What Drives Learning Requirements?

Guy W. Wallace (the driving force behind our HPT Treasures site), shares a lively rhythm of posts on performance, including many posts about training and development on his own blog at eppiz.biz.

In a recent post, Guy offers a 7-minute video presentation on how to figure out what learning requirements you should consider related to a particular job or job family and then how to narrow those requirements to fit a particular individual’s learning needs.

Once we figure out who should learn exactly what, then we consider how they might learn it. Will a job aid do (or a set of them)? If they need more support, will training along with job aids be enough? OR, do they need more extensive training for memorizing how to do things and for extended practice with skill development?

My favorite part of this video is the advice on how to narrow the topics that any one person must learn to do their particular job. For example, even those in the same job family may not always be responsible for doing the same tasks. While cross-training can be useful sometimes, everybody probably doesn’t have to learn everything to get started being productive.

Article: 360-Degree Feedback: Going Around in Circles? by Don Tosti and Roger Addison


At 4:00 AM after an ISPI conference, I met Don Tosti. We shared a cab to the airport and spent the time together laughing. We exchanged jokes and puns, which quickly past the time.

If you’re not familiar with Tosti’s and Addison’s published works, you should. Both have made substantial contributions to advance our knowledge of human performance improvement, and I’ve learned a great deal from their works!

360-Degree Feedback / a.k.a. Multisource Feedback

Anyone involved in performance improvement knows how critical feedback is for employees to verify and fine-tune their behavior. Likewise, management also needs this. 360-degree feedback is one technique used to accomplish this. According to Tosti and Addison:

People in managerial positions seldom get good feedback on their practices and behavior in the course of their work, so multisource feedback offers an excellent way to get the kind of feedback people need to become more fluent in good management practices.

However, someone who is skilled at administering, interpreting, and communicating results should manage the process. Without proper management, Tosti and Addison explain that too much can go wrong. Here’s one example that they share:

People can change only a few things at a time. If they are confronted with too many recommendations for change, they experience overload and often nothing changes. Most feedback instruments suffer from this phenomenon…

They suggest focusing on 3-6 practices to work on, but I recommend limiting this to one or two.

One note of caution: Tosti and Addison state that reporting results from multiple roles (such as blending feedback from superordinates, peers, and subordinates) can confound the data. They suggest the alternative of separating the data by role and reporting feedback from one or two roles at a time. Doing this may not be a good idea. At one financial organization that does this, managers downplayed subordinate feedback or rationalized and thought of excuses for ignoring the feedback based on the role. If you find a large discrepancy between superordinates and subordinates, you might want to analyze the cause to provide better reporting and recommendations.


The article entitled, 360-DEGREE FEEDBACK: GOING AROUND IN CIRCLES?, is available as a PDF through the HPT Treasure’s website: https://hpttreasures.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/tosti-addison-feedback.pdf

#  #  #


Check out IBSTPI

From their website:

The International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction ( ibstpi®) is a not-for-profit corporation that provides leadership to the community by setting the standards.


The Board is composed of up to fifteen professionals of the highest repute in their respective fields of expertise who spearhead the research & development of standards, competencies, products and services. They are selected to broadly represent the constituencies that they serve. Directors of the Board represent universities, government departments, businesses and consultancies directed at the charge of the organization.

ibstpi® is primarily involved in research and development activities that lead to the development of standards in the areas of training, performance and instruction. ibstpi® develops, validates, publishes and disseminates the standards, competencies and performance statements for several areas including instructors, training managers, instructional designers and evaluators. ibstpi® spearheads development of standards in emerging areas of human learning & performance. ibstpi® interfaces with industries and academia to usher in standards for practices in training, performance and instruction.

ibstpi® also examines training programs and their associated content to provide a designation known as RiM (“Recognized ibstpi® Materials”) to training programs that have been based on the ibstpi® standards. ibstpi® has long been known and recognized for their various sets of competencies and performance statements.

ibstpi® also consults and conducts workshops/conferences/webinars/forums to help organizations including schools, universities, government agencies, business and training institutions improve learning and performance.

