Leveraging Performance Support Tools and “Just In Time” Training
Today, I want to talk about Performance Support. As we all know, the main difference between training and Performance Support is that training is trying to fill the gap between the missing and the needed knowledge while the Performance Support tools provide on the job support when it is needed. Unlike training, which often includes some of the “nice to know” information, Performance Support tools offer “just enough” assistance to get the job done. Naturally, Performance Support can be either Electronic (EPSS) or Paper-based. Instructional designers have been developing quick reference guides and job aids to supplement their training courses for ages. Nowadays, most of us are used to having the information available to us when we need it at any time and place. This is where the Electronic Support System comes in handy. Many EPSSs offer a contextual, step-by-step, immediate solution to people’s needs.
When instructional designers conduct their initial meeting with the client, they may discover that even though their client wants a formal training course, there is no real need to create one. Instead, a Performance Support System can resolve the client’s issue. So, when would a Performance Support System be useful? Here are some of the situations when Performance Support can be used:
- If an organization lacks efficient procedures
- If procedures are frequently changing
- If accuracy is critical and mistakes are frequently made
- If a task is rarely performed
- If there are many steps in the process
- If the training budget is limited
In addition to everything listed above, Performance Support can be used as a way to remind learners how they can apply their formal training on the job. Since, even the best training course cannot make learners remember all the required information, a complete and concise job aid can help to embed the information into the learners’ heads.
So, what are some ways you can integrate Performance Support into your eLearning course or even use it as a stand-alone tool for on-the job performance improvement? Of course, you can always develop a step-by-step, easy to follow job aid, you can also outline a task with appropriate decision-making criteria in the PDF file, or you can create a manual that people can keep at their desk and refer to it as needed. However, depending on your content, you may also take advantage of modern technology and create instructional videos or even record a Podcast and make it available on iTunes. Another great way to incorporate Performance Support is to use the social network tools such as Facebook, Twitter, or even create a Wiki page. In addition to improving organizational knowledge, the aforementioned approaches to Performance Support will greatly improve collaboration in your organization.
If you want more information about job aids and Performance Support, or if you want to learn how to design instructionally sound eLearning courses, please check out the Instructional Design for eLearning: Essential guide to creating successful eLearning courses book. This book is also available in Spanish.