Human Skills Research

As you may know, it is almost impossible to perform meaningful research on the impact of human skills training. To prove that training is effective, you would need to be able to answer these questions:

  • Are the correct skills being taught to produce the desired outcomes? obviously, an important starting point)
  • Does the training produce performance competencies in the taught skills (instead of just knowledge and understanding)?
  • Do students actually use the taught skills in their daily life? (or do they return to their old habits)
  • When using the skills in their daily life, do students actually perform the skills as they were taught?
  • Are the desired outcomes of the training well-defined?
  • Are statistically-significant improvements in desired outcomes actually produced?
  • Could have the outcome improvements demonstrated by the research been caused by other factors?

Doing the research to accurately answer all of these questions would obviously be enormously time-consuming and expensive — so it’s never done (in other words, if a company says they have proof that their skills-training “works,” ask to see the data — and don’t hold your breath).

As a result, human-skills training companies must rely on communicating their focus on the right goals, demonstrating their commitment to training excellence, and anecdotal evidence (see a summary of where Vistelar stands with these three elements below).

Despite this reality, in 2017 Vistelar was presented with a huge opportunity to participate in a research study that made a valiant attempt at answering all of these questions.

Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division

In 2017, Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division (MCBHD) wanted all of their staff trained in non-escalation, de-escalation, and crisis intervention methods and they selected Vistelar to perform this training. MCBHD then contracted with the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to study this training’s impact.

The first phase of this study was released in October of 2018 and the second phase is expected to be released by the end of 2019.

If you would like to receive a PDF copy of the first phase of this research study, please fill out and submit the form below.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We are very proud of the results demonstrated by this research. But we are even more proud of the steps we have taken over the last 30-plus years (right goals, commitment to training excellence) to have confidence that our training “works.”

Here is just some of what we’ve done:

  • Ongoing R&D — in the real world — over more than three decades to evaluate and improve what we teach
  • Emphasis on a “fire drill vs. fire talk” approach to training (which emphasizes the development of performance competencies versus just knowledge and understanding)
  • Ongoing refinement of our curriculum’s performance competencies and learning objectives to align with the needs of our clients
  • Willingness to customize our training to meet the specific needs of our customers — across the entire spectrum of human conflict
  • Responding to feedback from student evaluations and post-training surveys
  • Client research to better understand expected outcomes

We are also very proud of the “anecdotal evidence” we’ve received about the impact of our training.