My Performance Orientation Started on Day 1 – Way Back in 1979

I was initially taught my performance-orientation to Training (also known as Instruction back then, or Learning or Learning Experiences nowadays) in August 1979.

I had just graduated from the University of Kansas with a Radio-TV-Film degree and had been hired 6 months earlier to go to corporate headquarters of Wickes Lumber in Saginaw Michigan, a company I had worked for part-time as an Inside Sales Representative for 2.5 years while finishing college. Wickes was switching to video-based Training for their 185 stores across North America from 35mm slide strips with an audio track.

The 10 person Training Services unit I joined had just installed their new TV studio when I arrived. The Video Production department was run by Geary Rummler’s brother-in-law. I went to work for the Program Development department.

My 2 co-workers in the Program Development department at Wickes Lumber in 1979 had just come from jobs at Blue Cross Blue Shield in Detroit where they had worked with Geary’s bother, Rick. They were proponents of a derivative of a derivative of the Geary A Rummler approach to Performance-Based Training.

The photo above is the late Gail Tornga and me in the new TV Studio in Saginaw in the Fall of 1979 – back when men wore 3-piece suits and ties to work every day.

A 1972 document from Praxis was something used in my initial development – Praxis was the consulting firm of Geary A. Rummler and Thomas F. Gilbert back in the 1970s – and it addressed: Job or Systems Engineering.

It taught me to start my Instructional Analysis efforts not by looking at the Activities or Behaviors or Tasks, but by looking at the Outputs of any Activities or Behaviors or Tasks.

The graphic above – is on page 404 of 407 in that Praxis “Job or Systems Engineering” binder. I posted that doc on the HPT Treasures site along with other Gilbert things from 1979 – digitized from my metal file cabinets a while back.

Here is the link to that 407 page document: https://hpttreasures.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/1972-1974-Praxis-Job-or-Systems-Engineering.pdf

My two co-workers had converted the Gilbert language of Worthy Accomplishments – or Results – or Products – of Behavior (from pg 10 in Gilbert’s 1978 book Human Competence) to Outputs – for ease in talking with our clients, just as they had done at BXBS.

The “worthy” part came in when Outputs met the measures and standards established by what later I came to call Stakeholders (beyond but including Customers – as that wasn’t always true, or clear).

My graphics representing the “ends in mind” is below. I created earlier versions of these back in the 1990s.

I was taught to design Instruction (or Training) back in 1979 that was performance-based. Meaning – focused on authentic Tasks and Outputs that met the Stakeholder Requirements. And I have never strayed from that orientation – and I built my own set of methods consistent with that.

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