What Is Performance Support and Why Is It Important?

1 minute read

Modern Computer-Based Training (CBT) hasn’t completely supplanted traditional Instructor-Led Training (ILT), but it has given rise to the practice of Performance Support. The term “Electronic performance support systems” arose in the 1990s, coined during the rise of computer learning systems. The concept has reached a high level of usefulness in the mobile age seen since the rise of smartphones and tablets.

What is Performance Support?

The term refers to the practice of delivering the right information, at the right time, where you need it. If you’ve ever been at work on a task and you’ve had to stop and remove yourself from the job to look up directions or flip through a manual, you know how frustrating is to have your flow interrupted. Even worse, you might get dragged away on a tangent while you’re away from the work area.

What if you had that bit of information with you at the moment you need it? You could look at a diagram or watch a demonstration video and keep working, completing the task and getting it off your plate. 

Why is Performance Support Important?

As previously pointed out, access to supportive information while working on the task at hand cuts down on distractions, which increases efficiency. Performance support keeps productivity high and supports retention and the formation of habits, at the point of task execution. Where performance support gets its real power, though, is helping mitigate the “forgetting curve.” German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus studied his own abilities of memorization and how long it took to forget details and facts. The curve shows a sharp decline in the first days after learning, with less and less retained as time goes on. However, with regular review in the form of performance support, recall decline happens at a reduced rate as habits are formed and facts are retained.

Providing your employees with information at the point of need – especially following a longer ILT session – is the most effective way to take the edge off the forgetting curve. Mobile devices with the capability of displaying documents or showing short how-to videos are proving to be an important way to lay the groundwork for your team’s success.

Adding performance support to your mobile training system is a great way to increase employee engagement while gathering important data to measure their progress and guide future learning needs and opportunities. Find out more info in our latest ebook: Power Your Employee Productivity With Performance Support 

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