Imagine a situation where you have attended a tool-related training course and have been asked to work on the tool a couple of months later. When you try to work on the tool, you do not seem to remember most of the content; here comes the need of performance support. We all know that we are hardly able to retain 30% of what we are taught within 48 hours of training. You scan through the web, ask people around you, and even contact the support team, but you can barely manage to solve the issue. Now, rewind and think of how much resources are wasted during the time it took you to access the information from various sources. Indeed, a lot!
Now ask yourself; how would the situation be different had you been given access to appropriate, just in time performance support to overcome the complex situation in hand?
We Use Performance Support Everyday
Think about it! When you want to learn anything on the fly, for instance how to use a new eLearning authoring tool to create some compliance training or fix a certain issue in the tool, whom do we rely on? We often tend to search for that information on our mobile phones or some other similar device. For us it is convenient when the information is presented in smaller chunks. We get step by step instructions with images, and we find it pretty much easier to grasp it all on the go.
Performance Support Does Not Equal Training
Learning and Development functions in different organizations focus heavily on training their staff on how to acquire new skills and expand on their previously-acquired skills. But what they do not teach is how you should apply the same skill in a more challenging or complex scenario. Training is needed when you have to pick up an entirely new skill set, but performance support is more suited when you have to apply a skill (that you may have previously acquired) in your current role.
The goal of performance support is to finish the tasks that you are assigned at work, unlike training where you just gain the skills and knowledge and forget about it within a couple of days. As compared to training, with the right performance support, you are able to solve an issue in hand within 10 minutes or less, whereas the entire training on different workarounds (most of which may not be required on a regular basis) would cost you an hour or more.
Performance Support Tools And Their Benefits
Performance support tools need to have certain features for them to be termed as “effective”. Some of them are:
1. They should be relevant:
At any point of time, an employee would not like to access information which is outdated for more than a year. Or, for that matter, an employee would find it really frustrating to skim through an entire document to learn that whatever information they wanted was only included in the last two paragraphs of the material. Hence, the role of performance support here is crucial in updating and maintaining the most recent sources of information to benefit one and all.
2. They should be user-friendly:
If an employee has to spend a lot of time in going through some material before finding the most appropriate information that suits their needs, chances are that they would not use that material too often. Therefore, the same information has to be designed in a way that it is easier for the person to quickly scan through and find the information they need.
3. They should be convenient:
If your workers often have to carry tons of information to refer to while working offsite, there is a possibility that you would not manage to get favorable responses from them. In this case, Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSSs) have received tremendous responses from all employees across the world simply due to the fact that they are available on mobile devices and can be accessed from almost everywhere.
To sum up
It is clearly evident from the above discussion that training is very different from performance support. As an integral part of their learning and development strategy, every organization must spend considerable amount of resources to provide their employees with just in time performance support, with the right performance support tools, in order to help them perform in their job better.