T&D/PI: Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom From the Past

Lest We Forget the Lessons They Taught Us


# # #


T&D: Don’t Inadvertently Create a Spaced Learning Tsunami

Sometimes the Job Itself Will Provide Enough Retrieval Practice 

So sometimes Spaced Learning isn’t required.


When Tasks are required to be performed – but not often enough to create long term memory of what and how – and it’s not practical for the performer to follow a Job Aid/Performance Support – and memorization of what to do and how to do it is really required – Spaced Learning can be extremely beneficial.

Just be careful to not inadvertently overwhelm some learner with a tsunami of Spaced Learning interruptions to their workflow. Incremental design of T&D/L&D can sometimes do that.

For more on Spaced Learning – see this PDF from Will Thalheimer, PhD:

Spacing Learning Events Over Time: What the Research Says

# # #

HPT Video Matinee with Doug Leigh

HPT Video Practitioner: Doug Leigh

This video was shot in 2010. It is 9:20 minutes in length.

This Video Matinee Series will be published on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the duration of 2019.

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 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 operate at all of these levels, as this Video Series clearly demonstrates.

Although ISPI – the International Society for Performance Improvement is the 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.


# # #

T&D: Remembering Dr. Susan Meyer Markle (1928-2008)

I Remember Hearing About Dr. Markle in the early 1980s

Although I don’t think I ever met her personally at any NSPI or ISPI Conferences that I started attending in 1980.

She was renown for having written “Good Frames and Bad” (1969) which was impactful to those doing Programmed Instruction in the 1970s – and thought years later to be applicable to early elearning. At least, that’s what I recall.


From Wikipedia

Considered a luminary of B.F. Skinner’s teaching machine innovation, Dr. Markle worked as a researcher at his Harvard laboratory from 1956 to 1960.

Characterized as one of the “godmothers” of programmed instruction and machine-based training, Dr. Markle was highly trained in her field, and had a long and distinguished career. Some of her accomplishments are:

  • Researcher at B.F. Skinner’s laboratory from 1956 to 1960
  • Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • Professor of Psychology and Director of Instructional Resources – University of Illinois at Chicago, 1965-1993
  • Director of Programing for the Center for Programed Instruction, Inc.
  • Member of the National Society of Performance and Instruction
  • Member of the International Society for Performance Improvement


Some of Her Writings

Teaching Machines and Programed Instruction – The Harvard Teaching Machine Project:
The First Hundred Days – Teaching Machines and Programed Instruction – The Harvard Teaching Machine Project – The First Hundred Days – Susan M Markle

This is one of the support papers for “To Improve Learning: a 1970 Report to the President and the Congress of the United States by the Commission on Instructional Technology” – PROGRAMING AND PROGRAMED INSTRUCTION – Susan Meyer Markle 1970

More From Wikipedia

An avid lover of jazz music, Dr. Markle served as board member and president of the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Not only did she love the music, but she was in fact a jazz scholar and video editor of Jazz Times magazine

From Her Obituary in the Chicago Tribune

Susan Meyer Markle, a past president of the Jazz Institute of Chicago, began frequenting jazz clubs in Boston in the 1950s and became friends with some of the genre’s legends.

Dr. Markle was a research fellow at Harvard University, working with well-known behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner, when she started hanging out at Boston’s Storyville club.

There and at other jazz outposts, she struck up a friendship with Duke Ellington, members of the Modern Jazz Quartet and others, her son said.

She was in the crowd for Ellington’s legendary performance at the Newport Jazz Festival on July 7, 1956, her son said.

Dr. Markle received a doctorate in psychology and taught at UCLA before coming to UIC in 1965. Her specialty was instructional research and design, about which she wrote several books. She took emeritus status in 1993.

A scholar of jazz with a vast collection of jazz records and laser discs of notable performances, Dr. Markle was video editor of Jazz Times magazine and a board member and then president of the Jazz Institute of Chicago in the 1990s.

IN MEMORIAM – From Her Friends at NSPI/ISPI


# # #



T&D: Changing the Label From Training to Learning Didn’t Change the Prevailing Practices IMO

Back in the early-mid-late 1990s many Training organizations changed their names to Learning organizations – of some type. That was all due to the success of Peter Senge’s book, The Fifth Discipline, and his description of a Learning Organization.

But way too many did not change their Processes or Practices along with their name.


Besides, the Learning Organization isn’t simply about the consumption of more and more formal Training offerings.

From Wikipedia:

In business management, a learning organization is a company that facilitates the learning of its members and continuously transforms itself. The concept was coined through the work and research of Peter Senge and his colleagues.

Learning organizations develop as a result of the pressures facing modern organizations and enables them to remain competitive in the business environment.

