This article was written as an assignment in EME6606 Advanced Instructional Design at the University of Florida in Fall 2014.

Discuss in your own words how models of Human Performance Technology differ from the traditional notions of instructional design.

Traditional models of instructional design tend to focus on the design process itself.  While they may start with a needs or task analysis, they focus on determining desired learning outcomes, designing instructional components, developing instructional elements, delivering instruction and evaluating the results of learning based upon the original learning outcomes.  Even through the desired outcome is to affect lasting change in skills or behavior, not a lot of emphasis is placed on the evaluation of long term effect.  There often is not a process for providing feedback from direct performance back into the design process. Traditional models of instructional design also tend to focus mostly on formal delivery of instruction via face to face, online, or blended environments.

When looking at Performance Improvement (PI) and Human Performance Technology (HPT) the focus shifts to the long term change in skills or behaviors, and specifically performance improvements.  Instructional design for HPT takes a more holistic approach and looks at other mediation methods that can affect change.  For example, instructional elements can be incorporated into a system, rather than delivered via a formal training program.  An example of this might be help menus, or roll-over tips, embedded into a software productivity program.  Or instructional placards placed near equipment to assist users in correctly using the equipment. 

Many of the PI or HPT models are more closely focused on the individuals and the processes they use accomplish skill or task development for on-the-job performance (Frank S Wilmoth, Prigmore, & Bray, 2002).  This is different from designing an educational program with the goal of helping learners to develop foundational knowledge, or understandings of a field of knowledge.  The foundational knowledge can be used to support the ability to gain on-the-job performance, but may not directly correlate to immediate improvement in on-the-job performance.  The application of training-focused solutions for problems that were not necessarily training based problems often caused employers to lose money, and become dissatisfied with those that were hired to help remediate the performance problem.  (Frank S. Wilmoth, Prigmaore, & Bray, 2002)  By broadening the scope to include non-instructional remediation, we are able to solve some performance problems more efficiently and effectively.

Discuss the role of non-instructional performance interventions in an organizational context. Provide an example of how and why a non-instructional strategy might be employed after a performance analysis.

Non-instructional performance interventions can include a wide variety of support systems.  They can include mentoring, on-the-job apprenticeship style of learning, embedded help systems, instructional signage, incentives, etc.  A performance analysis is the process of evaluating performance needs within the performance context.  During the performance analysis the focus is on the organizational goals and the factors that influence or impede performance.  Environmental factors should be considered along with individual performance. 

Non-instructional performance interventions can be employed after a performance analysis to provide immediate on-the-job support for improving performance.  For example, if a performance analysis revealed that most employees were not using a piece of equipment correctly, instructional placards could be placed in the location where the equipment was being used giving visual instruction on how to effectively use the equipment.  Employees who were using the equipment well could also be paired with employees who were having difficulty to mentor them through the process of learning how to effectively use the equipment.

Another type of non-instructional performance intervention that could be used is a Performance Support System (PSS) or Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS).  An EPS provides a body of knowledge, and instruction, that can be accessed by learners when and where they need it in a way that meets organizational objectives (Kalota & Hung, 2013).   When used in conjunction with performance analysis, individual performance needs can be addressed by providing just-in-time training specific to the performance needs identified.


Kalota, F., & Hung, W.-C. (2013). Performance Support Systems: Design considerations. Paper presented at the Current Trends in Information Technology (CTIT), 2013 International Conference on.

Wilmoth, F. S., Prigmaore, C., & Bray, M. (2002). HPT Models: An Overview of the Major Models in the Field. Performance Improvement, 41(8), 16-25.

Wilmoth, F. S., Prigmore, C., & Bray, M. (2002). HPT models: An overview of the major models in the field. Performance Improvement, 41(8), 16-24.