Our Thinking

Learning Should Be Easy: Performance Support Delivers When Needed  

Jenny Fedullo

peacockYesterday, I was leaving my sister’s house when I saw a peacock walking down the street. A peacock walking down the street in central Pennsylvania? I kept staring at it to make sure, as I had never seen one in the wild in Pennsylvania or anywhere in the US, for that matter.

Once I was confident, I reached for my phone. I Googled and within seconds, knew that peacocks were native to Asia and Africa, have established many feral colonies around the world, and have now become fairly common in rural areas where they are raised for their feathers which they shed in autumn. (Incidentally, I also learned only males are peacocks – females are peahens and together, they are peafowl.)

How many “peacocks” cross your path during your work day? Where do you go to find the answers? Do you:

  • Search your LMS for an eLearning course?
  • Access your knowledge management system or company Intranet site?
  • Peruse the sticky notes on your computer?
  • Look at the job aids you have hanging on your walls
  • Lean over and ask your neighbor?
  • A combination of all of the above?

What if your peacock is a customer on hold?

Learning can be easier and can be achieved through performance support. Performance support is not a new concept. It’s a paper or electronic tool used to deliver learning at the moment of need. Your sticky notes and job aids are performance support tools. So are knowledge management systems and company Intranet sites. Performance support is not formal training (instructor-led or eLearning). Rather, it is a resource that employees can rely on to get things done while doing their jobs.

An Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS) provides a company with the greatest potential to make an impact on performance. By using an EPSS, aid can be integrated within the software being used or delivered via mobile applications. With the right strategy and execution, an EPSS can bring order to the disarray of resources dispersed across multiple systems and repositories to provide immediate access to just what’s needed. As technology continues to advance, there will be limitless methods to boost employees’ performance at work.

Organizations can reduce training time by increasing focus on delivering the right performance support tools and embedding them into daily work processes. Formal instruction is just as important as it ever was but it is important to find the appropriate balance between support and training that works for your situation. The next time you’re faced with an opportunity to create a training course, don’t stop with the delivery of the course. Bring it full circle with the creation of a performance support tool and stand proud. Your organization will see the results.

Oh the phrase, “proud as a peacock”? That was coined by Chaucer in the 1200’s in the Reeve’s Tail: “As any peacock he was proud and gay.

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