Saturday, April 21, 2012

ISPI Performance Improvement Conference - Day 1

This post is part of a multiple part Series on the 2012 Performance Improvement Conference.

I have been attending ISPI's Performance Improvement Conference 2012. Yesterday was the final of the 3-day Principles and Practice of Human Performance Technology workshop, and today was the first day of the conference.

Keynote Speaker - Dr. Richard Clark

I was excited to see that Dr. Clark was the keynote speaker- I have heard him speak before and in the past he has complimented me on some of my writing. Today he presented on the need to use evidence-based practices. He stated that as a society, ISPI should be willing to research what the evidence shows, to promote research, and to share it more completely.

After his presentation, I overheard someone saying that Dr. Clark is disconnected with the real world, that in business we have to just work with what we have due to pressure and constraints. I agree that practitioners must act quickly; however, I don't believe that Dr. Clark was saying that practitioners need to do research. He was saying ISPI as a society should create, promote, and share research and that there should be a conscious effort toward making this happen. Is he disconnected from the real world? Yes, and I think he is consciously disconnected in the right direction. We should base our actions on the evidence, on what we know works.

As a side note, in his presentation, Dr. Clark mentioned First Principles of Instruction as a research-based framework for research and practice. I have previously written and published an article about how these principles can be used: Applying Merrill's First Principles of Instruction

You can also view a recorded interview with Dr. Clark at the ISPI Conference.

Morning Session - Patti Phillips, CPT, PhD - ROI Basics

Dr. Phillips presented on Return on Investment in a performance improvement project. This topic is new to me (since I am an academic with no financial background to speak of) and it was eye-opening. She provided three great resources: (1) a guide for the workshop, (2) a really nice fold-out of a very clear model demonstrating how to measure ROI in a performance improvement project, and (3) her book The Bottom Line or ROI.

I was really surprised about how practical and logical her ideas were. She and her husband Jack really created a very powerful set of tools. For some reason, thinking in this way is totally new to me. I want to apply the knowledge, but realize that as a novice, it will be difficult. I think I will start small by just gathering data on what is happening with my program so that I have more information with which to make decisions. I think that the more performance data I have available, the greater the opportunity to calculate ROI and make useful decisions.

 I also attended several afternoon sessions that were very powerful. I find that my mind is filled with some really great knowledge, but new exposure to an entire field can be overwhelming. Several things give me an advantage in understanding the principles taught- my ISD background, my experiences as a corporate trainer, and my understanding of the goal-setting process - but it is still a lot to take in.

I am excited to see what I learn tomorrow. I am confident it will be worthwhile...

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