In the October 2007 issue of PerformanceXpress, e-newsletter of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI). Tosti argues that variations of the following performance system model have withstood the test of time and research, and he implies that no other HPT models (or taxonomies) are needed. He says that this model is focused on results and takes a systems view, which are two fundamental principles of Human Performance Technology (HPT).

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I don’t know if I would go as far as to say that we could not benefit from additional models, but I do find this model helpful in determining what I should measure to assess the impact and value of a learning intervention. Kirkpatrick would have us measure “output” and, to some extent, “results” in his four levels of evaluation. Phillips would have us measure “results” in terms of return-on-investment (ROI). As we see from the performance system model, these approaches examine only parts of the system, and, therefore, are incomplete. The systems approach holds that what is important is the dynamic interrelationship of all of the elements of the system. If that’s the case, then we must examine the other boxes in the model as well as the arrows between the boxes to truly understand the impact and value of an intervention. Who are the learners and what do they bring to the learning experience? Is this the right process and how can it be improved to improve organizational performance (receiving system)? What is the organizational environment (conditions, culture, external demands and pressures, etc.) and how does it affect individual and team learning? How is feedback from the intervention being used? And many other questions must be addressed when we use the performance system model.

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