Performance Support Tools (PSTs) are learning aids or job aids that are designed to offer specific support to learners precisely at the moment of their need. In this blog, I outline the definition, significance, and the key benefits of Performance Support Tools.
All of us learn from different sources ranging from structured or formal training to learning by watching others or taking specific help from colleagues. The biggest learning certainly is on the job (often through challenges that we face and overcome).
While the exact ratio of the approach that offers the most effective training is debatable, a good index to map the various options is the 70:20:10 model for Learning and Development.
This popular model is used extensively by organizations and it postulates that we learn:
- 70 percent from on the job experiences (experiential learning).
- 20 percent from interactions with others (social learning).
- 10 percent from formal (structured learning).
In spite of this evidence, not many organizations have a structured approach to support training beyond the formal or structured training. Performance Support Tools or PSTs admirably fit in to fill this gap
PSTs can be used to support the formal training and push the knowledge acquisition to knowledge application. They are available to learners within their workflow and this increases their usage at the moment of their need.
What are Performance Support Tools or PSTs?
Performance Support Tools or PSTs are just-in-time, specific job aids or learning aids designed to help learners perform better. This is accomplished by:
- Providing or embedding the PSTs within the learner’s workflow.
- Designing them to meet a specific learning need (to know more, fix a problem, enhance productivity, and so on).
Performance Support is an established concept and has been there for over three decades. Gloria Gery, one of its key champions summarizes it effectively as:
“Performance Support focuses on work itself while training focuses on the learning required to do the work. Integrating resources in the workplace is inevitable, and the need is urgent. Filtering resources so people get the tools and resources they need while actively working is the goal. Work process and roles are the primary filters. The mechanisms vary: portals, performance-centered workflow interfaces, enterprise applications, integration projects, etc, but what’s important is that performer be able to name that tune in one note, to perform in exemplary fashion”.
What are the Key Benefits of Performance Support Tools or PSTs?
Given the pressure on time, we all like to work and learn at the same time. Performance Support Tools or PSTs enable learners to do precisely this. The key benefits of Performance Support Tools they offer are:
- Empower learners: PSTs enable learners to manage things on their own.
- Save time: PSTs enable learners to quickly zero in on the required information.
- Save time for the senior resources: They are required only on exceptional basis as the routine queries can be fulfilled through PSTs.
- Faster onboarding of new employees: The PSTs enable the new employees to pick up the tips, best practices outside of formal training and rise to the required proficiency.
- Simplified approach improves assimilation and application on the job: Since PSTs are designed to meet a specific need, they are easier to use and apply.
- Provide an effective channel to provide just-in-time updates: These could include new features, upgrades, or change management.
As you will see from the above said benefits of Performance Support Tools, usage of PSTs to support your formal training will go a long way in increasing its application on the job. Furthermore, an easy access to the required information facilitates the usage of the input and encourages a culture of continuous learning in the organization.
With increased adoption of mLearning or mobile learning, most of the corporate trainings can easily leverage on Performance Support Tools or PSTs to increase the impact of formal training.
I hope this blog gives you compelling reasons to opt for Performance Support Tools or PSTs (in case you haven’t so far). If you have any queries, do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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