Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What is Performance Support?

Reading a post on Performance Support from my co-blogger and colleague triggered of the following response:

Read on:

Performance Support (PS) is, says Tony Karrer, “Making information available to workers instead of forcing them to memorize it. That’s how we use Google and corporate wikis and instant messenger.”

What makes PS effective is the targeted learning that it provides and the “pull” approach inherent in its definition. PS, by definition, is access to information and knowledge as we need it, when we need it. It does not “push” information at learners in a pre-defined package but instead allows for selective learning. And this works best for adult learners. Remember, adults learn best if they learn in context, can apply their learning to their immediate work, and feel the need for that learning from within.

Thus, our programs based firmly on these tenets of PS are created after careful and thorough learner analysis, performance gap study and situational/contextual investigation. The programs are so designed as to allow learners to “pull” the information they need to execute their work better.

The programs follow minimalist design approach—that is, there is no redundancy which can easily put off adult learners, who anyways have busy work schedules and are pressed for time.

To summarize, how does the Performance Support Solutions as we design them facilitate productivity and growth and innovation?

Performance Support facilitates all of the above by empowering employees to:
– Execute better
– Deliver higher quality; thus lesser rework
– Demonstrate greater productivity
– Improve customer experience
– Display confidence by reducing dependencies on others
– Reduce time to deliver thus freeing up time for skill building, brainstorming, innovative thinking

The core idea is to reduce the need for training by providing information, aids, and learning on-demand tools at the moment of need.

When is Performance Support needed? Conrad Gottfredson aptly describes five moments of need when PS is required. He calls them "Learning at the moment of need."

1. When learning for the first time
2. When learning more
3. When applying what was learned or trying to remember
4. When things go wrong
5. When things change -- and there is now a new way to perform

Our industry has focused on the first two, it's now time for us to figure out how to address needs three through five as well. In today's scenario change management is going to be the biggest challenge and will call for innovative measures--in business processes and training deliveries.

Our easy-to-use performance-support solutions for software applications are principally designed to help learners during those five moments to:

– Understand the various features of the application
– Be aware of the purpose and the business need of the application (business process guidance)
– Understand the different roles and processes the application may support
– Get up to speed with the application
– Practice using it in a safe environment
– Understand the benefits of optimal usage
– See the consequences of making errors and learn from the mistakes
– Work independently and accurately

Please add to the thoughts and provide inputs.

Here's a link to a video that shows the difference in attitude between "hands on learning" and "you shove it down my throat" information, or "pull" vs. "push" as mentioned earlier on...

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