EDIT 704: Leader in the Field of Instructional Design
Gloria Gery

Gloria Gery is an independent consultant specializing in the implementation of performance-based systems. She is the consulting editor of CBT Directions magazine and author of Making CBT Happen, widely regarded as the best practical book on the implementation of computer based training systems in business.

Gery's contributions to the field of Instructional Design are undisputed, not only for her ideas regarding CBT design, but also for introducing the concept of "electronic performance support systems (EPSS)." EPSS is in essence, an advocacy to reshape how organizations facilitate performance outcomes through fully-integrated, intuitive support systems. Her groundbreaking book, Electronic Performance Support Systems: How and why to remake the workplace through the strategic application of technology, published in 1991 is the source for any meaningful discourse regarding EPSS. She explains in detail the definition of EPSS, case studies where these systems were implemented, technical tools needed to design the systems, as well as philosophical and political questions regarding the implications such systems will have on our view of training, work, computers, management and structure of organizations. (Gery, 1991)

This paper serves to explore what Gery calls the "next step in the evolution of performance support"-Performance-Centered Design-and its implications on the field of instructional technology. In her article "Attributes and Behaviors of Performance Centered Systems" published in Performance Improvement Quarterly (v.8, 1/1995), Gery compares the characteristics, attributes and behaviors of performance-centered software packages produced for the consumer marketplace, such as Microsoft Publisher, with those developed by large-scale internal IS (Information Systems) departments. By drawing out differences between these two design environments, in regard to developmental priorities, expectations, design goals, outcome measures and accountability, Gery illustrates how the consumer market drives a more quality product. The lag of the large-scale IS-designed systems is explained by various reasons including low expectations, lack of experience and a vested interest in the status quo. (Gery, 1995). In order for organizations to build a truly effective, intrinsic performance support system on a large scale, Gery states that we need to learn from consumer software models and this is where she sees instructional designers playing a key role. Gery strongly advocates that Performance Technologists, those schooled in instructional technology, play a vital role along with the IS engineers to design and develop systems that are made accountable for performance and usability criteria, which have been sorely lacking. The first step, which she accomplishes in this article, is defining and describing the attributes and behaviors of performance-centered software. The second step she leaves to us in the field of Instructional Design.

E-mail: gloria_gery@msn.com
URL: http://www.epss.com
Article: Attributes and Behaviors of Performance-Centered Systems (pdf format)


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