Sunday, April 22, 2012

ISPI Performance Improvement Conference - Day 2

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, and today was the second day of the conference. I missed the keynote speaker this morning to attend church. (I normally attend the LDS church but missed the bus to get to the chapel so I attended Mass at St. Michael's Cathedral which is right on Bond Street. A beautiful Cathedral and a very nice service).

Morning Session - Tim Brock, PhD, CPT, Peggy Meli, PhD - HPT Backyard Research: Tales From the Frontline

I attended a presentation by Tim Brock and Peggy Meli. (By the way, Dr. Brock is an adjunct faculty member of the Instructional Design and Performance Technology Masters Degree Program at Franklin University). They described how they have applied a sort of action-research approach to their own HPT work. Their ideas were really practical and showed how a practitioner can reflectively apply their knowledge and iteratively improve the work they are doing as  they do it. A great presentation.

Afternoon Session - Debunking Common Myths

The afternoon session was somewhat unique - I had never seen this kind of format at a conference. Several researchers presented for 20 minutes each on several erroneous ideas that are often heard in the field and debunked them with solid research. The idea is that basing our practice on strategies supported by research is the most logical and effective route. It was actually very insightful, here are some highlights:
  1. Designing instruction based around Learning Styles does not work. (I have written about how to combat this error in a previous post.)
  2. "Digital Natives" do not learn any differently than older learners.
  3. The media used doesn't increase learning, it is the strategies used that improve learning.
  4. IQ is actually a very good predictor of success at many things.
  5. Learners need guidance to learn most effectively - that is, minimal guidance works very poorly.
  6. Learner reactions are a very poor way to evaluate learning.
Some More Notes From the Conference

At the Principles and Practices of Human Performance Technology Workshop, Jim Hill visited with us for a few minutes and gave some really sound advice for beginning performance consultants (in my own words):
  • Apply the HPT tools that you are learning to yourself first. This is a good way toget started.
  • Start on smaller projects so that you can manage them easily. You can later start to expand to bigger projects.
  • When talking with people, make the complex seem simple. Instead of saying you will increase sales by X%, say that the goal is to have "one more deal per sales rep." This is very simple, easy to understand, and seems easy to apply.
  • Don't be afraid to use big numbers, though. People like to invest in big ideas.

*     *     *     *     *

This conference has been an incredible introduction to HPT tools and practices. The Principles and Practices Workshop was a great introduction, and I am now having that knowledge reinforced and expanded as I attend the presentations.

I feel like I am reaching cognitive overload. I find that my mind has gained about all that it can, and I will need to reflect on and begin to apply what I have learned over the coming weeks and months. I am thinking more long-term, now. It will likely take another couple of years of conferencing, practicing, and learning before I feel like I have a level of expertise. It is frustrating because I have gained expertise in other (related) fields, but I must remember that it took years of study and practice.

It's hard to believe that tomorrow is the last day of the conference, it has been such an experience.

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