Human Performance Improvement (HPI) Basics: Gilbert’s Behavioral Engineering Model (BEM)

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Human Performance Improvement, or HPI, is the field of study dedicated to creating methods that allow us to better (1) identify workplace problems, (2) analyze their cause(s), (3) come up with interventions that will lead to meaningful performance improvements, and (4) evaluate those interventions to make sure they were successful and to check to see if they created unintended negative consequences.

HPI is both a systematic method and a systemic method for workplace performance improvement. When we say that HPI is systematic, we mean the various HPI models present a sequential, step-by-step process the HPI professional can use to work through the performance problem identification and solution process listed in brief above. There are numerous systematic HPI models for doing this, and in this article, we’re going to discuss one of those–Thomas Gilbert’s Behavior Engineering Model, also known as BEM. We’ve already discussed a few other systematic HPI models, including the ATD HPI model and the Rummler/Brache Nine Variables HPI model.

When we say that HPI is systemic, we mean it takes into account the interrelationship between different components of different systems at the workplace. Here’s how William Rothwell, Carolyn Hohne, and Stephen King put that in their book Human Performance Improvement: Building Practitioner Performance: “This open-systems phenomenon has been likened to a spider web, in which force applied to one part tends to echo, resound, and reverberate throughout the web.”

And one last point to keep in mind: the HPI method is driven by data, and the HPI practitioner should be too. HPI has its roots in engineering, and accordingly it has a built-in demand for collecting and analyzing data at all stages throughout the HPI process (instead of merely hoping, relying on hunches, or simply not thinking about it). This demand for data goes back at least to Edward Deming (download our Deming’s 14 Points of Management infographic here).

For those of you wondering, human performance improvement (HPI) is also known as human performance technology (HPT). It’s sad that we live in a world where we can’t have nice things and we have multiple names and acronyms for the same idea, but that’s the world we live in. But don’t let this confuse you–if one person is talking about HPI and another is talking about HPT, they’re talking about the same stuff! 🙂


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COVID-19 Presents a Need and Opportunity for L&D to “Step Up Their Game” — Talking with Dr. Stella Lee

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I recently caught an article our friend Dr. Stella Lee wrote about how the COVID-19 pandemic presented a need and opportunity for learning and development departments and professionals around the world–and certainly in Canada, where Dr. Lee lives, and in the US, where Vector Solutions is–to “step up their game” to help workers reskill and upskill.

There’s nothing new about L&D having an opportunity to help people reskill and upskill. That need has been going on for quite some time due to major changes in our national economies. We’ve got older workers retiring and possibly moving into consulting roles; we’ve got younger workers coming in to take their place in the workforce; we’ve got large numbers of workers who recently migrated to their new home countries; and we’ve got a lot of people who’s old job doesn’t exist or isn’t as in-demand in our modern economies who need to develop newer, more in-demand job skills.

But Dr. Lee’s right: COVID-19 did heighten this issue even more, and in that sense created an even greater opportunity and need for L&D to step in and help out. In some cases, people lost their jobs, perhaps permanently, and they need to develop new skills to step into new jobs. Likewise, in some cases people lost hours or are otherwise underemployed. In yet other cases, people have moved into different positions already but need help developing those skills (Dr. Lee tells a good story about librarians making a change like this). A LOT of us at work could use some help learning to use a lot of the new digital communication and collaboration tools that we’re using more effectively. Classroom trainers could use some help becoming better virtual trainers. And of course a lot of folks need new digital job skills for new careers.

For repeat readers/viewers here at the Convergence Training blog, you may remember earlier discussions with Dr. Lee about Hackathons and Digital Disruptions in L&D, both of which I really enjoyed. Check ’em out if they’re new to you!

And with no further ado, please enjoy our recorded discussion with Dr. Lee, below.  We wanted to publish this discussion now, but check back and we’ll begin adding some links to resources mentioned in the video and a transcript as well (busy, busy, busy!).

Many thanks to Dr. Lee, of course. Check her company out at Paradox Learning. 

