ISD/L&D/LXD – Here We Go Again

Poor Practices Are Poor Practices Despite their Name

Someone commented to me the other day that ISD is disappearing and that LXD is the new thing. Or something to that affect.

Not that past practices in ISD or T&D or in Learning afterward weren’t prevalent, as they were, but what will this shift to Learning Experiences really accomplish other than provide another safe harbor hiding spot from the general lack of results from the all-too-often poor practices conducted under any name/label?

Will the New Name Lead to Learning Experiences When a Job Aid Would Have Been a Better Solution?

I hope not.

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ISD: The Current Clarion Call: Performance-Based Instruction


David James has a new post out…about our conversation in his L&D podcast series…where he starts off with:

At the beginning of 2020, David James spoke with Guy Wallace, a pioneer of performance-focused L&D, on The Learning & Development Podcast.

Nice. But…

I Feel More Like a Tour Guide Than a Pioneer

And as a Tour Guide, I stand on the shoulders of hundreds of people who actually blazed the trails – of Performance-Based Instruction and Performance Improvement Beyond Instruction. I simply point out the trails – as I understand or misunderstand them – blazed by the real pioneers.

It is heartening that the mantra of “Performance” is being heard with more frequency and more passion nowadays.

But it is a slippery slope – upwards – to Performance-Beyond-Instruction.

And a slipperier slope – downwards – to a focus on Performance-Behaviors that don’t reflect the back-on-the-job authentic requirements of Tasks and Outputs that meet stakeholder requirements.

Beware “Faux Performance” IMO.

I learned from many – going back to Day 1 for me in the ISD/T&D biz.

That day was in August 1979.

The people that I learned from were all associated with what became my professional home – NSPI – now ISPI – the International Society for Performance Improvement.

Then I learned from key people from the TQM – Total Quality Management movement.

I owe many for my viewpoints and philosophies and practices.

This next graphic I owe to Rummler, Gilbert, and Ishikawa…

I embrace what has been called HPT – Human Performance Technology.

Where “technology” refers to the “application of science.”

It is also known as HPI – Human Performance Improvement, and PI – Performance Improvement, and PT – Performance Technology.

A Rose is a Rose is a Rose….


Just like the labeling of ISD, ID, ADDIE, SAT, T&D, L&D LXD….

Word Salads. Marketplace confusion. Marketing Branding. Something that I am guilty of as well.

Instruction to me is both Job Aids and Training.

But Instruction isn’t always the point-of-the-spear when addressing Performance Issues. It just isn’t.

And knowing more about that will help you help your clients and stakeholders avoid Instruction that won’t move any needles other than the cost (investment) needle.

I am a Member of the HPT Quixotian Order – something I made up – when I really really began to understand what Rummler taught me decades ago – and he wrote about in 1969: “We can’t get there from here” – which you can read via the Blog Post referenced in a couple of paragraphs.

I do appreciate people like David James – and Bob Mosher – and the many, many others who are making the current Clarion Call about Performance.

And we all stand on the shoulders of Rummler, Gilbert, Harless, Gery, Brethower, and hundreds if not thousands of others – who probably all stand on the shoulders of Skinner. Who stood on others’ shoulders.


And I also worry about those who will focus on what Tom Gilbert called the “Cult of Behaviors.”

Which is “performance” – but if they don’t reflect authentic performance requirements in the authentic performance context and lead to authentic outputs – “Worthy Outputs” as Gilbert called them – then it is a Vague Notion of Performance that will water-down the entire notion of Performance – Performance Competence as I have chosen to label it after Gilbert’s 1978 book, Human Competence.

Mine is the Cult of Authentic Performance I guess. I hope.

In 2014 I published this post:

In Vogue in the L&D Space – This Vague Notion of Performance

This Vague Notion of Performance

Is this finally getting some headway? This notion of Performance versus Learning, or e-Learning, or Training or even Performance Support done poorly – you know, without analysis of what those performance requirements are – to be supported?

Performance – the ultimate criterion (within our typical control) for our team and individually targeted interventions. THE Target.

If so – if it’s coming – it’s been a long time in coming.

I still worry about this opportunity, slipping away. Again.

But … we soldier on…

Once More Unto the Breach!

