Performance Support Enabling: Awareness – Knowledge – Skills

– In an Enterprise Learning Context –

Because in an Enterprise Learning Context the goal/ purpose/ reason for the investments in Instruction was to impact awareness, knowledge and/or skills – as evidenced by better tasks performance as evidenced by better outputs – as evidenced by downstream customers determining that they have better inputs.

That may be different in an Educational Learning Context or in a Personal Learning Context. In an Educational Learning Context the reason cannot be directed with the “end-in-mind-wise” reality of the terminal job performance tasks and outputs, or team performance tasks and outputs – as that is unknown specifically. The goal in education is less specific by nature and is by nature more general in its treatment of content.

The Personal Learning Context varies too, and can be either general or specific. Its goals may be shared by many or few.

Ind Contrib

I’ve found it helpful to distinguish between these 3 types of Contexts whenever the topic is Learning.

Some Learning misses the mark and doesn’t go far enough, specific enough, authentic enough; and other times Learning is overkill-in-the-extreme for what is really needed.

And sometimes we expect one-size-fits-all Content to fit all sizes. Wrong.

Performance Support Is the Reason for Learning

Learning supports Performance. Ideally.

I think that that is also true of Performance Support. The reason for Performance Support is – Performance. I think we need to understand the Performance Context holistically, to make the best decisions about the Learning topics, media and mode types. Some do that through Analysis. Others guess.

And I am not sure Learning is a good label here; just as Training wasn’t 30 years ago and then EPSS was born (Electronic Performance Support Systems) to differentiate that mode from paper Job Aids – or even better – laminated Job Aids. Technology in our age has finally enabled all the futurists of yore, when it comes to Job Aids. Er, EPSS, er, Performance Support.

Minimally I’d also want to understand the probable life-cycle-cost implications of the content volatility in making deployment mechanism decisions. What drives future volatility? Is it predictable in cycle time, or just predictable that it will occur but unpredictable in terms of schedule?

In an Enterprise Performance/Learning Context…

Sometimes Awareness Is Needed

Performance Support can help directly here… and be the channel for content available predictably elsewhere. I need to be aware of current facts, data. Where can I find reliable data, versus data?

It might be most effective and efficient to teach the Learner how to wander, to navigate, and search, and then how to verify “facts” before using them.

It’s the Internet. Trust, but verify.

Even Enterprise data has been known to have been faulty on occasion, no?

Sometimes Knowledge Is Needed

Performance Support can help get the Performer to the information that might become deeper knowledge. I can read about X or Y, adding that to what I already know, and what I already know about how to think about X and Y. If I have prior knowledge. Or awareness. Or skill.

And it might be most effective and efficient to teach those things directly – rather than let the Learner wander the vast stores of content on any topic or task. that is available in our modern age. There just might be too much of a good thing going on – information availability-wise.

And the Learners can drown in data/content overload.

Have some group of Master Performers help organize it, and/or point to the best sources, etc.

Sometimes Skill Is Needed

Performance Support can help here only in some skill areas, when it provides the mechanism for some reinforcements. It cannot always teach – and provide practice – and give appropriate feedback – for “underwater welding” very well, as just one of many examples.

It might be most effective and efficient to plan content “redundancy by design” in reinforcement for those critical knowledge and skills –  rather than let the Learner forget.

For the Forgetting Curve is Steep.

And to provide Advanced Organizers. Remember them?

This is also easier/better for knowledge work than work-done-with-your-hands types of performance.  But key reminders for hands on work, on things such as safety and legal aspects – as just two of many examples – may be a wise investment – in getting learning to stick so as to positively affect performance and results.

Focus on the Performance Requirements – and Enable Them.

And when Learning is insufficient – look to providing all of the other enablers.

It’s not about Learning. It’s about Performance.

In an Enterprise Learning Context. IMO.

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