Visualization & Talking Points: What Is Performance Improvement?


What does performance improvement really mean?

Many professionals in our field are new and may not understand fully what performance improvement is. Fortunately, several long-standing ISPI members want to change that. Enter Lynn Kearny.

In addition to co-authoring Performance Architecture: The Art and Science of Improving organizations, Kearney is a talented artist. When she applied her artistic skills to addressing this question, Kearney created the What Is Performance Improvement? PDF. This document is Kearney’s approach to answering the PI question.

Along with the graphics, Kearney shares talking points to help you explain what the following mean:

  1. Focus on Results
  2. What Are “Results”?
  3. What Is “Performance”?
  4. There Are Four Levels of Performance
  5. How Can You Improve Performance?
  6. The Performance System
  7. Performance Drivers

At the end of the talking points, Kearney sums up the intent:

Use the graphic and these talking points (adjusted to your own style and your audience) to introduce others to performance improvement – in a way that is easier for both of you. Have fun with it! There is nothing more motivating than to be talking about performance improvement and have other people say, “Oh, I get it!” and start applying the ideas to their own work.


You can find the PDF on the HPT Treasures website:
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Saul Carliner: What Is Learning Experience Design?

Saul Carliner, PhD, CTDP, I4PL Fellow

Published on 

Over the past few years, the term “learning experience design” has crept into the
instructional design lexicon. But what is it really?

This session provides an overview.

Specifically, taking a design- sprint approach, this session engages participants in performing some the essential practices of learning experience design, including the development of use cases and personas, learning journeys, and prototyping; explains the benefits of these practices; explores the benefits of learning experience design to the overall effectiveness of instructional programs; and suggests how these practices integrate into the I4PL Competencies and existing instructional design processes.



Slide Deck PDF


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T&D: Guidance Fading

“… maintain a good level of “desirable difficulty

From the Blog of Adam Boxer – @adamboxer1 on Twitter.

I’ve written before about a simplified model to summarise the cognitive load that a student feels during a particular task:


If you are unfamiliar with the model, please read about it first as it will help you a lot in this post, which will focus on how the variables change whilst a student is practising and how teachers must ensure that independent practice is a dynamic process that responds to students’ increasing knowledge and skill.

At the beginning of a task based on new material, students’ internal resources are, by definition, very low. They don’t know much about what you are teaching them, so you have to compensate either by providing them with external resources or by breaking the task up into smaller chunks (what I call quantity in the model above).


This helps to maintain a good level of “desirable difficulty” – not too hard, not too easy. Perfect for effective thought and – hopefully – learning.

However, as time goes on, students’ internal resources start to increase as they begin to learn the content. At this point your students are in danger of finding the task a bit too easy. If there are no difficulties involved, then learning is less likely to occur.

To read the rest of Adam’s Blog Post – please go here.

Thanks to Paul A. Kirschner and Mirjam Neelen for their ReBlog of this – which is where I came across this.

Their Blog is at:


Check out their post on this and their model:

Note that fading is a critical design component when designing for complex skills. Van Merriënboer’s 4C/ID model illustrates how fading is/can be part of the design. It’s also extensively discussed in Ten Steps to Complex Learning by Van Merriënboer and Kirschner (2018). See the example below.


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Cognitive Load & Instructional Design: A 20-Year Review

Cognitive Architecture and Instructional Design: 20 Years Later
By John Sweller, Jeroen J. G. van Merriënboer, Fred Paas

John Sweller, Jeroen J. G. van Merriënboer, and Fred Paas (2019) published a review of the last 20 years of research related to the impact of cognitive load (intrinsic, extraneous, and germane) on our ability to learn something new.  

In their review, they include a long list of various cognitive load effects on our ability to learn. They include implications for designing instruction with explanations and references.

You may have heard, for example, of the worked example effect or the completion problem effect, where learners study an already-solved problem or they complete a partially-solved problem. Both of these approaches provide advantages and disadvantages. The article includes descriptions of 17 different effects that have solid research behind them.

