HPI, EPSS and My Experience (Post from EDCI 513)

Posted by on Feb 12, 2013 in News | No Comments

In my opinion, this was a pretty challenging assignment not because of the content but because of the magnitude of the topic (or maybe just my experience with it). The HPI model has so many pieces and can be applied in so many ways! Dr. Schaffer’s video/lecture really only touched on a very small piece of a much bigger model. I thought it was interesting that there was a question in the video where someone asked about change management and his answer barely brushed the surface – see image below.

HPT Model

During and after watching the Dr. Schaffer video, I would have liked to have been able to see the last few slides, the balanced scorecard and the data he was discussing. I feel this part of the assignment would be more beneficial if we could be provided with the case study used, an actual exercise and additional explanation on the 6 organizational culture qualifiers. I believe this would help me understand this model much better. I know I can search the internet but I would like to know I understand the concept being presented correctly.

So I had to start at the beginning to even understand: What is the difference between HPI and HPT?

“Human Performance Technology (HPT), a systematic approach to improving productivity and competence, uses a set of methods and procedures — and a strategy for solving problems — for realizing opportunities related to the performance of people. More specific, it is a process of selection, analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation of programs to most cost-effectively influence human behavior and accomplishment. It is a systematic combination of three fundamental processes: performance analysis, cause analysis, and intervention selection, and can be applied to individuals, small groups, and large organizations.”



“The Human Performance Improvement (HPI) process is very similar to Human Performance Technology. HPI provides you with a systematic process to follow on what can often be a not-so-systematic path. In addition to identifying human performance gaps and their possible solutions, this standardized approach offers the ability to measure the success of your efforts and eliminate the guesswork that follows when a performance gap must be evaluated.

HPI is results-based and systematic. Rather than focusing on a ‘wants-based’ or ‘needs-based’ approach, HPI follows a ‘results-based’ approach to improving performance, distinguishing it from many HRD (human resource development) activities. The process is driven by a business need and a performance need, justified by the results of a cause analysis.”

To sum it up, “HPI is what we wish to achieve and HPT is the means we use to achieve it. However, the two terms can be viewed as being synonymous (Reiser p 137).”

What are some important concepts and factors of the Performance Pyramid?

The Pyramid is made of three significant factors that must be aligned for change to happen:

  • Vision
  • Resources
  • Support System (recognizes the influence of Organizational Culture on performance) comprised of 6 things:
    1. Knowledge & Skills
    2. Performance Capability
    3. Motivation
    4. Tools
    5. Expectation/Feedback
    6. Rewards and Incentives

While the Performance Pyramid continues to evolve, five principles have passed the test of time:

  1. Each Support System element is important, must be in place, and plays out in the context of the organizational culture.
  2. The arrangement of the Support System elements doesn’t matter; but all must be accounted for.
  3. The Support System must align with the Vision.
  4. Resources are consumed by the Support System.
  5. Accomplishments replenish Resources and influence the Vision.

Would you make revisions to the performance pyramid based on your observations and/or experiences?

           From my initial understanding of this model and seeing it in action with a prior company, this definitely helped me understand the mechanism (or model) that was used in our “transformation”. I believe that is a strong model and covers many concepts that are necessary for quality change to happen. The management team also aligned on particular catch phrases and feedback loops to stay “aligned to the goal”. It is interesting to reflect back now on employee performance and the triggers. In particular, what drives employee motivation, skills/knowledge retained and the environmental factors that all play into the equation. From this, I have begun to understand “need” as a noun and “means” as a verb = results based on the analysis.

               So having been part of a “transformation” resulting in large organizational change, I have seen the different shifts in the 6 organizational culture identifiers and employee behaviors. Since I had not been exposed to this particular shift as a model, I did not understand how changes were decided and the “why”. This model opened my eyes to the “why” and the “results” that I have seen. I will be exploring this topic more for my own understanding and how I can apply this information to my current position.

EPSS: Electronic Performance Support System

Definition: The gap in knowledge and skills which is beyond the ability of any individual to remember or perform without some type of support or aid. EPSS supports the individual’s job-related performance by making knowledge and procedures accessible in a system. Training brings about a change in the individual’s knowledge, skills, and attitude. Another way to think of it is that it is a knowledge-centered relationship between performers and their computer.

Examples: A phone book (or www.yp.com) is a basic example of a performance support system. It is critical knowledge to be able to contact people. This knowledge is not in the individual, it can be in a system. What becomes important is the interface between the information source and the individual. A law library that lawyers references and use to develop cases for clients is another performance support system. Another example is a call center that has a system which prompt them with questions or answers while on calls with customers.


Reiser & Dempsey (2012), Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology (pp. 135-157).  Boston:  Pearson

Schaffer, S.P. Needs Assessment and the Performance Pyramid.  Retrieved from http://www.kaltura.com/index.php/kwidget/cache_st/1315320725/wid/_269822/uiconf_id/1620962/entry_id/0_levj4q0u

Sleight, D. A. (1993).  Types of electronic performance support systems: Their characteristics and range of designs.  Michigan State University.  Retrieved October 2, 2004 from http://www.msu.edu/~sleightd/epss_copy.html

Wedman, J. & Graham, S.W. (2009).  Performance Pyramid.  Retrieved from http://needsassessment.missouri.edu/

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