resources, delivering appropriate interventions and solutions, and evaluating services for continuous improvement. Other duties include coordinating work in an array of different areas including but not limited to change management, focusing particularly on national and regional efforts; focusing on moving teams to higher levels of performance; succession planning; performance management; leadership and employee development; and regional educational programs.

Sr. Director of Talent Development and Organizational Development
Job Type: Full Time
Job Location: Grand Rapids, MI 49501

The focus of the Sr. Director of Talent Development and Organizational Capabilities is on facilitating strategic, administrative, and organizational change. This position will provide organizational development initiatives and effective performance consulting for both departmental and high-level, complex enterprise-wide projects and initiatives. This will be accomplished through strategic vision and goal development, needs assessment and diagnosis, role and responsibility clarification, leadership and team development, coaching, and design and implementation of process and performance interventions. The role will also include development and management of career development, training, mentoring, change management, and job rotation and growth programs. In this role, the director will collaborate closely with executive management, HR, department clients, and project team members to ensure alignment and integration of strategies, projects, and programs for successful implementation and results. This position will also directly supervise the TDOC managers and lead the rest of the TDOC team.

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ISPI logo



Performance Marketplace

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 our marketing department at marketing@ispi.org or 301.587.8570.

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)!

ISPI @ Amazon. ISPI has created a one-stop shop for all your performance improvement needs. Here we have boks written by ISPI members, CPTs, E-Documents, and featured books of the month. All purchases over $25 are eligible for free shipping.



Career Resources
ISPI Online Career Center is your source for performance improvement employment. Search listings and manage your resume and job applications online.

Magazines, Newsletters, and Journals
Performance Improvement journal is available to subscribers in print and online through John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Order your subscription today.

Performance Improvement Quarterly 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. Discounted to ISPI members.

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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 500–700 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 johnc@ispi.org. Each article will be reviewed by one of ISPI’s on-staff HPT experts, and the author will be contacted if it is accepted for publication. If you have any further questions, please contact johnc@ispi.org.

About PerformanceXpress

Feel free to forward
ISPI’s PerformanceXpress newsletter to your colleagues or anyone you think may benefit from the information. If you are reading someone else’s PerformanceXpress, send your complete contact information to johnc@ispi.org, and you will be added to the PerformanceXpress email list.

PerformanceXpress is an ISPI member benefit designed to build community, stimulate discussion, and keep you informed of the Society’s 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 John Chen at johnc@ispi.org.

Stay informed: add ispi.org to your Address Book and/or Safe Senders list to ensure you don’t miss important announcements and valuable offers from ISPI!

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Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA
Phone: 301.587.8570
Fax: 301.587.8573


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