As heads of organizations and heads of Learning and Development departments, we are on a constant lookout for measures that can positively impact our employees’ performance. There are many approaches that can be adopted to bring in performance gain. In this article, I will outline how to boost your workforce performance with interactive PDFs and eBooks (when used as Performance Support Tools or PSTs).
In 1991, Gloria Gerry pioneered the initial ideas and practices of Performance Support (PS) in her book “Electronic Performance Support Systems”.
She rightly proposed that the learning strategies of organizations needed to “be reconceived to influence the primary purpose of organization: To perform effectively and efficiently”. She also observed that the “information, rules and knowledge” that employees needed in order to “optimize performance” were “spread all over the place” and needed to be “within easy reach”.
Gerry felt that organizations must “give up the idea that competence must exist within the person and expand [their] view that whenever possible it should be built into the situation”.
Unfortunately, Gerry’s vision of what PS can do for organizations experienced a short period of attention but this concept did not quite take off (primarily because of high implementation costs).
Today, there is a wider acceptance of the fact that use of formal training is not enough to help learners apply the learning on the job. There is a renewed focus on using Performance Support as an integral part of an organization’s learning strategy to push the knowledge acquisition to application.
In my own organization and with several customers, we have successfully demonstrated the power of PSTs. In this article, I will outline how you can use interactive PDFs and eBooks as Performance Support Tools.
Performance Support Tools (PSTs) are on-the-job tools that support and guide employees at the precise moment of need. Unlike training, which is characterized by providing information and guidance beforehand, these tools assist employees as they actually do their jobs.
These tools are very easy to find, often directly embedded into the learners’ workflow (Learning Hub). They offer active guidance, saving the employees the hassles of “searching” for information and assistance. These solutions enable organizations to provide the right amount of task guidance, support, and productivity benefits to their employees just when they need them.
PST formats are limited only by your imagination. Some of the formats we have extensively used are:
For a deeper understanding of PSTs and why they must be an integral part of an organization’s learning strategy, refer to my article Performance Support Tools: Top 5 Things Your Boss Wants To Know.
Interactive PDFs and eBooks enable you to generate high quality PSTs fairly quickly. These are available in multi-device format enabling your learners to use them on their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and PCs.
As we all know, the key is quick access to most recent information. These formats enable organizations to make information accessible, searchable, and up-to-date.
Availability of these learning aids within the learner’s work-flow significantly increases the probability of usage thereby increasing the application of this learning on the job.
You can boost your workforce performance with interactive PDFs and eBooks by using them to supplement or complement formal training (online or ILT). Essentially, they allow you to make factual, knowledge-based information available to your learners quickly and easily.
Typically, they include:
They don’t have to be long (in fact, they shouldn’t be) but a short and sharp byte of knowledge when you need it can be invaluable.
Both formats accommodate the same level of design (visually rich text, audio, and video). eBooks also allow SCORM output thereby enabling you to track the usage of the learning aid.
Here are a few examples of Interactive PDFs and eBooks:
For more details on this example, refer to my article Performance support: Featuring Interactive pdf as a Learning Aid to supplement online learning.
I hope this article provides cues on how you can use simple learning aids like Interactive PDFs and eBooks to create a strong Performance Support intervention and enhance the application of learning. This in turn will certainly boost your workforce performance.
I have several case studies that reflect a direct impact of Performance Support Tools on the ROI of training. Do contact me for further details.
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Through my journey at EI Design, I have learned to appreciate the value of Learning Innovation, Customer Relationship Management, and the power of Instructional Design in ensuring the required Behavioral Change mandates per end stakeholders. The sheer magnitude of the domain and the impact it creates on the learning landscape is impetus enough to innovate and accelerate every day.
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My role at EI Design involves the delivery of quality products to all our clients and address their concerns and queries through multiple stages of the project life cycle.
A majority of my work deals with managing various project requirements from numerous clients from across the globe. A regular day for me is getting involved in various meetings with team members, and attending client calls. I always ensure that I have a positive approach toward the projects that I handle. The environment around me is reciprocative and the support helps me overcome any obstacles within the project. Even so, it is important that I take crucial decisions at critical moments and ease the pressure off my team and maintain a smooth process flow. Apart from this, we normally take breaks to refresh ourselves and find ways to keep each other motivated.
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I drive revenue for the business and build relationships with clients to expand our business. I help clients solve monotonous training challenges through engaging approaches and ensure smooth transaction throughout the project lifecycle. I am responsible for generating the customer satisfaction survey for EI Design, where I gather feedback from end-users and convey it to the client. I mentor new employees that join the business development domain and ensure that they are aligned to the business needs along with process training.
During my close to 2 years tenure at EI Design, I have helped achieve the committed revenue for the business and retained various clients. With the constant support of my team, I continue to ensure that our clients’ journey through the entire project lifecycle is hassle-free.
Reaching out to clients and presenting the best eLearning solutions is the core of my everyday life at EI Design. I ensure that all customer satisfaction surveys are delivered to clients while also continuing to work on building new business for EI Design. On a monotonous day at office, I ensure to build energy within the team and keep them motivated.
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I work with the Quality Assurance Team at EI Design, co-ordinating with multiple domains (ID, VA, Tech, and VD) to deliver exceptional product experiences for learners. It is my duty to ensure that the developers are equipped with accurate information in order to fix/uplift the product experience. I also bridge the gap between developers/testers and the client to provide clarity on the feedback received from client. In conclusion, I can say that I drive the quality of work generated across domains and monitor the performance of domains, teams, and individuals using Quality Measurement Analysis reports.
My day begins with organizing the activities for the day, checking emails for client responses, and allocating task to my team, depending on the ongoing projects on floor and the deliverables planned. Apart from this, on a regular day, I would receive client calls, conduct meetings, and communicate project requirements with my team and other domains that require my help. At the end of the day, I conduct status checks across all ongoing projects reviewed on the day and assess their progress. This helps me to ensure a high standard in the quality of work generated across all the products at EI Design.
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I receive my work at the beginning of the week and so I begin my day reviewing the previous week’s progress and then move on to the tasks allotted to me for the next week. On other days, I just go about my tasks according to the priorities assigned to them.
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