Dr. Harless changed our thinking in dramatic ways….what about you?

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written by Dr. Paul Elliott, President – Exemplary Performance

Over twenty-five years ago I was a young consultant with a PhD in instructional design and computer-assisted instruction [that’s what e-learning was called in pre-historic times]. I was engaged by the largest manufacturing company in the world to explore how to up-skill their workforce to address new manufacturing technologies such as robotics, laser welding, etc. We started the project by benchmarking current best practices in technical training and visited many sites, including the Johnson Space Flight Center. One of the ‘visits’ was to attend the Job Aids Workshop, affectionately known as JAWS, being offered by Dr. Joe Harless. Those two days changed my life forever! I suddenly realized that the human brain was not always the best place to store information, especially if the information was complex, used infrequently, had ‘high consequence of error’ and was often changed or updated. I also learned that ‘doing things’ [tasks] didn’t matter if no accomplishments resulted. Dr. Harless continued to shape my thinking in dramatic ways. His approach to curriculum design and development, the Accomplishment-Based Curriculum Development system, facilitated ‘lean learning’ and what I now refer to as context-intensive design. Using this approach typically reduces time to competence by 20% to 30% or more. I am so excited to have these workshops available. Has Dr. Harless shaped your way of thinking?  Tell us about it.

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