Monday, October 6, 2008

Human Performance Technology

I was really interested in the field of Human Performance Technology after reading the Wile article, mostly because of the breadth of areas that HPT addresses. Human Performance Technology differs from Instructional Technology in that HPT focuses on specific outcomes, without an overt concern with learning (although a HP Technologist would recognize that learning has an influence upon the outcomes or performance that results).  Instructional Technologists are more concerned with learning (or "what goes on inside people's heads" as was mentioned in class today).  

In addition to problems of learning or training, HPT also tackles issues surrounding external factors like organizational systems, incentives, tools, and work/performance environments.  Learning or training would be an internal factor that HPT might attend to.  Accordingly, potential interventions from an HPT standpoint would include improved training programs, but also things like improved use of office space, more attractive incentives, improved tools (e.g. computer software, media, etc.), or the modification of organizational culture.

I like this field because it recognizes that all problems are not instructional problems, but does not minimize the importance of learning and its relationship to performance.  I feel like HPT allows professionals in our field to look at the big picture, which is exciting to me.  I am also interested in working in a corporate setting and HPT seems to lend itself well to that type of work.  

(HPT Chart)

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