In this article, through a series of questions, I will provide answers on what Performance Support Tools (PSTs) are and why they must be an integral part of your organization’s learning strategy. I will also share my insights on how they help learners and how they can help address a key challenge that Learning and Development professionals face in terms of increasing knowledge recall, its retention, and application.
Here are 5 important questions about Performance Support Tools; their answers explain why they must be an integral part of your company’s learning strategy.
Q1. When do learners seek learning?
Dr. Conrad Gottfredson and Bob Mosher’s Five Distinct Moments of Need© very succinctly captures when exactly learners seek learning. According to them, learners seek support in these Five Moments of Need:
While formal training does address the first two learning needs, the use of Performance Support Tools is particularly relevant in meeting the subsequent three needs.
Please refer to my article Improving ROI in eLearning where I have highlighted how an effective Performance Support intervention can increase the application of learning. This has a direct impact on improving ROI in eLearning.
Q2. What are Performance Support Tools and where exactly do they fit in an organization’s learning strategy?
Performance Support Tools (PSTs) provide employees with on-the-job tools that make their work a lot easier. Unlike training, these tools are available to support and guide employees as they actually do their jobs. These tools are very easy to find, often directly embedded into the learners’ workflow (Learning Hub) and offer active guidance.
These solutions enable organizations to provide the right amount of task guidance, support, and productivity benefits to learners precisely at the moment of need.
Q3. How do Performance Support Tools help learners?
Performance Support Tools provide an option for employees to learn and work at the same time. They can help an organization to reduce the cost of training while increasing productivity and performance.
From a learner perspective, Performance Support Tools:
Q4. How can Performance Support Tools offset some of the challenges in learning recall, retention, and application?
In 1885, Herman Ebbinghaus, a German Psychologist, defined the exponential nature of forgetting. As you see from this diagram featuring the “Forgetting Curve”, we forget 80% of what we learned in 30 days!
Added to this is an associated challenge that by investing on formal training that would happen for a few days in a year, we cannot expect learners to gain high levels of proficiency in it although baseline proficiency can certainly be achieved.
The real solution lies in creating “Learning as a continuum”. A good way to do this is to identify the areas for formal training and use Performance Support Tools intervention to reinforce it shortly after the formal session. You can then create a “learning path” that has interventions like this during the year. A combination of reinforcement as well as new assets that push application of knowledge on-the-job will help you create a high degree of knowledge recall, retention, and application.
You can refer to my article Top 5 tips for innovative eLearning development where I have shared pointers on how we can change this curve to “retention curve”.
Q5. What are the possible ways to offer Performance Support Tools?
I hope this article addresses the questions you or your boss may have on what Performance Support Tools are and why they must be an integral part of your learning strategy. If there’s more on Performance Support Tools or any other related aspects that you would like to know, do let me know or drop in your comments and suggestions. I shall try to address them and share more insights soon.
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