Monday, April 23, 2012

ISPI Performance Improvement Conference - Day 3

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 is the final day of the conference. I had to leave this afternoon to get to the airport, so I missed the afternoon presentations.

Morning Session - Eileen Maeso, CPT  How do You Apply HPT?

This was the last session I attended at the conference, and it served to really help me take things back a step and see things from the big-picture. Eileen went over some of the key terminology in the field, described some of the key models used in the field, and then had us practice using the “ISPI-adopted HPT Model” to a simple case study. It was nice to work through a sample situation and it really helped me to sort of blend everything back together as I completed my time at the conference. 

This model seems somewhat overwhelming when you look at the big picture, but it really follows the same general phases of ADDIE Process for designing instruction. Once you think of it in these terms, you can follow each of the phases and use the HPT model as a guide. It really is powerful. The funny thing is that all of these strategies on their own seem practical and straightforward, but it is the systematic application of all of these strategies that really creates the powerful results.

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Additional Themes from the Conference

Communicating HPT Ideas Effectively 

It is crucial that knowledge be communicated clearly. I've recently come from the academic world where researchers use very methodical steps for presenting their work, but in the world of business, this kind of rigor and extraneous detail wastes a great deal of time. Here are a couple of ideas for communicating problems, solutions and results:
  • Present your ideas in clear, simple terms. The goal is to help others understand the problem and solution very quickly. It is important to make your deeper analysis visible, but this should only be made available if requested. 
  • Use the fewest words possible. If you can say it with less, do it.
  • Use effective visuals to communicate complex things. Visual presentation can be very powerful, as well. I find that I naturally think this way, and I will use this approach more effectively as I do my work. This can be as easy as using simple graphics or laying out a page in a visually appealing way.

Everything operates in a system in which everything is interrelated. Focusing on a minor component might have positive impact on that component but the system might not be affected positively. And sometimes changing one component can negatively impact the system.  We should be aware of the larger system in which we work and live. For example, we have limited resources on earth, and we must figure out how to align our lives, our communities, and our businesses with that larger system or there will be terrible consequences.

Working Systematically

This is related to systems thinking but it somewhat different. In systems thinking one looks at things as a whole interacting system. But working systematically means working in an objective-oriented manner, it means thinking critically and using proven processes to identify and solve problems.When we are working systematically, we analyze and design before we begin implementing solutions. We gather data and consider our needs before we act. There are several things that make it difficult to work systematically:
  • Human nature. It is efficient to use knowledge we already have, and if we didn't have this capacity, we would have to relearn almost everything we do. The problem is that it is often not effective.
  • Lack of time. We are often so busy that we do not have time to do a proper analysis and to really identify an overall goal, to discover what is getting in the way of reaching that goal, and to identify the most effective path for reaching that goal.
  • Overload. We are so often buried by the constant flow of information and pressure that our minds literally become overloaded and we are unable to take the time to do what is effective.
In a future post, I will share a podcast in which I discuss my experience at this conference with my brother, instructional designer J. Clark Gardner, on the EdTech Dojo.
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