Performance Technology – the missing piece

This week at the LearnNB quarterly meeting the key area of focus was gaming, especially Serious Gaming. The interest in gaming reminds me of the interest in online learning around 1997. I think that e-learning, however you define it, and serious gaming, however you define that too, each have their place – as possible interventions for improved performance.

However, there is still a lack of pertinent discussion around the essential component in this whole business – analysis, or figuring out what solution is best. We have to better understand how we get from perceived problem to viable solution when dealing with human performance. How do we go from, “Our sales staff aren’t producing” to “let’s use the sales simulation game”. ISPI provides a venue for those discussions, but sometimes it’s a voice in the wilderness.

Another source of information is Jay Cross, with workflow learning, based on some of the principals and theories of HPT. Jay recently highlighted some excellent presentations from Training 2005, and Harold Stolovitch’s handout is a great aide-memoire for any HPT practitioner. You have to have some background in the field to decipher these notes, as the detailed explanation is lacking, but just the section on feedback is well worth reading. Feedback is often misunderstood, and frequently misused. Jay also refers to a Rummler-Brache white paper on business defragmentation (neat term), in this post. As anyone in the field knows, Geary Rummler has advanced much of our praxis.

Until we extend performance analysis into the everyday business workplace, we will continue to chase after each new performance tool. Every tool has its place, but good diagnostics, based on validated theory & practice, will help to make real progress in improving performance.

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