Friday, August 26, 2011

Metacognitive Model for HPT

My latest journal publication is out. Check out New Metacognitive Model for Human Performance Technology in the August issue of Performance Improvement Journal (PIJ), see above model.


Addressing metacognitive functions has been shown to improve performance at the individual, team, and organizational levels. Metacognition is beginning to surface as an added cognate discipline for the field of human performance technology (HPT). Advances from research in the fields of cognition and metacognition offer a place for HPT to expand its theoretical base. This article summarizes current theories of metacognition and presents a new metacognitive model for HPT.

Check out my powerpoint slides for this article on slideshare:


Turner, J. R. (2011). New metacognitive model for human performance technology. Performance Improvement, 50(7), 25-32. doi: 10.1002/pfi.20229

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Human Performance Technology Principles (HPT)

Listed below are a set of 10 Principles of Human Performance Technology (HPT) as presented by Jacobs in 1987 (Gilley, Dean, Bierema, 2001, pp. 80-91). These principles provide a guide for those who are interested in providing systematic performance related solutions for their organization. Practitioners, managers, and today's corporate leaders can all benefit by keeping these principles in the back of their minds.

  1. Human performance and human behavior are different, and knowledge of their differences is important for achieving goals.
  2. Any statement about human performance is about organizational performance as well.
  3. Costs of improving performance should be regarded as investments in human capital, yielding returns in the form of increased performance potential.
  4. Organizational and individual goals must be considered to define worthy performance.
  5. Knowing how to engineer human performance and the conditions that affect it is as important as explaining why the behavior occurred.
  6. Diagnosing problems required analysis of the present system and examination of differences between it and an ideal system. Avoiding anticipated problems requires analyzing the planned system and modifying it to approximate the ideal.
  7. Exemplary performance provides the most logical reference for establishing job performance standards.
  8. Human performance problems have differing root causes that originate either from the person, from something in the environment, or from both.
  9. The performance of one subsystem affects the performance of other subsystems in somewhat predictable ways, requiring that root causes be analyzed at more than one level of the organization.
  10. Many different solutions may be used to improve human performance. Selection of any one solution is dependent on the cause and nature of the performance problem, and the criteria used to evaluate a solution must include its potential to make a measurable difference in the performance system.
(Gilley, Dean, Bierema, 2001, pp. 80-91)


Gilley, J. W. (2001). Philosophy of organizational performance. In Gilley, J. W., Dean, P., & Bierema, L. (Eds.), Philosophy and practice of organizational learning, performance, and change: New perspectives in organizational learning, performance, and change, pp. 67-92. Cambridge, MA: Perseus.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Is Your Workplace Designed for Learning?

As the 21st century transitions to the knowledge worker (from the industrial / manufacturing worker of the 20th century & from the agricultural worker from the 19th century) companies are faced with the responsibility of training their workers to acquire the required knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA’s) for their jobs. Nijhof and Nieuwenhuis (2008) identified that work is shifting toward knowledge-intensive work, with a focus on knowledge production. It is not uncommon today to view a journal article or a newsletter that talks about the knowledge-economy. The primary difference here is that knowledge-economy refers more to a macro perspective, where knowledge production looks more at a micro perspective.

As the requirements for the knowledge worker continually changes to keep up with the global economy and new technologies, the educational system often falls behind these new technologies, thus furthering the burden for the employer to train employees. This new emphasis on training, by the employer, was highlighted by Nijhof and Nieuwenhuis (2008) by stating: “Efficient and effective learning impose requirements on workplaces that are different from those for efficient and effective working” (pp. 6-7). This new requirement on employers causes a shift in the common practices of the organization.

Most views of the workplace take the stand that there is a place to work (the workplace), there is a place to play (at home), and there is a place to learn (at home or at school – both away from the workplace). However, learning new tasks or skills are often required to perform one’s job. Alternatively, in order to successfully perform one’s job, one must be able to learn about the job duties and processes that are involved with that particular job. Nijhof & Nieuwenhius (2008) identified that learning is an intermediate function of work, “the learning potential of the workplace therefore lies in its conditions to support or stimulate learning” (Nijhof & Nieuwenhuis, 2008, p. 5). Thus, the more learning is supported in the workplace, employees have a tendency to be more motivated and productive.

A fully supported learning environment in the workplace could be replicated using the following definition provided by Nijhof and Nieuwenhuis (2008): “The learning potential of the workplace may… be defined as the power of a work setting to integrate learning at work with the result of behavioural changes and the generation of new knowledge” (p. 7).

Is your organization set up to integrate learning in the workplace? I will follow up in the next couple of blogs with a few models that could be implemented to begin a new learning workplace for organizations.


Nijhof, W. J. & Nieuwenhuis, L. F. M. (2008). The learning potential of the workforce. In Nijhof, W. J. & Nieuwenhuis, L. F. M. (Eds.), The learning potential of the workplace. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Teams Can Rescue Talent Management

Burbach and Royle (2010) emphasized the point that firms have either too many employees for available positions (talent rich) or they have a short-fall of talent (talent poor). Additionally, Higgins (2009) pointed out that companies are “struggling to balance the urgent need for cost-cutting with the longer-term, loftier-seeming notions of talent retention” (para. 1). So how does a company provide the right balance of having the right combination of diverse qualified workers on hand and a talented pool of resources to recruit from when needed?

Alan Bourne, director of Talent Q, identified four points for adapting Talent Management in tougher times:

1) Share information and keep data.

2) Make the business case.

3) Revive the concept of teamwork.

4) Get it right the first time (Higgins, 2009).

Of these four points I would highlight point number three as the best method to develop Talent Management, 'Revive the concept of teamwork'. What better tool to use under the umbrella of Talent Management, providing individual and group development through the use of teams. Teams can help focus on the skills and the abilities of the individual (training & development), provide mentoring opportunities for team members to show their managerial potential (management development), and provide a means to share knowledge from more experienced team members to newer, less experienced, team members (succession planning, knowledge management).

Organizational entities, and groups/teams that operate within organizational entities, learn through the actions and interactions between people in teams (Edmondson, 2002). Senge (1990) identified the team as the fundamental learning unit in an organization. Teams can be the “microcosm for learning throughout the organization. Insights gained are put into action. Skills developed can propagate to other individuals and to other teams” (Senge, 1990, p. 219). Teams can be the less expensive option for organizations to practice Talent Management - providing an adequate supply of qualified individuals, those individuals who learned from their experiences as team members.


Burbach, R. & Royle, T. (2010). Talent on demand?; Talent management in the German and Irish subsidiaries f a US multinational corporation. Personnel Review, 39(4), 414. Doi: 10.1108/00483481011045399

BNET (2011), CBS Interactive Business Network. Retrieved from, retrieved on 8/16/2011.

Edmondson, A. C. (2002). The local and variegated nature of learning in organizations: A group level perspective. Organization Science, 13(2). 128-146.

Higgins, J. (2009). Talent and teamwork fall prey to cost-cutting. BNET, the CBS interactive business network. Retrieved from;content

Senge, P. M. (1990). The fifth discipline: The art & practice of the learning organization. New York, NY: Doubleday.

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