What is the main goal of training? To ensure that employees acquire more knowledge, meet some compliance standards and/ or perform their tasks in a more efficient manner. No doubt! So, needless to say, organising training is one of the most important initiatives that a company can undertake.
The question, however, is what do employees do in the period after the training is over if they need support? Or while they are on-the-go? Or critical still, need some information “handy” while on-the-job? Another training intervention, especially on the same topic, may not be due anytime soon. This is where the concept of ‘Performance Support’ comes into picture. What cannot be done by training, at that point, is possible by ‘Performance Support’.
What is Performance Support?
To understand this, let’s consider an example. Imagine a company has organised training on how to use a new software that will soon be installed on all machines. A month later, when the employees actually start working on the software they realise they don’t remember how to operate it. Research shows that, a person would already have forgotten 70% of the content within 48 hours of training! So what do they do? They turn to “Performance Support Tools (PSTs)”. Performance Support basically comprises of tools or learning aids meant to help employees with on-the-job support at the “precise moment” of need.
A quick comparison with ‘training’ reveals, PSTs are available to support and guide learners, by virtue of being directly embedded into their learning workflow, as they actually do their jobs.
When do employees actually need Performance Support?
In reality, these days, the ‘precise moment of need’ is all the time, that is, 24x7x365 perpetually! However, there are different moments when the need can be more pressing. Performance Support expert, Conrad Gottfredson, has enlisted these needs as follows:
- When learning something for the first time (New)
- When seeking to learn more about something (More)
- When trying to apply or remember something or adapt performance to a unique situation (Apply)
- When attempting to solve a problem or deal with something that has gone wrong (Solve)
- When something changes that requires a change in how work gets done (Change)
How are Performance Support and mLearning connected?
When we look at the above-mentioned needs, we realise that to meet each of these, one of the most effective ways is providing Performance Support via Mobile Learning or mLearning. Why? The reason is that mobile devices are something that everyone carries these days in various forms – smartphones, tablets, phablets and everything in between. Mobiles are ubiquitous! They are always connected – thanks to WiFi or mobile data. They enable browsing and provide access to various media. Most importantly, mobiles are capable of providing relevant and incredibly useful learning/ training that can accessed from anywhere, at anytime with or without the Internet too (App-based Mobile Learning platforms do this well)! These advantages make mobiles the device of choice for providing Performance Support.
Advantages of mLearning for Performance Support
Here are the top 4 reasons why Performance Support and mLearning go hand in hand:
1. Just-In Time Support: Since mobiles are everywhere, with everyone, at almost all times, it is but natural that they can prove to be the best device to provide learning at the precise moment of need -the exact moment when the need for Performance Support arises. mLearning works the best – simply by virtue of being in the possession of the learner/ employee 24x7x365 and being always ON.
2. Offline Learning: Performance Support cannot work on mobile devices just because everyone has them. For mLearning to work effectively, it’s important that the device provides access to the right information, at the time of need. If there is poor or no network connectivity (according to McKinsey & Company, “more than 60 percentage of the world’s population remains offline.”), the idea of Performance Support via mobiles may fail. This is where Offline Learning helps. Offline Learning guarantees truly anytime learning because information pieces can be pre-downloaded and stored on the learner’s mobile device and viewed/ accessed later even in absence of Internet connectivity. Like UpsideMOVE, which enables access to learning, Internet or not. The ‘offline’ mode is a boon for those in areas with remote network connectivity or those who travel often on flights.
3. Audio-Visual Learning: Videos are a big part of the online content and account for 74% of all online traffic (as per KPCB’s Internet Trends). With more than half of this video viewing happening on mobile, videos are, by far, one of the most popular methods of mLearning. Aiding their popularity is the fact that videos aid engagement, demonstrate better, bring about precision and clarity that text cannot, and simplify understanding. The power of videos (and even audios) with the benefit of them being available online or offline is an excellent way to leverage mobile devices for Performance Support. An easiest way to marry mLearning and Performance Support would be to incorporate ‘How-to’ videos as a part of your Blended Learning program or have them sit separately in a repository for just-in-time learning.
4. Responsive Design: Responsive Design pertains to: (a) online training courses that are accessible on any mobile device or browser and (b) a Learning Management System that provides a seamless and uniform User Experience to learners across mobile devices and OSs. In terms of the former, a Responsive eLearning Course with a single code-base responds to or moulds itself to devices’ dimensions (be it a desktop or tablet or smartphone), rearranging its content, images and other assets so as to provide Performance Support on any device. The latter, on the other hand, serves as the delivery tool. Similar to the responsive eLearning course, the LMS adapts to learner’s mobile device screen size, resolution and OS to provide a consistent and a continuous learning experience. Together, these make for great m-Enabled Performance Support.
In short, Performance Support and mLearning are one of the best combinations that a company can offer to its employees to satisfy their learning needs. mLearning can take Performance Support to a new level and help reinforce learning by engaging with learners post, during or even before the formal training.
Wish to integrate Mobile-enabled Performance Support in your training mix? Get in touch with us to know more about UpsideMOVE, our offline app-based mLearning platform. Psst! We are currently running an introductory offer that you cannot miss!
Amit has played a key role in bringing an innovative approach to the traditional Learning Management System (LMS) and has been instrumental in putting UpsideLMS on the global map.With over two decades of work
experience across IT and eLearning, Amit has a wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience in start-up management, project management, technology solutions consulting, and technology solutions architecting and development. At UpsideLMS too, Amit continues to wear multiple hats as the key idea generator for UpsideLMS' tech-ops team, a Sales and Marketing orchestrator, a learning technology solutions consultant for his clients and prospects, a sounding board of ideas for his team of experts and a mentor for all the function heads. All product offerings birthed and led by Amit, be it the Learning Management System or the Mobile Learning Apps, have been disruptors in the eLearning industry and ahead of their times.
Amit is an active contributor to the company's blog and many eLearning forums. He has been profiled by Learning Solutions, a leading industry publication and the official online publication of the eLearning Guild, for its 'Leaders in the Limelight' series. He distils his expertise and experience into articles, which are regularly published in leading L&D and HR publications across the world.
Amit has spoken at various L&D events in the US, has co-hosted webinars alongside leading industry experts and has authored eBooks on Learning Management Systems. He has served as a judge for the Brandon Hall awards in 2002 and 2004. Amit holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Science (NIT–Kurukshetra) and a Masters in Business Administration (IIM – Lucknow).
Connect with him on LinkedIn.