Our free PDF downloads provide you with a set of Competency Standards within each discipline.

We have five Standards Sets: Instructional Designer, Training Manager, Instructor, Evaluator, and Online Learner. Each set contains two major parts: Competencies and Performance Statements. Individuals often use the Competencies as a benchmark for their own professional development whereas organizations may refer to them in a quest to improve their human resources function.

You can freely download and use the ibstpi® Competencies and you may freely link to this web page where others can access ibstpi® materials. However, if you refer to the Competencies, you must cite the origin of them with “Competency Statements obtained from ibstpi.org”. No permission is required to link to our website or to use the free versions of the ibstpi® Competencies. Copyright policies apply.

# # #

Learning Myths & Millennials

So, should we do something different if we are designing training for people who are “millennials” or so-called “digital natives”?

Do they learn differently than the generations that came before them?

Brett Christensen offers a useful “small rant” on this topic. Brett’s blog post offers some examples that show why it’s dangerous to generalize too much about any one set of humans based on age. He adds links to useful references, too.

My favorite stereotype for our younger generations is that they are completely tech savvy while older generations are so totally: NOT.

Hah! Who do we think created the computers and other tech that (some) younger folks have been using since they were old enough to touch a screen or tap on a keyboard?

Consider, for example, Douglas Engelbart. His work “resulted in [the] creation of the computer mouse, and the development of hypertext, networked computers, and precursors to graphical user interfaces” (Douglas Engelbart, n.d.)

Dr. Engelbart was born in 1925.


Christensen, B. D. (2019, June 6). Debunking bad training practices is never-ending work! [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://workplaceperformanceblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/06/debunking-bad-training-practices-is-never-ending-work/

Wikipedia contributors. (2019, June 1). Douglas Engelbart. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 6, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Douglas_Engelbart&oldid=899751251

PowerPoint [29 Slides]: An Ounce of Analysis –The Legacy of Joe Harless


At the 2012 ISPI Conference, Paul Elliot, Joe Harless, Al Folsom, and Carl Binder presented their session entitled, An Ounce of Analysis –The Legacy of Joe Harless. In this deck, they share:

  • The revolution/evolution of performance technology
  • The linkage between instructional technology and performance technology is front-end analysis (FEA)
  • Examples of performance problem causes that some training solutions cannot directly resolve
  • Diagnostic FEA
  • Insights into exemplary performers

Each slide is worth studying and reflecting on how you could leverage what they shared.


This is a deck worth exploring: https://hpttreasures.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/Harless-ISPI-Conference-Slides-2012.pdf

#  #  #


T&D 2013 Video: Robert O. Brinkerhoff

Learning’s Future Role

We know that the L&D department does a great job in building skills, but that may not be important. Are we building the right skills? How do they help the business? Is expressing our role in terms of skills even useful?

In this session Robert O. Brinkerhoff, master of the success case method of showing the value of training, argues that that is another way to make learning part of the business, something that will embed L&D into the organisation’s fabric. From cost-centre to ‘must-have’: making L&D matter Robert O. Brinkerhoff, Professor Emeritus, Western Michigan University and Senior Consultant, Advantage Performance Group & BTS, Inc.

Robert O. Brinkerhoff – Making L&D Matter : Learning Technologies 2013

Video is 61 minutes in length.

# # #

30 Minute Video: Bror Saxberg: Reinventing Learning Itself with Digital Technology

Bror Saxberg (Chief Learning Officer at Kaplan) presents an inspiring engineering perspective on learning and on using (big) data in learning and education.

I feel chagrined.

Richard E. (Dick) Clark EdD told me about Bror Saxberg quite a while ago – and I am only now catching up and reading his articles and watching his videos (where’s there’s a lot of overlap – but each one holds a nugget or two worth watching – the redundancy – or Spaced Learning as some might frame it.

Also – here is a recent HBR article by Clark and Saxberg:

4 Reasons Good Employees Lose Their Motivation

# # #