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When do we need performance support?

This post on performance support was written by Kayleigh Tanner and first appeared on the Epic blog on 9th December 2013.

With performance support being such a hot topic in the world of learning technologies right now, there is a very important question that needs answering: when do we need performance support?

A photo of a designer looking at learning support options as part of measuring the business impact of elearning

In Imogen Casebourne and Rhodri Jones’ performance support insight, the ‘Five Moments of Need’ is addressed. The Five Moments of Need were devised by Ontuitive’s Conrad Gottfredson and Bob Mosher, and aim to show us when we might need help in the workplace. Here, we will take a look at some common scenarios related to each of these five moments.

1. When learning something for the first time

If you are starting an entirely new job in a new industry, it is inevitable that you will come across challenges you can’t always figure out for yourself. Much of this will be covered in your formal training. At this moment, performance support could take the form of asking a senior member of staff how to carry out a new task. Or, if you are learning to use a new piece of software, a live help button may appear to help you speak directly to an expert.

2. When seeking to learn more about something

As the latest Towards Maturity Benchmark revealed, lots of us turn to Google when we’re looking for more information. However, it can be tricky to filter through the millions of resources to find exactly what we want. To make better use of technology, employers could introduce their own searchable database of information, perhaps on the intranet, so that we can use our love of searching to find accurate information quickly. Making this a wiki means it can be quickly edited and updated by expert members of the team to enable collaboration and sharing of knowledge, as Jane Hart addressed at our recent LearningNow event.

3. When trying to apply or remember something or adapt performance to a unique situation

When I started a part-time retail job when I was at college, I took a single 20-minute elearning course about fire safety in my first week. Six months down the line, I would have been the first person blasting a raging inferno with a water extinguisher, worsening the problem tenfold. Here, a campaign might come in handy – a small reminder in the form of a poster or an animation every time we signed into the work system to act as an aide-mémoire.

4. When attempting to solve a problem or deal with something that has gone wrong

If a problem arises, it can be easy to panic and forget every piece of training we have ever received. If it is 4.55pm on a Friday and you desperately need to get something sorted, a video resource could be invaluable, and means you won’t have to wait for a response from the one colleague who has inevitably left early to catch a train, giving you the independence to deal with that problem yourself.

5. When something changes that requires a change in how work gets done

If your company switches from one piece of software to another, it may not be efficient to send everyone on a training course, especially if it is largely similar to the original system. Instead, podcasts or videos can act as walkthroughs for any of the new features, enabling everyone to remain productive and get to know the parts of the software they will actually use.

If you’d like to speak to a LEO Learning consultant about ways to create performance support in elearning, get in touch here.

Read LEO Learning’s four simple steps to create engaging elearning courses