I've been keeping in touch with a participant in my session at ASTD TK11 this winter.  I was recently asked for some book suggestions, as she was new to eLearning, and has limited traditional training experience.  While I gave some initial suggestions, I said I would follow-up with a series of suggestions.  Today, I start with my bias, human performance improvement (HPI).  I need to thank a mentor who about 10-years ago introduced me to HPI concepts, and totally changed the way I view "training" and human resource development.  My suggestions, and sometimes why (note there might be newer additions):

The Overview:

  • Piskurich, G. M., & American Society for Training and Development. (2002). HPI essentials: A just-the-facts, bottom-line primer on human performance improvement. Alexandria, VA: ASTD.

Sometimes you need to broadly understand a topic before diving too deep – HPI Essentials does that.

Essential Readings:

  • Gilbert, T. F. (2007). Human competence. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.
  • Rummler, G. A., & Brache, A. P. (1990). Improving performance: How to manage the white space on the organization chart. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

I have an M.S. in training and I'm A.B.D. in my doctoral studies (training and performance improvement), neither program required these books… a shame really.  Gilbert is the founder of HPI and Rummler aligns HPI throughout the organization.  Gilbert can be a heavy read for a newbie, but it is well worth it.  I first found his style hard to digest, but became very fond of his writing and language.

Modern Theory:

  • Moseley, J. L., Dessinger, J. C., & Van Tiem, D. M. (2006).Fundamentals of Performance Technology: A Guide to Improving People, Process, and Performance. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Van Tiem, D. M., Moseley, J. L., & Dessinger, J. C. (2006).Performance Improvement Interventions: Enhancing People, Processes, and Organizations through Performance Technology. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Sanders, E. S., & American Society for Training and Development. (2001). Performance intervention maps: 39 strategies for solving your organization's problems. Alexandria, Va: American Society for Training & Development.

Moseley, Dessinger, and Van Tiem are the definitive source for information on the ISPI human performance improvement model.  I include Sanders, because the performance intervention maps are a great tool to get "training" tunnel vision people to realize, in simple language, that there are a lot of other interventions that might be (and probably are) better.

Other Readings (some crossover to traditional training interventions):

  • Gupta, K., & American Society for Training and Development. (1999). A practical guide to needs assessment. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
  • Kirkpatrick, D. L. (1998). Evaluating training programs: The four levels. San Francisco, Calif: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
  • Pershing, J. A. (2006). Handbook of human performance technology: Principles, practices, and potential. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
  • Phillips, J. J. (2003). Return on investment in training and performance improvement programs. Amsterdam [u.a.: Butterworth-Heinemann.
  • Rossett, A. (1999). First things fast: A handbook for performance analysis. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Rossett, A., & Schafer, L. (2007). Job aids and performance support: Moving from knowledge in the classroom to knowledge everywhere. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
  • Rummler, G. A. (2007). Serious performance consulting: According to Rummler. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Rossett is a demi-god in the HPI and training world to a lot of people… her performance analysis book and job aids book classifying sidekicks and planners are my two personal favorites.  Kirkpatrick and Phillips fight it out over evaluation, I guess I've always felt that Phillips appropriated a lot of Kirkpatricks work without proper acknowledgement.  Gupta offers the most comprehensive step-by-step assessment process that I have ever read.  The HPI Handbook is not an easy read, and probably not a cover-to-cover read, but has a lot of great resources.  Finally, Rummler makes HPI book more accessible with tools that a practitioner can use – theory to practice.

Not HPI but Important:

  • Silber, K. H., & Kearny, L. (2010). Organizational intelligence: A guide to understanding the business of your organization for HR, training, and performance consulting. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

If you don't understand how to measure, you won't be effective in the HPI field.  This text will help you determine what to measure and how.  It is not a cover-to-cover read for most people, but definitely worthy as a reference and idea book.