Working Definition of HPT

Human Performance Technology (HPT), or Performance Technology is defined by Joe Harless, one of its founding fathers, as, “…the process of selection, analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation of programs to most cost-effectively influence human behavior and accomplishment.”[1] I prefer to use this definition because of its familiarity to anyone versed in Instructional Systems Development (ISD).  Although the development and practice of ISD predates HPT chronologicaly, It is useful to think of ISD as a sub-set of HPT – the process to follow when the root cause of a performance gap is a knowledge/skill deficiency. HPT takes a broader, more holistic look at the causes of and the interventions for performance gaps:

·        Incentives and Rewards

·        Information and Feedback

·        Environment, Resources and Tools

·        Individual Capacity

·        Expectations and Motivation

·        Knowledge and Skills

HPT also considers potential root causes at all levels of an organization, as opposed to ISD, which is concerned primarily with Level 3.

·        Level 1 (Organization) – The strategy, goals, organizational structure and measures at the organization level

·        Level 2 ((Process) – The design, implementation and management of internal processes.

·        Level 3 (Job/Performer) – The behavior of individuals and groups.



[1] Stolovitch, H.D., and Keeps, E.J., Eds.,  (1992)  Handbook of Human Performance Technology, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA.


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