Welcome to the first
edition of the HSA e-Xpress.
We feel it's important to keep you up-to-date on what's going on in our
field as well as within HSA. This issue features an article on blended
solutions, tips on implementing new systems, as well as much
more. We hope you enjoy our first issue. Ready? Here we go...
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D. Stolovitch, Principal
sooner do we coin a term than its obsolescence sets in. First, it was
on-line learning. Then e-learning. Now the term is blended or, to be
very trendy, custom-blended solutions. But hold on to your vocabularies.
Even this latest expression is under attack for its multiplicity of
meanings. Quick, before this term fades into the next generation, let
me offer you some kind of clarification as to what's behind the concept
of "custom-blended solutions" and help place it in a useful
E-learning is a
derivative of e-Commerce which can be highly effective for transactional
events. Want to buy a book? Go to Amazon.com. Search; get information;
order; pay. Ditto for bank transactions or hotel reservations. However,
when it comes to learning and workplace performance we are no longer
engaged in simple transactions. We now find ourselves involved in deeper,
more complex relationships. The learner/performer is not just another
customer seeking to purchase, but an inquiring entity with a mission.
Learners/performers are extremely variable in their entry levels, sometimes
resistant to new information or ways of doing things, battered by hosts
of concerns, pressured by conflicting priorities and operating with
a range of motives and misunderstandings. Transactional e-learning is
insufficient. We must therefore blend to meet specific needs and varying
We blend within
e-learning, drawing from an arsenal of on-line capabilities that provide
text, audio and visual databases, communication opportunities to meet
with other learners, expert tutors and coaches, opportunities to experience
life-like simulations, and the possibility of reaching out to the world
via the infinitely expanding Web. We also blend e-learning with other
educational activities such as hands-on practice, group discussion meetings,
facility tours, structured on-the-job training, and even traditional
classroom lecture combined with real-time Q & A to enrich the learning
and blended learning lie the more fundamental issues of performance.
After all, why engage in any workplace learning endeavor if ultimately,
it is not to improve valued individual and organizational accomplishments?
Hence custom-blended performance solutions that combine various learning
activities when new skills and knowledge are lacking with the broad
array of other performance interventions such as clearly stated expectations,
timely feedback, standards specification, well-defined policies, efficient
workflow design, relevant incentive programs, logical selection systems
and so many more to produce the necessary desired behaviors and valued
So what are custom-blended
solutions? In a few words: intelligent intervention combinations, seamlessly
integrated to produce desired learning and performance outcomes. Here
are some examples:
The term "custom-blended
solutions" may be fleeting. The underlying concept, however, endures.
In the heat of today's e-world hype, custom-blended solutions may mean
anything from magically mixed e-learning cocktails to richer combinations
of performance-focused support systems. Caveat emptor - let the buyer
beware! If your concern is improved workplace performance, look beyond
superficial forms of blending. A truly custom-blended solution is one
that results in achievement of your valued performance goals.
manufacturer and service provider:
In 3 months,
the company is releasing a new billing system that 1000+ engineers,
worldwide, must implement. It is radically different from the existing
Blended Solution: Easily
accessible, user-friendly documentation on the new system including
differences from current system; communication/change management strategy
stressing new system benefits for engineers, customers and company;
live training of local champions to support implementation; Web-based
training and performance support tools for users; on-line help; local,
live support; practice database; database of examples.
real estate and relocation company:
New customer service center launch for national and international
relocation - 1000 new employees in a variety of positions. Must be
productive within six weeks. Projected volume of 100/month.
Custom Blended Solution: Live,
group orientation; e-learning for basic job tasks; e-learning extensions
- proctored system practice, live group-based instruction and print
self-instruction on task variations and business and interpersonal
skills; structured job observation; field trips; structured on-the-job
training; peer-assisted learning; continuous diagnostic and performance
Ensure that company and third-party, partner engineers on four continents
apply "best practices" for optimal customer benefit and
Custom Blended Solutions: Best
practices publications; best practices Website; lab-in-a-box for local/individual,
hands-on practice; chat room for engineers to pose questions to the
global community and discuss problems/solutions; self-assessment and
self-certification quizzes; on-line, context-sensitive glossary.
Reduce time and cost to produce a steady stream of productive, consistently
performing, new-hire customer service agents across geographically
dispersed call centers.
Custom Blended Solutions: Live,
semi-scripted orientation to the company and the job, supported by
video presentation and games; e-learning for basic job tasks; proctored
system practice with training database; on-line performance support
tools; simulation lab; validated performance testing with diagnostic
and prescriptive remediation loops.
provides cost-effective, custom-blended learning solutions that deliver
measurable business results. Interested? For more information, visit
our Website at www.hsa-lps.com
or contact us toll free at (888) 834-9928 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The examples provided in this article are custom blended solutions HSA
developed for their clients.
