Linking Practice and Theory

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Contribution to Books

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The study of human performance technology (HPT) is an applied science. Its goal is to improve human performance in organizations, using systemic (holistic, all-encompassing) and systematic (step-by-step, methodical) problem-solving approaches. Practitioners often accumulate knowledge and skills based on their own experiences; however, one's professional knowledge should also be grounded in the eclectic foundations of the field, including theories and research findings. Doing so can improve one's institution in sensing performance problems, enable inductive and deductive reasoning, and guide the generation of cost-effective solutions. This chapter was written with the goal of connecting HPT practices to their theoretical foundations. To help practitioners learn and apply appropriate theory to their practice, we introduce a hypothetical scenario about an HPT practitioner, Susan. As her story unfolds, possibilities for decision-making based on theories and research findings are illustrated.