Performance support refers to any tool that helps people--in the moment of need--perform a task. Performance support is used to help employees apply newly learned skills, solve problems, and perform less routine tasks that require a knowledge or step-by-step refresher. Performance support generally comes in the form of easy-to-use Performance support tools (PSTs), also called learning aids or job aids, that are embedded in the workflow. These types of tools can be as simple as a printed cheat sheet or checklist or as complex as an online knowledge base, commonly referred to a electronic performance support (EPSS).
Performance support is an important component of learning as it helps transfer formal learning to the job and supports experiential learning. This makes sense when you consider the 70:20:10 model, which reports that:
Performance support has grown in popularity as newer generations prefer to learn and work simultaneously in both formal and informal ways.
Performance support tools are recommended for these circumstances:
Performance support is different than formal training. They complement, but do not replace the need for formal and informal training programs. Here are examples of when you will want to consider formal or informal training, and augment learning with performance support tools:
To design performance support tools, clearly identify your challenge and the desired outcome. Then, do a quick task analysis of related job-specific tasks and concepts. Organize tasks and concepts by business processes and map them to the job roles where they are performed.
Since performance support tools should be intuitive for users, consider using a Design Thinking process in your development, such as:
Best practices for developing performance support tools include:
Here is a list of performance support software companies, also called electronic performance support systems (EPSS) or digital adoption platforms:
Markers of high-performance organizations (HPOs) include effectiveness, speed, continuous improvement, and a readiness for change. Performance support tools (and EPSS) support each of these traits and promote an environment of continuous learning.
Performance support tools provide employees with fast and easy on-the-job tools effective for decision making, microlearning, and instant learning efforts. These easily accessible tools support and guide employees as they do their work. Ideally embedded directly into the learners’ workflow, performance support tools provide active guidance that is empowering and less disruptive than other ways of getting information. In other words, performance support tools enable organizations to deliver the right amount of task guidance and support to users right when they need it.
Depending on the software you choose, you may also be able to map and analyze processes, redesign processes, and conduct simulations.
To determine effectiveness of performance support tools, develop metrics related to the planned benefits, including productivity, quality, accuracy, turn-around time, service, and cost reduction. To figure out the return on investment (ROI) of performance support, simply subtract the costs from the gains using this type of information:
Generally, the content is owned by L&D or other relevant functional areas, such as Compliance or Communications. A centralized administrator, also known as a gatekeeper, actually makes updates.