Performance Based-Training

We offer our training within the context of "Performance-Based Training," a concept developed by the seminal behavioralist, Thomas Gilbert. What follows is an explanation, written by a highly qualified instructional designer who works closely with us in training development.

Performance-Based Training


Performance-Based Training (PBT) is a highly efficient and effective means to train staff in performing procedural tasks in the workplace (loan officer, branch managers, etc). It permits dramatic reduction in training time while simultaneously improving the performance of the trainees. The PBT methodology was developed by Dr. T.F. Gilbert, a colleague of B.F. Skinner at Harvard University's Behavioral Science Laboratory in the mid-1960's. The basic theory and structure is described in his book, Human Competence, NSPI Press, 1995. The president of Agidigm Corporation, Jerome Peloquin, was Dr. Gilbert's student and associate. The concept is both elegant and simple. PBT eliminates the need for rote memorization by applying a combination of improved learning strategies and high performance reference tools called Job Aids. The strategy behind the approach is to train to recall only those tasks and procedures that are critical and/or frequent. Non critical and non-frequent tasks are placed in a graphic, easily used on-the-job reference tool: the Job Aid.


In the workplace it is usually more important that a task be performed correctly than quickly. Speed, or fluency, comes naturally with familiarity and experience. The Job Aid overcomes the natural limits of short term memory and virtually eliminates the need for rote memorization. The Job Aid represents the "best practices" used by the workplace exemplars, those who are the incumbent experts. The Job Aid provides a bridge between the learning and working environments. We are experts in job aid design in both hard copy and electronic means.

Use of the job aid as the focus of the training assures construct validity; that is, it assures that there is a direct relationship between the objectives of the training and the tasks of the job. Much of what is called training is really excessive information that causes "memory competition" and actually interferes with learning the job. The real value of PBT is that it enables a new hire to do the job effectively in the shortest possible time.

Element Explanation

  • Teach the Concept
    Adults need only a simple, block-diagram level concept to gain a high-level understanding of the system or project.
  • Teach Critical and Frequent Tasks
    Train to recall only those tasks that will be performed frequently or that are critical and/or dangerous.
  • Teach Use of the Job Aid
    Use the Job Aid as the focus of the task training. When the trainees leave the class it will assure they use approved accurate procedures.
  • Provide for Practice
    Allow the trainees to practice the job tasks using the Job Aid. Wherever possible, simulate actual job conditions.
  • Certify and Release to the Job
    Once the trainee is observed using the Job Aid to correctly perform the job tasks without instructor intervention they are certifiable

The Value of PBT

As the proverb goes: be careful what you pray for, you may get it. This has come to pass in the MFI community. The rapid infusion of economic largess resulting from Dr. Yunus' Nobel Peace Prize and the attention given to the Compartamos recent IPO, among others, places MFI's in a potentially dangerous growth situation.
Rapid growth can be almost as dangerous as being under-capitalized. Most MFI's are the brainchild of social activists who, by force of passion and personality have single-handedly created their institutions. They did this using standard development models. So far so good, but now explosive growth is overtaxing the systems. How do you acquire thirty competent branch managers and three times that number of loan officers?
Performance Based Training is a rational and practical answer to that challenge.

Jerome .J. Peloquin
Consultant to MicroVenture Support, Inc.
President & Principal Consultant
Agidigm Corporation