In order to promote learning and transfer, cognitive load is best managed in such a way that cognitive processing irrelevant to learning is minimised and cognitive processing germane to learning is optimised, always within the limits of available cognitive capacity

van Merriënboer, et al., 2006

You’ll find descriptions of changes in the theory over time, a note about our potential to keep learning about cognitive load, and suggestions for additional research.

When designing instruction, we’d do well to review developments in cognitive load theory and consider how to take it into account when designing learning solutions.


Sweller, J., van Merriënboer, J.J.G. & Paas, F. (2019). Cognitive architecture and instructional design: 20 years later. Educational Psychology Review, 31, Issue 2, 261-292. Retrieved from

van Merriënboer, J. J. G., Kester, L., & Paas, F. (2006). Teaching complex rather than simple tasks: balancing intrinsic and germane load to enhance transfer of learning. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 20, 343–352.

Image Credit: stux. Brain Coral.

International Report: Neuromyths and Evidence-Based Practices in Higher Education


HPT professionals have contributed to multiple online media to expose myths about training and performance improvement. The Online Learning Consortium report findings from a survey seeking to understand practitioner’s knowledge about myths.

The 929 survey respondents were categorized in the following classifications:

  • 305: full-time instructors
  • 122: instructional designers
  • 239 administrators involved in professional development
  • 91 were “other” (see the report Section Six for demographics)

Respondents were asked to review a series of statements and determine if the statements are correct or incorrect.

Researchers wanted to examine respondents’ awareness of neuromyths.

Neuromyths are false beliefs, often associated with education and learning, that
stem from misconceptions or misunderstandings about brain function.

In the conclusion section, the authors found that respondents were susceptible to believing in neuromyths, which possibly is due to “misconceptions, misunderstanding and/or misrepresented or overgeneralized concepts related to neuroscience from popular media, outdated information, or lack of scientific literacy.” Those respondents who reported that they have knowledge about research and information from learning sciences may have a greater awareness of “neuromyths, general knowledge about the brain, and evidence-based practices.”

For a summary of the Online Learning Consortium’s report by Mirjam Neelen & Paul A. Kirschner, refer to At the end, you can try answering the same questions used in the survey to test your own knowledge!


You can access the PDF report:

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Off the Cuff – A Video Series From Alex Salas and ATD Central Florida

Check out the collection of videos produced by Alex Salas and ATD Central Florida…


Alex’s collection has certainly grown since he asked me (Guy W. Wallace) to participate back in April of 2019. I was #14. He’s now at #35 – as I write this post.


Check these out and/or subscribe to his YouTube Channel: here.

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Too Long; Didn’t Read

TLDR: Its Meaning, Correct Usage, and Examples
By Ben Stegner
On MakeUseOf


You’ve likely seen this initialism, or acronym, TLDR, meaning too long; didn’t read, which was originally (and some say more properly) written as TL;DR.

People use it to make comments and summaries.

It’s always useful to wonder if what we’re writing for our clients, learners, and students is going to seem way too long to read. Can we achieve the same result with fewer words or without writing big “walls of text”?


I’ve seen people post it as a comment to other people’s writing:



  • This post is way too long (a bit snarky, IMHO)—OR—
  • I can’t possibly care enough about this to read the whole thing—OR—
  • Even though this was too long for me to read, you might enjoy it.


Someone writes a whole post (or other written thing) and then provides a summary for it to assist those who might feel their post was TL;DR.

Here’s a TL;DR summary for this post so far:

TL;DR means too long; didn’t read. It can be a comment or it can introduce a summary.

Web Extensions

Also, there are extensions for Chrome and Firefox that will summarize the gist of long web pages for you in five sentences or less.

You can find a free Chrome extension, by Hacker Yogi, here: TLDR This.

By the way, TLDR This can be a useful way to scan a webpage ahead of reading it. It’s automatic, so the results vary, but it’s fun to experiment.