Foo Foo – in Instructional Design and Performance Improvement

There Is Too Much Foo Foo

Here are links to Pages on this site with links to research findings off this site – on each of the various types of Foo Foo found often in Instructional Design and Performance Improvement, including:

Buzz Thoughts...a2

Good general online Sources for your self defense:

Foo Foo Fighting In the Online Trenches:

Check out these sites/pages for more on various topics…
Farrington, J., & Clark, R. E. (2000). Snake oil, science, and performance products. farrington_clark_snakePerformance Improvement, 39(10), 5-10.
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Dale Brethower – Sense and Nonsense in HPT – Sense and NonSense in HPT – Dale Brethower
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Harold Stolovitch – – on the following topics:
  • Feedback leads to improved performance.
  • Immediate feedback is more effective in improving performance than delayed feedback.
  • Job satisfaction generally leads to improved performance. 
  • Successful performance during training usually results in improved post-training performance.
  • If you want to learn how to do something, go to the expert.
  • Physical capital generates a significantly higher return-on-investment (ROI) than human capital.
  • Technology advances since 1970 have consistently accelerated an overall increase in work productivity.
  • Common sense is a friendly ally of science.
Harold writes: Most research methodology books warn research students that “common sense” presents one of the greatest dangers to scientific truth and is frequently an enemy of science.
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Professor Wallace Hannum (UNC) – has a two-part article in ISPI’s Performance Improvement Journal in February and July 2009 (available for free to ISPI members) – see the following links to the abstracts and to download the PDFs:
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Don ClarkBig Dog Little Dog web site – on the following topics…check his current listings…
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Also fighting Foo Foo…


For more than two decades, The International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction (ibstpi®) has been developing and validating the standards for professionals in the fields of training and performance.
ibstpi® issued competencies and performance statements for Instructors, Instructional Designers, Training Managers. All of these competencies have been updated and globally validated.
The Instructor competencies have recently been expanded to include online teachers and trainers. Some of the competencies have been translated into other languages.
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Fight the Foo Foo

My book on HPT for managers without using that jargon!

The Fifth Management Foci

Avoiding Foo Foo in Foci 1-4

Paperback $10.00 plus s&h – here. Also available as a Kindle – $8.88 – here.
Click on graphic to enlarge.
Forward by Richard E. (Dick) Clark – EdD and APA Fellow:

Book Foreword

Dick Clark

If books on management were judged by a cost-benefit analysis, in my view Guy Wallace’s “The Fifth Management Foci” would take first place, hands down.  Readers in a hurry can finish it in less than two hours – or you can dwell on his advice and the piercing questions he asks for weeks or months.  I started with the fast read and then went back for a more leisurely and thoughtful stroll – and took away valuable insights from both.  Reading requires less time and work because Guy has spent the effort required to boil complex insights down to brief, pithy, clear and insightful statements about managing large and small organizations at all levels.   My thinking about his ideas was aided by the challenging questions he urges readers to ask at every one of the five stages he describes and the fact that he lets us provide the answers from the prospective of our own organization.  He has also designed the book so that the chapters can be read in any order.  Most important is that he gives clear directions about what to do at every turn and level of management – but lets us decide how to apply them in our organizations.

Part of the cost-benefit proposition in this book is that it is a twofer – two books in one.  A significant chunk of the book provides a structured outline and guide to most of the issues one should consider when designing, assessing and repairing the management and performance of an organization. These are the first four of the “Foci” he describes – key concerns such as Alignment, Processes, Practices and Resources for stakeholders.  A shorter but no less fascinating part of the book emphasizes his “Fifth Foci.” In it he uses the management road map he creates to point out the most comprehensive list yet of the unwarranted assumptions, common misconceptions, half-truths and outright lies about management and human performance at work.  He calls it the “Foo Foo Focus” and he trains the crosshairs on the snake oil that is sold for each of the other four focus areas.  This section alone is worth the price of the book. Readers are cautioned to approach it with an open mind because it is likely that everyone will recognize one or more of the misconceptions he points out as a principle that we hold dear.  Yet there is solid evidence to support every one of the Foo Foo strategies he lists.

Most of the recent reviews of research on organizational management have concluded that in general, it is poorly done and in great need of workable solutions.  Guy Wallace’s Fifth Management Foci is a significant step in the right direction.

Richard E. Clark, Ed.D.

October 9, 2011

For more info about this book, please go – here.
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8 comments on “Foo Foo – in Instructional Design and Performance Improvement

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