CUSTOM BLENDED SOLUTIONS BY HSA
Walker, Director Research & Product Development
your organization planning to implement a brand new system for its personnel?
Or, is it thinking about updating many of the features of its current
one? Will your department be expected to provide training and/or performance
support for this initiative? If so, here is a top 10 list that should
help you deal with this major undertaking:
planning now. It's never too early. Putting a plan in place
gives you a measure of control over the process.
up with IT/MIS. Establish a partnership with the "techies"
as soon as possible. Sell the benefits of your involvement. Show them
the concrete value that you and your team can add. Make sure that you
are on the circulation list for key memos/schedule updates/change requests.
Be at all the key meetings.
Time your training development efforts carefully.
Align your plan with the overall project schedule. Coordinate development
of user guides and job aids to streamline efforts. Be prepared for unforeseen
gaps that you know you will be required to fill in later.
Be prepared for delays. Stop-starts
are routine so build flexibility into your approach. Have other tasks
to which your team members can turn while waiting.
Be prepared for changes. Identify
areas where you foresee the greatest changes to occur. Add revision
time into your schedule to cover these anticipated occurrences.
Perform a task analysis to describe specifically how individuals will
use the system. Share this document with key stakeholders.
They often find this to be invaluable. Validate it as soon as possible
with a workable version of the system.
Be an advocate for all learners.
Know your audiences and their learning requirements. Conduct learner
analyses to identify where specific groups of learners have gaps or
concerns with respect to the new/radically altered system. Support them.
Help to avoid their drowning in technical overload.
Be a minimalist in your approach to producing
materials. Eliminate superfluous detail. Be strategic in
your use of media. Keep it simple.
Create a change management strategy, particularly
if you are replacing a well-entrenched system. Resistance
to change is normal and must be managed. Select a group of "champion"
users as advocates.
training delivery to support new users on an ongoing basis.
Transfer to the job is the real challenge. Be there to support it.
core competencies is developing training on new systems. Interested?
For more information, visit our Website at www.hsa-lps.com
or contact us toll free at (888) 834-9928 or by email at email@example.com.
Stolovitch and Erica Keeps' new book Telling Ain't
Training was launched at this year's international ASTD Conference.
Book sales were amazing...a sell out! Telling
Ain't Training tackles the three universal and persistent questions
of the profession of performance improvement - how do learners learn,
why do learners learn and how do you make sure that learning sticks. It
uses an interactive approach which models the basic message of the book
- humans learn best through active mental engagement. The ultimate goal
of the book is to allow the reader an opportunity to break through learning
barriers, to separate learning myth from research-based facts and to dispel
counter productive beliefs and practices that harm the instruction process.
Ain't Training is now in its second printing. To purchase your own autographed
copy hot off the press, visit HSA's Book
ISPI recently ran
a lead article by Harold Stolovitch and Erica Keeps in the June 2002
edition of their e-Newsletter, PerformanceXpress. "Stop
Wasting Money on Training" can be accessed at http://www.performancexpress.org/0206/.
HSA also conducted
a "Stop Wasting Money on Training"
Webinar on June 27 hosted by Interwise. If you missed it, you can access
the free archived recording at http://www.interwise.com/live/viewevent.asp?eventid=985&source=ID985HSAREC.
you have any burning human performance technology questions? Visit the
Ask Harold section of HSA's Website and ask
your questions for Harold Stolovitch to answer. There have been some recent
submissions that might intrigue you, like:
Would you have
any advice for new consultants to the field? What skills, aptitudes and
attitudes do you think are important to succeed in today's competitive
To see the response,
Harold. To ask your own question, just click on the crystal
ball above, fill out the form and submit. Until the end of August, we
will enter all submissions into a drawing for an autographed copy of Harold
and Erica's new book Telling Ain't Training.
So, you want to
be certified as a professional performance technologist? You can now
make that happen through ISPI's certification program. The certification
was developed in response to a request from public and private organizations
for criteria to better distinguish proficient practitioners of human
performance technology. ISPI requires applicants to prove that their
work accomplishments satisfy their performance improvement standards.
The assessment process is a combination of attestations by internal/external
clients and a review of work products by qualified peers. HSA's principals,
Harold Stolovitch and Erica Keeps, have both received the designation
of CPT by ISPI. Between now and May 1, 2003 you can apply to become
a CPT under the grandfathering provision. After that time, you will
have to follow the full certification procedure. Visit ISPI's Website
at www.ispi.org and
learn more about how you could become one of the first CPTs in the world.
you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Samantha
Greenhill, Publications and Communications Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Copyright 2002 Harold D. Stolovitch & Erica J. Keeps