What is Performance Support?

• Tools & Systems to Deliver Learning at the Moment of Need
• Electronic & Paper-Based Job Aids
• Fingertip Knowledge (eg. communities of practice, online search…)
• Rapid Authoring Systems from Subject Matter Experts, Including Multi-Channel Publishing

Performance Support (PS) is any learning modality, resource or asset that is accessible and applicable at the moment of need. It is embedded in the work process such that the learning is accessed in the context of the work flow and helps solve a very specific business problem. Fundamentally, PS can be grouped into two categories: Paper-based or Electronic. Paper-based is the oldest form of Performance Support and one that’s taken an unfortunate backseat to its more “flashy” counterparts. Paper-based PS includes job-aids and quick references. These tools can be seen in most work spaces in the form of yellow “post-it notes” surrounding someone’s monitor, but they can also be a much more elaborate, structured and individually tailored form factor designed to optimize their overall effectiveness. Electronic PS, often called EPSS, is typically found on a PC, BUT is increasingly accessible on MP3 players and other hand-held devices. Many of us remember the earliest forms of this solution as the “F1” key or help menu found in most of the early PC applications. Google searches can easily fall into this category, but sometimes find more than what a user needs or wants. More advanced versions of EPSS offer a contextual, process-embedded and immediate solution. This requires development of an overarching strategy built upon upfront analysis, planning and design.  

What Performance Support is Not:

Performance Support is not instructor-led training, e-Learning, workshops or other forms of formal instruction. These should be supported by PS but they are not, in and of themselves, Performance Support. Formal training is designed to educate a learner who has little to no background or prior knowledge of the environment or outcome. It does a wonderful job of bringing learners to a common level and continuing the learning process. Performance Support focuses on application of that learning and helps bring all the knowledge gained through formal instruction to life.