Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A round and round we go

I'll go ahead and jump the gun on 2011 predictions thanks to an end the semester in my Human Performance Technology course. The professor asked us to make our industry predictions for the next 2-5 years. Below is my somewhat blustery, preachy, but also hopeful response. Feel free to chime in and set me straight.

“[HPT] and training professionals are seen as a pair of hands to implement the clients’ ideas” (Ruth Clark in Pershing, p. 874, 2006).

In answer to what I see as trends in the next two to five years, to be honest, I see things remaining relatively the same. Which is to say, HPT professionals will continue to make headway in introducing evidence-based practices, in truly partnering with clients to enact business results, and in moving from order takers to solution providers.

The quotation above, which talks about HPT professionals being order takers for mainly training solutions, is from 2006. Ten years before that, in 1996, Joe Harless wrote that his prediction for HPT professionals to advocate value-driven solutions rather than training was just being realized (Harless, 1996). So, to speak of the training department evolving, I think it’s a slow process, but one that is chugging along.

In the next two to five years, I see the same patterns emerging as the last 100. Professionals in HPT, perhaps myself included, in all the best interests of course, will continue to accept and implement fads, many of which will probably have something to do with technology, but little to do with evidence-based practices. However, more and more often (and far more often than not), we will use evidence-based practices. We’ll conduct sound analysis, we’ll put forth worthy solutions, we’ll be systematic and systemic. And our results will be noticed, by our co-workers, by our peers in the industry, by our company’s leadership. We’ll blog about our lessons learned, we’ll formally submit our results in trade publications, we’ll share our war stories with each other at conferences, we’ll tweet the backchannel. We’ll continue the cycle of learning, doing, reflecting, researching.

In doing all of this, we’ll continue in our 100-year journey. We'll be setting the stage for a new department. One not called training. One not under the arm of HR. But a new one, that has not yet been named. One where IS, HR, training, and knowledge management come together. A department where performance meets results.

Harless, Joe. Training & Development. Alexandria: Jan 1996. Vol. 50, Iss. 1; pg. 52, 2 pgs

Pershing, James A. (2006). Handbook of human performance technology (3rd Edition), Pfeiffer: San Francisco, CA.