My 1st Friday Favorite Guru: Allison Rossett

This month we start this First Friday Guru Series for June 2013 with another of my favorite gurus…

Allison Rossett 


From her Bio on her page at San Diego State Universityhere:

Dr. Allison Rossett, long time Professor of Educational Technology at San Diego State University, is also a consultant in training and technology-based performance, and a member of the Training magazine HRD Hall of Fame. Allison also serves on the Board for the Elearning Guild and Chief Learning Officermagazine. She was selected as a Distinguished Fellow of the Naval Education and Training Learning Strategies Consortium.

Rossett’s most recent book is Job Aids and Performance Support: Moving from Knowledge in the Classroom to Knowledge Everywhere. She also authored The ASTD E-learning Handbook: Best Practices, Strategies and Case, published by McGraw-Hill. She is the co-author of Beyond the Podium: Delivering Training and Performance to a Digital World, winner of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) Instructional Communications award, 2002. Rossett’s book, First Things Fast: A Handbook for Performance Analysis and web tool, won the International Society for Performance Improvement’s Instructional Communications award in 1999.

A native New Yorker, ping-pong champion in her youth and yo-yo’er in training, Allison has keynoted at conferences and events all over the world. She teaches classes and consults on workforce development, needs assessment and new media learning and performance.

Some of Allison’s best known writings are, “Training and Organizational Development: Siblings Separated at Birth,” published in TRAINING Magazine, and “That was a Great Class, But…,” in Training and Development. She published “Confessions of a Web Dropout” in TRAINING magazine. A February 2007 article in Training and Development looked at the implications of new technologies for evaluation strategies. It is called, “Leveling the Levels.”


Rossett teaches regularly at SDSU: Seminar in Curriculum and Technology for the joint doctoral programs; Advanced Seminar in Instructional DesignSeminar in Performance Technology; and the introductory educational technology class, EDTEC 540. Her students are educators and performance professionals in diverse settings, such as K-12 schools, government, industry and higher education. What they and she have in common is a passion for learning and performance improvement.

Rossett’s also has an active life off the campus. Her clients are a who’s who of global companies and organizations, such as Microsoft, Fidelity Investments, Royal Bank of Scotland, CA Police Officers Standards and Training, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, BP, Tricon (Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut), Ford Motor Company, and the Getty Conservation Institute. She has served on Advisory Boards for IBM, Eli Lilly, Intrepid, Comcast, and ETEC. Two projects of which she is particularly proud are the Bilingual Instructional Technologies program, a successful collaboration with the San Diego County Department of Education to develop bilingual and magnet teachers in instructional design and technologies, and intensive professional development programs for corporate educators at BP, Southland, Digital Equipment and AT&T.


I have know Allison professionally since the early 1980s, from my involvement in NSPI/ISPI Committee work and from conference attendance. I’ve sat in many of her sessions there.

BTW – NSPI is now ISPI – the International Society for Performance Improvement.

We worked together once, at a shared client’s request, to a produce a piece on our two approaches in the conduct of Analysis – in a corporate Instructional Design setting. That was in the early 1990s.

We were most recently on an ISPI Committee together, just over one year back.

One of the Many Things I Learned From Allison

Was her flexible focus on results.

She promoted what used to be called EPSS back in the day.

She promotes use of job aids and performance support currently.

She is research based in her thinking and she doesn’t embrace fads and dis-proved thinking and applications.

She’s the kind of person you really want in your professional crowd. For better wisdom.

What I Also Learned From Allison

Was her openness to the use of many means to the ends of performance. For example, here is an exerpt from a recent blog post – available – here.

Can we rely on training and development for leaders? Although studies, such as Collins and Holton’s 2004 meta-analysis in HRDQ and Bruce Avolio and colleagues’ 2005 study in Leadership Review point to the positive influences associated with leadership development, current and expensive initiatives often attract raised eyebrows, reflecting skepticism about transfer from leader development events to performance, habits and results.

No surprise, there is great interest in alternative methods to develop and support leaders and managers. How about mobile devices?

When you think about it, it makes sense. Mobile messages go where tasks, needs and people are. A tablet and smartphone are patient, nearly inexhaustible. The assets can take many forms, from podcasts that motivate to checklists that guide. The issue of transfer is tackled by reminders and abbreviated lessons and examples there at the moment of need. And participation in communities and conversations happens on the very same omnipresent device used to look up a policy, order a pizza for the team or locate the best pizza place in Naples, Italy or Florida.

You should really follow her Blog.


Some Great Resources From Allison For You

Allison has many books available via Amazon and elsewhere – see them all listed here.

You can find and follow her on Twitter: @arossett

Her Web Site/Blog:

Tons of Book and Articles listed – here – from her web space at SDSU – with many links to many of those articles!!!

Share Your Stories

If Alison has been a valuable influence and/or resource for you – please share your stories about that in the comments section below.

Or share a URL that is relevant.

And thank you for sharing!

My Favorite Guru Series

Next month – Richard E. Clark.

My Guru Series so far …

  • Allison Rossett – June 2013
  • Carol Panza – May 2013 – here.
  • Jane Bozarth – April 2013 – here.
  • Judy Hale – March 2013 – here.
  • Margo Murray- February 2013 – here.
  • Neil Rackham – January 2013 – here.
  • Robert (Bob) Mager – December 2012 – here.
  • Joe H. Harless – November 2012 – here.
  • Thomas F. Gilbert – October 2012 –here.
  • Sivasailam Thiagarajan – September 2012 –here.
  • Geary A. Rummler – August 2012 –here.
  • Dale Brethower – July 2012 – here.

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6 comments on “My 1st Friday Favorite Guru: Allison Rossett

  1. Pingback: T&D: Reflections on 40 Years in the Biz | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

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  4. Pingback: My 1st Friday Favorite Guru: Roger Addison | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  5. Pingback: My 1st Friday Favorite Guru: Ray Svenson | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  6. Pingback: My 1st Friday Favorite Guru: Richard E. Clark | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

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