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Dr. Steve Villachica

Photo Steve Villachica

Steve Villachica, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning
College of Engineering, ENGR 322
Boise State University
1910 University Dr.
Boise, ID 83725-2070

Office: (208) 426-4664

Hot Off the Press!

Access the online version of our article that will soon appear in Performance Improvement Quarterly.

A Formative Evaluation of a Master’s Level Career-Coaching Course for Performance Improvement Students

Steven W. Villachica
Vicki Stieha
Lisa Giacumo
Lesa Becker
Jo Ann Fenner

Educational/Professional Background:

Dr. Steve Villachica holds a bachelor’s degree in English, master’s degree in computer technology in education, and Ph.D. in Educational Technology from the University of Northern Colorado. Dr. Villachica has consulted and worked in business, government, and non-profit settings for more than 25 years. As Chief Learning Officer of DLS Group, Inc., of Denver, Colorado, he collaborated with colleagues to create large-scale performance support systems, e-learning, instructor-led training, job aids, and a host of award-winning performance improvement solutions for pharmaceutical companies, law enforcement agencies, securities companies and regulators, the Intelligence Community, and others.

During his time with DLS Group, Dr. Villachica collaborated with his colleagues to create a wide variety of performance improvement solutions, including:

  • Cognitive task analysis specifying the mental model that guides detectives conducting criminal investigations; rapid prototyping depicting potential approaches to improve detective job performance, including custom knowledge bases and training.
  • Problem-solving training approaches and distance/blended learning approaches for analysts in the Intelligence Community.
  • Evaluations of marketing materials for pharmaceutical sales representatives.
  • Cognitive task analysis specifying the mental model that engineers used to troubleshoot software issues with blood collection software and hardware.
  • Cognitive task analysis, cognitive apprenticeship, large-scale performance support system for examiners who investigate firms that trade in securities.


Dr. Villachica regularly teaches:

  • OPWL 537 Instructional Design
  • OPWL 547 Advanced Instructional Design for the Workplace

He has also taught:

  • IPT 536 Foundations of IPT
  • IPT 563 Job Aids and Performance Support

Scholarly, Creative & Research Activities:

An “expertise junkie,” Dr. Villachica’s research interests focus on identifying and leveraging expert performance throughout organizations. He is particularly interested in the application of problem solving and decision-making, cognitive task analysis, cognitive apprenticeships, and performance support systems to instructional design.

Along with Drs. Linda Huglin and Don Plumlee, Dr. Villachica is part of the Engineering Education Research to Practice (E2R2P) team. The National Science Foundation funds this 3-year effort.

The team is currently conducting focus groups with engineering managers, lead engineers, HR personnel and newly graduated and hired “fresh out” engineers to determine:

  • What fresh outs can and can’t do on the job between the time they’re hired and reach competent levels of job performance.
  • Environmental and individual sources of fresh out non-performance in the workplace during the 1.5 – 2 years they need to reach competence.

For more information about Dr. Villachica’s scholarly activities, see his curriculum vita.