This Question Has Been Kicked Around For Decades
Here is an answer from 2007…
SEVERAL AUTHORS HAVE identified Tom Gilbert as
the father of human performance technology. We respectfully
disagree—and think he would have too. Gilbert was
a brilliant and creative professional who made major contributions
to the field, and it seems safe to say that HPT
would not have progressed as far as it has without him.
But he was not alone. Those of us who have been in the
field since the early 1960s can identify a number of other
contributors who were significant and even crucial to the
early development and expansion of the technology.
The early days of HPT were an exciting time.We had a
powerful technology that many of us believed could
change the world, but it was a new technology and limited
in its scope and applications at that stage. Conferences
and meetings were characterized by lengthy discussions
(sometimes heated, and often extending into the hallways,
coffee shops, and bars) about the technology itself, what
the field really was, and its potential applications.
If we were forced to point to a single initiator of HPT,
it would probably be B. F. Skinner, with the publication of
The Science of Learning and the Art of Teaching in 1954.
But the development of the basic principles that Skinner
articulated into a far-reaching technology was the work
of many. A number of those people (including Gilbert,
Ogden Lindsey, and Dale Brethower) were graduate students
under Skinner; others were attracted by the potential
power of the principles in Skinner’s writings.
Get the 4 page PDF of the late Don Tosti, and Roger Kaufman’s 2007 article – Real Father of HPT – Kaufman-Tosti.
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