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HPT Video 2020 – Jeff Gill

I first met Jeff on November 1, 1982. I share how and where in the opening of the video.

Jeff has been in the HR world for over 40 years. He brings a Performance Orientation to HR.


Jeff is a strategic human capital advisor with demonstrated success leading global teams to design learning and talent development practices to drive organizational success at companies ranging from startup to fortune 100. 
His passion is to help companies create sustainable competitive advantage by applying neuroscience (rather than HR gut-feel) to the design of HR processes to
  • Attract better talent
  • Where employees become productive sooner
  • They contribute more
  • Want to stay longer
  • Can be themselves without having to wear the corporate mask
  • And work safely
He has worked at plant, division and corporate levels serving in roles as Labor Relations Supervisor, HR generalist, L&D specialist, TQM trainer, Division HR Director and Production Manager, across many different industries working in startups, mature companies and major turnarounds. 
He has served as VP of Learning and Talent Development prior to a COVID furlough.

His specialties include building a fully capable, engaged and safe workforce to
– Attract better candidates
– That become productive sooner
– Contribute more throughout their career, and
– Stay longer

– “Corporate University Best in Class – New Start Up University”​ by International Quality and Productivity Center.​
– “Best Place to Work in Houston”​ for a medium sized company.​
– “Top Ten Best Companies for Leadership”​ winner at Coca-Cola.
– “HR Partner of the Year” by the National Society of Black Engineers.

Jeff has spoken at various conferences, including in 2020 (Diversity and Inclusion), at 3 HR/Energy conferences in 2019, and at 5 in 2018 on Culture Transformation, Operator Qualification Certification, and Redesigning Global Talent Forums to build bench strength in Operations.

Advisory Board Membership:
– University of Houston Master’s Degree Program in Human Resource Development.
– Workforce Next HR Energy Leadership Council
– Evanta Chief Human Resources Officer Summit

“Linking Compensation and Rewards to Your Talent Strategy,”​ Human Resources iQ Compensation and Rewards Summit.

“Reinventing Your Training Program with Technology,”​ Corporate University Panel Webinar.

“Developing Future Leaders,”​ CEO Leadership Conference, FCCS, Denver, CO,

“Not Your Daddy’s Learning & Development Department,” Corporate University Week, Orlando, FL,

The HPT Video

This video is 36:35 minutes in length.

Guy’s HPT Video Series

The HPT Video Series … formerly known as the HPT Practitioner and HPT Legacy Video Series … was started by Guy W. Wallace in 2008 as a means of sharing the diversity of HPT Practitioners, and the diversity of HPT Practices in the workplace and in academia.

The full set of videos – over 125 – may be found and linked to – here.

HPT – Human Performance Technology – is the application of science – the “technology” part – for Performance Improvement.

As the late Don Tosti noted, “All performance is a human endeavor.”

Whether your label for HPT is that, or Performance Improvement, or Human Performance Improvement, it is all about Evidence Based Practices for Performance Improvement at the Individual level, the Team level, the Process level, the Department level, the Functional level, the Enterprise level, and at the level of Society/World.

HPT Practitioners might operate at any of these levels, as this Video Series clearly demonstrates.

Although ISPI – the International Society for Performance Improvement is the professional home of many HPT Practitioners – the concepts, models, methods, tools and techniques are not limited to any one professional affinity group or professional label.

ISPI just happens to be where I learned about HPT – and has been my professional home since 1979.

This Series Has Evolved Since 2008

These videos were first posted on Google Video, then they were moved to Blink, and now they may all be found on YouTube. And my name for them has changed as well…

HPT Practitioner Video Podcasts and HPT Legacy Video Podcasts

– Practitioner Series – short 2-10 minutes, following a script. Intended to show the diversity of HPT and HPT Practitioners. (2008-2018)

– Legacy Series – longer 15-40+ minutes, also scripted, with added stories of other NSPI/ ISPI’ers from the earlier days of the Society or others who were of great influence. Intended to capture the stories of the people who influenced us. (2008-2018)

– HPT Video Series (2019+) – is a continuation of the first two types of videos in this series, but with less focus on capturing NSPI/ISPI members – and expanding out to any and all who use Evidence Based Practices in Performance Improvement regardless of any affiliation with ISPI or not.

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