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Instructional Design Basics: 3 Types of Cognitive Load & How They Affect Learning and Learning Design

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From time to time, we run an article in our Instructional Design Basics series to help you learning designers out there (whatever you call yourself…instructional designers, learning experience designers, learning engineers, etc.) better understand how people learn and/or how to design, develop, and deliver learning experiences that have a better chance of helping employees learn, acquiring essential knowledge and (most importantly) developing necessary job skills.

In this Instructional Design Basics article, we’re going to look at the issue of cognitive load. In particular, we’ll look at three different types of cognitive load–intrinsic, germane, and extraneous–so you can see what types of cognitive load you want employees to undergo during a learning experience, which ones you don’t, and how to design and deliver your learning experiences accordingly.

We’ll start with a quick intro to how people process new information and begin the experience of learning.


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Human Performance Improvement (HPI) Basics: The Rummler & Brache “Nine Variables” Model

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Vector Solutions (remember, Convergence Training is part of Vector Solutions) is dedicated to helping our customers improve their workplace performance.

Sometimes, that means we’ll help by providing training materials or products to our customers. Because sometimes, like when a new employee is hired, or is moved into a new job position, or when a process changes or a company introduces a new product, or when there’s a training requirement for compliance, training can really help.

But as helpful as training can be, sometimes it’s not the whole solution and still other times it’s not part of the solution at all. And that’s OK, because we can’t all be all things in all occasions. That’s true of people and it’s true for training as well.

And that’s where something like Human Performance Improvement, or HPI, comes in. HPI, as defined by one HPI practitioner, is “a systematic process of discovering and analyzing important human performance gaps, planning for future improvements in human performance, designing and developing cost-effective and ethically justifiable interventions to close performance gaps, implementing the interventions, and evaluating the financial and non-financial results” (Rothwell, 2000).

Although there are many different definitions of HPI, they generally have explicitly or implicitly include some of the key elements from Rothwell’s definition above. HPI is both systematic and systemic; it’s evidence-based; and it includes a consideration of many different performance interventions (not just training).

In this article, we’re going to continue our series of articles explaining key aspects and issues in HPI by talking about Geary Rummler, the Rummler-Brache Three Levels of Performance Model for HPI, the Three Needs for HPI, and the Rummler-Brache “Nine Variables” model for HPI.


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Instructional Design Basics: What Is ADDIE?

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Many people who wind up having training creation as part of their job roles have never had a full opportunity to learn about the basics of instructional design, how people learn, and how to develop training.

One of the things people in this situation sometimes don’t know if that there are processes, models, or methods that already exist that make the process of creating training more orderly, more effective, and more systematic.

One of those, and in fact the most commonly known one, is ADDIE. ADDIE is an acronym that stands for each of the steps of the model–analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluation (or you might see it listed out as analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation). ADDIE’s not the only model for the creation of training–there are others. And ADDIE’s not without its imperfections and it’s critics.

But if you’re new to training, it’s definitely worth your time becoming aware of ADDIE. Even if it’s only your introduction to the idea that there are systematic, formulaic methods or models you can use to develop training. And even if you ultimately wind up using a different method.

But there’s also a chance that you’ll find ADDIE very helpful, that you’ll use it a lot in your job as a trainer or training developer, or that you’ll develop and use your own, somewhat-custom version of ADDIE over time.

So let’s cut the introduction at this point and explain the ADDIE instructional design and/or training development model for you below in some more detail.


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Project Management Basics: Project Management, Program(s), Portfolio(s), and Operations Management

In our continuing look at some of the basics of project management, we’re going to consider some related, similar-but-different terms used in project management: projects, programs, and portfolios. And we’re going to discuss operations management as well.

This material is based on materials from A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide), which is published by the Project Management Institute, also known as the PMI. If you’re not familiar with the Project Management Institute (PMI), they’re the organization that certifies project managers. So–big shots in the field. And if you’re not familiar with the PMBOK, it’s the “body of knowledge” for project management and it includes the standard for project management, ANSI/PMI 99-001-2017. So, important stuff to know about if you’re a project manager and/or if you want to get a project management certification.