In his book The Fifth Discipline. In the book, he proposed the following five characteristics:

  1. Systems thinking. The idea of the learning organization developed from a body of work called systems thinking. This is a conceptual framework that allows people to study businesses as bounded objects. Learning organizations use this method of thinking when assessing their company and have information systems that measure the performance of the organization as a whole and of its various components. Systems thinking states that all the characteristics must be apparent at once in an organization for it to be a learning organization. If some of these characteristics are missing then the organization will fall short of its goal. However, O’Keeffe believes that the characteristics of a learning organization are factors that are gradually acquired, rather than developed simultaneously.
  2. Personal mastery. The commitment by an individual to the process of learning is known as personal mastery. There is a competitive advantage for an organization whose workforce can learn more quickly than the workforce of other organizations. Learning is considered to be more than just acquiring information; it is expanding the ability to be more productive by learning how to apply our skills to our work in the most valuable way. Personal mastery appears also in a spiritual way as, for example, clarification of focus, personal vision and ability to see and interpret reality objectively. Individual learning is acquired through staff training, development and continuous self-improvement; however, learning cannot be forced upon an individual who is not receptive to learning. Research shows that most learning in the workplace is incidental, rather than the product of formal training, therefore it is important to develop a culture where personal mastery is practiced in daily life. A learning organization has been described as the sum of individual learning, but there must be mechanisms for individual learning to be transferred into organizational learning. Personal mastery makes possible many positive outcomes such as individual performance, self-efficacy, self-motivation, sense of responsibility, commitment, patience and focus on relevant matters as well as work-life balance and well-being.
  3. Mental models. Assumptions and generalizations held by individuals and organizations are called mental models. Personal mental models describe what people can or cannot detect. Due to selective observation, mental models might limit peoples’ observations. To become a learning organization, these models must be identified and challenged. Individuals tend to espouse theories, which are what they intend to follow, and theories-in-use, which are what they actually do. Similarly, organizations tend to have ‘memories’ which preserve certain behaviours, norms and values. In creating a learning environment it is important to replace confrontational attitudes with an open culture that promotes inquiry and trust. To achieve this, the learning organization needs mechanisms for locating and assessing organizational theories of action. Unwanted values need to be discarded in a process called ‘unlearning’. Wang and Ahmed refer to this as ‘triple loop learning’. For organizations, problems arise when mental models evolve beneath the level of awareness. Thus it is important to examine business issues and actively question current business practices and new skills before they become integrated into new practices.
  4. Shared vision. The development of a shared vision is important in motivating the staff to learn, as it creates a common identity that provides focus and energy for learning. The most successful visions build on the individual visions of the employees at all levels of the organization, thus the creation of a shared vision can be hindered by traditional structures where the company vision is imposed from above. Therefore, learning organizations tend to have flat, decentralized organizational structures. The shared vision is often to succeed against a competitor; however, Senge states that these are transitory goals and suggests that there should also be long-term goals that are intrinsic within the company. On the other hand, the lack of clearly defined goals can negatively affect the organisation, as it cannot attain its members trust. Applying the practices of a shared vision creates a suitable environment for the development of trust through communication and collaboration within the organization. As a result, the built shared vision encourages the members to share their own experiences and opinions, thus enhancing effects of organizational learning.
  5. Team learning. The accumulation of individual learning constitutes team learning. The benefit of team or shared learning is that staff grow more quickly and the problem solving capacity of the organization is improved through better access to knowledge and expertise. Learning organizations have structures that facilitate team learning with features such as boundary crossing and openness. In team meetings members can learn better from each other by concentrating on listening, avoiding interruption, being interested in and responding. As a result of development, people don’t have to hide or overlook their disagreements. By those they make their collective understanding richer. Team learning is at its best: The ability to think insightfully about complex issues, the ability to take innovative, coordinated action and the ability to create a network that will allow other teams to take action as well. Team’s focus is on transferring both quiet and explicit information across the group and creating an environment where creativity can flourish. Team learn how to think together. Team learning is process of adapting and developing the team capacity to create the results that its members really want. Team learning requires individuals to engage in dialogue and discussion; therefore team members must develop open communication, shared meaning, and shared understanding. Learning organizations typically have excellent knowledge management structures, allowing creation, acquisition, dissemination, and implementation of this knowledge in the organization. Team learning requires discipline and routines. Discipline in team helps members and leaders to use tools such as Action-Learning-Cycle and Dialogue. Team learning is only one element of learning cycle. For the cycle to be complete, it has to include all five principles which are mentioned above.

This combination encourages organizations to shift to a more interconnected way of thinking. Organizations should become more like communities that employees can feel a commitment to.

A Learning Culture

A Learning Organization has a Learning Culture.


And … it’s all about Performance …

Its all about Perf

# # #