Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Human Performance Technology--Part 2

I read an interesting article for class this morning that broke Human Performance Technology into a series of steps or processes.  At its foundation, human performance technology is concerned with improving performance and the author of the book chapter (Human Performance Technology--Marc Rosenberg) discusses three key steps in bringing about these types of improvements.

1.  Performance Analysis:  The goal of this particular analysis is to determine the gap between what people are supposed to be doing or achieving and what they are currently able to do.  This step is critical because it helps us to know what our focus will be and what needs to change or improve.

2.  Cause Analysis:  This is a step that is often skipped over, but is also critical if improvements are to be made.  This analysis allows us to move beyond the symptoms of the performance problem and get at the root cause.  

3.  Selection of Intervention(s):  This is the step where actual interventions are selected for implementation (e.g. training, change in organizational culture, new workplace design/layout, etc.).  The author pointed out that often more than one intervention is called for in order to close the performance gap mentioned above.  Individual, isolated interventions may produce some results, but a set of well-aligned interventions (e.g. training + improved job aids) will often have a synergistic effect and bring about greater improvements in performance.

There were a few other key points that I pulled from the article:

  • It is important for HP Technologists to thoughtfully consider "change management" and how proposed changes to an organization will be received.  New ideas can be hard to swallow for people within an organization.  Consequently, one of the important tasks of a practioner is to not only make suggestions for improving performance, but also work to help changes to be implemented smoothly and with buy-in from all levels of the organization.
  • Learning is not always the solution to performance problems.  There are a whole host of other factors that can come into play (e.g. organizational structure, incentives, work environment, etc.)

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