And if you’re looking to take some online courses on the topic of project management in order to prepare for the PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) exam in order to become a certified Project Management Professional, our Vector Solutions business partners over at RedVector specialize in that very thing–check ’em out!

Also, since you’re reading this article, we assume you’re interested in all-things-project-management, so please help yourself and download the Intro to Agile infographic at the bottom of this article.


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Some Key Industrial Training Topics

Industrial employers and manufacturers have their hands full in today’s business climate. And while there are a lot of challenges (and opportunities too, of course), there’s no doubt that developing a fully skilled workforce is a big challenge.

In this article, we’re going to provide a brief overview of some key times when industrial employers should deliver training to workers and some key topics to provide that training.

We invite you to share your own experiences in hiring skilled workers, providing your initial training to them during onboarding as well as throughout their career with your organization to develop those necessary skills, and of course using that training as a way to retain employees so  you won’t have to go through the expensive proposition of turning around, hiring, and onboarding new employees so frequently.

In addition to this article on industrial training topics and moments of training needs, you might also enjoy our article with Industrial Training Tips and our article on developing Training Programs for Industrial Employees.


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New Courses Released: National Electrical Code (NEC) 2020®

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You may remember our earlier article mentioning that the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) had updated the National Electrical Code, creating NEC 2020®.

Here’s what the NFPA says about NEC 2020® at their webpage:

NFPA 70®National Electrical Code® (NEC®), sets the foundation for electrical safety. The revised 2020 edition of this trusted code reflects the dynamic nature of the industry, incorporating more than 3,700 public inputs and 1,900 comments, resulting in hundreds of updates and four all-new articles related to emerging issues like emergency disconnects, ground-fault circuit interrupter protection, surge protection, power over Ethernet, and more.

To help electricians get or stay certified, Vector Solutions (through our business partners at RedVector) have released a series of new online NEC 2020® training courses to their existing continuing education training library for electricians.

We’ll give some more details about these exciting and important new course offerings below. Please let us know if you’ve got any questions.

Plus, we’re offering a free, live, informational webinar on these NEC 2020® Changes on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. Register now and you can attend live, listen, and even ask some questions or, if you miss it, we’ll be sure to get a recording in your email inbox shortly after.

And here’s a quick overview video from some of the NEC 2020® online training courses.


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What Is Reliability-Centered Maintenance?

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Reliability-centered maintenance is a process of planning maintenance inspections and procedures to ensure your equipment what you need them to do and to preserve its current function(s).

Reliability-centered maintenance, or RCM, begins with identifying the problems and potential problems with your equipment, beginning with how they can fail. RCM then leads you through an orderly process that leads you to identifying ways to prevent those failures.

We’ll explain more in this article.

Before you go further, feel free to download our Guide to Industrial Maintenance Training or check out our online industrial maintenance training courses and solutions.


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New Courses Released: Online Lean Manufacturing Training Courses Available

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We’re a little late in announcing this–apologies for that!–but earlier this year we released an entire series of online training courses on the basics of Lean Manufacturing.

These courses cover all the basics–we’ll include a full course-title list below along with course descriptions–and are part of our larger online training library for continuous improvement.

The courses are all made in our famous and award-winning multimedia video production style, which of course includes 2D- and 3D-animations. Check out a quick sample from our Lean Manufacturing highlight video, below.

Read on to learn more about the specific new courses in our Lean Manufacturing series.


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OSHA’s Recommendations for Safety & Health Management Programs in Construction

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In recent years, OSHA created some recommended practices for safety and health management programs or systems. One of those, OSHA 3886, is titled Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs in Construction.

We wanted to make sure you know about this OSHA document on construction safety and health programs. And we also wanted to call out some of the highlights of the OSHA document for you here in this article.

So definitely download the OSHA document so you can read it completely and use it to improve the safety and health of your construction work areas (and stay more compliant, as well). But please do feel free to review our article for some helpful construction safety tips also.

And be sure to let us know if you need help with construction safety training, safety management software for your construction company, construction project management continuing education, or other stuff related to construction.


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